Growth hacking is a modern business term and was coined by Sean Ellis, founder and CEO of GrowthHackers, in the year 2010. Growth hacking is the generic name for all creative, low-cost marketing strategies that are built to help businesses acquire new customers at a magical pace, retain them and grow exponentially.
Companies like Groupon, Airbnb, Dropbox and many others became successful quickly by using various growth hacking strategies. Hacking is all about finding clever shortcuts involving minimal expenditure that bring in big results within a shorter time period.
The 5 Stages of growth hacking funnel are 1) to acquire new customers, 2) to convince them to use your product or service, 3) to retain those customers, 4) to earn revenue from selling them & 5) to get referral business from them.
What is Conversion Optimization?
Conversion Optimization: Your website is your market place. Here is where your buyers return from time to time. It is very important for you to have a website that is optimized for conversions. How will you optimize your website for conversions? Here are the first 5 steps to optimize conversions on your website:
- Start conducting A/B testing; take the help of your developer and marketing team.
- Craft a powerful customer value proposition.
- Use simple and lucid language.
- Create some really urgent call to action buttons to make your customers take action on your website.
- Address your customers’ concerns in all truthfulness and design methods to solve them.
Before we begin exploring the 6 growth hacking techniques to exponentially grow your business as a start up we need to understand a few terms like Buyer Personas, Buyer’s Journey, and Smart Goals as these terms will be frequently used throughout the article in many instances.
Buyer personas are virtual personalities that represent customers who will be interested in buying your product or service. Based upon your research the number of buyer personas for your business may be one or many. In order to create product-market fit buyer personas you have to know the following information about your audience in the target market.
- All demographic data of your customers including their age, gender& education.
- What are the places your customers look for information?
- The challenges they face, their pain points and how your product or service will address their pain-points, help them overcome those challenges and meet their goals.
Once your buyer personas are ready you can create customized marketing strategies for each of them. This technique is a very effective method of growth hacking.
A stranger becomes a customer after passing through the below mentioned phases:
- Awareness: This is the first time they come to know that they have a problem and your product or service might help them overcome the challenge.
- Evaluation: This is the stage at which they try to know more about your product or service, compare your product or service with your competitors’ and evaluate the value of your proposition.
- Conversion: This is the stage at which they decide to purchase your product or service.
The whole process of becoming aware, evaluating and converting to a customer is what known as a buyer’s journey.
Smart Goals are the specific, time-bound and relevant goals that are achievable and you want to achieve. Decide your Smart Goals. It must be clear to you how these goals will contribute to your growth. You should be able to measure these goals.
Before discussing the 6 powerful growth hacking Strategies it is very important to mention here that growth hacking is not a complete new magic that you are going to innovate for your business. It is about doing the same basic online marketing activities that others do with magic added to it from your end.
Buyer Personas Oriented Content Creation:
Customization of your marketing activities must include creating the content of the website that is relevant to the buyer personas. The most important relevancy factor will be the language in which they speak, read and write. There is a popular saying: Can’t Read, Won’t Buy. Which means if the language of your buyer personas are Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, Swahili you must have your website in English as well as in all these languages. For getting the content properly translated into various languages you must take the services of a professional translation company. After you have your website in all the languages of your buyer personas each of such pages must be localized. Website localization means modifying your existing website in such a way that appeals to the customers in your target market in different locations across the globe. The cultural differences of various countries need to be considered while making such modifications in a way that does not affect the integrity of your website. Appoint web-designers, web-architects and engineers to take care of it.
Other than website all content that will be served to your audience through systemized email marketing, free tools, etc. must be made in the languages of the buyer personas. This will make the communication easier between you and your prospective customers throughout the entire buyer’s journey. This will help you achieve your smart goals at a faster rate. This growth hacking technique can make you grow by leaps and bounds.
