Do Growth Hacking techniques help to improve your company´s positioning? Growth Hacking, as defined in Wikipedia, is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective and efficient ways to grow a business.
It uses a combination of both website analytics and creatives in order to achieve rapid growth particularly in Start-ups. According to the original idea, Growth Hacking brings together the different members of a Company, marketers, engineers and product managers with the aim of building the user base and taking the company to a higher level. Over time, Growth Hacking has become more specialized and created a professional profile of its own to carry out these tasks.
Growth Hacking can’t be looked at as a combination of tools and techniques like other forms of marketing. It’s about a completely different way of approaching and looking at the market and also marketing as a whole. Given that growth is imperative to most companies, a new way of marketing originated that lets you reach the market but in a much cheaper way making it ideal for start-ups, because it allows companies with few resources the work on their marketing in an accelerated manner.
The term Growth Hacking was first introduced to the world of marketing in the blog “Startup-Marketing” in 2010 in an article entitled “Find a Growth Hacker for your start-up”. Later, Andrew Chen brought the term to a wider audience in his article “How to be a Growth Hacker”.
What should a Growth Hacker be like?
A good Growth Hacker should be creative, analytical, and have an open mind in order to do their job properly. These are some of the characteristics that make a good Growth Hacker:
- Analytical: A Growth Hacker has to work in the world of data and details so it is essential that they are comfortable and have the right mind-set to analyse and deal with the data and figures correctly. It is important that they stick to the metrics and if there aren´t any, be able to find or create them. They also have to be able to relate the data, figures, factors and functions in order to the situation of the company and explain how and why things are happening.
- Creative: A profile in high demand especially among start-ups, it’s a person capable of working with little resources and under difficult circumstances. It’s true that that in order to do marketing you don’t need a huge budget like some of the big companies and it can be countered with imagination and the know-how to find low cost resources in hard to find places. The creative person must also be willing to take risks, in order to come up with solutions you may have to think outside of the box and try some things that nobody else would.
- Curious Mind: As with the characteristics above not only is it important to be analytical and creative but also to show a curiosity in the reasons why things happen and how they relate to each other. A curious mind will help when there are gaps or clues in the data of what is happening in the company by providing innovative and different ideas to find the solutions.
Growth Hacking techniques are designed to help grow the company and gain recognition. Growth Hackers usually take advantage of free channels, in order to compensate for the lack of means by using their imagination to get the best traffic results to websites, social networks etc.
These are the Tricks and techniques of the trade that can help give your company a boost. We have put together 15 Growth Hacking techniques that you can’t afford to miss:
1.- Social Network profiles
An ideal way of getting recognition for your company is through Social Network profiles. By using Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn you can create a community and get closer to users that you wouldn’t normally be able to reach. These Social Networks value originality and the interest that your brand can generate. A well-planned social strategy created with a powerful, direct and attractive message can be the perfect starting point for your company.
One company that has become famous for its work on Social Networks is Potorro, a brand of Jam. This company likes to engage in word play and double meanings to grab peoples’ attention and gain recognition for their products.
Social Networks cater to all kinds of Companies and is a very open market.
A true Growth Hacker will take advantage of Social Media to send a powerful message, using specific language in order to turn their message into an event. As with Potorro, who have built an online following that are eager to know what the next message will be, thus creating a link between users and followers that results in increased visits and customers for your brand.
2.- Taking advantage of a weak rival
As with all sectors, a weak rival is a golden opportunity to grow. You can understand this in terms of Growth Hacking by looking at the example of YouTube. They took advantage of a struggling MySpace to offer a better and more complete service to music groups and artists that used it as a platform to promote themselves.
If you see a rival company stagnating, then you have to be able to offer the same service that they do but with much better and more improved conditions for the users. This is a transfer of users from company X, a leader of the sector but stagnant, to company Y, a new player with an improved service offering more possibilities. What would the users choose?
3.- Quick Answers
Users like the fact that when a question is asked on a Social Network the answer is almost instantaneous. Those that have to wait for an answer to their question may become disappointed that no one responded immediately or fast enough.
