Even a perfect product will never make your business successful without lots of additional efforts. You always have to reach your potential customers to become profitable. Traditional marketing techniques are often very expensive, so they are not affordable for startups and small businesses. That’s why we witness the increasing popularity of growth hacking, which is a marketing technique with non-traditional approach to increasing the growth rate or adoption of new products and services. Growth hacking utilizes analytical thinking combined with creativity and social metrics for growth purposes. In the growth hacking guide below, you will find all the important information about this new startup marketing strategy.
Growth hacking is a part of the online marketing ecosystem. It relies on such techniques as SEO, A/B testing, website analytics, or content marketing. Despite they are also used by traditional marketers, growth hackers utilize a non-traditional approach to these techniques. They discover new use cases and focus on creating cheep and innovative alternatives to old methods. Thus, growth hacking implements “growth first, budgets second” principle. For instance, growth hackers use social media for advertising instead of newspapers, radio, or television. It’s cheaper and still attracts many new customers.
AirBNB – a place where you can rent an apartment or give out your empty rooms for rent – implemented a successful growth hacking strategy. Company’s specialists created a form, which was integrated with Craigslist. Filling in this form, customers were shown an option through which they were able to post information about their apartments on Craigslist with a backlink to AirBNB. Thus, AirBNB got a lot of new users and improved SEO. Unfortunately, Craigslist fixed the code, so AirBNB was not able to post any further.
Growth hacking was extremely successful in a case of LinkedIn. Providing users with the ability to create public profiles (visible in search results), the company went from 2 to 200 million users. LinkedIn was first to implement such strategy, and its users got a great opportunity to be found out through search results.
The launch of Twitter has created a lot of buzz in the Internet. The service got a huge audience of users, which logged out and never logged in again. That was a real problem, and Twitter implemented a non-traditional approach to its solution. The company decided not to request people to return, but to change the product instead. In-depth testing showed, that users come back to the site, if they have invested their time and effort. On practice it means, that people become regular Twitter users, if they start following 5 to 10 accounts during their first sign up. The service was completely rebuilt according to the research, and as you can see, growth hacking technique turned Twitter into a media giant.
By implementing growth hacking, Dropbox extended its user audience a lot. The company increased the number of referrals by making referral link sharing easy and providing 500MB of free disk space to each referral for every new user. People are still using referral links to Dropbox because they want a free extra space.
YouTube also shows a good example of growth hacking. The company provided its users with the “Embed” option among other share options. By clicking on “Embed”, users get a small HTML code for blogs and websites. They just have to copy and paste it, and the appropriate video will be added to the page of the site. The video looks and acts exactly the same as on YouTube. This growth hack still helps attract new users and create tons of backlinks.
Core Concepts of Growth Hacking
Your business should be accessible on different platforms and to different user groups. According to latest web design trends, your website should be visible on mobile devices. Moreover, you should already think about your presence on smartwatches and other wearables.
Opinion of Your Visitors
Your online activity is always a subject to user commentary. By posting opinion about your website or company, visitors become crowdsourced growth partners. Don’t ignore this source of information, because it provides lots of useful recommendations to the improvement of your site. And try to respond to the comments – this will make your visitors more loyal.
It is always important to find your niche. Even a mainstream company can emphasise on some aspects of its business to occupy a specific field. It is just necessary to create a forum or participate in appropriate discussions on other forums to implement this strategy. Another important aspect is niche-specific content. Articles, videos, and infographics can attract new users to the website, where they will be able to take a look at other products.
Provide your potential clients with the content they want. Do it at the appropriate time. This growth hacking tactics require intimate knowledge about your target audience. You can even go further and implement personalized offers. Personalization is among key e-commerce website design trends of 2015, but it can be utilized in all possible spheres of business, you just need a creative approach to its implementation.
Keep in mind, that you always have to test your growth hacking tactics on practice. We recommend you to start small with the chosen one. If everything goes as planned and you get the desired results, you can implement growth hacking with a larger scale.
Content on your website should be relevant, useful, interesting, and accessible. And don’t forget about visual stimulation. Plain text looks boring, so try to enhance it with the help of videos and infographics. You can rely on social media as on quality test – right content will get lots of “Likes“ there. As a result, you will improve the conversion rate of your site.
Provide your visitors with the best possible user experience. Create an intuitive and good-looking interface, make your content accessible and don’t forget to test innovations. Your visitors will always tell you, what is wrong with your website.
Try to utilize alternative platforms for the promotion of your products. This growth hacking strategy often requires programming skills as in a case of AirBNB, but there are also dozens easier ways to utilize alternative platforms. For example, you can use appropriate Magentoextensions to sell goods within different online marketplaces. This type of relationships can be symbiotic or parasitic (AirBNB case).
