How to Measure Your Growth Hacking Efforts – TPP17

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Jen talks about the nuts and bolts of measuring growth hacking; both quantitative and qualitative. You’ll also learn how vital your relationships with technology and money are.

Be sure to listen all the way to the end – and discover Jen’s intensity is related to a tech snafu.

Would you like the free growth hacking ebook? Click here to get it!

Jen:                  Hello and welcome to the Third Paddle Podcast. This is the show for entrepreneurs who are all about growth and getting unstuck. On this episode, have you ever struggled with measuring your growth hacking efforts? That’s exactly what we’re going to help you with on this week’s show, where you’re going to learn how to measure those initiatives and make sure that trajectory is going up, up, up.

Announcer:      You’re listening to the Third Paddle Podcast, recorded at the Vandal lounge in the beautiful southeast Portland, Oregon. Why the Third Paddle? Because even the [00:00:30] most bad-ass entrepreneurs get stuck in Business Shit Creek. Tech strategist, Jen McFarland and business strategist, Twila Kaye are your Third Paddle, helping you get unstuck.

Jen:                  Welcome back to the Third Paddle. This is Jen McFarland, and I am not joined today by Twila Kaye. I know, it’s super weird. It’s probably going to be a shorter episode because I’m not really used to sitting here, talking to myself. Okay, I’m not used to talking to myself out loud.

Okay, I’m not used to talking to myself out loud where other people could hear it [00:01:00] on the internet and stuff, and I’m also sitting here not in the Vandal lounge, but if you hear some background noise, it’s because I’m sitting outside. I’m at Twinlow Camp in Rathdrum, Idaho. I’m attending the 70th annual Chatcolab Northwest Leadership Education Laboratory. This is a place where for 70 years, this non-profit up here in the pines of northern Idaho has had inspiring, philosophical conversations, and dedicated itself to outdoor [00:01:30] education and leadership. It’s a phenomenal place.

Last year, I was the keynote speaker. I led a five-day workshop on 21st century leadership, centered around gratitude and collaboration, and also how the millennials and generations following the millennials really approach their work differently than people who were in older generations, and that means that they want to be heard, they want to be understood, and they want to collaborate. They don’t really care about the different levels within an organization [00:02:00] because they know they have something to contribute. It was a very enlightening experience to lead this, and I encourage everybody who’s a business owner to find an environment like this where they can meet people, and really talk about some of these different issues whether you’re a business owner or not. Leadership is really, really something to talk about on an ongoing basis. As for Twila Kaye, she is not joining me here at Chatcolab this year.

Maybe I’ll get her here next year, which would be rad. She is on [00:02:30] a working vacation in Europe. I have seen pictures of her in Paris and in London. I love both of those cities. Beautiful places, and I’m hoping that she’s getting a recharge, and I’m here self-hosting the Third Paddle Podcast, but I’ve got my eyes set on October, when I’ll be celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary, and Twila ain’t coming with me on my anniversary trip to Italy. I don’t know if she knows that or not.

She’s not invited, and during that time, she’s probably going to be on the hook for hosting a couple [00:03:00] shows by herself, or finding out a cool person to talk to. That’s kind of the housekeeping that we’ve got. What are we going to talk about today? I’m going to sit here by this lake, Twinlow Lake in Rathdrum, Idaho, and wrap up this discussion that we’ve been having about growth hacking. Today’s topic is measuring whether growth hacking is really working. This is an area where I think everybody’s like, “Oh my God, this is such a snore.”

“I don’t really want it. I don’t really want to talk about this, Jen. This is like not interesting.” [00:03:30] In fact, when I pitched this idea to Twila, she’s like, “I don’t really know what I’m going to talk about”, which is interesting to me because Twila is phenomenal and brilliant. I think that when I pitched it, it was interesting because I was like, “Cool. She can talk about measuring profits and revenues”, and I think that when I pitched it, she was like, “Oh, we’re going to talk about Google Analytics for an entire episode.”