What is your clients’ source of information? If you are a source that responds the quickest they will come to you without hesitation. Customers value efficiency, speed and quality so if your company can fulfil these aspects you will increase the traffic to your website, which is the main objective of a Growth Hacker.
For this reason, it is important to have a team of professionals on hand who are in charge of solving any questions or problems that customers ask you.
4.- Viral Content
The goal of every digital content manager is: for the created content to be shared virally, or to go viral. It is the ultimate goal, but one that can be difficult to achieve as no one knows exactly what elements make for good viral content.
A company that achieves viral content, like the tweet by Potorro in the example above, is able to position their brand and reach the final customer much easier than other companies who cant.
Another way of working viral content is by being the place where it is hosted. YouTube is a company that works very well with Growth Hacking, with most of the viral content nowadays coming out on its site. The platform is not the generator of the contents; it simply offers the creators an outlet in which to make what they have done available to the public.
In this way, YouTube benefits enormously from the creativity of its users, the creators of viral content, and obtains a huge amount of visits to its site.
They are not as strong as they were before the appearance of Social Networks, but they are still good places to go if you want to position your product. Many companies, especially those that sell a particular kind of product like electronics, often use forums to respond to consumer concerns while taking the opportunity to recommend their products.
Keep in mind that Growth Hacking is a way of working that at times can be quite aggressive, therefore one way of doing this is to end all of your company´s comments by adding a link to the company’s website. Its certainly a very aggressive technique as it can be invasive and your account can also be accused of SPAM, but it is a direct way of bringing the users of the forum to your site where you can get rid of any of the concerns that have been raised.
6.- Welcome emails
This is a simple resource that welcomes and introduces what the company does as well as the benefits that you can gain when joining the group on offer. A welcome email can be enough for the user to feel accepted and part of the website and a larger community in general.
The good thing is that there are platforms like MDirector out there that are able to facilitate this type of message and crate automated emails that every user, who registers their email address with your company, will be able to receive.
In addition to welcoming the user and making them feel at home, a Growth Hacker could take the opportunity to expand the community. A lot of Social Networks encourage their users to invite their friends to join. In doing so the user normally gains benefits in the form of credits which give access to exclusive services, which in turn encourages the user to seek out more and more friends to join in order to get access to the full navigation experience.
7.- Creating content on third-party websites
Sometimes it can be difficult to attract clients to your website, that’s why you have to change direction and focus on creating content on third party sites as a way of attracting more users. Social networks or forums are common places that are closely related to this practice, but there are more.
YouTube is an ideal place to publish your company’s content since video makes it easy to let everyone know what you do, how you do it, what resources you have and what solutions you can offer your users.
By employing the resources that other companies use can be an ideal way to redirect users to your website on a budget. For example, potential clients who often read mobile phone blogs are sure to show an interest in your company, in this case a smartphone manufacturer, if you present your product there in an attractive way. It’s about using all of the resources others put at your disposal to benefit you the right way and increase visits to your site.
8.- Create a striking, identifiable and useful design
The fact that first impressions are made with the eyes, is beyond doubt, so therefore a website with an attractive design, is always seen as a better website. Your company will gain prestige and the ability to attract more audience if it has a striking design.
In addition to needing a striking design, your website will also need an identifiable design or logo that defines the brand and its values. Apple is a company that works very hard on its brand identity, launching each and every one of its products in a similar way, where simplicity and neatness rule the identity of the Cupertino brand.
Even if you manage to catch the eye of your clients and have a beautifully designed website, it won´t matter unless it translates into a useful and user-friendly experience as it will probably result in the customer leaving. Take for example a video hosting website, if your design and functionality is better than YouTube then you should end up attracting more audience. Although to achieve this goal you will have to incorporate and use other Growth Hacking techniques.
9.- Creating a sense of urgency
A sense of urgency is one of the best ways to sell a product. Thanks to it you can make a user feel the need to immediately want or have the product or service, because if they don’t snatch up the offer straight away they may miss the opportunity and wont be able to find it again at such a bargain price. Travel agents, hotels, etc. use this kind of psychological technique in order to sell their products and encourage their customers to click there and then.
