Growth Hacking: 13 Tactics Every Startup Needs To Know
Growth hacking is a buzz word for modern companies. The list of well-known startups that became true devotees of GH and used it to grow their user base is almost endless, including such market leaders as Tinder, Product Hunt, Airbnb, etc.
Nowadays growth hacking has become so popular that many companies decrease their traditional marketing departments and hire growth hackers to work separately from marketing. But it’s important to remember that a growth hacker is not a replacement for a marketer. It’s a different role – or, to be more exact, this is a person who’s main focus is growth.
Of course, traditional marketers care about growth too, but not to the same extent. Growth hackers literally live with “growth” on their mind. And every strategy/tactic/initiative/decision revolve around it.
“Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph.”
In short, growth hackers have one objective – to grow the company. This is done through a variety of tactics called “hacks.” From this post, you will learn how to leverage the 13 best-known growth hacking tactics to attract more users and earn more sales for your business.
#1. Fake It hack
When trying to achieve rapid growth, many startups must appear much larger than they actually are in order to attract users. After all, who wants to go to the party if nobody is there?
One Danish startup appeared to look bigger by buying several phone numbers (in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the UK) and displaying them on their homepage. This gave customers, as well as media and investors, the impression that it was a big company rather than a small startup.
#2. Community hack
Successful marketers don’t just communicate with customers, they engage them. An engaged customer reacts to your product. They participate in its evolution by connecting with peers and conversing with brand representatives. They integrate your product and its values into their daily routine.
One way to maximize customer engagement is to build a community around your product. For example, Unbounce, an application that simplifies the process of A/B testing your landing page, used their product as a jumping off point by creating the Unbounce Community, a forum where digital marketers can connect with each other.
#3. Exclusivity hack
The things that are just out of reach are the things we reach for the most. Cultivating an air of exclusivity creates a sense of importance, urgency and most of all, intrigue–a fact which many startups are using to their advantage.
CargoCollective, the portfolio building platform for visual artists, requires users to apply for access. To join Ello, an ad-free social network, an existing user must invite you.
Exclusivity taps into an insecurity we all have: the fear of missing out. Limiting the number of people who can sign up, become members, or order your product triggers an emotional response, and emotion can influence buying behavior more than logic.
#4. Reverse Engineering hack
Don’t think of your competitor as an obstacle, think of them as an educational tool. To beat them, you have to learn from them. When mapping out your marketing strategy, reverse engineer your competitor’s strategy to see what works and what doesn’t.
#5. AHA Moment hack
When your product isn’t quite clicking with your customers, your first move might be to invest in further marketing and promotion. But this isn’t always the most prudent decision, as sometimes the problem lies less with the marketing and more with the product. Investing back into the product itself can reveal a systemic flaw, or an ‘aha moment,’ that, if fixed, can get you back in the game.
#6. Acquisition hack
When you can’t beat them, join them. Or buy them.
#7. Integration hack
Similar to the Acquisition Hack, the Integration Hack incorporates another business’s product, service, or API into your own. As a startup, this hack can leverage the other business’s existing user base and piggy back on their credibility.
#8. Pretargeting hack
Building an extensive email list is an important first step toward acquiring customers, but if users are not expecting to be “sold to,” a cold sales email can scare them off. The Pretargeting Hack warms users up to your product before hitting them with that first email blast.
Facebook and Twitter both offer powerful pretargeting services. After signing up, you can upload your list of emails. The platform then populates each contact’s Facebook or Twitter page with ads for your product.
#9. Viral Sign Up Form hack
Marketers would be hard-pressed to come up with a word more important than “more”. More views, more traffic, more users, more customers, more conversions. More everything.
The Viral Sign-Up Form Hack serves the God of More by multiplying the amount of people who fill out your website’s signup form. Instead of encouraging users to sign up individually, you can capture multiple sign-ups in one fell swoop by incentivizing the sign-up process.
To make your signup form go viral, set it up so that those who share your landing page with a specified number of friends receive a reward. Maybe they’ll be added to your launch list. Maybe they’ll get to move higher up on the wait list. Maybe whoever shares your landing page the most receives a discount on the product, or a sneak peek at new features.
#10. Transparency hack
Maintaining an open and honest relationship with customers builds trust and credibility. It shows the consumer they’re valued and respected, and in turn, that value and respect have a far better chance of being reciprocated.
Buffer provides a great example. In 2013 they walked the walk by publishing a blog post of the names and salaries of all of their employees. Not only did the move get the attention of the media, but it doubled the number of job applications to Buffer received for open positions.
#11. Try It Yourself hack
If you are concerned that your information/features/benefits would overwhelm potential customers, simply show visitors what your product can offer by building a Try It Yourself widget and inserting it at the bottom of your homepage. Users will stay longer on the website and will be more likely to sign up.
#12. Net Promoter Score hack
The Net Promoter Score is a survey technique that consists of two questions.
First: “How likely is it that you would recommend my brand/product/service to a friend or colleague? (Based on a 0–10 scale).
If a customer answers this question, the second question appears: What’s the most important reason for giving us that score?
If the customer gives you a score of 9 or 10, they receive an automated email. Here is an example: Thank you for your score of 10! You honestly made my day! If you have just 30 seconds, would you be willing to write a quick review to make it easier for other people to discover the service? Here’s a URL:
The reason the Net Promoter Score works so well is because it sneakily cuts down on the number of actions the customer must take in order to arrive at your desired destination. At first, the customer only sees one question. Simple enough, right? When the second question appears, the customer feels a sense of obligation to answer, having already answered the first. And if the customer gave a 9 or 10 rating, they are much more likely to accommodate the automated email’s request.
#13. Random Act of Kindness Email hack
It’s one thing to build an email list. It’s quite another to get users to actually read them.
We can only read 25% OFF!! and LAST DAY TO SAVE!! so many times before chucking our computer out the window, but what if an email actually gave us something rather than sell us something?
SquareSpace, for example, offers you an extension on your free trial, no strings attached. Dropbox will sometimes increase your storage space for free. (you may use a useful guide about how to share files on Dropbox).
Random (or seemingly random) acts of kindness not only encourage users to continue using your product, they make you more inclined to open any subsequent emails. If their last email gave me more storage space, I wonder what this one is offering?
*This post is created in collaboration with @ Ahrefs , a data-driven marketing toolset powered by a huge index of backlinks, keywords and content.