The truth is, we are going to talk about both. I want to encourage you to hit Twila up either on Twitter, @ [00:04:00] ThirdPaddle or @TwilaKaye. That’s T-W-I-L-A-K-A-Y-E, and hit her up with some of your more in-depth revenue and profit-tracking methodologies that she uses that can really help you supercharge whether or not your growth hacking efforts are working. As you know, those are not really my wheelhouse. My wheelhouse is more on tracking some of your web efforts, tracking some of the different technologies that are coming in, [00:04:30] but it’s also just some of those nuts and bolts things.

I think Twila’s definitely as someone who’s led a business, that sold some products and did all kinds of things. I mean, she knows about the nuts and bolts of inventory and counting how many sales and all of it. When we talk about implementing and tracking like your achievement toward these smart goals, in the earlier episodes, we were talking about how you need to set up smart goals, [00:05:00] simple, measurable goals that you can really go after, and so when you think, “How am I going to do that?”, the hope is that you already have set some sort of baseline in your business, whether it’s you’re tracking your revenues, or you’re tracking your time, and know how much time you’re spending on different initiatives, or you’re tracking how many customers are coming into your building, and then comparing that against how many of each product is being sold, or whether you know [00:05:30] how many people are coming to your blog, or how many people are buying your online program or product. The hope is that you’ve been tracking some things all along so that you can know over time whether these different initiatives that you’ve done over the entire course of your business, you have some sort of baseline so you can tell if things are working or not. If you don’t, it’s time to start, and there’s so many different ways that you can track and get feedback about whether or not things are working.

[00:06:00] There are two different methodologies that are in the academic sense used to measure your progress towards goals. When I was in grad school, we talked about quantitative versus qualitative research methods. That’s like at the research level, but there’s no reason why you can’t embrace both of these methodologies in your business. Basically, what that means is you can talk to people and ask people, “What do you [00:06:30] like? What do you not like? I want to become a better business owner.”

The other side of that is the data, and you can look at the hard data, which is the number of bodies, the amount of revenues, how many people are visiting your website. I think a good growth strategy for measuring whether or not you’re achieving your goals is to actually pursue both in one way or another. That means surveying people. That means asking questions in social media groups. It means finding out [00:07:00] what the motivations are for people who are engaged and interacting with your business.

That can be asking people who you haven’t seen in a while. “Why haven’t I seen you for a while?” That can also be things like, “You seem to really buy a lot from me. What is it that keeps you coming back?” It can also be asking some marketing questions like, “What magazines do you like to read?”

“Do you watch TV? If you watch TV, what are you watching? Do you watch movies? What kind of [00:07:30] movies do you like?” You might be thinking, “How is any of this relevant?” This is all market research because it helps you resonate more with your clients and prospective clients when you’re doing things like social media, which makes me think of Gary Vaynerchuk, who at one point was standing in a wine shop doing YouTube videos, basically doing what I’m doing now, which is talking to himself because he didn’t have a big audience.

He just liked talking, and he liked video because video is easier for him to create because he said [00:08:00] many times that he’s not a writer. I don’t know what his motivation was for doing YouTube. I mean, it was probably just because he like to talk about wine, and he like to go out there and do that, and it was definitely a growth hack at the time because when he started what he was doing, people really weren’t doing YouTube videos, so I want you to think about that. Sometimes, growth hacking is doing something totally new and talking to yourself, whether it’s a podcast or a YouTube video, or doing WhatsApp, or Snapchat. [00:08:30] It could be doing something totally new and branching into a new market, and your baseline may start off pretty low.

It might be zero for a while, and that’s how you know if things are working or not. These results are not going to be immediate. When you do something new, you’re taking a risk, but you can’t expect it to be the most popular video on YouTube or the biggest and best podcast you’ve ever heard because some of these things take practice. This isn’t about tracking for a week, [00:09:00] and then giving up if you’re not seeing instant results, but what we are talking about is setting up a baseline for where you’re starting, and then making some small changes and seeing how it works, and whether those changes are talking to your customers or prospective customers, or it’s just looking at the hard data. Either way is going to work, and it’s going to help you get out of your own head and help you stop thinking about it in terms of how you’re feeling or what your gut is telling you, because there’s a time and [00:09:30] a place for listening to your gut, and there’s a time and a place for looking at the numbers and being real with yourself.

