In this episode, I talk to Luke Szyrmer from Launch Tomorrow. Luke is an entrepreneur who help others to launch their products fast by using the power of advertising to pre-sell your product. He is also a landing page expert which plays a part in this process and we will go to in more details about that.
Luke is also an author of a book, which has played a great deal in his business and naturally uses WordPress to create and elevate his online presence.
Some of the things we talk about include:
- the areas that people ignore when it comes to optimising landing pages
- how you can test the market and create like an ‘MVP’ before you launch your product or service
- how being an author has helped to open doors for him and add credibility to his ready-made skills
- being in a niche area which you can (almost) create yourself
“…the best language to use isn’t yours. It’s your customers’ – Luke Szyrmer
Ahmed Khalifa: Here we go! This is IgniteRock podcast, where in one week, I interview those who are doing awesome stuff with WordPress, and the other week I share some tips and advice on making the most out of your online business and career.
Thank you for tuning in. Now, let’s get straight on to the show.
And here we go everyone, this is going to be a really interesting one today because I have Luke Szyrmer on the line today. Thankfully he’s just in London, not too far away from me. So at least the time zone is the same this time. And we made it work. I love that. Very cool. Luke, thank you very much for your time and your effort to being here.
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And I guess we’ll just start off with just a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you’re from and how did you get to where you are today.
Luke Szyrmer: Sure, so I am originally Polish. I grew up in the US and I live in London, as you said. My main focus is actually lean coaching, which is coaching around innovation for startups or innovation for larger companies. And the particular focus is specifically with using advertising and landing pages to test out behaviourally, basically, whether or not there’s demand for a particular type of product, if there’s a new product. And I’ve gotten there through lots of stuff.
I used to be a developer for a while. Now it’s more on the business side. And all through the years I’ve been using WordPress. I actually first got online probably in the late ’90s, long before WordPress even existed. So in terms of the technology, I’m quite comfortable with it. But at this point, I’m more interested in actually getting business results for my clients.
Ahmed Khalifa: And there’s something that you do quite different, quite niche because you kind of use advertising to test the market, even before the product is ready. Even before the product is built, before it’s launched. You like to use advertising to test the market.
And you had other people to do the same thing. So I guess, one thing I’d be interested in, myself, because I’ve done a lot of SEO and these things, and touched upon PPC as well, so can you go in more detail about how PPC can help you with that? What process do you do to use PPC to test the market?
Luke Szyrmer: Sure, so the good thing about PPC is that as long as you have some budget, you can get people right away to a particular URL, wherever it is. Which means that in practise, you can get a number of people to look at a landing page, and if those people are relatively targeted, they’re relatively fitting the criteria that you want that are similar to your target profile, then this’ll give you some sense of whether or not the landing page that you’re presenting them is actually attractive for them, based on how they respond.
So using metrics, initially just time on site, if they all leave right away, that’s not a very good sign. And if you, and if they’re actually responding, if they’re leaving an email address for follow-up, if they’re possibly responding to a small, low dollar value offer, that’s an even stronger signal that you’re doing something right.
Ahmed Khalifa: A new offer will play a part in helping with getting your landing page as optimised as possible and make it as easy as possible for the traffic to come in, as well. So combined with PPC and landing page, you know, what are the most common mistakes that people do when they want to launch their products?
Luke Szyrmer: So I think from a technical standpoint, since you’re coming at it from a more of a technical point of view, the biggest one that I see repeated quite frequently, and unfortunately, is not looking enough at loading speed.
So for example, you’re gonna have a landing page or a WordPress site that is exactly designed the way you want it, but basically, the end user, when they load it, it takes 20 seconds for it to load on their phone or on their browser. You’re gonna lose a lot of people just for that reason. Completely independently of what it is that you have on the page.
So one of the things that I’m really quite keen on when I am setting up landing page tests is to make sure that for every person who does come to the site, there’s some kind of tracking of the actual time that it takes for the web page to appear. So my favourite tool for this is Pingdom.
