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APPLYING A PRODUCT
MINDSET TO CONTENT
The Growth Playbook You
Haven’t Heard Yet
I’M @ANUM
• Formerly HubSpot
• Currently MIT Sloan
• Always Beyoncé
I believe content
marketing is
breaking.
www.anumhussain.com
We marketers loudly
teach our beliefs in
only creating
valuable content.
www.anumhussain.com
We proudly
preach our focus
on optimizing
email blasts.
www.anumhussain.com
… without realizing that
we are still part of the
problem.
www.anumhussain.com
IT’S TIME TO BE MORE STRATEGIC.
www.anumhussain.com
IT’S TIME TO BE MORE STRATEGIC.
The key is to apply the
principles of product
growth to content.
www.anumhussain.com
Just as product growth teams
see the world through their
users, content teams should
see the world through their
subscribe...
That’s the mentality we used to turn
*Sidekick’s content presence into a
meaningful revenue channel.
*Sidekick has since b...
HERE’S WHAT CONTENT GROWTH
LOOKS LIKE.
USER RETENTION SUBSCRIBER RETENTION
USER CHURN SUBSCRIBER CHURN
USER ONBOARDING SUB...
Companies solve for their
customers. Product teams solve for
their users. Why aren’t content
marketers solving for subscri...
1
MEASURE SUBSCRIBERS LIKE
USER RETENTION
Most growth teams seek authentic
growth through active usage.
DAU:
DAILY ACTIVE USER
unique amount
of users who are
"activ...
We measure HubSpot
Sales Products in
WAUs.
www.anumhussain.com
We measure HubSpot
Sales Products in
WAUs.
We use a set of criteria
that shows if users are
getting value from our
product...
We measure HubSpot
Sales Products in
WAUs.
We use a set of criteria
that shows if users are
getting value from our
product...
We applied the same authentic metric
behind product growth … to content.
MAU:
MONTHLY ACTIVE USER
MAS:
MONTHLY ACTIVE SUBS...
MONTHLY ACTIVE SUBSCRIBER:
noun
1 an individual subscribed to content and clicking
through on that content through emails
...
11,870
12,698 12,489 12,990 12,495
14,217 13,675 13,176 13,616
16,794
19,159
20,697 20,636
24,108 23,906
24,967
While we a...
So, what happens to
all those unengaged
subscribers …
www.anumhussain.com
2
ALLOW SUBSCRIBERS TO
CHURN JUST AS USERS
When a freemium user is unengaged,
we consider them churned. When a
content reader becomes unengaged,
we keep emailing the...
WHAAAAT?
When a freemium user is unengaged,
we consider them churned. When a
content reader becomes unengaged,
we keep emailing the...
In the early days of our new sales blog,
we invested heavily in growing our
subscribers.
Eventually, we reached 60,000 subscribers
… but only 22,000 were actually reading
our content.
TOTAL SUBSCRIBERS
ENGAGED S...
So we removed the 38,000 unengaged
contacts from our subscriber list.
Our goal isn’t to shove content
into inboxes, it’s to provide the
right content to the right people.
www.anumhussain.com
We sacrificed
subscribers every
quarter through
creative unsubscribe
email campaigns.
www.anumhussain.com
These unsubscribe
campaigns kept us
focused on the
people who actually
matter in our funnel.
www.anumhussain.com
We revived some subscribers while
removing completely inactive ones.
2.3%
revived
4.1%
revived
www.anumhussain.com
So now, a few key things have happened:
www.anumhussain.com
So now, a few key things have happened:
LOWERED UNSUBSCRIBE RATES
✓
www.anumhussain.com
So now, a few key things have happened:
LOWERED UNSUBSCRIBE RATES
MORE ACCURATE ENGAGEMENT RATES
✓
✓
www.anumhussain.com
So now, a few key things have happened:
LOWERED UNSUBSCRIBE RATES
MORE ACCURATE ENGAGEMENT RATES
REVIVED OTHERWISE DORMANT...
3
APPLY USER ONBOARDING TO
CONTENT
The Sidekick product growth team launched
60+ onboarding experiments to uncover a new
user welcome flow that increased ret...
They tested, reiterated, and tested again
until something clicked.
www.anumhussain.com
This got me thinking
about current content
subscription models …
www.anumhussain.com
SUBSCRIBE
Reader
Subscribes
www.anumhussain.com
SUBSCRIBE
Reader
Subscribes
Receive Subscription
Complete Email
Receive Next
Published Post
www.anumhussain.com
SUBSCRIBE
Reader
Subscribes
Receive Subscription
Complete Email
Receive Next
Published Post
www.anumhussain.com
Unlike with product, most marketers
don’t strategically onboard their
subscribers. We just start
bombarding them with blog...
If an optimized user onboarding flow
leads to longer user retention, wouldn’t
an optimized subscriber flow result in
a sim...
We began experimenting and eventually
end up with new content onboarding.
www.anumhussain.com
READER
SUBSCRIBES
READER ENTERS
DRIP CAMPAIGN
READER RECEIVES
NEW POSTS
www.anumhussain.com
READER
SUBSCRIBES
READER ENTERS
DRIP CAMPAIGN
READER RECEIVES
NEW POSTS
Standard step. A
visitor on your
website fills out...