Powerful Exit Intent Technology:
It is a lot of effort that is involved in bringing visitors to your website. You must know that 70% of your website visitors who leave will never return to your website. This increases your customer acquisition cost and 95% -98% of your marketing efforts go into vain. You have to convert your website visitors who abandoned your website into subscribers and eventually into customers. This will increase your conversions by range of 150% - 800%. This is a really interesting growth hacking strategy and you will be making a big volume of sales by resorting to it. While researching on your customers and crafting buyer personas you have to brainstorm as to why they will leave your website in the beginning or at any stage of the buyer’s journey and not return. Is it that you are providing insufficient information, biased content, ambiguous arguments, no facts and figures, your goods and services are not worth of the price you quoted, your website is not user friendly, or there are any other reasons for them to abandon your website. Once you know this you will be able to bring them back to your website and hold them with you till the end of a buyer’s journey thus converting them to customers and achieve your smart goals. Learn more about Exit Intent Technology and apply it immediately as a growth hack.
Content Marketing Honesty:
Like every enterprise Groove had tried many approaches to content marketing but what at last worked for them is now popularly known as Groove Content Marketing Honesty Growth Hack. They realized at one point of time that other blogs from their niche were not sharing the real challenges that are faced by a SaaS company. So, Groove shared with its audience a case study with honest experiences and real numbers. This made them special and their user base increased by huge numbers and it helped them build a business worth of $5 million a year. Start being honest with your audience when you share information with them through your content. Give statistics and publish real numbers even if they are not so encouraging. Throughout the entire buyer’s journey you have to keep supporting your audience with realistic information so that they can take an informed decision. This will help you achieve your smart goals in a shorter time.
Constant Contact with your Audience:
If you know how to serve your content through email marketing in the right way you will have an unbeatable ROI. Direct selling cold emails will work no more for you. You have to do specific content marketing using systemized emails to your buyer personas. A series of emails must be designed in such a way that you take your audience through the entire buyer’s journey and finally qualify them as marketing leads and convert as customers. There are many tools in the market to do this for example Hubspot, ConstantContact, BidSketch, Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, and Blueshift etc. You can use anyone out of them to built segment based systemized email campaigns. You can track your subscribers, bounces, inactive email accounts. This will help you to take better data- driven decisions. If this growth hacking technique suits to your niche you must adopt it.
Build an Extremely Useful Free Tool:
When visitors visit your website they must get something extremely useful in it for their use and of course free of cost. CoSchedule is a website that provides its audience with online editorial calendars and this is free of cost. The only condition to use it is that you sign up for their email list. This is a very smart strategy, visitors won’t mind signing up with their email ids as they are getting something of their extreme need free of cost. Since, the tool is something directly related to the product & services the subscribers to the email list are the right people. You can always reach out to them with your new offers, new products & services, as they are the right audience for you. This will help you achieve your smart goals at a faster rate and is one of the best methods of growth hacking.
This is a great strategy for growth hacking and Dropbox got great results by implementing it. Dropbox let their users unlock additional storage after completing certain milestones, such as uploading content and sharing their content on social media. This helped Dropbox to attract new users. Provide your audience with something that is free and useful and in turn they reach you out to their friends and family. This increases the referral business and the growth happens to be exponential. You have to craft your own strategy of what you would offer them free of cost against their subscription that is useful to them and for getting that they will refer you to new customers.
There are many other strategies of growth hacking that proved to be successful. Not all of them are applicable to your business niche, you have to do a brainstorming to figure out which particular strategy or strategies of growth hacking will be the right choice for you. You can offer discounts for social sharing like Groupon, or run a competition on one of your social media platforms like Rafflepress. Use Google analytics to figure out how the visitors on your website use your website, discover the obstacles they face while using your products or services or while completing an action on your website. You may use MonsterInsights for this purpose. You may also start a YouTube channel to reach out to your customers in an audiovisual medium, as YouTube is a proven trust builder. You must hire one or more growth hackers in your marketing structure as per your budget and in a short time achieve your smart goals.