And they have something called real user monitoring, which basically means there’s a little script, which you add to the page or to your WordPress site. And it literally tracks every single time that page is loaded on the user’s PC or mobile phone or whatever, and how long it takes. And you’d be surprised.
I mean, things which normally load quickly sometimes take a really long time to load. Sometimes it’s things you can actually do something about, but at least that way you’ve got a very specific metric you can look at.
You know, average load time over the last week, make sure that you’re actually getting decent load time, so that you aren’t skewing your results about how good your business idea is based on whether or not your page is even showing or people are just getting bored waiting for your page to load. So that’s actually unfortunately quite common.
And I think at this early stage, on the business side, a really common issue is for entrepreneurs when they’re first starting with a new idea, they’re running with a new idea, they have their idea, they love their vision, they love their product.
They may have it built, they may not. In fact, it’s not that important from the point of view of a landing page test. What is important is that you’re communicating clearly. So quite often, the language to describe the product is really abstract and difficult to understand for somebody, for basically anybody.
So not even necessarily your target market, but if you showed that landing page to people in a coffee shop, they wouldn’t know what’s actually being offered.
And that’s actually a really good way to make sure that you’re saying what you think you are. You load up your landing page on a tablet. You go to a coffee shop. And you basically ask people, “What do you think’s being sold here?” And that gives you, at least you’re sure, if your target market comes to your page, they’re actually going to understand what it is you’re offering them.
It’s independent of whether they’re interested or not, but they have to understand before they can make a decision about whether or not they wanna engage with you. And that’s kind of an easy way to just make sure that at least what’s on your page is what you think it is.
Ahmed Khalifa: It makes sense. I think one thing that we’re all guilty of, whether you’re in marketing or IT or any industry that when you communicate with the target audience, the language is full of jargon and technical words that people don’t understand, and if you do that, you’re scaring everyone away. And it’s so important that you literally speak in a very simple English or whatever language you use. Use that simple language.
And that way the message can get across easier so your audience don’t have to think too much about what does that mean, or read a sentence again. It makes sense. Why do you want to make it complicated for your audience to understand what you have to offer? So it totally makes sense.
Luke Szyrmer: To your point, the best language to use isn’t yours. It’s your customers’. So basically, if you can get, if you’ve been speaking with your customers or you’ve been doing interviews with your customers as you’ve been developing a product, ideally, you’re actually using phrases they’ve used to describe the product when they come to your landing page. That’s the best-case scenario.
And then it’s the simplest one, because it’s one that they’re naturally gonna get. So at the point where you do actually pay money for advertising to try to get 100 people to come to the landing page over the course of a couple of days, at that point, you’re pretty sure that you’re actually saying what you think you’re saying. And then you get a real signal as to whether or not there’s demand for this.
And I think the key thing that differentiates what I talk about here, with these landing page smoke tests from most landing page-type stuff is that usually, with landing page optimisation, most people are interested in optimising the sales process.
So conversion rate optimisation is about you have something that you know is a good product, you’re trying to improve your sales process, have more people buy. What I’m doing here, with Launch Tomorrow, with these smoke tests, is actually kind of a different mindset. So basically, what you’re trying to do is to prove that there’s enough demand, even without any optimisation, enough unmet demand, for it to be worth going after a particular type of product or particular niche, whatever it is.
And making sure that that matches. So basically, the particular niche that you’re targeting with your advertising is actually interested in the type of products that you’re offering them. And getting that kind of connection, getting them to connect that.
Ahmed Khalifa: And that makes sense, because conversion rate optimisation is something that I get involved with quite a lot, but I can understand now what you’re saying, because for you anyway, it’s not about just getting as many leads as possible and getting people to convert and optimising for that purpose. You’re just trying to gauge the interest for that product.
And it’s really interesting that you say that, because people always focus about, “I need numbers, I need to get as many on my email list, so I need as many as possible on CRO and whatever new [inaudible 00:11:36] or this kind of things,” like we’re not even launching a product yet. We haven’t launched it yet. We haven’t even tested the market yet.