The market is constantly changing, affecting your enterprise. To stay viable, you always have to adjust your online business for new conditions. Thus, your job is never done. You always have to analyse your users, competitors and market trends to be ready for the next big thing.
Growth Hacking Tips for Landing Page Optimization
Growth hacking should be used for the optimization of your landing page. You can make this important part of your website much more efficient with the help of few useful tips, provided below. Landing page optimization is among core goals of growth hackers. After modernization, landing page should be attractive enough to engage your visitors to do what you need from them.
Minimum Viable Page
Keep in mind, that in the center of your brand is a minimum viable page. Being the most important part of the growth hacking optimization, it takes the brunt of strict visitors. Thus, you should understand, what is your target audience, and what is the ideal message for this audience. Nail down your simple message, and you will get your brand off the ground.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask even stupid and obvious questions. Remember, that you should get as much useful information as possible. Study cases of your counterparts, dig information from unrelated markets, and try to understand what can been done for the optimization of your landing page. Stay ethical, and show off your creativity.
Define successful metrics
There are dozens of metrics related to your business. You should define core metrics that lead your company to success. For instance, number of daily visitors and conversion rate are very important for every website. Thus, your growth hacking optimization goals should be based on this metrics. Keep in mind, that tactics necessary for achieving these goals vary from business to business.
Landing page as a lab
Landing page of your website is a place, where you can run experiments on visitors. Utilize different tactics, use A/B tests, study the behavior of your customers in order to create growth hacking optimization strategy which is perfect for your business.
Chances are, that you are not familiar with growth hacking. If so, you have to learn a lot of new information to implement optimization of your landing page. Even if you learn all theoretical aspects, there will be specialists with invaluable practical experience. Thus, don’t waste your time and hire someone, who is familiar with this activity. At least, you can ask specialists for help or advice.
How To Use Growth Hacking To Get New Customers
Neil Patel explains what to do with growth hacking. His article is full of useful advices and examples. Below we’ve covered some key aspects of Neil’s work.
First of all Neil recommends to explore grow hacking as a phenomenon and a new trend. He tells, that growth hacking relies on combination of marketing and engineering to achieve a desired growth rate.
Then the author tells about practical aspects of average growth hacking strategy. He describes most widespread tactics and provides tips for improving your content marketing
In the third part of the article, Neil provides all possible information about growth hackers. He tells about key qualities inherent to these professionals.
The fourth part is all about growth hacking process. In the end, Neil provide some real-world examples.
Key steps of every growth hacking processes:
Try to define goals actionable for your business. They will become a base for your growth hacking campaign.
Utilize analytics while tracking this goals. You should know for sure, that you’ve chosen the correct goals.
Rely on the existing ecosystem emerged around your business and use the existing network.
Check the improvements with the help of A/B testing. Thus, you will be sure than the new improvement produces results.
How to retain customers
First of all you should produce top-quality content. You customers will be loyal, if you regularly create blog posts, infographics, videos, and other materials, which are helpful for your users.
Make all this content easily accessible. Even the best articles, videos or infographics will not work for you, if your customers are not able to find them. Provide top-notch user experience to make your top-quality content useful.
Keep in touch with your customers. Send emails and newsletters to inform your subscribers about latest news or offers.
Growth hacking myths
You have to get a CEH certification or other official confirmation of your skills to become a growth hacker. Of course, you can do it, but you can still be a successful growth hacker without any certifications. You just need the appropriate knowledge base and proper experience.
Growth hacking is impossible without spending money. This is also a myth, because there are a lot of growth hacking tactics which don’t require any money. At the same time, there are strategies, which are impossible without investing.
Growth hacking and marketing are almost the same. This seems true on the surface, but there are a lot of core differences between them. Growth hacking utilizes different marketing strategies, that’s why they have a lot of common features.
You can find the full growth hacking guide by Neil Patel here.
Growth Hacking Tools
Below you will find a list of growth hacking tools devided into divided into 5 categories: Traffic Acquisition, Lead and Customer Acquisition, Market Researchand User Feedbacks, Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing.
With the help of Colibri, you will be able to know more about your customers. This service shows where customers are engaging online. As a result, you can diversify traffic and take part in relevant conversations to improve your SEO. Colibry provides integration with Google Analytics. You can start using the service for free during first two weeks. Pricing plans start at $95 per month.
Nimble is a hub for your contacts, emails, activities, social signals, and follow-ups. It provides the ability to combine them in one convenient place to maximize the relationships. Nimble also has a system of notifications for different events, such as birthdays. You also get the ability to monitor conversations in order to find out who is talking about you. With this feature, you will be able to engage at the right time. Nimble provides a 14-day free trial. Pricing plans start at $15/month.
