Quite a short time ago, I’ve had a chance to meet the term “Growth Hacking” which basically helps get to the first x thousand/million users once your product is launched. The words “hacking” or “hacker” are always scary. Don’t be afraid! Growth hacking is a hybrid of two harmless disciplines: marketing and coding.
Today, I want to summarize the fundamentals of growth hacking and try to relate it to my own experience. If you’re working on an e-business, even if you haven’t heard of the concept itself, you probably (definitely) used it unconsciously.
Although Facebook, Dropbox, Pinterest and Twitter now all have millions and even hundreds of millions of users, they’ve once asked the question “How do I get customers/users?” Such businesses with major market shares have made it harder than ever for small and medium businesses to grow. Growth hacking stands as a welfare plan, especially for those small-mid businesses trying to acquire customers.
Growth hacking is perceived as the future of inbound marketing. There are various questions one should consider when starting the journey of growth hacking!
- How well do you understand your users? (Check the series “Entrepreneurship for Dummies” to see how I struggled in my own business due to the lack of customer insight) In every business, you provide your customer a solution, and in order to generate that solution, you need to feel the pain of your customer. The most common methods for getting to know your customer better is performing surveys or observing the way the customers use the product; in other words, the first time user experience. If your customers are dying for an apple, and you give them an orange… Opps! You’ll never be able to spread to a large mass of users.
- Suppose you got your 1st user, how are you going to get the 2nd one? How will you incite your active users to bring new users? In order to expand your network, you have to make sure you build engagement and interaction into your content. A common way is to have users, when they first sign up, send invitations to their friends through Facebook or Twitter. A new trend is to enable the users to share some initial content before even signing up. For my own business wish-let.com, the users’ wishes made on wish-let.com are directly shared on Facebook and/or Twitter if their accounts are integrated. This is a strategy almost all the social media websites use. A final tip which I find very crucial is to have some social proof. Customer reviews, number of likes, customer statistics, user testimonials…
- How will the users come back to your website? Usually, while trying to acquire new users, businesses fail to provide an incentive to the active users to stay active. Regularly emailing the users about the new features and inviting them back are explicit methods anyone could apply! Quora is a great example for user retention. A week after a user signs up to Quora, she receives an email with interesting updates on the topics she cares about and is encouraged to come back.
- How qualitative is the content you share? Almost no-one reads long plain posts anymore. Sharing charts, videos, photos, interesting stories, facts and statistics is a key trick! Although it seems very obvious, many businesses usually fail to apply it. In order to maximize the traction and get people’s attention, the content you share on different platforms should appeal to the eye. Timing of your posts is also very crucial. For example, if you’re targeting the white-collar segment, then make sure you share content out of working hours. If you’re targeting children, then make sure you don’t postpone your social posting to a late time in the night. Lastly, it’s important that your content is actually accessible to search engines. Otherwise, sorry about the content you’re sweating for 🙁
- Do you now which marketing channels and methods are more effective for your case? The most known method for deciding on this is to perform A/B tests where you get an understanding of user preferences and behavior from the way they react to the tests. Basically, you divide your user-base into a test group and a control group. The first group is exposed to the new feature of your website/application, and the second group stays the same. Then you compare the reactions of the two groups and develop your marketing strategy accordingly; saving time and money. Landing pages are perfect to perform A/B tests. Just think of yourself as a detective investigating your customers and potential customers!
- Last but not least, how capable are you in SEO? (I’ll, hopefully, get into more detail on this topic very soon!)
Finally, if you are considering focusing on growth hacking, then be sure to have/develop a mindset of creativity and curiosity!