If you’re just hitting your head up against the wall and you’re not happy with the way things are going, that might be an indication that you need to do something new. Growth hacking gives you that opportunity. Growth hacking helps you make small, incremental changes and set a trajectory towards a goal, and that’s all that you have to do. I mean, sometimes, it’s like so scary to get out there [00:10:00] and do something new, but it’s always worthwhile. Even in failure, it’s always worthwhile, and that’s why it’s really important to just get out there and do it.

I think the biggest way that you can get out there and do it, if you want to know my 10-cent strategy for growth hacking, set up four, five goals, six or seven if you’re feeling ambitious. Things are going to go after for the next quarter. These can be revenue goals. These can be a number of people coming into your [00:10:30] store. This can be social media posts, like how many.

This can be trying something new, like really doing weekly blog posts or starting your own podcast. I can’t tell you how many people have said, “That’s cool, you’re doing a podcast. I’ve always wanted to do it.” My response has been, “Hey, you can get started really easy.” There’s even an app called ‘Anchor’, where you can just record the podcast from your phone.

There’s nothing wrong with doing it. Posting a podcast to iTunes is free for crying out loud. If [00:11:00] you just like to talk, start it. Do it, but start a baseline so that you know how many people are listening from the beginning so that you can track that trajectory. My intention is for you to have six or seven goals over the next quarter.

Set up a system for how you’re going to measure it. If we’re talking about a website or technology, if you’re using a CRM, these all kick out some sort of report. Make sure your website is connected to Google [00:11:30] Analytics. I also suggest hooking up to Search Console, so then you know how many people are coming to your website, and how they’re transacting with you, what webpages they’re going to, where they’re coming from, where they’re going to, and how long they’re staying on your website. Google Search Console will tell you if there are any errors on your website that are prohibiting people from going to maybe the pages that you want them to go to.

If you need help with this, you can contact me or [00:12:00] your web developer, and find out the best ways to do that. There are ways to set up Search Console so that you’re really just looking at reports and you can see what’s happening without having to dig into the details. If you are doing something with your CRM, or MailChimp, or any other sort of email automation, there are also reports that you can look at in there and see if you’re starting a new initiative where you want to market a product to your existing customers. [00:12:30] Every great email marketing software gives you a report. I love ActiveCampaign’s reports that tell you how many opens you had, how much time they were on there, what people are clicking on.

It gives you a real sense of what’s going on, so get into the data. Track what’s happening. Track. Sometimes, a growth hack is like doing some testing around your blog post headlines. This is something that’s kind of non-threatening, [00:13:00] you know. You just test it and you find out what it is out there that’s resonating with people.

Then, you track how many people go to that particular post. The point is that you can’t just always … As a leader, you need to be dynamic, be open-minded, and consider that not every decision is solid gold, but sometimes, decisions are maybe not going the right way and being really real with yourself. [00:13:30] If you’re like me, and you haven’t been really mapping out your profits, and you haven’t really been tracking your Profit and Loss Statements, and you haven’t really tied every single initiative to a dollar figure, which is the work of the great Twila Kaye, if you haven’t taken the time to do that, that is really a sobering and eye-opening experience, and I really encourage you to get in to the details on the money and really look at the money in the same way that you’re looking at how you feel about these decisions, [00:14:00] or how many people you have coming into the door, or that great conversation you had with an existing customer. Get real with yourself about how much money you’re making or not making.

Get real with yourself about all of these different things that you’re working on, and first of all, congratulate yourself. You’re doing it. You’re making some changes. You’re making some great things. You’re doing all of the great things, but then also, consider the areas that aren’t going as well. Think about [00:14:30] whether or not you’re getting in your own way.

Think about whether your relationship with money or technology, think about whether those relationships that you have are actually preventing you from moving forward in your business. If you’re sitting here listening to this, and you’re thinking, “I don’t really need to know how many people are walking into my store or going on my website. I don’t really need to know how much money I am making or not making because I’ve got cash in my bank”, dig deeper. Get curious. [00:15:00] Set up those baselines. Know what is going on with your business.

Get in touch. Get in the weeds, people, because that’s how you’re going to know what those six or seven or four or five quarterly goals are. That’s how you’re going to know what you need to start addressing in your own business. That’s how you’re going to realize where your gaps are as a leader. The devil is in the details, and the more time we spend superficially going to networking events, and talking to people about what we do [00:15:30] and all of that, and bearing ourselves in the work, or bearing ourselves in tasks that we know we can do blindfolded, the more time we spend doing that, and the less time we spend really talking to ourselves about the hard stuff, the less time we spend in the details of money and data, and all of that tech that’s swirling around that you know you’ve got to use, but you’re avoiding like the plague.

