How to design the perfect Bullseye Framework – 6 steps

Determine your marketing strategy with the Bullseye Framework Canvas
Bullseye Framework Canvas

Introducing the Bullseye Framework

The Bullseye Framework is developed by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. They introduced their framework in their book Traction. The method is about systematically brainstorming, prioritising, testing and executing different marketing strategies. It contains three rings which together represent a dartboard, since it’s the goal to hit for the bullseye. Not right away, but after setting up and running some valuable experiments. Eventually you’ll know, based on hard data, which marketing strategy works best for your business.

So before reaching the bullseye, you have to go through the outer and middle ring. The outer ring is your starting point. It’s the brainstorming and prioritisation phase. After this phase you’ll go to the middle ring in which you’ll test the most promising strategies. This middle ring is the test phase. The last phase is the focus phase, the bullseye. This phase is all about utilising the value (which you discovered in the test phase) to its fullest potential.

But why should you use the Bullseye Framework to begin with? Entrepreneurs regularly go all-in with the first and best marketing channel they come across. By doing so, you probably miss out bigger opportunities due to a limited brainstorm and research phase. Therefore, you want to go through each of those stages so you ensure yourself to come with a marketing channel which matches your business, your target audience and yourself. Let’s go through 6 steps towards finding your best marketing strategy right away.

Before you start with the steps, you want to write down your goal. Different traction goals require different approaches. So before diving right into all different kind of marketing strategies you could choose, let’s first clarify your goal. What do you want to achieve and before when? Through the lens of your goal you want to go through the three stages of the Bullseye Framework.

Brainstorm phase (outer ring)

Step 1. Brainstorm as many options as possible

It’s very common that entrepreneurs tend to ignore potential lucrative channels. That’s because it’s:

  • Not in their area of knowledge and expertise, for example speaking engagements of engineering as marketing
  • Something they have negative associations with, for example with sales and affiliate programs
  • Time-consuming or frustrating, for example business development or business fairs

Instead, you want to consider all marketing channels. In the book Traction, they make distinguish between 20 channels. Per channel you want to come up with at least 1 (but preferably more) marketing strategy/strategies. For example a long-tail strategy for SEO as marketing channel. Let me list for you the 20 marketing channels which you can go through for devising strategies:

  1. Targeting blogs
  2. Publicity (PR)
  3. Unconventional PR
  4. Search Engine Marketing
  5. Social & display ads
  6. Offline ads
  7. Search Engine Optimization
  8. Content marketing
  9. Email marketing
  10. Engineering as marketing
  11. Viral marketing
  12. Business Development
  13. Sales
  14. Affiliate program
  15. Existing platforms
  16. Fairs
  17. Offline events
  18. Speaking events
  19. Community building
  20. Influencer marketing

If you have a hard time coming up with different marketing strategies per listed marketing channel, I’d recommend you to go through this together with somebody else (ideally some kind of accountability partner). You could also draw inspiration from your competitors/colleagues.

Step 2. Rank all of your options

Let’s say you came up with 2 marketing strategies per marketing channel, so you have 40 (20*2) marketing strategies in total from which you can choose from. Now you want to make a first breakdown by the expected success rate. Divide your strategies among probable possible, a long-shot. After having done this, you want to skip all of the marketing strategies which you have put in either the possible or long shot bucket. The strategies you put in the probable bucket remains. Ideally, you reduced your 40 strategies to just 10 strategies which can probably work.

Step 3. Prioritise your most promising options

In this step we’ll have a more thorough prioritisation. We’ll be using the ICE-score for this. Meaning, you’ll rate each of the remaining marketing strategies on a scale of 1 to 10 on:

  • I of Impact: if the strategy succeeds, how big is the impact on your goal (identified in step 1)?
  • C of confidence: how big is the chance of succeeding in the first place?
  • E of ease & time: how much time, effort and money does the preparation, execution and analyzation will cost you? Give a low score with a big investment and a high score with a little investment.

After having given a score per marketing strategy on those three factors, you have to add up those scores per marketing strategy (maximum score = 30; minimum score = 3). Now you can better compare those different marketing strategies. You continue with the marketing strategies with the highest total scores. As an independent entrepreneur, limit yourself to two strategies. The pitfall of focusing on one strategy is that you’re more likely to approach it on an all-or-nothing way. That can be dangerous since it’s just an experiment. Focusing on three or more strategies is not recommended either because the test phase in the next step will be time-consuming if done properly. And by executing your experiments partially you’ll get doubtful conclusions. But of course it all depends on your capacity. If you have the resources (people, knowledge, money) to test a bigger variety of strategies all at once, it’s of course all fine. As long as you can put in the time necessary to get to useful insights.

Test phase (middle ring)

Step 4. Test the options with the highest total scores

This step is about building a MVC. It’s an acronym for minimal viable channel. Meaning, the most stripped-down version of your marketing strategy so that you can find out if it works in the most efficient way. That’s the goal of this step: getting insights as soon as possible with as little resources as possible. Try not to spend thousands of dollars or months of work to it. Also, please remind yourself that this step is not meant to generate growth. It’s solely meant to get valuable insights as soon as possible, which can but doesn’t need to include growth. The Monthly Experiment Canvas (discussed in chapter 8.1) is a valuable tool you can use for going through this step with the right intentions and in a well-structured way.

Step 5. Learn from the insights you got from your experiments

After running your experiment (with the Monthly Experiment Canvas), you want to carefully analyse the results. So please don’t draw conclusions too quickly. Whereas the Monthly Experiment Canvas is the perfect tool for the previous step, the Monthly Insight Canvas (see chapter 8.2) is the right tool for this step. It makes sure you won’t miss out important questions you want to answer in order to diligently draw the right conclusions.

Focus phase (inner ring)

Step 6. Wring out the marketing channels with the best results

Hopefully, a useful marketing strategy came out of your experiments. Now it’s time to utilise the strategy. You want to look for ways to get the most out of it. Because at some point, the strategy will get (more) saturated. Meaning, the conversion rate will drop off. That’s can be due to the expiration of newness, not being first-to-market anymore or not being able to get sufficient qualified customers anymore in the pool you can reach through your strategy. That’s why it’s important to continuously go through these steps and look for (even) better marketing strategies compared with your existing ones. It can also be valuable to combine multiple strategies that reinforce each other. For example a so-called three-stage rocket with strategies relating to SEO, content marketing and email marketing.

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