Because many early stage startups are running on a shoestring budget, paid marketing campaigns are often out of the question. Instead, marketers need to invest time and sweat equity into growth!
Growth hacking means trying a variety of different marketing ideas to grow an engaged user base as fast as possible. Serial entrepreneur, Neil Patel writes, “Growth hackers understand the latent potential of software products to spread themselves, and it’s their responsibility to transform this potential into reality.”
Whether you’re trying to pull off a successful product launch or looking to grow your business. Companies from Dropbox to Airbnb have successfully used growth hacking techniques to grow their startups into the big companies they are today.
There’s a lot that marketers at early stage companies can learn from these companies, so I thought today we could dive into the ways growth hacking can be used in marketing to … grow! When we speak about growth hacking, we’re primarily talking about new business acquisition, but increasing the lifetime value (LTV) of existing customers is equally important to growth.
Once you acquire a customer, it should require much less time (and money) to get them to make a repeat purchase as long as quality and customer service lived up to promise. This is how you grow your company without spending all of your time finding new customers.
Growth marketing is data driven, full funnel marketing based on rapid experimentation. How is it different from traditional marketing? In traditional marketing the main focus is on driving traffic to your site, a service or a business, whereas in growth marketing the focus lies on the full customer journey. That is a probable customer’s journey begins by signing up, known as acquisition. Then the user gets a great user experience, known as activation. He/she begins to understand the core values associated with your product and ultimately, your brand. We can call it reaching the wow moment. If they have a great experience, then loyal customers come back, known as retention.
They trust your brand or product and thus rely on them again as they got a great after sale services, good value out of the product and hence want to re-engage with you and your business. There’s a particular period according to different products, it might be on daily, monthly or yearly basis. Then pricing strategies are considered. What can the company experiment with to drive sales? What can the company up sell, cross sell or down sell? This step is generating revenue. Then we need to make sure that we expand our customer base. Referrals are hence the next step. You can’t be stopping yourself at the success of one deal. You need to keep yourself afloat in the market hence, we need referrals. It is essential to build positive virality. As we can now understand that it’s more than just marketing, the thing which should capture attention is that middle of the sales funnel, i.e. acquisition, activation and retention, is very product oriented. On boarding customers and retaining them often involves a heavy hand on the product development side.
It’s no longer just marketing and it’s not just the middle of the funnel, even at the top of the funnel, growth marketing will try to use as much automation as possible. This will allow them to come up with creative ways to drive up traffic. What we are doing here is we are slowly diminishing the line between the product and marketing. These are no longer two different things. One of the examples is engineered marketing, tools based marketing. This is just another example of creative marketing. Choosing between the millions of combinations of medium and message. Once they have ensured of experiments, the growth marketers or a growth team’s job is data, both hard data and soft data. This is to track customers along the customer journeys and to start experimenting on how to improve conversions along the way. To do this right, you need quite a lot of customer empathy and behavioural psychology. What can we use from the field of behavioural economics? Things such as, persuasion techniques, human biases, to convert more customers to our product or service. Finally once you have run experiments to find out what works, we use coding and automation to build the successes directly into the product, either by systemizing it or by productizing it. Thus, to sum it up, growth hacking is about creativity, analytical skills and social metrics. Let’s see some of the trends in growth hacking,
- How-to guides – why did any user sign up with you? where do your users run into problems? Asking these questions to yourself will help you prepare how-to guides for your customers in order to help them beforehand.
- Behavioural emails – you can’t just target anyone coming to your site and start sending mails, if you don’t want to land in spam. Growth hacking is all about behavioural psychology, understand their activities, what kind of content do they see on your site? What do they participate in? Understand their likes and dislikes and then go ahead with sending emails according to your observation of their behaviour or activity on your site. This will let you understand their needs properly and also result in better conversion rates. Customers will appreciate the concern you show for them and engage more with your business or brand.Net promoter score (NPS) – to maintain and grow your customer loyalty and satisfaction. The main question regarding NPS is how likely will you recommend the company or website to a friend? Or how likely are you to buy again from the company or website? It uses a 0 to 10 point rating scale to measure the NPS, with 0 implying ‘not at all likely’ and 10 meaning ‘extremely likely’. A research paper suggests that 10-15% of people who answered 1-8 have small issues or user error that can be instantly fixed. This means that it’s a very easy and quick win for the companies. Companies taking NPS seriously thrive well. NPS is shown to be more reliable than a customer satisfaction survey. Measuring loyalty with NPS has proven to be more consistent with the growth of the company.
- Target big clients through emails – how to catch the big fish for start-ups is a question that is doing the rounds in this industry. Let’s see how to approach a big client,