READER
SUBSCRIBES
READER ENTERS
DRIP CAMPAIGN
READER RECEIVES
NEW POSTS
Hypothesis: The higher the engagement with subscri...
READER
SUBSCRIBES
READER ENTERS
DRIP CAMPAIGN
READER RECEIVES
NEW POSTS
These workflow emails generate 2x the clickthrough...
READER
SUBSCRIBES
READER ENTERS
DRIP CAMPAIGN
READER RECEIVES
NEW POSTS
Once the workflow
is complete,
subscribers join ou...
And we’re left with two lists.
1. NEW
SUBSCRIBERS
When someone filled
out a form to subscribe,
they were considered
new an...
APPLYING A GROWTH
MINDSET TO CONTENT
Now you may be thinking
… this all sounds cool,
but why bother?
www.anumhussain.com
For us, content was
more than a marketing
channel. It was a
revenue channel.
www.anumhussain.com
We found that weekly product user retention
increased if users were subscribed & reading
our content.
0%
20%
40%
60%
80%
1...
IT ALL STARTS WITH AN IMPROVED
CONTENT GROWTH STRATEGY.
USER RETENTION SUBSCRIBER RETENTION
USER CHURN SUBSCRIBER CHURN
US...
Thank You.
More Presentations:
ANUMHUSSAIN.COM
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Applying a Product Mindset to Content

First debuted at #CTAconf, updated for #INBOUND16, and now live for all to see. Check out the one growth playbook you haven't heard yet.

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Applying a Product Mindset to Content

  1. 1. APPLYING A PRODUCT MINDSET TO CONTENT The Growth Playbook You Haven’t Heard Yet
  2. 2. I’M @ANUM • Formerly HubSpot • Currently MIT Sloan • Always Beyoncé
  3. 3. I believe content marketing is breaking. www.anumhussain.com
  4. 4. We marketers loudly teach our beliefs in only creating valuable content. www.anumhussain.com
  5. 5. We proudly preach our focus on optimizing email blasts. www.anumhussain.com
  6. 6. … without realizing that we are still part of the problem. www.anumhussain.com
  7. 7. IT’S TIME TO BE MORE STRATEGIC. www.anumhussain.com
  8. 8. IT’S TIME TO BE MORE STRATEGIC. The key is to apply the principles of product growth to content. www.anumhussain.com
  9. 9. Just as product growth teams see the world through their users, content teams should see the world through their subscribers. www.anumhussain.com
  10. 10. That’s the mentality we used to turn *Sidekick’s content presence into a meaningful revenue channel. *Sidekick has since been rebranded & merged into the HubSpot Sales Blog.
  11. 11. HERE’S WHAT CONTENT GROWTH LOOKS LIKE. USER RETENTION SUBSCRIBER RETENTION USER CHURN SUBSCRIBER CHURN USER ONBOARDING SUBSCRIBER ONBOARDING
  12. 12. Companies solve for their customers. Product teams solve for their users. Why aren’t content marketers solving for subscribers? www.anumhussain.com
  13. 13. 1 MEASURE SUBSCRIBERS LIKE USER RETENTION
  14. 14. Most growth teams seek authentic growth through active usage. DAU: DAILY ACTIVE USER unique amount of users who are "active" within a day. WAU: WEEKLY ACTIVE USER unique amount of users who are "active" within a week. MAU: MONTHLY ACTIVE USER unique amount of users who are "active" within a month.
  15. 15. We measure HubSpot Sales Products in WAUs. www.anumhussain.com
  16. 16. We measure HubSpot Sales Products in WAUs. We use a set of criteria that shows if users are getting value from our product every week. www.anumhussain.com
  17. 17. We measure HubSpot Sales Products in WAUs. We use a set of criteria that shows if users are getting value from our product every week. That core metric helps us monitor the success of our product growth. www.anumhussain.com
  18. 18. We applied the same authentic metric behind product growth … to content. MAU: MONTHLY ACTIVE USER MAS: MONTHLY ACTIVE SUBSCRIBER www.anumhussain.com
  19. 19. MONTHLY ACTIVE SUBSCRIBER: noun 1 an individual subscribed to content and clicking through on that content through emails 2 definition used by Sidekick content team to monitor authentic audience growth www.anumhussain.com
  20. 20. 11,870 12,698 12,489 12,990 12,495 14,217 13,675 13,176 13,616 16,794 19,159 20,697 20,636 24,108 23,906 24,967 While we aim to rapidly grow our email list, we focus more on how many subscribers are actively engaged.
  21. 21. So, what happens to all those unengaged subscribers … www.anumhussain.com
  22. 22. 2 ALLOW SUBSCRIBERS TO CHURN JUST AS USERS
  23. 23. When a freemium user is unengaged, we consider them churned. When a content reader becomes unengaged, we keep emailing them. www.anumhussain.com
  24. 24. WHAAAAT?
