Reflections on MicroConf 2017
Ben and I recently returned from MicroConf, the conference for self-funded startups, and we came away with a ton of actionable insights.
While the conference is aimed at a mostly software-based audience, there were tons of takeaways that we think apply to other types of business owners too.
It’s a small conference (~200 people) that brings business owners of all shapes and sizes; those in idea validation stage, those looking to take their SaaS growth to the next level, or those who’ve sold their software and are working on their next project.
The quality of the speakers is top-notch, and I especially appreciated that there were talks focused on the mental health side of business growth. The learning happens from both the talks themselves, the attendee talks (12-min talks), and the “hallway” conversations that happen between sessions and at the pre/post conference events.
If you run a software business, or are thinking of running a software business, I highly recommend getting a ticket to this conference. It sells out every year, and this year was the first year they broke the conference up into Starter and Growth (we attended Growth and it was perfect for our stage).
I was also especially impressed by the representation of women leaders as speakers; thank you Rob and Mike for making this part of your planning. Your efforts do not go unnoticed by the small cohort of women who attend MC ;)
Last year I attended the conference on my own while Ben attended EmberConf, and MC was so valuable that we decided we’d both attend this year in order to make the most of our learning (and I’m so glad we did!)
Our top 3 takeaways from MicroConf 2017 Growth Edition:
Many of the talks reminded us of the utmost importance of maintaining focus.
- Stop doing things because you think you’re supposed to out of FOMO.
We heard from several founders that had given up their blogs and FB pages because they weren’t getting them traction, and they were simply doing it because they thought they had to. Don’t be afraid to let go of the “shoulds”; stick to what works for your business.
Just because a tactic seems tried and true, doesn’t mean it makes sense for your business. Acknowledge when you’re suffering from FOMO, and blaze your own unique path forward.
- Pick one channel that works and go deep (no need to be everywhere and try to be everything to everyone!) before trying another.
- Be really honest with yourself about the kind of business you want to run.
Russ Henneberry blew us away with his break down of content marketing funnels.
- Blogging is great at the top of the funnel (generating awareness), but it’s really bad at all the other stages (converting people into buyers).
- Think of all your blog posts and content as assets. Every newsletter, blog post, PDF, resource, etc is an asset that can work for you as part of your funnel.
“When there’s something that your potential customers are obviously asking — do you have content in place to answer it?”
- It’s best to think of your content in terms of customer psychographics.
How do they think? What specific questions are they asking?
Then you can begin setting up different “buckets” of intent. You want content or assets that address each stage of the funnel from awareness to conversion.
- You have to know the difference between someone who wants more information, and someone who is looking to purchase.
We know it’s something we’ve overlooked ourselves; we’ve created so much “post funnel” content for people who’ve already purchased (user documentation, etc), but we haven’t been as good at answering the questions new people want to know!
- You don’t write your sales page copy for the “average user” — you write it for one specific user.
- It’s so much easier to be memorable when you are specific, and speak directly to real pains that your reader experiences.
- Make it personal! Understand your customer inside and out.
Scour Amazon reviews of similar products/services/books, listen in Facebook groups and social media. Use their words in your marketing copy in order to create resonance.
Obviously there’s so much more, but these were a few of our core take-aways.
Get focused. Get your funnel in place. Get specific.
Marie + Ben help people diversify their offerings by teaching them how to translate their services and products into transformational online courses and programs. Learn more at Doki.io.