A lot of people will tell you that growth hacking is Marketing. But that’s just another misperception. However, it can be looked at as a way of describing how marketing is carried out at a startup. It is a term that best describes the techniques that many startups have been using to extend their reach for a long time now. In this content, you are going to learn 20 different ways of employing growth hacking tactics and automation in startup marketing. But first, how does growth hacking differ from marketing?
- There is a major focus on the use of technology. A technical growth hacker will always be looking for ways of automating the process. A non-technical growth hacker will always be asking the technical team “is this possible?”
- Some growth hacking tactics adhere very loosely to the boundaries of ethics and legality. A big company would not get away with them but a startup that is still small and scrappy is easily overlooked or forgiven.
Automate Your Distribution
Find a way to retrofit other already established markets with your site such that users find it beneficial. Take an example from what Airbnb did with Craigslist. Now that Airbnb has grown as well, Craigslist actively prohibits this tactic. See, big companies can’t get away with this sort of thing. But if you’re just getting started, you can.
No list of methods for getting more users is complete without the mention of blogging. Ensure you create shareable content that is useful to your customers. Use lists and pictures. Use tools for social searching and Google trend to hack yourself a regular list of viral topics to cover.
Reach out to tech blogs. They are always ready to accept good new content. And, if you can find one where there is a market overlap, you’re in luck. You could start by writing great content and offering it to a blog. If you get turned down, move on to another. In the worst case, you’ll still have content to put up on your own blog.
Share Your Content
Don’t just post on your blog and wait for people to find it. Sell yourself out there. Post in social media platforms and link back to your blog. Be active in Q & A forums such as Quora and comment on feeds of related blog posts belonging to others.
Allow your users to like, share, recommend or embed your content. Build sharing into the user journey by providing sharing buttons. If you have to ask, keep it brief and polite.
The good old saying goes like “fake it till you make it.” If you’re running a market or UGC site, seed it with as much content as you can. Visitors won’t stay loyal to an empty site. Reddit is one company that we know created fake profiles in its early days. But don’t do it for too long – you’ll be surprised how much more real customers pay than fake ones!
Find a way of forcing users to bring in more users. For instance, if it’s a game, you could make it such that players have to invite another person at some point for them to progress. It doesn’t piss off as many people as you would think.
Automate Your CRM
Automate your techniques for customer engagement and loyalty. Add a drip-campaign or autoresponder for each customer after signup. Encourage interaction. You could also use email triggers to check user behaviors such as an abandoned cart, dormancy or successful purchase. In that order, remind them, poke them or try getting a feedback.
Capitalize on Organic Search
Try to figure out a way of turning every model in your database into public-facing content. Ensure that sitemap.xml is being generated grammatically and submitted properly to search engines. Don’t forget to include a CTA.
Landing Page Tests
Don’t just optimize, test to ensure it’s working. Obviously, there are tools for that. Test your design, language/value proposition, and CTA. Ensure visitors don’t leave your landing page before they give up their email address voluntarily. Test your landing page regularly because optimizations do not last forever.
They work like magic. If you can, recruit some trend-setting (possibly non-celebrity) bloggers. You could invite them to an interview or online debate. Make use of incentivized blog coverage via VIP events and coupons. You could go on and sweeten the deal with widgets for their blogs.
Advertise to individuals who have already been to your site. They could help increase your CTR and that makes you look like a larger company. Following users around the web enables you to convert those who left without filling out a form, making a purchase, or signing up for newsletters as well as a free trial and so on.
Partners, especially when incentivized or benefiting mutually, can send you high-quality prospects. You could offer to build them something or give data for free.
Complimentary businesses that don’t compete with yours but have a similar client base make great partners. You could create joint offers where there is an overlap in the client base.
Member Get Member
Use incentives such as coupons, free shipment, free accounts to motivate members to bring other users. Take an example from how Dropbox gives additional space when you refer a friend or share on social media.
Finding famous people or companies to endorse your product works wonders. It leads to re-blogs, conversations, and virality. For instance, a celebrity could write for the public to see that they support you and this causes another lesser well-known figure to check out your site, and if they like it, write organically about how they liked whatever it is you’re doing. This chain reaction results in more buzz around the internet about your product and that’s exactly what you need, especially if you know you have something nice to offer.
Get on Hacker News/ Reddit
You don’t have to sweat over this but if you could get on HN OR Reddit, you’ll be sure to receive more traffic. Try writing awesome content for geeks, creating something open source or just asking for genuine feedback on some of your data.
Not the best, but paid search will always bring more traffic to your site. Just be sure not to spend too much money on advertising when you can use other lesser expensive methods for generating traffic.
Use keyword tools and the Ad Group Idea feature to quickly test various keyword groups and learn the language of your customers as much as possible. Even if you don’t have the capital for the paid search you could use Google Adwords for a short while to validate your ideas and learn what your customers are looking for.
Build a Fast Site
Most visitors don’t have the patient to wait for a slow page. The speed of your website affects your conversion a great deal, making site speed one of the most basic parameters. Combine all your assets into as few files as possible, making them small, and serve them form a CDN. Your framework should do this.
Find the AHA! Moment
For example, when Twitter found out that users who followed at least 30 people were more likely to be lifetime members, it was their AHA! Moment. They built their product around this factor, enabling their users to follow as many people as possible from the time they signed up.
Find your AHA! moment and optimize around getting users to reach that goal, even if it means making decisions for them (like how Pinterest has auto-follow) or making it as smooth and easy as possible.
Talk to the Press
The good news is that the press is always searching to know what you’re up to, so this shouldn’t be difficult. Send emails to journalists/ publishers. There are many points at which you might want to talk to the press in your company’s lifetime – like when launching, releasing an amazing new feature, raising funding, partnering with a big company or during acquisition.
There you go! 20 actionable growth hacking techniques you can use in your startup in combination with what you already think will work.