Growth Hacking techniques for the modern business owner, start-up or marketing professional
Let’s come to a consensus on what Growth Hacking is before we delve into the depths of these amazing hacks your about to implement and experience unsafe levels of Growth. Growth Hacking is implementing knowledge of the product, brand and distribution channels to find ingenious, tech & social based avenues for growth that , use knowledge of the product, brand and distribution channels to find ingenious, tech based avenues for growth that push the bounds of what is expected or advised by “traditional” B.A. Marketers.
1) Figure out your strengths and weaknesses.
This is the fundamential step to Growth Hacking.The very first thing a Growth Hacker does (aside from growth hacking his breakfast) is analyze the client/company’s digital strengths and weaknesses. Areas they are killing it in and areas they are falling on their face in. Why waste time in areas where theres no for it? Ranked #1 on Google for your keyword but still lacking leads, maybe you need to explore Search Marketing or list building to start an Email marketing campaign. Now I know most of you will say “Duh, of course” to this technique when presented to you by such a brilliant writer I can see why. However actually take a moment and think about how many businesses realistically strategically access and go over their strengths and weaknesses, the answer is…not many. Once you conclude where exactly your strengths and weakenesses lie you can start to develop a Growth Hacking plan focusing on specific needs instead of a general overall growth approach. Understand your strenghts and weaknesses and understand the first step to successful Growth Hacking.
2) Sell your story, not your product.
In todays world everyone has a product, everyone has a pitch and everyone has a service to offer. If they are market leaders, they will sell them. However if your a startup or launching a product how do you compete in today’s saturated market? By hiring an amazing Growth Hacker of course. However in the mean time become personable and start selling YOURSELF just as much as your product. This is Growth Hacking psychology 101. People remember personal interaction and connection, ie; like that little email “Company X” sent me after I purchased their item explaining their founding story. A great example of this is Sam Parr, founder of HustleCon and theHustle.co who recently broke a record for the fastest company to reach 500,000 email subscribers in less than six months. How did they do that? Through adding in their companies story at every stage of their founding from the literal assembly of the IKEA chairs they purchased to the founders backgrounds and personal history in each email they sent out and I LOVED it. It drew me in like the smell of fresh donuts. Get personal, sell your story because everyone remembers the storyline, not everyone remembers the production company.
3) Go “viral” through Incentive based marketing.
This is one of those Growth Hacks that will increase your CRO like you injected your brand with digital steroids. This has been a very trending idea amongst top companies that have their digital game on wrap. Give your customer or invited consumer and “incentive or free gift” to buy from you. If you allow your first time buyer to get a 25% coupon, or free membership for a month if he refers someone else within 24 hours, the conversion rate on that program will be like a nuclear bomb compared to a musket. People love getting stuff for free or at a discount because it makes them feel like they “won” and they also love to show their friends/family/co-workers the new things they discovered in order to gain that freebie or incentive. Giving consumers an incentive to invite outside people to buy from you will make your product go viral instantly. Incentive based marketing is similar to the “freemium” model using basic human psychology and marketing to Growth Hack people’s own minds without them knowing. Similar to the movie Inception where you can implant an idea in someone’s mind, however this is the real world where it works beautifully and will you on way to going viral.
4) Get Analytics right with Google Analytics & avoiding “Vanity Metrics”.
Tracking your website, social, content, email and all inbound marketing channel’s analytics is a cornerstone of Growth Hacking. Some basic metrics to avoid with Google Analytics are the common ones such as Daily Active Users and Monthly Active Users which are what is called “Vanity Metrics” forget them, they don’t tell you how long or how engaged the users were and many other variables. Without analytics there would be no Growth Hacking, in order to “Hack the Growth” you have to know what to “hack” and that starts with analytics. One of the most important analytics is the “Bounce Rate” or how long someone stays on a specific web page, landing page or piece of content. Ideally you want at least a 30 second bounce rate, anything under that is utterly useless for analysing. A great analytical Growth Hack for Bounce Rates is simply applying a parameter for only recording analytics on people who stay on your site for over 30 seconds, which means they are most likely interested in what your putting out there. Google Analytics records all of these metrics however some other ones you want to monitor is the “heatmap” of your site, or where users are spending the most time and figuring out why that is and applying that metric to other “cold” areas. The King Arthur of all analytics is Conversion. CRO Tracking or Conversion Funnels is one boss of all metrics which tracks the flow of the acquisition of new users and their retention time. Tracking the flow of new user acquisition at a daily rate is key to a successful analytical approach. However be careful it is easy to go overboard with analytics so make sure your don’t risk compromising your growth hacking philosophy which is wasting time implementing solutions that you don’t need.
