The Naked Truth : How Listly hit 200k on Alexa in 6 weeks.
The Answer: “the genius of the AND”. My old boss and mentor at Business Objects, Dave Kellogg (now SVP & GM Service Cloud at @salesforce ), used to talk a lot about the Genius of the “And”. In life, we often think of making choices. Should I do A or B. Sometimes you just need to push and do both. Dave often used to use the genius of the AND in the context of killing competitors.
In the 6 weeks since joining Listly as co-founder I haven’t killed off any competitors quite yet, but we have kicked butt on two dimensions: Customers AND product. We’ve very much been adopting a lean startup model. I’m hooked on the feedback loop.
For me, this has been a conscious change of approach: no branding or messaging changes. Yes it’s coming, but there were no snap opinion-based decisions.
In the last 6 weeks we’ve made a lot of firm friends. Many people now care about our brand and continued success. We have been turning our customers into winners and super heroes. It’s been so much fun.
What’s key to me is this growth feels very real. We actually are not seeking mass exposure. I know that sounds odd, but we know can learn more from slow, steady iteration. We’re priming ourselves for the next phase of growth.
We have been listening to Customers “AND” enhancing the Product and iterating. I talked in my last post how we’d got to around 253k on Alexa in 4 weeks, but that was void of specifics, so now I’m going to detail what we’ve done at a Customer and Product level.
Here’s the today’s metrics.
So now let me drill into some specifics
- I’ve spoken directly with to name a few @margieclayman, @pegfitzpatrick, @famzoo, @shamelCP, @dannyiny, @jamesagate, @tradestreaming, @tamcdonald, @meghanmbiro, @houseofbrew, @xdeeps, @jospef, @samparotto
- I will continue to reach out to the following @listly users in the coming weeks : @michaelhyatt, @robertscoble, @nwbingham @ServiceSphere @linkedinexpert.
- I’ve built this list from the best embed examples I’ve found on the web.
- Best Practice. It’s fair to say neither I nor our customers knew what these were. Lists as marketing tools is a new science. I’ve been testing ideas as well as sharing feedback and techniques I’ve seen used on @listly and elsewhere. I need to translate this learning into a post or a video. Baby steps.
- We’ve taken a page or two from 37 Signals and Jason Fried’s ReWork. I became our own best customer. I mentioned I’ve created 80+ lists. That process along they way let us make many iterative decisions to drive product changes.
- Ambulance List Chaser. I’ve sure been this. Collecting interesting List-Based blog posts. Reaching out to prolific list-makers. Replacing some HTML lists with Listly lists along the way. Analyzing how bloggers and publishers use lists. I’ve reached out and spoken to a number of bloggers and publishers to test and validate hypotheses. I’ve found everyone super accessible. I think I’ve had one “No” and that was actually more of “Not quite now”
- My big goal is to get infront of the Ambulance and have people creating new posts featuring Listly and leveraging a crowd-sourced approach.
- Through most of this period the only metric I’ve focussed on was Alexa ranking. Odd, but true. It was all I needed to know. We have implemented GetClicky and now KissMetrics. I’ve begun using both those tools for more granular control in the last few days. We are now planning our dream dashboard. More on that when we’re ready to share. I’m so looking forward to this. My BI brain is pumped and ready for the challenge.
- My focus has been simple. Remove friction. 6 weeks ago there was plenty wrong with the List Creation experience. I’m pleased to report it’s now much smoother, but there is still more to do.
- We added a Bookmarklet. I think we’re on at least the 4th revision already. It’s really accelerated the process of list creation. If you don’t use the Bookmarklet yet, I’d strongly recommend it. It will save you a lot of time and effort. You will see more enhancements in the Widget moving forward.
- Our biggest list so far has been created by @lttlewys & @tamcdonald. We’ve been testing a bulk upload. Still only in limited release. Expect to see more of that soon. Great step forward. 500+ Community Managers is an interesting and valuable list. Now we have such a list to test and to use a demonstration of the value of Listly. Watch this space.
- We Focussed on the Embed Widget: We made a bunch of small changes here. We also implemented a 2 phase load for the list, so the header arrives instantly and the content a couple of second later. We’ve now have 2 lay out options. You can expect more depth here in the weeks and months ahead.
- We Added more metrics for every list view. Now we log the URL of every list view and reaction. This means we can now enable parter tracking. Who’s audience is more engaging. It’s also much easier to see where people have embedded any list. That’s added a lot of depth to the social proof Listly provides.
- Steps to consistency. We mad a strategic decision to work towards a single experience on Listly and via the Widget. This will arrive bit by bit over the coming weeks.
- Updated WordPress Plugin. We added support for the long/short form Widget display options. A WordPress bug has pushed people to adopting the Widget. WordPress can lose the script tags if you move to and from Visual Mode. This is avoided when you use the Plugin
The big thing is New UI and Messaging. We aim to release this in the next few days. We believe this will help propel us from 200k to 100k in the next 6 weeks.
In the last 6 weeks we passed 1 million list views since launch. We actually delivered 130k List Views in 6 weeks. And my Klout has jumped 11 points in the same period to 55. There’s is not a bad metric in sight.
We’ve had growth spikes before via @KevinRose and @Scobleizer, but our current growth is simply from lots of small increments. Just right.
We’ve even had @ev swing by along with @amynw from @obviouscorp to create a list and surf a while. That truly rocked our world. We were so shocked we did pretty much nothing. We may ping them to say hi when the new UI rolls out. I asked friends for advice on how to deal with celebrity users – the response was universal – treat them like everyone else. Easy to say, hard to do!
So there you hope. I hope it’s valuable. Feed free to ask questions. I’ve tried to share lots of insight on both our thoughts and actions over the last 6 weeks.
Image Credit: Chant3