Growth hacking sounds complicated but it's not. Admittedly, there's no universally accepted definition of what growth hacking actually is but it's basically marketing but with one big difference. Marketing (and marketers) are concerned with a number of tasks - associated with creating and managing a marketing team, and creating a long term strategic plan etc. - but growth hacking (and growth hackers) are only interested in one thing… growth, and fast growth at that!
Find out more about growth hacking.
The primary catalyst for effective growth hacking is accessibility, especially if your startup requires a rapid expansion of user base to feed development. This concept is demonstrated well by the increased numbers of startups implementing freemium models, or free trials for SaaS and products.
These strategies remove barriers to growth, encourage customer and client uptake, and foster relationships before money changes hands. Most of all, they are a great opportunity to demonstrate the value of your offering to future paying customers.
Many startups have taken accessibility a step further by incentivising existing users to refer potential customers. A good example of this is Dropbox, which is now growing at a rate of 100m users per year, due in large part to a myriad of accessibility features.
Indeed a number startups to achieve the coveted ‘unicorn’ status owe much of their success to broad accessibility including Spotify and Uber.
But what are the key things your business should think about when considering growth hacking?
Heed customer opinion
Customer opinion can form a key part of your growth hacking strategy, but it’s important to remember that not all feedback has equal value.
Traditionally customer feedback might only arise in small amounts, and in response to a particular problem, but the growth hacker knows that to have any real and actionable value, feedback must be solicited in large quantities, and in a way which encourages total honesty.
- Instant feedback requests and surveys can be easily embedded into websites and mobile apps. Have a look at services like Qualaroo, Olark Live, and Survey Monkey, for an idea of what’s on offer.
- Direct review requests are an active way to gather up some influential opinions to validate and authenticate your startup. On a small scale these can be requested on an individual basis, but for a substantial benefit tools like ReviewPush and Get5Stars are a more efficient option.
- Some feedback can even be gathered surreptitiously through A/B testing, with users being completely unaware that they are contributing valuable opinions simply with the choices they make.
Look for prospects and leads
Technologies have been developed which remove the guesswork from digital marketing, allowing prospect and lead management to become much more efficient and achievable. These tools are all about targeted efforts, and provide a means by which specific brand messages can reach the most relevant potential customers.
This concept of growth hacking is one of the most crucial for startups because of the potential it has to save significant time and money when compared with the traditional sales process.
There are many software services available which utilise highly targeted data-driven sales information to help manage the process from start to finish.
The areas focused on are those traditionally dealt with manually, including things related to;
- Contact management
- Engagement tools
- Sales performance insights
- Marketing automation
- Lead management
Keep on with content marketing and conversion
Growth hackers think about content marketing in a different way to the traditional marketer. Like all of their endeavours, the major indicator of performance is scale, and in this case reaching and converting as many relevant people as possible with the minimum of effort and expenditure.
Because of this, the approach is somewhat different from the standard content marketing strategy, using innovative services and clever new techniques to ‘supercharge’ their content’s reach.
- Structural tools such as text analysers give actionable feedback to improve content's performance, conversion rates, and search engine performance
- Tools which increase the ease with which content can be shared, such as Click to Tweet and Markerly
- Leveraging other platforms through guest contributions and non-promotional associations
- ‘Gamification of content’ through polls, competitions, and other things which increase engagement and shareability
- Calls to action which take a more aggressive approach to conversion of audience, popups for example.
- Submission to content aggregator sites with large audiences such as Alltop and Blogengage.
- Using data analytics tools to constantly monitor performance and strategise accordingly
- Attempting to manufacture viral potential, rather than relying on chance.
Eoin O'Hara is a business developer and lead copywriter at Startacus.net.