A business that offers cloud-hosting services can use this sense of urgency to its benefit. For example, if a client sees that you are offering double the storage space than normal but only if you sign up in the next 5 minutes the chances of them buying your product are much greater. It creates the feeling that if I don´t buy the product right now I wont be able to enjoy all of the same benefits in the future.
10.- Free trials, gifts and contests
Have you ever tried a product without having to pay for it? Free trails are common among most businesses that see it as a great way to introduce their products to the customers and use them as bait to entice the customer sign up permanently. The main role of the free trail is to convince the user that by getting the complete product all of their expectations and needs will be fulfilled.
Lets go back to the example of the cloud hosting service. In this case the customer has now been with the hosting service for one year and as a reward they are offered double the capacity that they currently have, free of charge, and all they have to do is invite 10 friends, truly a gift. It’s a win-win situation; the long time customer finds a benefit in their service with more storage space for the same amount of money and the company expands its network by attracting new visitors and potential clients.
In addition to the free trails, it may be a good idea to launch contests in order to get the website more recognition as well as offering access to the website and services of the brand with advantageous conditions. It’s a good resource that can be launched in multiple ways, as we can see in the contest above that was done by Outcomm eBusiness Solutions.
11.- Integrate your website with others
Websites like YouTube let you integrate your web content with others, helping to give it greater dissemination, and without the need for the user to come to your website in order to see the product or content which can be done from multiple places. It’s a way of publicizing the brand, introducing the company and building a community.
Similarly, positioning your business in forums or creating content on third-party sites so that your space can be shared and viewed in different places will boost your company and increase visits. Embedded YouTube content is a strategy to take you to their site; the user that clicks on the video is actually visiting YouTube.
The advantage of sharing this kind of content makes YouTube unrivalled in the world of Internet video. The omnipresence of the site, facilitating the sharing of content for companies and individuals, benefits both the user who can find simple and fast solutions, and the websites themselves that sees their content spread everywhere. More places to find your content, which means more visits.
12.- Personalize the experience
Visiting Amazon or YouTube is never the same for you or your best friend; you will surely have different suggested videos as well as a different layout of elements on the page. By using cookies to store search information, you can enhance the customer experience on your website, as well as increasing the number of sales.
A website that recommends products to you based on your search history and interests, is a website that is optimized to convert and get more visits. The user benefits by being shown products related to his searches, while the company benefits from becoming the go-to site the next time the user wants to find something related to their interests.
Retargeting has been proven to be an efficient technique for attracting visitors to a website. This marketing technique is based on positioning, through banners, advertising to target those users that have visited a website but didn’t convert and it is one of the most effective ways of bringing customers back to your site.
Users who have left you, yet continue to see banners related to your website may eventually click on them and finally convert.
Platforms like MDirector CRM Retargeting are designed to make retargeting as simple as possible, so don’t worry if you have no idea what retargeting is or how it works because you will be still be able to start with this Growth Hacking technique sooner than expected.
14.- Sharing your content
It has been proven that the more online presence your business has, the greater the reach. Sharing content on Social Networks, blogs, news aggregators etc., will give you more options for attracting customers to your website.
Shared content makes your website more relevant, it gets you closer to users who wouldn’t otherwise know about you and it also helps the content to go viral. Remember, being in as many places as possible helps to increase your visits and reach, which is what all good Growth Hackers are looking for.
15.- Free version and Premium
There are companies out there that offer various versions of their products and services. Spotify, for example, offers a Premium paid service that allows access to exclusive services. Their Premium service offers no advertising, you can receive products purchased in advance, you don’t have to pay postage etc, which many users find refreshing.
One way of attracting users to the Premium version is by offering them a free trial. As we have already mentioned in point 10, A user who has signed up for a free version could benefit from the Premium services for a period of time, if they invite a certain number of people to also sign up. This trial period is a way for the user to try out the full services and after having seen the ample benefits it has to offer, sign up permanently.
As you have seen in many of these 15 Growth Hacking techniques, that email marketing is one of the most effective channels. By managing you company´s email marketing through MDirector you can achieve these marketing techniques and get better results.