Tips For Solid Growth Hacking
The term Growth Hacking has been rising in popularity. A lot of startups are hiring “Growth Hackers” for their company and most of these growth hackers come from a business related degree such as management or economics. What exactly is growth hacking and what are some tips for a startup to be successful in growth hacking? Let’s explore.
There are two main strategy approach to growth hacking. One is a rapid growth and the other is a steady paced growth. To be successful in growth hacking, your startup needs to apply both steady and fast paced growth. Growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure. It can be seen as part of the on line marketing eco-system, as in many cases Growth Hackers are simply good at using techniques such as search engine optimization, web site analytics, content marketing and A/B testing which are already mainstream. Growth Hacking doesn’t necessary need to kill your funding’s budget. Most startups actually use growth hack strategies in their early stages because they are usually bootstrapping or traditional marketing strategies aren’t working out for them.
“Growth hacking recognizes that when you focus on understanding your users and how they discover and adopt your products, you can build features that help you acquire and retain more users, rather than just spending marketing dollars.” -Josh Elman, Twitter Growth Hacker
Steady Growth Hacking
Steady growth hacking approach is where you build a loyal group of audience by using steady growth strategies such as SEO, social sharing, community building through forums, inbound marketing, content marketing and more. These types of marketing strategies usually does not gain a big chunk of audience for your startup right away, but it allows you to build a solid snowball effect that will build trustable audience over time. A good way to approach this would be to build a strong community behind your startup. Get people to talk about your startup through communities, event, forums, or simply plain SEO Google rankings. The more people you are able to reach out to, the more loyal audience you will gain through referrals and word of mouth. Think about it, for example the most recent popular app, FlappyBirds, gained a lot of attention because of word of mouth. One person plays the game and shares it with their friends. This creates a snowball effect and reaches out to a big audience.
Another way to approach steady growth hacking is to interview your customers and potential audience. Ask them for feedback about your product. What did they like about it? What is their least favoriteable thing about your product? Through this concept, you can adapt and change your product based on how your startup’s customers want it. Most top growth hackers recommend that you look up keywords related to your product on Twitter and see what people are saying about your product.
Fast Paced Growth Hacking
Fast paced growth hacking is a strategy that allows you to generate a quick user database. The cons of fast paced growth hacking is that a lot of times it consumes more money and it could be a “hyped” concept. Through this strategy you might be able to gain a lot of customers as much, but you might not be able to obtain enough information about their interest or disconcerns about your startups products. A fast paced growth hacking strategy would be to run campaigns, giveaways, events to boost your brand’s exposure.
For example, if you were running an e-learning company that provides educational videos and courses for your audience, you could run free giveaway campaigns to boost your audience. An example of a technique would be for you to do a giveaway campaign like, “If you can pass my programming course, you can enter for a free trip to silicon valley” Being creative when it comes to running campaigns is extremely important. Most importantly you want to grab your users attention so that they spread the word about your product.
Running ad campaigns and leveraging existing high traffic network is another example of fast paced growth hacking. Using ad networks such as Google Adwords will gain exposure for your startup quickly. Choose targeted keywords wisely and target customers who are already interested in your category of product. Leveraging high traffic sites such as craigslist for ads is another fast way to grow. When your startup grows big, it will be hard to leverage these networks, but if you are in the beginning phrase, it doesn’t hurt to use them. Airbnb is a perfect example of a startup that used this fast paced growth hacking strategy. In their early stages, the startup posted numerous ads to draw users attention. Conversion rates grow rapidly when leveraging high traffic networks.
Referral is also extremely important in the process of growth hacking. Technology and startups are growing quick and there are always competitors out there doing better than you. So, how do you get customers to refer your startup to their friends? Aside from leveraging social media such as facebook and twitter, think about doing a coupon giveaway. Going back to using the elearning example, you could develop a solid email list by saying, “refer us to one of your friends, and you will get your next course free!” Startups such as team treehouse and other education portals have been using this growth hack strategy to grow their customer base.
Finally, remember growth hacking and marketing is a snowball effect. Build up the audience one by one and let them spread the word for you. Remember to ask yourself, if you were a customer would you refer your own product to your friends? Why or why not? What’s in it for the customer? Consider these points and you will build a solid growth hacking strategy for your startup.