Phil Laboon is CEO of Eyeflow internet marketing where they grow client’s online presence, manage their online reputation, and make their website a more effective sales and marketing tool.
Using growth hacking to ultimately drive sales, he uses tactics which other marketers wouldn’t even dare to try and turns them into huge successes for his clients.
In 2014, Phil gained worldwide attention when he turned his called-off wedding reception into a charity fundraising event. After being picked up global media outlets, the online attention raised tens of thousands of dollars and helped push a Pittsburgh non-profit to the next level.
Having always had the entrepreneurial spark within him, Phil sold candy to his classmates at junior high, and then in high school made a deal with a company to buy their snack cakes right before they were about to expire. Using a $1,000 loan from his parents, he created a small business of a decent size with employees, while his school tried to shut it down.
Well versed in making big successes from small opportunities, Phil has some great tips for revolutionizing how you drive leads and sales.
Like many entrepreneurs, Phil never really wanted to work for anyone else and had always wanted to have direct control of his own life.
Having founded businesses himself and invested in others, it means he is often required to wear many different hats, and often finds himself having to change them hourly.
Doing things himself means that there can come a time when he doesn’t know how to do something. However, the answer can often be found on Google or YouTube.
Don’t let not knowing something stop you dead in your tracks. Having the mindset that you’re going to blow through an obstacle is what makes a successful entrepreneur.
This is a mindset which he probably developed through never having the ‘comfort zone’ which working for someone else can bring. Knowing how much you’ll earn every month and health insurance are common assurances they bring.
But Phil believes that such comfort zones are false. There are so many variables, which you don’t control, that could end up costing you your job. The new manager may not like you, or the company could go under due to bad financial decisions made by other people.
As well as carrying out performance marketing for some large companies, including Fortune 500 ones, pushing affiliate sales, his most recent project has been the launch of his first eCommerce business.
Wudn was co-founded in June 2016 and sells crafted wood products for the modern world, such as phone cases and glasses. In less than one year, they have done close to $2 million and he has already received an offer to buy the business.
Such quick success has come thanks to using growth hacking tactics. These are unconventional ways to grow sales, outside of traditional marketing routes. It involves taking calculated risks to do big hit-or-miss sales practices.
In his time, Phil has had many misses, but each success which generates leads and sales, comes with a big payoff.
He will generally come up with four ideas and then uses testing to figure out which one is likely to get the best results. The one which comes up top is the technique he focuses 100% on.
That is why big companies don’t use these tactics, and why he does performance marketing, as he invests his own money in trying things out, and only gets paid on the sales it generates.
By doing that, he has the freedom to use whichever platform generates the best results, rather than limiting himself, such as being a marketer whose only focus is Facebook.
It’s often hard to convince many of these companies to take a risk, but when it works out, they soon don’t want him to stop.
If you’re a start-up, then you definitely need to invest some money in building brand recognition. If people see you only have five likes on Facebook, or followers on Twitter, then you’re not going to be successful due to a lack of social credibility.
When in this situation, Phil will use 10% of the budget building an on-page brand. But building brand doesn’t give him a return on his investment.
He doesn’t get paid for bringing in followers or traffic, only for sales. And as he is putting his money where his mouth is, he needs to make sure he is making back at least 3 or 4 dollars for $1 he spends.
Utilizing the Sales Funnel
When Phil begins working with a new client, he first wants to know and understand all of their data, including what marketing they do now and have tried in the past. And if they’re not willing to share that with him, then tends to decide that he can’t work with them.
He also discovers what they do which makes them different. He can then create a sales funnel using why people would buy from them, as opposed to the competition.
With that comes some brutal honesty as well. If he feels his clients are not creating content which is good enough to achieve the results he wants, he will tell them.
The problem which many people have is that they try to instantly make sales. But funnels do perform much better.
When people are on social media, they’re not looking to buy something. Instead, you need to peak their interest and give them some kind of value. This could be an educational video or blog post.
They work by pushing the potential customer to the next stage of the funnel. In fact, the goal of each step of the funnel is to move people along to the next step and then onto the next one.
You need people to go from:
- Prospecting, to
- “Wow, this is neat”, to
- “Wow, I want this”, and to
- “Wow, here’s a discount code or call to action, I’m going to buy it.”
When creating the short videos which appear on social media, they’re reaching out to cold audiences with ads, testing age groups, interests and location. This helps them to figure out KPIs to see which audience is performing best.
Knowing that means the top of the funnel is working, and can then begin to tailor the next step in the funnel to what they need or want. That could be a longer video, an in-depth blog post, webinar, or online tool. Again, using testing, they determine which works best.
The videos don’t have to look fancy, or even cost the earth.
One particular video which Phil made for Wudn has had 13 million views, 57,000 likes, and 22,000 shares, with 10,000 ads sourcing it in the short time. The video was actually shot on a low-range DSLR camera and took an hour to shoot and edit.
For every person they reach with ads on social, they can expect to get additional organic views as a result. That could be from friends being tagged, or through it appearing in on other people’s timelines as a result of their interaction.
Google or Social Ads?
Phil had been doing Google AdWords for years but has found that it is hard to target prospects, and it is instead a bottom-of-the-funnel solution costing a lot per click.
With social media, you can engage wider audiences, talk to cold prospects, and convince them to buy even when they’re not actually looking for a solution.
Advertising on social media is a game of skill, requiring you to spend time identifying personas, building out audiences, and managing budgets to make it work efficiently.
Regardless, you can achieve results quickly. But just because it does work straight away doesn’t mean it is an overnight process. It is appealing to crank up the budget to get more results I reaction to the results, but before you do that, testing it needed to be sure it’ll still work when it is more saturated.
This summer, Phil will be writing a book about growth hacking, which will require him to coin a new and more appropriate phrase which he’ll share with the world soon. Join him on Facebook to find out more come launch.
You can also visit his agency website Eyeflow which has helpful resources and blog posts to help you carry out these strategies for yourself.