And this is what the purpose of your job is, is to kind of test out. Which is really interesting, I guess not a lot of people think about that before they launch their product. And again, it’s the common acronym is the MVP, which is minimum viable product, so that’s the process of it, is to find out is there enough interest in it. If there is, then we can kind of develop further, so it makes a lot of sense to me, and I guess that applies to B2B and B2C as well, so yeah, it applies to anybody, makes sense. Makes sense.
Luke Szyrmer: I mean, it comes in the most handy when you’re dealing with new kinds of products, so it’s really relevant in tech, it’s really relevant in more industries where you’re trying to find a completely new kind of business model. So if you’re just trying to start something that’s really to, like you’re trying to start a business that’s relatively well-understood, you know, like a corner store or a pizza place or a hairdresser.
And yeah, you might get some value out of this, but not as much as if you’re trying to create a completely new kind of, I don’t know, social network, enterprise, software product, whatever. Because that’s when it’s really valuable. Because what you’re really looking for is you’re hunting for where there’s unmet demand, where there’s people who want something, and they really, they’ve already tried everything they could.
Their problem isn’t really solved, and they’d be willing to engage with you, if you wanted to build something. And this is basically a great tool in that particular scenario.
Ahmed Khalifa: And the example of that you’ve kind of covered a bit more in depth, because you have written your own book, and of course Launch Tomorrow, and, you know, the quote that you have, it’s a non-designer’s guide to using a landing page to launch a lean starter. So could you tell us a little bit about your book, and what gave you ideas to start writing the book, as well?
Luke Szyrmer: So interestingly, actually, the way that I decided on this is to, is I actually ran a series of tests like this and I realised that this particular topic isn’t really covered, ’cause there’s a lot of stuff about CRO. There’s some stuff about doing customer interviews, or basically market research-type stuff, or customer development, kind of using lean startup jargon.
But there really isn’t so much about this specific topic. And it turned out, yeah, I mean, it turned out that I got a really good response, much more than I expected. Some of the other stuff I was thinking of writing about turned out was completely just not quite happening, too abstract, not quite there. Whereas this is something people are really keen on learning more about.
And interestingly enough, the more I got into it, the more layers to the onion there were. I mean, it’s just, there’s so many aspects to it in terms of both the thinking about new products, in terms of the actual, technical side.
In terms of all of the CRO space related things, which aren’t exactly relevant, but like, the statistics side of it, so there’s so many aspects to this, potentially, that if people were trying to do it, they were just getting overwhelmed. So Launch Tomorrow was meant to be a simple process that people could run that would give them a relatively unbiased way of getting this type of market feedback, of behavioural market feedback.
Which they can then use to go and decide whether or not they wanna commit more time to a particular startup idea or product idea, or whatever.
And, you know, the amazing thing is that it’s a very different way of looking at it than, for example, how it used to be traditionally. Even 15, 20 years ago, everything was, you write a huge business plan, you go and try and get funding, and all this stuff would be based on assumptions that weren’t really validated.
Whereas with this approach, you can make sure that you’re actually going after something with real data. So you can make sure that you’re getting the conversion rates you think you’re gonna get. That you’re gonna get the basics in place. And that there’s a germ of an idea before even doing pretty much anything else. So it’s basically one of the first things you wanna be doing if you are looking at a new business idea.
Ahmed Khalifa: Interesting. I’m going to link to the book in the show notes, for anyone who wants to have a read and buy it as well, so it is a very, very interesting way of looking at the process of essentially a different kind of conversion rate optimisation, really.
So I can see where you’re coming from, and I like the fact that you used your own skill to test the market for that, because, well, I love that. You practise what you preach, and you’ve noticed that there’s an interest in it, and you wrote the book, so it’s quite cool that it works for you as well. So it’s not a fad thing or whatever. It actually works.
