The first ever MicroConf 2011 wrapped up yesterday, and I got great value for my money. What I learned would have made a big difference to our execution at Firenest, and will definitely impact the way I run my next business. I did a highlight post from the first day of the conference here, and have listed my highlights from the second day below.
Ramit went into a lot of background on designing your products and webpages around a deep understanding of your customers and their problems, and we got to watch him do live teardowns of several websites. One of his recommendations was around the headline of your landing page and sales site. Instead of using some copy you’ve invented while sitting in an office to describe your product, go to your audience and ask them what the 3 top questions about your product are and answer the most important one in your headline.
Justin was able to take a product (pluggio) which had been showing mediocre performance and get a huge improvement in revenues simply by redesigning his landing and sales pages. He had previously avoided marketing (viewing it as dirty), but a shift in his mentality to view marketing as another problem that needed to be solved allowed him to use his background and experience in problem solving to improve his results.
Todd was probably my overall highlight from the second day. He provided a great counterbalance to the rest of the conference with his “unsophisticated” (his word, not mine) approach to his business. He used a very old school strategy, viewing his product as the silver bullet and focusing on having obsessive customer support. He didn’t use A/B testing or data driven decisions, but was still able to create a $1.5 million business on the side while working full time. The comparison between his techniques and the highly metric driven strategies reminds me of the asian rice vs. american muscle dichotomy, and I found it to be a refreshingly human approach to growing a web business.
Patrick is the Bingo Card guy. He also built a business while working another full time job, but he encouraged us to avoid being intimidated of trying to build a $1.5 million business like Todd’s, and instead ask ourselves if we could make $25 per month on the side. A great piece of advice of his is to take whatever you were going to charge for your product, double it, then go higher. Apparently us programmers chronically underprice.
Hiten spoke about running tests and experiments to evaluate your hypothesis and ensure you’re addressing the right problems. He had a great recommendation for getting the early adopters (earlyvangelists) onto your site. Don’t call it a “Beta”; it’s “Early Access”!