Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Rating: 9/10

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Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Rating: 9/10

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High-Level Thoughts

Hands down the best startup marketing book out there, and the first one I recommend to people who want to get into startup marketing. I still use some form of the Bullseye Method in it for thinking about digital marketing, and the list of channels to brainstorm new ideas.

Summary Notes

Traction is the sign that something is working, that your product is “taking off.” It’s what you need to prove in order to get investment, and it’s one of the defining qualities of a startup.

Most people have a product, but what they fail to get is traction for that product.

There are 19 traction channels:

  1. Viral Marketing
  2. PR
  3. Unconventional PR
  4. SEM
  5. Social and Display Ads
  6. Offline ads
  7. SEO
  8. Content Marketing
  9. Email Marketing
  10. Engineering as Marketing
  11. Targeting Blogs
  12. Business Development
  13. Sales
  14. Affiliate Programs
  15. Existing Platforms
  16. Tradeshows
  17. Offline events
  18. Speaking engagements
  19. Community building

Odds are you have some bias towards one or a few of the channels, but you should look at all of them as potential opportunities.

Use the “Bullseye Process” to find the traction channels you initially go after.

  1. Brainstorm how you might use EVERY traction channel. Put each channel in a spreadsheet with how you might use it, a 1-5 rating of how well that might work, the cost to acquire through this channel, how many customers you might get through it, and the timeframe for implementation.
  2. Rank the channels into three categories: the inner circle where there’s the most opportunity (your top 3), the potential opportunities, and the long shots.
  3. Prioritize: if you have more than 3 in your inner circle, cut it down.
  4. Test your inner circle ideas: you’re not trying to get a lot of traction just yet, you’re only seeing if there’s potential there.
  5. Focus: depending on how the tests went, pick one channel to focus primarily on. Depending on the stage of your startup, this channel will change.

The 50% rule: spend 50% of your time on product, 50% on traction.

Your traction strategy should always be focused on moving the needle for your company, making a measurable difference in the number you care most about for success.

Most of the book is providing examples and stories to help you execute on each traction channel, highly recommend looking at it based on your curiosity about each one.

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