So another thing that I like to talk about is the more aspects or creating content and how important it is. So for yourself, you know, you wrote the book. And what benefit do you get out of creating a book and publishing it yourself? Not necessarily financially. Obviously, that’s not your main purpose. But what benefits do you get from being an author of this book?
Luke Szyrmer: So that’s definitely a great question. I think the first benefit was just the writing process itself. Really honing in on what it is that I wanna say, and my particular case was a combination of doing some workshops, just kind of sitting at home editing.
And interestingly enough, when I was first starting out to write a book, I heard a discussion on a podcast with these two ladies who wrote a book about software requirements, and one of the things that they said was that, well, they actually wrote about three times as much, but ended up cutting a lot of stuff out, and what’s left in it is actually what they shipped with. It’s like that 1/3.
So I was like, well, I’m definitely, I just wanna write that 1/3. And it didn’t work that way. It’s just, you know, it took well over a year. And you know, after I finally released the book, it did turn out that it was pretty close to what actually happened to me, too.
There was a lot of stuff, which I wrote, which I to some extent repurposed and used it for other things. But the real essence of the thought process is in the book, which is, I think, what makes books a powerful medium in and of itself.
And then in terms of what happened from a business point of view, I think the biggest thing is that there’s a lot of, it’s kind of like a discussion sparker. So there’s a lot of discussions, which wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t an author of the book.
So part of that was just around the launch process of the book itself, so a lot of people reached out to me, and a whole bunch of discussions happened, and you know, I started basically a consulting business on the back of that, and now it’s increasing in referrals or that kind of thing, but it does open certain kinds of doors that are helpful from the point of view of, certainly of a more of an expert style of business.
Ahmed Khalifa: Interesting that just from publishing a book, it can open up a lot of doors like you said. I mean, doors have some kind of credibility, add that credibility to you when you have, you say, “I’m an author of this subject,” it gives you that credibility, and it’s amazing, that power of the medium like a book, what it can do to your business, to open doors, to your status in all these things.
And at the end of the day, that’s probably more important than the financial benefit of getting books there and so on like that. You get other benefits, which are probably more powerful and more beneficial than the financial status in itself. I like that.
It’s very, very interesting that you said that, and as you said, you were on about the writing process as well. I’m sure it’s so complex. I’ve only written blogs and stuff like that, but writing a book, yeah, I’m sure it’s a whole different kind of process involved.
But you’ve done it, you know what it involves, and now you have ways to repurpose things that you have [inaudible 00:21:32], so, you know, it’s more content for you there in the future anyway, so it’s a win-win, I think, in my situation anyway. So that’s very cool as well.
So you’ve mentioned earlier that you’ve been using the WordPress for a long time. Obviously, we let you talk about WordPress here, so could you tell us about your first experience with WordPress, how did you come across it, and why did you choose it in the first place?
Luke Szyrmer: So before I got to WordPress, I was using a PHP-based platform called Drupal. And for some stuff that I was doing, actually, amongst other things, what I talk about in the preface, so basically the reason why I’m interested in all of this topic of improving demand is that I built a website that was meant to be video content, aimed at the financial sector, on Drupal.
And it turned out that there just wasn’t anywhere near enough demand, and I spent a lot of time developing it, customising it, and yeah. Basically, not very much happened with it. And then I think when I was looking at my next project after that, after I’d pulled out of that, I was just at the time playing around with different CMS systems on one of those inexpensive hosts, where you have the one-click instals of a whole bunch of different ones.
And then WordPress, given that it starts with W, is one of the last ones that I tried. And I got there, I did the one-click install, and it’s like, wow. This just works. Yeah. This is what I need.
Just simple, you know, I can just write.
And I can do my thing and not really think about much else. And if I need to, I can [inaudible 00:23:43] post it and customise it however I want. So that’s kind of how I got hooked with WordPress.