5) Redefine traditional distribution outlets.
Ever wonder why McDonald’s had famously “Sold Over 1 Million Hamburgers” in such a short period of time, they Growth Hacked. Yes of course it was due to their production of “fast food” generation however it was also their growth hacking based marketing efforts. McDonald’s knew the importance the new road systems like the US Interstate System and the German Autobahn and systematically founded their franchises on these roads at popular exits. Now lets fast forward from the medieval ages and get back to normal time. If you can navigate the digital roads that exist on the internet today that direct the users and information online like Search Engines, you can easily set up your own distribution outlets at these “major intersections” getting your name seen by millions. Traditional advertisements meant to been seen from the car are equivalent to modern day SEO and Search Marketing by being seen on Google, Bing, Yandex, etc. Adverts shown before a movie at a theatre is now Video Marketing on YouTube, Newspaper ads are now Mobile Advertising. The true Growth Hacker finds the newest most convertible outlet and attacks it like a mongoose, like implementing Influencer Marketing on Instagram two years ago. Clear your mind from traditional marketing thought and think like a Growth Hacker. Go out and find that new avenue to dominate like McDonald’s did 50 years ago and if Growth Hacked right…one day you’ll sell a million digital burgers.
6) Start A/B Testing and Experimenting Across All Channels
Like analytics, Experimentation and Metrics are two other cornerstones of Growth Hacking. . What Growth Hacking is about is testing out what works and what doesn’t, what drives traffic what doesn’t, what converts users what doesn’t. This is all done through analytics as well as the coveted ancient technique of “A/B Testing” sometimes called “split testing” which is simply testing “Method A” then “Method B” or even “Method C” then analyzing the results of each one to see which had a more positive result in which eve area you were looking to optimize. A/B Testing is like the AK-47 of the Growth Hacker, it never fails, always works, always delivers and was probably invented by Russians. Whether you are A/B Testing or playing around with different Typography in your Email Newsletters, experimentation is the core of Growth Hacking. A great Growth Hack for A/B testing and a way to increase your conversion rate is by flowing traffic to two or three landing pages or pages of content with different features and different products, then assess the feedback on each one to see which one resonated best with your audience. You can also learn from the pages that didn’t convert well, taking the aspects form those pages and breaking down why they didn’t convert will teach you a lot out about audience. Implementing pre-made “A/B Testing” models and very quickly experimenting by swapping out the “bad” pages your new pre-made pages gives you incredible information about your audience and greatly increases your chances of converting prospects into clients.
7) Leveraging your competition for Growth Hacking success (Case Study)
When AirBNB first launched they didn’t get the explosive traffic growth seen with other brands like Vine or Snapchat. The idea of renting out extra rooms in your house to total people? Excellent idea (unless your agoraphobic) in a completely unfilled niche however it took time, years in fact for them to gain true national and international traction. In fact Growth Hacking was the reason AirBNB got put on the map. So how did AirBNB go form being an incubator startup in 2008 operating mostly in the Pacific Northwest to having 75% of their bookings being in major international cities by 2011. Yes! you guessed it, by Growth Hacking. AirBNB leveraged one of the most established online brands in US, Craigslist, to Growth Hack their way to success. By creating an “Call-to-Action” option when adding a listing they added in an Opt-In form that “Automated A Duplicate Post on Craigslist” thus creating an extra inbound link for you (the seller) and another backlink for the AirBNB platform. So why don’t other companies use this same method? Because Craigslist didn’t have a public API or an easy way for companies to integrate their services, Craigslist simply used basic Growth Hacking methods to leverage their sales through a larger competitor.
And always remember to:
BONUS: Are you ready to go VIRAL?
BONUS: Inspirational story of AIRBNB