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Matt Bentley is an entrepreneur, data scientist, and rock climber with 15 years experience building internet startup companies in the US and Europe. Bentley is a frequent speaker at online marketing conferences including Internet World, Affiliate Summit, Search Engine Strategies, NamesCon, and Traffic, and has been cited in media including Forbes, CNET, and the Wall Street Journal. He currently serves as Founder of SEO and content marketing software CanIRank.com, and lead scoring tool Pretarget.com. Bentley was previously CEO of domain marketplace Sedo.com

In your opinion what is a Growth Hacker?

Growth hacking = marketing + technology + creativity

If you’re just bringing together marketing and technology, that’s great product. Marketing + creativity is good advertising.  But the rare bird who skillfully weaves together all 3 of these traits is a Growth Hacker, the One whose campaigns thunder like Godzilla but cost like gecko.

Why do you, Growth Hack?

As a bootstrapped startup, unless your product is highly viral, growth hacking is one of your few good options for rapid growth. Put on an equal footing with your established competitors and your entire marketing spend is but a drop in their ocean. Like David facing off against Goliath, you know you can’t win that way. Instead you have to play the game differently.

Are you currently Growth Hacking a company, project, app, or startup? If so give us a description and provide a link if you can.

My company CanIRank.com provides content marketing tools to help startups and small businesses compete in competitive markets.  We’ve helped small ecommerce sites outrank Amazon and SEO newbies double their rankings in 1 month.

 

SEO and content marketing is a ridiculously crowded market right now, but for the most part the other tools just dump a ton of data on you and leave it up to you to figure out what to do with it. CanIRank uses machine learning to sift through all of that data from great tools like Moz, SEMRush, Ahrefs, etc. and then give you specific actions you can take to grow your traffic.

So we’re a perfect case study for growth hacking: a much smaller player with a disruptive technology competing against entrenched brands with much larger marketing budgets.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as a Growth Hacker?

We didn’t plan it this way, but it turns out that every member of the CanIRank marketing team pursues some kind of outdoor fitness: our Social Media Specialist Melissa does acroyoga, SEO expert Jonathan runs ultra marathons, Content Strategist John is a skier, and I spend weekends rock climbing in Yosemite. I think balancing out all that time spent on the computer with something physical, tangible, and even a little bit scary does a lot to jolt us out of the day-to-day thinking that results in so much banal marketing and look at problems in a totally new way. Plus, it’s fun!

What recent trend, marketing strategy, technique excites you the most right now?

Predictive analytics. Predictive analytics is the antidote to our current endemic of data overload. Yep, that may sound weird coming from a self-proclaimed data-driven marketer, but in my opinion we’ve already tipped from not enough data to too much data for optimal decision making. With mobile, behavioral, locations, beacons, quantified self, smart watches, smart cars, IoT, and so on the amount of data each of us produces has grown exponentially in just a decade and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. It’s time to let computers do what they do best, which is collect, process, and analyze data, so marketers can get back to spending time on creative execution and meaningful human connection.

I’m involved with 3 companies right now (CanIRank, Pretarget, and Lightship), and all three are built upon using predictive analytics to turn data into action. There’s hardly an industry that won’t be revolutionized by predictive analytics in the coming decades.

As an individual, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?(This could be lifestyle habit, productivity, or some secret ninja tea made from a flower find only at the top of a mountain.)

Use a standing desk! Seriously, it will change your life.

 

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What is one Growth Hacking strategy that has helped you grow your most important metrics? Please explain how.

I’m almost hesitant to reveal this one it’s worked so well for us and our startup clients.  I call it the “Be Everywhere” strategy:

We have an internal tool called the Megaphone. Whenever someone writes something online that mentions one of our target keywords or a competitor — a blog post, a forum post, a Quora question, CNN article, etc.— the Megaphone analyzes the content to determine how important the page is, whether or not we can get the client on the page, and how relevant it is for us, then if it’s a good opportunity matches it to the employee or consultant who specializes in getting us linked or mentioned on that type of page.

As a result, any time someone anywhere on the internet writes about one of our target topics like “keyword difficulty” or “SEO competitive analysis”, we canbe there, contributing to the conversation, answering questions, building a relationship with the journalist, etc.

The Megaphone lets you be a part of every conversation.  Done well, it will have your competitors saying “how are these guys f*ing everywhere?!!!”

Right now it’s just an internal tool for CanIRank clients, but we’re hoping to make a self-service version available as part of CanIRank’s suite of tools soon.

 

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What is one pain point you have in the digital space that you wish someone could fix?

A fast, accurate, comprehensive and cheap API to get the age/ publication date of any URL.

What are 3 of your favorite marketing software, technology, or tools?

UserBrain.net – usability testing at a fraction of the cost of UserTesting.com

Segment – greatly reduce the overhead of experimenting with new marketing tools

Inspectlet – great tool for understanding user behavior with a generous free plan

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I’m going to assume everyone’s already read Influence by Robert Cialdini because otherwise WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE??? and therefore recommend Hooked by Nir Eyal because user psychology is everything.

What inspires and motivates you on a personal level to be successful?

Being able to spend more time outside with my wife.

What people, or companies should up and coming Growth Hackers seek out and learn from? (include websites, blogs or Twitter profiles)

This kid: https://www.apartmentlist.com/rentonomics/6-techniques-to-get-more-chipotle-burrito-for-free/

High school senior and summer intern at ApartmentList who created one of the greatest pieces of content marketing all year. Nearly 20,000 social shares and thousands of links from sites like NPR, LATimes, HuffPo, BusinessInsider, BuzzFeed, Yahoo!, AOL, etc, all for the cost of a few dozen burritos.  Did your last content marketing feed your staff? Did it feature guacamole? No? Then learn from this kid.

How can people connect with you? (Website Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, ext.)

https://twitter.com/matt_bentley

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattbentley

Where are you located? City + state (if in U.S.) or city + country (if not in the U.

San Francisco, California

 

CanIRank-Team

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