MixRank will also help you with gaining the additional traffic. With this tool, you will find thousands of new sources suitable for your business. In addition, you will be able to run competition split tests in order to see which existing elements and improvements provide the most positive impact on your website. Another important feature of MixRank provides you with the ability to identify competitors and learn from their successful campaigns. Pricing plans start from $500 per month, but you can use a free trial first.
Pay With A Tweet provides you with the ability to pay people for tweeting or posting your content on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Xing, Vkontakte, and other social networks. Moreover, the service measures clicks, traffic, sales, and provides geo data. Pay With A Tweet is a highly customizable solution, so you can adjust it for your brand with ease. The service provides a free basic plan. The cheapest paid one starts at $19.99 per month.
With Twighlighter, you will be able to grow traffic to your website by simplifying sharing. Your visitors only have to highlight the desirable content on your site to share it on Twitter. New visitors see the most shared content immediately. You can use Twighlighter for free.
Click to Tweet is a growth hacking tool for promoting on Twitter. It is free and easy to use. Click to Tweet provides you with the information about number of clicks on Click to Tweet link. There is also statistics on clicks on link from pre-written tweet. You can use the service on landing pages, social media posts, websites, and emails.
A lot of visitors abandon your website? Bounce Exchange will help you fix this problem. This growth hacking tool will inviting them back. You will also get a vital information from visitors who are going to abandon your website. Additionally, Bounce Exchange provides you with the ability to A/B test your CTA buttons. Pricing plans start at $5,995 per month. There is also a pricing plan based on volume of visitors.
If you are going to implement your growth hacking strategy with the help of CTA, then you should pay your attention to Hello Bar. This tool adds a horizontal bar with call-to-action button at the top of your website. CTA can be used to direct users to a certain page, get more subscribers, promote your content on social media, get more followers, or implement A/B testing. The solution is totally free.
If you want to know more about your visitors, then CrazyEgg is a must have tool for you. It provides lots of different information about user behaviour. CrazyEgg shows where visitors are clicking, what they are reading and where they stop, what is the difference between major traffic segments. You can use this service during 30 day for free.
SessionCam is another tool which helps increase conversion. It shows session recordings of your website visitors and identifies problem areas. With the help of information about behavior of your visitors, you can improve user experience, make your customers more loyal and get better conversion rate. With SessionCam you can choose between basic free plan and a paid one.
With KISSmetrics, you will be able to get insights into your target audience. The service connects all the data to real people. As a result, you can check where your customers are, what they are doing on your website, and how their behavior changes. KISSmetrics provides a free 14-days trial. The cheapest plan starts from $200 per month.
Totango provides you with the ability to understand when your customers need your help or are ready to move to the next level. With the help of this information, you can implement your growth hacking tactics in order to improve onboarding, drive adoption, reduce churn, and boost sales. Pricing plans are available on request.
Optimizely provides super easy A/B testing with no changes to the code. After a series of tests, you will be able to increase engagement and interactions on your site. Optimization is easy with Optimizely. The company provides a free trial and several pricing plans, starting at $17 per month.
Visual Website Optimizer is an alternative to Optimizely. It makes A/B testing possible for non-coders. Visual Website Optimizer provides the ability to set up different conversion goals for each test to in order to understand which improvement is the best. Besides A/B testing, it also provides multivariate testing. Visual Website Optimizer relies on split URL testing to work with different versions landing pages. The cheapest plan costs $49 per month. There is also a 30-day free trial.
Trying to create the ideal landing page? Then you should try Unbounce. This landing page builder was developed for users without any knowledge in coding. Unbounce provides the ability to create, publish, and A/B test landing pages independently from a technical team. There are three pricing plans with the cheapest one starting at $49/month. Every pricing plan has a free trial.
If you are looking for a robust customer experience analytics tool, then you should pay your attention to ClickTale. This growth hacking solution is focused on website optimization. It also provides deep analysis on conversion, and wide usability research. You can analyze the performance of online forms from your website, make your users engaged, and lead them through the conversion process with the help of ClickTale. Pricing plans depend on company’s needs, but there is a free trial.
Coastics provides the addition to your Google Analytics accounts. With the help of this tool, you will be able to get the most relevant data right in your inbox. Coastics requires no logging, supports unlimited number of inboxes, and works on all possible devices. You can join the beta for $29 per month.
Zapier simplifies jobs previously impossible without developers. With the help of this service, everyone can connect web applications with the website and automate tedious tasks. Zapier supports more than 300 apps. You can choose a free plan to start the exploration of this service.
With Gumroad you can sell your digital products online without having a e-commerce store. Writers, game developers, designers, and musicians are among users of this service. Gumroad supports different formats of content and integrates with various social services. The service requires a 5% fee and 25 cents per transaction.
