There are certain buzzwords in the online world that compel us to listen up. You’ve seen them: words like “massive value” or “explosive ROI.” Even though they might feel like clickbait, you just can’t help but, well… click. There’s another phrase you’ve undoubtedly seen throughout your startup efforts — one equally as likely to make you click: growth hacking.
According to digital marketer, Neil Patel, growth hackers “often have to use analytical, inexpensive, creative and innovative methods to exponentially grow their company’s customer base.”
Growth hackers aren’t just marketers, though; they’re people within a startup whose goal is growth, plain and simple. And that’s partly why, even though growth hacking has become a common buzzword for startups, it matters.
To become a true growth hacker, though, you can’t just try a bunch of tactics and see what works. Instead, your decisions, actions and paths forward need to be based on hard data and metrics (hence the “hacking” part).
If you’re ready to try your hand at growth hacking (the real, true hacking that results in predictable outcomes) keep reading to learn five growth hacks you can use to jumpstart your new company.
Run invite-only launches
Several years ago, when Google+ first came onto the scene, “The New York Times“ called their invite-only launch a “digital velvet rope.” There couldn’t be a better description.
Lots of companies simply release their new product and plow forward from there. Google, however, knew there was something behind the idea of selectivity. Instead of opening the doors to the public at once, they allowed initial users to join via invite-only — a move resulting in invites even being sold on eBay.
Fortunately, you don’t need a large audience to run an invite-only launch. Try partnering with micro-influencers in your niche and ask them to test out your new product or service. By targeting the right people, you could reach a much broader segment of your target market.
Identify top metrics
Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) can generally be lumped into two different categories:
- Actionable metrics
- Vanity metrics
Not surprisingly, actionable metrics are the ones most of your energy should be focused on. They’re metrics you can take logical steps forward with. Vanity metrics, on the other hand, are just for show.
To frame it in the simplest way possible, vanity metrics might be stats like social media follower counts, whereas actionable metrics might be social media conversion rates. You can have millions of followers on Facebook, but if none of them convert into paying customers, that huge metric doesn’t matter; it’s just for show.
By choosing the right metrics to follow from the start, you’ll be able to truly hack your way to exponentially faster growth. Instead of putting time, effort and money into growing your social media following, for example, you could use your data to focus on what’s actually driving conversions.
If you’re not sure where to start, try focusing on AARRR metrics:
- Acquisition: Your user/customer signups
- Activation: The use of your service or product, which might reflect successful onboarding efforts
- Retention: The continued use of your service or product
- Referrals: How (or how many) current customers help bring in new ones
- Revenue: Money generated from all of the above
Advertise with video
Over 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube every day, and that stat only grazes the surface. Add in video from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more, and you’ll be hard-pressed to ignore the significance of it.
There are countless ways to use video to advertise your startup, and doing so is an excellent tactic to hack your path toward growth. Things like how-to videos and value-packed lessons, for example, can all bring that customer acquisition metric we just talked about way up.
You don’t have to hire a professional production team, either. Simply hosting a Facebook Live event, where you can stream from anywhere, at any time, can boost your growth efforts.
Stay acutely relevant
As your startup grows, you’ll continue to learn more and more about your market. With that continuous influx of knowledge should come constant updates to the way customers and users interact with your business.
A study by Swirl showed businesses “that continue to push irrelevant content, ads and offers risk alienating consumers and losing business to competitors.” In other words, unless you’re giving users, customers or followers a highly personalized experience, you’re at risk of losing them to companies who are.
It’s no shock why the Amazons and Facebooks of the world are completely dominating markets. Just log into your account to see why. Everything, from the way you’re greeted, to the content you’re shown, is personalized.
Host free webinars
Offering free webinars ties into the point about advertising via video above. However, it’s so important, it deserves a section of its own.
According to webinar-pro, Lewis Howes, hosting free webinars is a direct path to:
- Email list growth
- Increased brand awareness
- New followers and customers
- Sales jumps
Webinars are popular for a number of reasons, but most of all, you’re offering up free knowledge. And because webinars are such an excellent way to connect with people, you’ll find they’re far more likely to remain loyal to your company afterward (giving you the perfect opportunity to turn them into long-term customers).
Becoming an expert at growth hacking
Remember, growth hackers only care about increasing growth, and they only base decisions off hard statistics and data. If you want to take this title seriously, it’ll mean truly becoming one with your numbers.
Fortunately, these five growth hacks just begin to explore the vast array of opportunities available. What works for some startups might not be applicable to others. Start by gaining a deep understanding of your most important metrics, and from there, you’ll be able to hone in on which hacks are right for you.