  25. 25. When a freemium user is unengaged, we consider them churned. When a content reader becomes unengaged, we keep emailing them. www.anumhussain.com
  26. 26. In the early days of our new sales blog, we invested heavily in growing our subscribers.
  27. 27. Eventually, we reached 60,000 subscribers … but only 22,000 were actually reading our content. TOTAL SUBSCRIBERS ENGAGED SUBSCRIBERS www.anumhussain.com
  28. 28. So we removed the 38,000 unengaged contacts from our subscriber list.
  29. 29. Our goal isn’t to shove content into inboxes, it’s to provide the right content to the right people. www.anumhussain.com
  30. 30. We sacrificed subscribers every quarter through creative unsubscribe email campaigns. www.anumhussain.com
  31. 31. These unsubscribe campaigns kept us focused on the people who actually matter in our funnel. www.anumhussain.com
  32. 32. We revived some subscribers while removing completely inactive ones. 2.3% revived 4.1% revived www.anumhussain.com
  33. 33. So now, a few key things have happened: www.anumhussain.com
  34. 34. So now, a few key things have happened: LOWERED UNSUBSCRIBE RATES ✓ www.anumhussain.com
  35. 35. So now, a few key things have happened: LOWERED UNSUBSCRIBE RATES MORE ACCURATE ENGAGEMENT RATES ✓ ✓ www.anumhussain.com
  36. 36. So now, a few key things have happened: LOWERED UNSUBSCRIBE RATES MORE ACCURATE ENGAGEMENT RATES REVIVED OTHERWISE DORMANT USERS ✓ ✓ ✓ www.anumhussain.com
  37. 37. 3 APPLY USER ONBOARDING TO CONTENT
  38. 38. The Sidekick product growth team launched 60+ onboarding experiments to uncover a new user welcome flow that increased retention. www.anumhussain.com
  39. 39. They tested, reiterated, and tested again until something clicked. www.anumhussain.com
  40. 40. This got me thinking about current content subscription models … www.anumhussain.com
  41. 41. SUBSCRIBE Reader Subscribes www.anumhussain.com
  42. 42. SUBSCRIBE Reader Subscribes Receive Subscription Complete Email Receive Next Published Post www.anumhussain.com
  43. 43. SUBSCRIBE Reader Subscribes Receive Subscription Complete Email Receive Next Published Post www.anumhussain.com
  44. 44. Unlike with product, most marketers don’t strategically onboard their subscribers. We just start bombarding them with blog emails. www.anumhussain.com
  45. 45. If an optimized user onboarding flow leads to longer user retention, wouldn’t an optimized subscriber flow result in a similar impact? www.anumhussain.com
  46. 46. We began experimenting and eventually end up with new content onboarding. www.anumhussain.com
  47. 47. READER SUBSCRIBES READER ENTERS DRIP CAMPAIGN READER RECEIVES NEW POSTS www.anumhussain.com
  48. 48. READER SUBSCRIBES READER ENTERS DRIP CAMPAIGN READER RECEIVES NEW POSTS Standard step. A visitor on your website fills out a form to subscribe to your content. www.anumhussain.com
  49. 49. READER SUBSCRIBES READER ENTERS DRIP CAMPAIGN READER RECEIVES NEW POSTS Hypothesis: The higher the engagement with subscribers early on, the longer they’ll retain as monthly active subscribers. Approach: New subscribers enter 4-week workflow that sends them top performing posts. www.anumhussain.com
  50. 50. READER SUBSCRIBES READER ENTERS DRIP CAMPAIGN READER RECEIVES NEW POSTS These workflow emails generate 2x the clickthrough rate as our normal sends – an indication that first impressions really count – and were a vital contributor of our most valuable metric, which we’ll cover in the next section.
  51. 51. READER SUBSCRIBES READER ENTERS DRIP CAMPAIGN READER RECEIVES NEW POSTS Once the workflow is complete, subscribers join our email list to receive new content as its released. www.anumhussain.com
  52. 52. And we’re left with two lists. 1. NEW SUBSCRIBERS When someone filled out a form to subscribe, they were considered new and added to the content onboarding workflow. 2. INSTANT SUBSCRIBERS Upon completing the four-week workflow, subscribers would then receive new blog posts as we created and published new content. www.anumhussain.com
  53. 53. APPLYING A GROWTH MINDSET TO CONTENT
  54. 54. Now you may be thinking … this all sounds cool, but why bother? www.anumhussain.com
  55. 55. For us, content was more than a marketing channel. It was a revenue channel. www.anumhussain.com
  56. 56. We found that weekly product user retention increased if users were subscribed & reading our content. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% WEEK 1 WEEK 2 WEEK 3 WEEK 4 WEEK 5 WEEK 6 WEEK 7 WEEK 8 WEEK 9 NOT SUBSCRIBED SUBSCRIBED
  57. 57. IT ALL STARTS WITH AN IMPROVED CONTENT GROWTH STRATEGY. USER RETENTION SUBSCRIBER RETENTION USER CHURN SUBSCRIBER CHURN USER ONBOARDING SUBSCRIBER ONBOARDING
  58. 58. Thank You. More Presentations: ANUMHUSSAIN.COM

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