The less time you spend on the hard stuff, the less growth you’re going to experience as a person [00:16:00] and as a business. I got to tell you, I got my own stuff in these areas that I need to work on. I got to tell you that I’m someone that likes to be in the weeds and likes to do some things that I feel comfortable doing. I love the technology side. I have a podcast with Twila Kaye because she reminds me of the pieces and the parts that I don’t spend as much time on that I really need to, and so if your growth hack, if the only thing that you’re doing for the next quarter is getting curious about [00:16:30] your own business, if that’s your growth hack, that’s amazing, and that’s what I want for you.

That’s what I’m hoping for you, is that you’ll find that thing that just scares the shit out of you, and you decide to go after that, and you decide to learn about that, and you set up a goal, system, and you start growth hacking around that, because when you get curious about the stuff that scares you, that’s when you grow more as a person. That’s when you find that passion. That’s when you know that you’re really hitting on something. [00:17:00] Start asking questions. Start being curious.

Start realizing what it is that scares you, and go after that. That’s your growth hack. Thank you for listening to today’s Third Paddle Podcast. I hope to be joined by Twila Kaye, or maybe even a cool co-host or guest on the next episode. I had somebody asked me, “How do I subscribe to a podcast? I don’t even know.”

“You keep saying to subscribe, but I don’t know how to do it”, and so I’ve pulled up a little article [00:17:30] here. I’m just going to read through this list for finding and downloading podcast in iTunes. “Open the iTunes program. Select Podcast from the dropdown menu in the top left-hand corner. Click Store.”

“Click the Store menu at the top of the window.” This is the page of the podcast section in iTunes, so you can search for the name or topic that you’d like to search for in the contents. You can also browse recommendations on the front page or select all of the categories. To [00:18:00] find the Third Paddle Podcast, you just click and search for Third Paddle, and we’ll be there. Once you found the podcast you’re interested in, click on it.

On the podcast page, you’ll see the information, and about it, you’ll see information about Twila Kaye and Jen McFarland. To stream the episode, you click Play. To download an episode, you click the Get button on the right. Once the episode is downloaded, click the Library button at the top center, and then double-click the episode you want to listen to. [00:18:30] When you’re on the podcast page, click the Subscribe button beneath the covert art.

In the pop-up window, click Subscribe to confirm the subscription. Then, click on the Library menu item, and click on the podcast you just subscribed to, and then it’ll just start letting you know when there are new episodes. I’ll post these instructions on the Third Paddle website, I hope this has been helpful, and as always, we would love for you to subscribe to the Third Paddle Podcast or just keep listening. [00:19:00] We are on iTunes, Google Play.

You can follow us on Simplecast. Just do a Google search of Third Paddle Simplecast, and that’ll bring up our Simplecast website, and we are also on social media, @ThirdPaddle, or you can follow us online at or Thanks for listening.

Announcer:      Thank you for listening to the Third Paddle Podcast. If you like our show and want to learn more, check out our website at www.ThirdPaddle. [00:19:30] com, or leave us a review on iTunes. Send questions or topic ideas to, and don’t forget to tune in each week to get even more technology and business tips to help you navigate Business Shit Creek. The Third Paddle Podcast is sponsored by Foster Growth Online at, and Twila Kaye International Online at

Jen:                  [00:20:00] That episode was kind of intense. Would you like to know why? Because the first time I recorded it, I forgot to turn the microphone on. Yes, you’re welcome. Laugh about that all that you want, but when I thought about it a little bit in the days after recording it, I realized that what would be really helpful for me and for you and for everybody out there is to have some sort of guide to really help you with measuring your growth hacking efforts, so that’s what I’ve done.

I’ve created a little eBook, so if you go to our website, [00:20:30], and you opt in to subscribe to our list, we’ll be sure and send out that eBook to you straight away. If you’re already a member of the list, check your inbox because we’re going to get that out to you as soon as possible. Thanks, and don’t forget to subscribe.

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