And yeah, I think beyond that, I’ve used it for all kinds of stuff. I used WordPress.com kind of more for nonprofit things. Even before anybody had any idea what WordPress was. The reason why it was good was that I could do, be a bit of a webmaster-type person for a while, get things set up, get things going, but then I could hand off WordPress to somebody pretty much non-technical, and they could just take it from there and actually continue creating content.
And that’s another thing that I really liked about it. But at the same time, if you really get into the detail, it’s actually a really powerful system, very customisable in terms of how it looks, in terms of what it does. You can add plugins if you really want to, depending on what it is you wanna accomplish. So it’s kind of, it ticks all the boxes, really.
Ahmed Khalifa: And you mentioned the one-click install, which is so, so useful. So easy to, once you have your domain hosting and everything, one-click install, and that’s it. All done and ready for you to use.
So then in the process of getting your website off the ground, how did you do it? With one-click install, that’s one way. But then after that, did you do everything yourself in terms of the technical side and design and content and stuff like that. Did you do it all yourself, or did you have someone to do it for you, what was the whole process like when you kind of just getting your website off the ground?
Luke Szyrmer: I’ve done it a good couple of times, five or six times, I think, at this point. And I think initially, it was just kind of getting it installed, getting it up and running, and trying to focus on content.
Because I think that was actually one of my biggest takeaways from my Drupal experience, was that I spent way too much time tinkering around with the technology instead of actually creating content, and the audience cares about the content, not about the website.
So, but then, once there is a good amount more content, then over time I realise I need to have certain things that look a certain way, and usually, I mean, initially, certainly, I’d try and design all this stuff myself. And at some point, I just … where needed, more for the visual side, I’d actually usually hire people just to do, like, bits and pieces. I don’t like very discrete things, like change how something’s aligned or design a page or something like that.
And yeah, it turned out that ended up being, for free, anyway a good pattern, because I mean, I’m technical enough to be able to understand what happens if I need to, even if I don’t know PHP super well.
On the other hand, my main focus is really the copywriting side of it, the language, the description, the writing, basically. And on the visual side, it’s, I have a couple people that I work with and then whoever happens to be available to help me out. Then that’s who I ask to do specific things for me.
Ahmed Khalifa: And it’s good to outsource to other people to do things that you can’t do, and something that we should all do anyway is that if you can’t do something and you spend 10 hours working on it, better off paying someone who can do it in half an hour.
Something that we should always do anyway. So then what would be your biggest struggle, then, when you tend to start your own WordPress website, or even during having one and maintaining and stuff like that. What is your biggest struggle?
Luke Szyrmer: Usually, I think … when I do a whole bunch of installations of plugins, I think there’s a lot of questions, then, about performance. ‘Cause I know how important it is from the point of view of the version and really getting a theme down to be very fast and optimised. I usually do spend a good amount of time on that. And it just, it’s the kind of thing where I wouldn’t say it’s a struggle.
It’s just something that takes time, and it’s something that you can only really do if you’re really focusing and really going deep on exactly what’s going on.
As your site’s loading, as things are going on, how it’s actually rendering, and then using data from Pingdom also, for example, to track what exactly is going on. And, you know, striking that right balance between something that’s visually attractive, that gets the right message across, and yet does it in a way that’s kind of fast.
I think that when I start a new WordPress installation, I do need to give myself a little bit of time to get that balance right, and to be fair, if you just use it out of the box with one of the reasonably well-known themes or something, it’ll usually do quite well, especially if you’re on one of these WordPress specialist hosting services.
But yeah, I just like to know what’s going on technically, so maybe this is my own downfall sometimes. That kind of digging and trying to figure out why something takes longer to load than I want it to and then figuring out a way of actually doing it.
Ahmed Khalifa: You do have an obsession with site speed, so that makes sense. You’re focusing on site speed a lot, it makes sense for you to be focusing on performance of a website and why is it slow, what is this kind of resource that’s taking up all our time to making that site load, and it makes sense. So yeah, we always do that.
We all get nitty-gritty and investigate and tweak it out and find out what’s going on, can we improve it, all these things. We’ve all been, you know, we’ve all had, been there, and you’ve mentioned that.
