in Growth

Traction Book In Question and Answer Format

My good friend Justin Mares, along with Gabriel Weinberg of DuckDuckGo wrote an awesome book.  It's called Traction Book.  Go buy it right now if you have even the slightest twinge of desire to start a company or figure out how to get your current product some quality traction.

Seriously. Go buy it right now.

Got it? Awesome.  You can use my notes below as a quick reference guide for the book after you're finished reading it cover to cover, because it's one of the best distillations of how to truly 'market' a startup that I've read.

Traction Book plugs in the traction ideology to the lean startup model, a feature that the lean model was sorely lacking in my opinion.  With both of them combined, you're well on your way to developing your startup on sound strategic principles.

We're using both ideologies building Book in a Box and they've been invaluable in helping us shape our product and traction goals as we grow.

Traction Channels

What is traction?

What is a traction channel?

What do I need to know right now about traction channels?

The Bullseye Framework

What is the Bullseye Framework?

Describe the brainstorming phase.

Describe the ranking phase.

Describe the prioritize phase.

Describe the testing phase.

Describe the focusing phase.

What if I don't find a promising channel?

Why should I use the Bullseye Framework?

Traction Thinking

What is the 50% rule?

Won't spending 50% of my time on traction slow down product development?

Isn't this just Lean?

What is "moving the needle?"

How much traction do you need to attract investors?

If I'm not happy with my company's traction, should I pivot?

Traction Testing

What is the law of shitty clickthroughs?

How can I figure how if my chosen channel will have shitty click-throughs?

Should I be A/B testing at this point?

Critical Path

What is a critical path?

How do I execute on my critical path?

What is a traction sub-goal?

Viral Marketing

What is viral marketing?

What is a viral loop?

What are the different types of viral loops?

What is the viral coefficient?

What is a "good" viral coefficient?

How can I increase my viral coefficient?

What is a viral cycle?

How does a viral cycle impact my results?

How do I design my viral marketing strategy?

How do I design my viral loop?

What are some distribution methods I can start with?

How do I design effective invitations?

How do I design effective conversion pages?

What is a viral pocket?

How do I seed my viral loop?

What mistakes to people make when attempting viral marketing?

Public Relations

What is public relations?

In a nutshell, how does the media work?

How do I pitch for public relations?

What are some PR tactics I can use?

Where can I start with PR if I've never done it before?

OK, I have some press. How do I maximize it's impact on my business?

How can PR impact my ability to raise funds for my company?

Should I hire a PR firm for my startup?

Unconventional PR

What is unconventional public relations?

What are the two types of unconventional PR?

What are some examples of PR stunts done well?

What are some good examples of customer appreciation?

What is the cost and impact of unconventional PR?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

What is SEM?

What do I need to know about SEM terminology?

How do I get started with SEM?

What do I need to know about running a campaign?

What is a quality score?

What is the content network?

What is retargeting?

How do I optimize my conversions?

What are negative keywords?

What is scripting?

Social and Display Ads

What are social and display ads?

Give me an overview of display ads.

Give me an overview of social ads.

What are the major social advertising platforms?

Offline Ads

What are offline ads?

What about the demographics for offline ads?

How much do offline ads cost?

How do I track offline ads?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What is SEO?

What are the two major SEO strategies?

How do I know if a fat-head SEO strategy is worthwhile?

What tactics can I use for fat-head SEO?

How do I know if a long-tail SEO strategy is worthwhile?

What are some simple ways to build links?

What should I NOT do when pursuing this channel?

Content Marketing

What is Phase 1 vs. Phase 3 Blogging?

How do you grow your blog?

Email Marketing

Is email marketing still effective?

How do I use email marketing for finding customers?

How do I use email marketing for engaging customers?

How do I use email marketing to retain customers?

How do I use email marketing to generate revenue?

How do I use email marketing for referrals?

Engineering as Marketing

What is 'engineering as marketing'?

What are some examples of engineering as marketing?

What are some basic engineering as marketing tactics I can use?

Targeting Blogs

What is the targeting blogs channel?

How do I find blogs related to my industry?

Is there a company that used this traction channel well?

Business Development

What is business development?

What are the major types of business development partnerships?

How can I make sure my business development deals are strategic?

How do I pick the right BD partners?

How do I create a BD pipeline?

What is the BD process in a nutshell?

What is BD 2.0?


What is sales?

Where will my first customers come from?

How do I land my first sales?

What are the types of questions that I should ask on sales calls?

What about cold calling?

What is a good first customer to look for?

What does a basic sales funnel look like?

Affiliate Programs

What are affiliate programs?

What are the most common affiliate programs?

What is a good affiliate program strategy?

What are some good affiliate program tactics?

How much should you compensate your affiliates?

What are the major affiliate networks?

Existing Platforms

What is an existing platform?

What should I know about app stores?

What's an effective ranking strategy for app stores?

What should I know about social platforms?

What about add-ons and extensions?

What about other platforms?

What newer platforms exist?

Trade Shows

What are trade shows?

How do I pick which trade shows to go to?

How do I prepare for a trade show?

What are some trade show tactics I can use?

Offline Events

What are offline events?

What about conferences?

What about hosting your own conference?

What about meetups and smaller-scale events?

What about hosting parties?

What are some tactics I can use?

Speaking Engagements

What are speaking engagements?

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Community Building

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Final Thoughts

So there it is. The basics of Traction Book outlined in question and answer format.  This only scratches the surface of the book, I'd highly recommend actually buying it if you want to get a deeper dive into the methodology and channel breakdowns.