Consumer Barometer provides you with the information about your online users in order to make right business decisions and implement successful internet marketing campaign. You can use Consumer Barometer without any signups for free. Just visit the website and get all the necessary data.
With Qualaroo, you will be able to understand what your visitors are doing on your website and what are the reasons of these actions. Thust, you will easily identify valuable features in order to improve the conversion rate. Qualaroo works for both mobile and desktop visitors. It provides a free trial for first two weeks , the cheapest plan costs $63 per month.
With the help of Olark, you will be able to add a chat to your website. Besides connecting with your site visitors, this growth hacking tool will also show who is on your website, where are your users, what are they doing, how long are they on your site. Paid plans begin from $15 per month. Olark also offers a free trial for 14 days.
Typeform is famous for humanized online surveys. The services provides your customers with top-notch user experience by making your questions look great on every page of your website. In addition, Typeform gains insights with other integrated tools, and reveals hidden trends. You can use this service for free, or buy a Pro plan for $35 per month.
Polldaddy is another tool for creating surveys and polls. With the help of this service, you will be able to get customer feedbacks or run a market research campaign. Polldaddy provides powerful reporting, filtering capabilities, and high level of customization. Basic plan is free, paid plans start at $200 per year.
MailChimp provides the leading solution among other email marketing tools. The service analyzes website activities and provides the ability to send targeted emails based on it. MailChimp also offers recommendations for optimal send-times, and segments mailing lists. You can start from free plan and upgrade to more robust solution for $10 per month.
Vero adds personalization to your email marketing campaigns. The service analyzes people’s behavior on your website and sends emails based on it. To make sure, that you are using the right strategy, Vero provides A/B testing for all its emails. Pricing plans starts from $99 per month.
With ListBuilder by AppSumo you will be able to collect email addresses of your visitors. The service works on both desktop and mobile devices. It utilizes “Smart popup” mode to provide better user experience. ListBuilder prompts guests to leave their emails only if you have their full attention. Moreover, you can integrate ListBuilder with other similar services. The solution is free.
AWeber will speed-up your email creation process and simplify your email marketing. The service provides 600+ templates, supports autoresponders, and provides key data on emails’ performance. The cheapest pricing plan costs $19 per month.
SendGrid is a reliable platform for your transactional and marketing emails. It provides unmatched scalability, perfect deliverability, and real-time analytics. The volume of emails sent through the service is 14 billion per month, the number of SendGrid’s customers is more than 180,000. Plans start at $9.95/month.
You can add personalization to your emails with the help of Klaviyo. The service relies on customer data to send targeted emails and newsletters. In addition, you will be able to see, how much emails engaged your customers into different actions. Klaviyo provides a free basic plan, as well as several paid starting at $25 per month.
Sendwithus provides you with the ability to manage and update transactional emails. In addition, you can perform A/B tests, and create robust email campaigns. Sendwithus offers a free Hacker Plan, the cheapest paid one is $79 per month.
Customer.io is another tool for targeted email campaigns. It offers flexible segmentation. You also get a comprehensive A/B testing capabilities and robust reporting system. Moreover, you can use Customer.io for sending payment receipts and other transactional emails. Last but not least is the ability to track conversions triggered by your emails. Customer.io provides both free and paid plans ($50/month).
If you are looking for the inbound marketing software, then we recommend you to check HubSpot. It helps with successful inbound marketing and provides you with real business results. With HubSpot, you will be able to manage your blogs, social media, website landing pages, email marketing campaigns, vital analytics, and more within one convenient interface. Basic pricing plan starts at $200 per month.
Marketo provides a set of tools for marketing automation, campaign management, and analytics. With this service, you will be able to run new campaigns and make them fully automated. Additionally, Marketo can be used for creating long-term relationships with your customers. Pricing depends on company’s products.
Below you will find 20 links to different resources about growth hacking. They are divided into 4 groups: General Information; Real-World Examples; How to Hire a Growth Hacker; and Products for Growth Hacking.
The origins of growth hacking by Aaron Ginn. The author explains how social media and Internet marketing influenced the appearance of growth hacking.
Five Phases of Growth Hacking at Mashable. The site itself has tons of different content, and there is an interesting article about growth hacking among it. The author explains basics of this phenomenon.
Sixteen Ventures – a blog of Lincoln Murphy. He is an outstanding growth hacker, and his blog is full of useful advices.
Startup Marketing by Sean Ellis – the godfather of growth hacking. He write about marketing for startups. All articles are divided into different categories, so you can easily find the most suitable to your case.
Hacker Bundle is a place, where you can find all possible products, created for successful growth hacking. You can integrate them with your business in order to achieve marketing goals. All tools a useful and you can purchase them at affordable prices.