You talked about WordPress plugin installations. Do you have a favourite plugin, and if you do, how did it help you?
Luke Szyrmer: Do I have a favourite plugin? I’m very pragmatic with my plugins. I try to instal as few as I possibly can. So … I can’t think of a specific one that I really like.
Ahmed Khalifa: Kind of a tough one, I know. As if with all 51,000 plugins, it’s kind of tough to pick just one available. So then, what-
Luke Szyrmer: I guess one thing that’s really important in some form is backups. Because that kind of makes it much more risk-free to experiment technically with what it is that you’re doing. And I like BackupBuddy for that, but I mean, at this point, I’m using [source control 00:31:59] more frequently, so I’m not even using that plugin so much, but certainly for somebody that’s just starting out, I’d strongly recommend that being, if not the first, one of the first things you instal on your system.
Ahmed Khalifa: So crucial, having backups. You never know when your site might go down. And if you have a backup, at least you have a way to bring it back up. So it makes sense, and it kind of leads me to my next question, because I was gonna ask you, what advice do you have for anyone who wants to start their own WordPress site, that’s having trouble, or just want to even get it off the ground kind of thing.
You’ve mentioned backup. I guess, what advice do you have for those who are having trouble with using WordPress, how would you help them to move forward with that?
Luke Szyrmer: So I’d actually … suggest that people not focus so much on the technical stuff at first. I mean, obviously, it’s important, and getting something up and running is good. I think the most important part is engaging with your audience.
It’s reaching out to people. Knowing what it is that your audience wants, what kind of content they want, what’s not covered. Writing something that really is unique and that you can’t, that you yourself have looked for, you haven’t really been able to find that kind of stuff.
Like, figuring out that, bit in a way, is more important, in my mind, than the actual, technical side of how to get WordPress up and running.
Because that’s actually the thing that’s definitely gonna serve your audience a lot more. And it’s also gonna make you stand out in a good way. That you’re actually contributing somehow to their lives or to their business or whatever.
And once you have a really good picture in terms of that, then I think just get started as quickly as you can, get WordPress set up, get that side of it sorted, and to be fair with these one-click instals, with a lot of the stuff, I mean, nowadays compared to how it used to be 15 years ago or something, I mean, it’s just, you can be up and running in half an hour. With something.
And then it’s just a question of tweaking, you know, playing around with, like I was saying, performance or design or whatever, but usually for content, that stuff is just secondary. It’s much better to get really good content out in front of your audience. That’s the most important part. In front of as many people as you can, basically.
Ahmed Khalifa: I agree. I mean, it makes sense that if you’re especially focusing on your content, you don’t have to worry too much about the technical side, the design side and all these things. Just start, just have something, and even if it’s not the best-looking, the fastest, or the most functional website in the world, you have to start somewhere.
And once you get started, along the way, as you go on that journey, you start tweaking here and there, and then you’ll eventually have it to your liking, have it to how you always visioned it would be, so I agree.
A lot of people maybe procrastinate too much about having a website, and when they get it started, they’re not going to create content. And they’re not gonna get too much, because they want it to look absolutely perfect from the beginning.
More often than not, that won’t happen. And I don’t know about you, but there’s never nothing to do on a website. There’s always something to do, so even if you have everything you do in the beginning, you’re gonna find that there’s always something to do when you have any website, not just WordPress, but any website in the world. It’s a constant maintaining thing, really.
Luke Szyrmer: Yeah. Yeah, and I think the way to make sure that you don’t get drowned in it is just to say, you know, of the time that I have, if it’s your own time, like 20% of my time will be on tweaking. And then the rest needs to be on content and marketing that content. Just setting a limit, because otherwise, you can just get, you know, you can spend months of your life doing tweaks of stuff that actually don’t really matter. So it’s, yeah, it can easily be a time sink.
