1. Hello! Could you please brief about yourself and your business?
Hey, I’m Hans van Gent. One of the two founders at User Growth. I’ve been doing digital marketing for the last ten years at different global agencies. And next to that, I’ve been challenging and growing myself to become a better marketer every day. That resulted in me being named one of the twenty content marketers you need to follow online all over the world a couple of years ago.
With User Growth, we want to take that experience of me and the paid acquisition experience of my cofounder and help businesses grow online. We do this using a four steps practice:
- Traffic generation: Where we send a steady stream of highly qualified customers to your website through both paid and organic traffic sources.
- Conversion: Where we increase the number of visitors that turn into buyers by implementing tactics that help our client’s double or even triple their sales.
- Retargeting: Where we retarget the visitors that don’t convert through timely and compelling ads that will follow them around the internet.
- Nurturing: Where we help you set up an automated system that nurtures your leads for you, making your website run like a well-oiled sales machine.
2. How did you come up with the idea of starting User Growth?
One of my biggest frustrations with the traditional agencies that they mostly serve really big clients, that have established brands and only want to awareness types of campaigns. While in my spare time I’ve been coaching and mentoring startups get their business off the ground, getting their first customers aka real actionable results. Some of the ideas I had and presented to clients were sometimes met with deaf ears.
So one day, I met my co-founder and he saw the same types of frustrations, only for him, it came from being the owner of a development agency and then delivering websites to his clients where they did not spend any money on advertising after to help launch the new website.
We though by bundling our expertise, we could do so much more for small, medium enterprises and startups around the globe.
And with that User Growth was born.
3. What challenges did you face initially?
Let me tell you starting any business during the summer months is not the smartest of moves since almost all your potential clients are on vacation 😉 It took a bit of time to get off the ground, and as a result, we’ve decided to expand our client base to also include other agencies, for which we Whitelabel ourselves. You see, other more traditional agencies, slowly are getting the types of questions that we can help them answer as well. And then, when they never invested in this type of talent in house, we’re there to help them. Fly in as a bunch of mercenaries to help them get the job done 😉
4. What motivates you to remain consistent in your business?
The joy of seeing those graphs with page views, time spent on-site and in the end leads grow for our customers.
5. Which software tools do you use for your business, and why?
To get the work done for our clients, we use a myriad of tools, from things like Ahrefs and SEMRush to Google Search Console, Google Ads, Facebook Business Manager etc. Basically, everything needed to be able to perform SEO and paid advertisement work. And of course, tools like ZOOM, Skype, etc to talk with our client base that is spread around the globe.
6. Please share your thoughts on – what should be the responsibilities of every management towards their employees?
The responsibility of every manager is to make their employees feel respected, give them the freedom to make their own decisions. I always said to my staff, we’re not in kindergarten anymore, I hired you for a reason and I trust you to be able to do your job. If there is anything that you need in order to execute please let me know, I’m here to help you. If you want to leave a day earlier, you don’t need to give me a reason to do so, I trust you that you manage your work that it is still delivered on time.
I think a lot of managers are too many micromanagers. They want to have their fingers on every little process that is done within a company. However, this will eat away too much of your time, but most importantly it gives the feeling to your employees that they are not good at what they do, and they need someone to hold their hand. If you, however, give them this trust I’m confident (and I’ve not seen otherwise yet), they won’t abuse it.
I’ve seen a junior developer, just out of university, growing from being this junior developer to the leader of his own development team in a time span of only two years. Those things, make it all worthwhile.
7. A personality that you follow and has inspired you?
This is a tough one, as this can change on a day to day basis for me. I think inspiration can be taken from the smallest of things, as long as you’re open to learning new things. When I organized a networking drink more than ten years ago, our motto was “always invite people that are cooler than you”, don’t think you’re better than the rest. With everyone I meet in life, I always try to reflect, what did I learn from this person and who should I introduce to this person that can be of value to them.
8. What is your benchmark?
One is greater than zero. All the little steps together will reap in great results, but you first got to take the first step.
9. How do you balance your work and personal life?
Since starting User Growth, I’d like to think I’ve become a bit better at this. In the past, I was always the last person leaving. If my developers had to work late, I was there to support them, even if I was not coding myself, I could fetch them food or something else. But as both my co-founder and I have a little kid at home, we know the importance of leaving on time to be there with the family. and if there is still work that needs to be done, that can always happen when the rest of my family is sleeping (I’m blessed by not needing that much sleep).
10. One advice that you would like to give to those who want to start their own business?
As with everything in life, you don’t have to be the best to succeed, you just have to be 1% better than your competitor. That can be a 1% better customer service, a 1% cheaper product, a 1%…. anything. Just be 1% better than your competitor and let the world know that you are of course using good marketing, great stories so people can understand why you’re better and why they should buy from you.
We would like to thank Hans Van Gent for giving us his precious time and sharing some valuable tips for our readers. Requesting our readers to please follow this great personality on Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram.