Growth Hacking Strategies: 6 Tactics That Always Work
When it comes to achieving growth for companies, new tricks always seem to keep popping up. But, there are a few tactics of growth hacking that almost always are able to provide positive results. There are tons of tips and tactics that work as well for startups as they do for established businesses (so long […]
When it comes to achieving growth for companies, new tricks always seem to keep popping up. But, there are a few tactics of growth hacking that almost always are able to provide positive results. There are tons of tips and tactics that work as well for startups as they do for established businesses (so long as they have a startup mindset). And right now is a very good time for building growth for startups…But, for achieving marketing success, here are some of these sacred tactics and tools that always render positive results. Before I jump in though, I wish to add my two cents about why growth marketing and growth hacking is doing wonders in the business world, and consequently, why startups must believe in it. A Word about Startups First No matter what continent we refer to at the moment, startups spell the present and the future. Unlike a decade ago, these sorts of enterprises and entrepreneurs are neither dissuaded, nor laughed upon, and this is why they are only looking ahead. We see the example of how Hotmail sold itself to Microsoft just one and a half year after its launch, it already had 12 million users (out of 70 million), and we are astounded by these results: Marketing is a big factor in startup success, and growth marketing even bigger. And of course, there are definitely some more reasons for startup success, but for now, let’s consider just this one. Why Startups Should Put their Faith in Growth Hacking The number one reason is that growth hacking is not a novel concept at all. It is probably one of the most traditional ideas when it comes to marketing. The truth is that it growth hacking is a concept that intelligently fuses and merges traditional marketing, new marketing tools, strategies and ideas that work wonderfully well for the growth of any organization – new or old; startup or established. But, the results are awesome. Then What Makes It any Different from Marketing? Growth Hackers, as Sean Ellis christened these specialists in a 2010 blog post about startup marketing, are much more than marketers for each endeavor of theirs is targeted only towards growth; towards growth that is scalable. They do the work of two – a marketer, and a coder as well. The job is not just about making growth strategies, but constantly monitoring them, drawing conclusions with processes like A/B testing, and tools like viral factor, landing pages, etc make this growth better, faster, and even better, and even faster. I do not say this because I fit into this profile myself; I say this because this kind of endeavor is much more durable, and much wider spanning than the ordinary brand of marketing. And I have seen growth hackers who have no degree in marketing at all, but are doing a wonderful job at it. I, myself, do not belong to a management or a marketing background, but it is my entrepreneurial thirst that brought me to this arena. So, here are some of the tried and true growth hacking tactics that have stood the test of time, and will probably continue to do so for a long time. 1. Welcoming the New Trends with Open Arms This age loves the viral stuff, and I know you agree with me. Trends come in and make a mark, even if as fads. Facebook came in as a fad but it is a phenomenon now. What startups may usually fall into is what we call ignorance. And, no matter how much Alexander Pope believed in ignorance as bliss, it is definitely not bliss when it comes to entrepreneurship. No.1 – You’ve got to be aware of what’s trending. No.2 – Embrace new trends with open arms. Doing the first mentioned task, followed by the last mentioned, you will definitely be one step ahead in marketing your brand. I will explain this with an example. Suppose you Suppose you are, say, a travel business. Now, no matter how platforms like Pinterest are suited to the promotion of your business, since you do not know much about it, or do not tend to like it, you may not include it in your social media program. Or, say, you don’t think very highly of Instagram, and exclude it too, you may be missing a chance to reach thousands of more customers. Options wherein people can simply login to your site through platforms Facebook, or Google Plus always work. The point is that they have mass appeal, even if you find them to be unnecessary. The best marketing companies will always recommend embracing the latest of the marketing trends. So, be open to them, and see your reach grow by leaps and bounds. 2. Landing Pages are Still the Favorite Trick Any business with an online presence will not be able to do without it. And yes, it is one of the simplest yet one of the most effective ways to market your brand well. Making landing pages is one growth strategy that is almost unrivaled for initial client acquisition. No matter how impressive and user-friendly your website is, in absence of landing pages, you may not get too far in making and keeping customers. Not only each product or service of yours needs a landing page, all new launches and offers deserve one too. Suppose you need to launch a new line of clothes in your exiting business. A mere mention on your website is not enough! You need a dedicated landing page that announces the launch, before the product or category can actually be launched. This will promote signups prior to the launch, and will prove to be a very handy marketing tool for creating the much-needed buzz about your brand. Lading pages are key because they ensure more conversions if you know how to set them up properly. 3. Learning from the Competitors Even if you have no marketing skills what so ever, competitor analysis is a natural habit. Competitors will always be there, unless you’re doing something that nobody has dared to venture into yet. You must not take your competition as a threat; rather take is a teacher. You know, to be where your competitors are, you need to learn what they do, and how they do it. You may call it a sort of reverse engineering. First you find out how they got there and then follow their strategy by engineering it to suit your brand. Find out what worked for them – social media campaign? A new ad campaign? SEO and link building? A redesigned website? Whatever it is, study it well, analyze it, and follow it, but not blindly. Make sure you are always optimizing your campaigns to your specific audience. And there are certain tools that can help you do this – Google Advanced Search Operators, SimilarWeb, MOAT, etc. 4. Being Pro Early Bird The early bird must always get the worm. Yup, do not forget this lesson that your mother taught you when you were a kid. Any startup should be open to benefitting the initial customers. That is the rule of the thumb, and it never, ever, ever fails. Mark my word for it. And, don’t just stop there. Your initial customers should always be made to feel special. Keeping customers is as important as making new ones. This is one important lesson to learn in Keeping customers is as important as making new ones. This is one key lesson to learn in growth hacking. Offering perks every now and then, or at special occasions or festivals, is a good way to bag their loyalty. Putting an efficient early adopters program in place is a sure shot tactic that works every time. This will increase your popularity, grow your business by way of referrals, and even get you some customer evangelists, which are a prized commodity during any phase of a business’s lifecycle. 5. Fortify the Communication – Hype is the Idea Today, an enterprise is not an enterprise if people do not know about it. The key to good marketing has always lied in letting people know that you The key to good marketing has always lied in letting people know that you exist, and that you are doing great already. If there is one element of traditional growth strategy that cannot ever fail, it is email marketing. And yes, it is always about creating hype. This helps effectively in fetching leads and conversions as well. I am not talking of spamming here. Remember, more around 70% of emails worldwide are spam. You should not make yourself a part of that. Email those people to whom your products or services make sense, and keep a check on the frequency. This helps effectively in fetching leads and conversions as well. I am not talking of spamming here. Remember, more around 70% of emails worldwide are spam. You should not make yourself a part of that. Email those people to whom your products or services make sense, and keep a check on the frequency. Email those people to whom your products or services make sense, and keep a check on the frequency. Viral marketing is one thing, spamming is another. It is never a bad idea to use a service like MailChimp for managing your email marketing campaigns. Marketing automation is pretty easy now compared to what it used to be three decades ago… Also, don’t forget about social media. It plays a vital part in creating the much-needed hype for your business. Likes, shares, retweets while not the most ROI-driven success metrics, are still instrumental in telling you that you are going in the right direction. Creating a hype around your business, product or idea is half the battle. Providing your audience with constant reminders of your brand presence; seeing a company name all over the place on social media; hearing about it everywhere… That kind of hype really makes a big impact. 6. Giving – More than Taking Any business which believes in only taking cannot sustain for long. But when it comes to startups, this happens so very often. Since the enterprise in new, with limited resources and capital, it may usually be the case, only to earn initially. But that is an approach which can soon lead to stagnation. Even before you break even, you must give more than you are taking. This alternatively means, giving back products or services worth more than the value than what they are paying you, if not always, then at least on occasions. Free giveaways have been a winning growth trick forever. You wanna know why? It’s because they work. But, well, I heard a lot of skeptics saying that growth hacking may soon be dead. But do I believe that? NO! Why not? Because that is what I do for a living? Absolutely not! Niet! Growth Hacking will never “die” because it is process that believes in re-iteration through re-invention. And, it does not use the same growth strategies or marketing tools blindly for every business. New situations necessitate new tools and new hacks. This is exactly how dynamic any efficient growth hacker should be. Devising the ways to shoot up the growth is not just a onetime goal for this sort of marketing. It is a constant goal. You do it once, and do not come down; you keep devising ways to keep going up; you look at old strategies, make changes to them in new contexts; even make entirely new strategies altogether; in short, all that needs to be done to keep growing. The point is, and it must be noted if you wish to make any good out of this process, that growth hacking may start with a startup, but doesn’t leave you a startup. It helps you move towards the status of an established business, but still doesn’t become a redundant or obsolete technique for you. It grows with your business and keeps it growing in turn. This is why companies like Facebook and Pinterest have full-time growth hackers devoted entirely to chalking out growth tactics constantly. As for those who may think that its death is near, they probably have not yet realized the potential that growth hacking shows. As for me, I fully realize it, and see how I and my clients benefit from it. As for the tactics that I talked of, those are not all that a growth hacker does. Just like entrepreneurs must do some things and stop doing other things to succeed in business, this procedure also changes with the needs. The tactics I listed are only some of the very basics of growth hacking that barely scratch the surface. Ultimately, you can use these ideas for when you are just starting out and create your own combinations of tools, tactics and strategies that may only ever work for your specific business. Who knows? When it comes to growth hacking, there is no set formula. The sky is the limit. Have any questions for me? Please tweet me or leave them in the comments section.
Rafi Chowdhury is the founder of Chowdhury’s Digital and co-founder of myCampusHacks. He is also a contributing author on many marketing blogs and enjoys writing about Chess, Entrepreneurship, Startups, and Growth Hacking.