I think another thing really worth pointing out, like in terms of WordPress and just blogging in general is the strategy to get started. For lots of different product types, blogging, there’s a lot of great examples of people who started with a blog, built up a blog, and then, off the back of that relationship with the audience, they ended up building a product.
The best one that comes to mind, probably, is LeadPages themselves. So basically, the first, I think close to two, three years of their existence, the main thing that they were doing was just basically blogging and reaching out, doing content marketing in a very structured way.
They were doing it very consciously to try to figure out if there’s a way they can scale, build an audience at scale, using content marketing. And only once they actually had that relationship, they realised they had that audience, I’m sure they did lots of discussions, research, and whatever.
Then they realised, actually, what these people want is some kind of a landing page builder software. And then that’s what they went and built. So that’s kind of the flip side of using advertising, in a way. But that does work, and it’s a very successful approach for somebody who is determined and organised enough to follow through.
You know, you don’t need to have your perfect, ideal product exactly right, especially if it’s software. The more important part is having that relationship with the audience, and a blog is a great way to do it. A blog on WordPress.
Ahmed Khalifa: Ideal. Yeah, and having content helps you to have a relationship with your audience, and if you have a blank page, then you’re not gonna go anywhere. At the end of the day, just get it out there. Just get started, and build it up from there.
You’re not going to have an audience, necessarily, on day one, but build it up, build it up, gradually, you will tweak your website, you will get there. You will get there. Just look at all the other examples.
You’ve mentioned LeadPages, and you’re right. That is [inaudible 00:38:51] and it’s a very interesting journey of how they used content to build the relationship, then to build the software about landing page creating and lead generation, and now they’re one of the leading authority in the industry for that kind of stuff.
And that started essentially with maybe a content, with a blog and a basic website, and now look where they are. So you never know what you can be. A lot of good points there. I agree with you. So then what is your biggest strength?
Luke Szyrmer: Biggest strength is probably writing. I mean, it’s just something that I really enjoy, and I think a lot of things started happening in a good way, is when I focused as much of my time as I could on writing, and tried to … delegate as much of the rest of my business as I could.
Because then that meant that I was spending the most time that I could in the limited amount of time I had on actually writing. And the great thing with writing is that it could be anything. It could be books, it could be emails, it could be blog posts, it could be guest posts, you know, it’s basically if you know how to tell stories by the written word, it’s a really useful skill to have.
And because it was something I enjoyed, it’s just something that over time has really become a strength, slowly. So that’s probably my biggest strength, certainly on the marketing side, that would be important.
Ahmed Khalifa: Definitely, it’s a very useful skill to have at the end of the day. If you can write and you enjoy it, then it’s a very important skill to have in the online world. Especially, even in the offline world as well.
Having the ability to write all sorts of formats. Email, lecture, blog, book, anything. It’s such a powerful skill to have. So that’s really good. Very interesting to know that. So then what your biggest weakness, and how do you overcome it?
Luke Szyrmer: My biggest weakness is probably … it’s probably being a little absent-minded sometimes. I mean, I’m a relatively creative person, relatively analytical also. Which means when I combine the two, it means I have a tendency to get stuck in my own head sometimes.
And yeah, it’s just one of those things where I try to construct systems so that it doesn’t become as big of a issue for me. And yeah, I mean, both in terms of, in my own business, in terms of having processes defined, even if I’m the main person following them, it’s just that’s the way that I make sure that I get stuff done. Get everything done.
Or, you know, stuff like getting those little gadgets, which keep track of where your wallet and your keys are and that kind of stuff. Yeah, well, you know, it’s just I don’t wanna be thinking about little stuff like that when I’m coming up with my next big idea, so.
Ahmed Khalifa: Especially when you have a business like yourself, yeah, you just kind of focus on what you want to do. You can’t get distracted with something outside your window, and then you get absent-minded and then you have to get back to the job at hand.
You lose your momentum, you lose track of what you’re doing. Kind of an evil thing to have in your head, actually. But you’re working on it, that’s the main thing. You’re working on that as well.
Luke Szyrmer: Yeah, I’m aware of it. It’s the way to say it, and I try to work with it.
Ahmed Khalifa: So then if we get all sentimental about it, what are you most proud about with your business?
Luke Szyrmer: I think what I’m most proud about is that I’m going after a space that I’m kind of discovering as I go. And I was really strict with myself in terms of making sure that if I do generate content, it’s really about a new topic that I find interesting, but also that other people find interesting.
And it took quite a while to get to that point in terms of experiments, in terms of what kind of stuff should I write, what should I do. And from that point, certainly, the book was an important part of putting that all in once place.
But now, actually, going from this level of having the unique idea to actually be a business where I’m coaching either startups or bigger companies through specific problems they have, using these kinds of techniques. That’s a really great feeling, that you’re … pretty much the only person in the world talking about this specific thing.
I mean, there’s a lot of people that mention it, to be fair. It isn’t something that I necessarily came up with. The main thing is I just decided to focus just on this one area. And really go deep. I mean, the original person that popularised it was actually Eric Ries within the book The Lean Startup, and he talks about, speaking of MVPs, he talks about it as a landing page MVP.
Even there, where I discovered it, he wrote, what, two pages, three pages on the topic? Whereas I ended up, without necessarily setting out to do so, ended up turning it into a whole book, and it still feels like I just barely touched the tip of the iceberg.
There’s just so much that needs to be said that’s different than CRO, than all this other stuff of how it can be done. But yeah, it’s really great exploring this new territory while still basically doing it in a way that people are happy enough with what I do that they’re happy to pay me for it.
And then on the other hand, the book is there as a DIY kind of thing for if somebody can’t afford to work with me, then certainly I tried to make it as self-contained, no-holds-barred, this is how it works, so that people can just take a look at that and follow the process, if they have a particular idea they’re working on. And just go from there, so.
Ahmed Khalifa: I mean, it’s kind of cool that you looked at an industry, such a big CRO, but you niched down in that specific area that not a lot of people are talking about. You kind of made it your own, you’re taking charge, and you are possibly doing the first one in the world.
I didn’t know, I haven’t really done the research, but normal people are talking about that, particularly [inaudible 00:46:16], so I like how you have niched yourself and specialise in a very particular area, and it’s something that people should be aware of, something that people are coming to you to ask about, to investigate more about, and to help them with their own startup and products and launches and stuff like that. So clearly, it must work. It must have.
So it’s very cool. Very cool that you found that niche by yourself eventually. And you enjoy it. [inaudible 00:46:45]
But it’s been really good as well, everything that we’ve talked about, you know, made me think differently about how you should think about MVP and CRO and I know there’s a lot of acronyms, but bear with me. It’s an interesting way to look at how to test the market.
Using advertising is one way, but then you should also think about your process of communicating clearly on your landing page with your audience, and making sure your site’s speed is up to scratch, and just get your content out there.
And build it from there. You never know what you’re gonna get to. So very, very interesting. Definitely want to thank you for your time, for sharing that, for sharing your wisdom, your knowledge, and your stories.
I guess before we wrap things up, where is the best place for anyone who wants to connect with you?
Luke Szyrmer: Well, certainly my WordPress blog. So, yeah, I’m at launchtomorrow.com, and I’m on Twitter. I’m on Quora recently. And LinkedIn, so any of those work, but certainly the best place is my blog.
Ahmed Khalifa: Perfect. And I will link to your blog in the show notes, so that people can find it as well and connect with you if they want. So Luke, thank you again for connecting. Thank you.
Luke Szyrmer: Cheers. Great to talk to you.
Ahmed Khalifa: Thank you for listening to the IgniteRock podcast. I hope you have enjoyed the show. If you want the show notes, all you have to do is visit igniterock.com/podcasts. Don’t forget also to leave a review on iTunes if you have enjoyed the show. It would make me a very happy guy, and I would really, really appreciate it.
In the meantime, let’s rock with WordPress.
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