Start-up advice is everywhere. It's easy to find. Growth hacking, though? That's a different story. You can't just Google growth hacking and get a clear, easy picture of what it is, how to do it, and how to benefit from it. But we're here to change that.
In this post, we'll give you the skinny on what growth hacking is, why you should care about it, growth hacking examples and how you can grow your business using growth marketing strategies.
What is growth hacking?
Growth Hacking is the new term on the block, so we understand if you're a bit confused about what it actually is. And honestly, there's a lot of confusion about this new field even among growth marketers themselves. So let's clear up some of those misunderstandings.
First off, growth hacking is not just a buzzword for marketing. It's more than that and less than that all at the same time. It's definitely focused on growth—that's what "growth hacker" means literally—but it isn't just about acquiring new customers or growing your market share. Instead, growth hacking focuses on optimizing every part of the customer journey, from finding them through marketing to keeping them as brand ambassadors by making sure they're getting the most out of your product.
Growth hackers do this through experimentation and data-driven thinking. They are constantly running tests to see how they can improve their user experience and make sure that they're reaching their audience where they're hanging out online.
If you're looking for examples of tests & experiments, look no further than Facebook's as an example: they grew from zero users to one billion users without spending any money on advertising.
Companies like Facebook & Microsoft run thousands of tests every day. Through this experimentation mindset, they have grown their market value to $536.37 B & $2 trillion. And now in 2022, we all know how successful they are as a company.
Through these experiments and optimizations, they're able to increase their impact without necessarily increasing their costs—which means that growth hacking can be used in any industry at any stage in its development.
What is a growth hacker?
The term Growth Hacker was coined in 2010 by Sean Ellis who was trying to find a replacement for himself at LogMeIn. Sean Ellis was involved in facilitating the growth of Dropbox, Lookout, and Eventbrite at their early stages.
According to Andrew Chen “Think of growth hackers as the mad scientists of marketing. They believe in a good product above all else. And they're willing to mix and match experiments, data, and psychology to create some kind of growth formula that works for it. At its best, it's a highly effective and cost-efficient way to make your product explode into the market. At its worst… well, you get exploding products.”
Aaron Ginn Quotes “A growth hacker is someone who finds ways to make the product grow by itself. So he lives at the intersection of data, product, and marketing, but his expertise is based on the product. A growth hacker needs to be fluent in technical terms to implement the ideas he has for growing the product. In short, a growth hacker may be a marketer, but his focus is on growth. He's focused on figuring out how to take a product from 0 users to 10 million users (hopefully not 2 weeks).”
Biggest myth that people have about growth hacking?
No one ever said growth hacking was going to be easy. But sometimes it's made even harder by the fact that there are so many myths about what it is and isn't, about how it works and doesn't work, and about what you can or can't expect from the process. To help you better understand what's true and what's not when it comes to growth hacking, let us clear up some of the most common misconceptions.
Myth 1: Growth hacking is just a buzzword
Truth: Growth hacking has been around since 2010. It was coined by Sean Ellis, founder of Qualaroo, and has become increasingly popular among startups looking for growth-related solutions.
Myth 2: Growth hackers are cheap marketing hacks
Truth: Growth hackers don't hack at all; they're very skilled in their areas of expertise. What makes them different is that they approach problems with an open mind—they're not afraid to try things that haven't been done before.
Myth 3: Growth hackers are only concerned with short-term growth.
Truth: Growth hackers are concerned with long-term growth too! In fact, they're often more interested in creating sustainable long-term strategies than quick fixes. The results of growth hacking should be cumulative and lasting over time—you want to build systems that will continue to drive sustainable growth beyond the initial spike you see after launching a growth hack campaign.
Growth marketing vs traditional marketing
Every single company has to reach out to its customers and grow its business. But how do you do it? Growth hacking or traditional marketing? There are lots of debates going on, about who is actually better. So I have decided to cover this topic and share my point of view.
Let's start with defining each of them:
Traditional marketing focuses on high-exposure tactics, like TV, billboards, city squares, or YouTube Masthead. Traditional agencies always aim for maximum awareness with the most creative ideas to attract prospects. But most of the time they don’t have a clue about the actual results.
Growth hacking, on the other hand, focuses on experimentation. Growth hackers often set multiple small but potent experiments (also called hacks). These are short-winded (one week to a month) runs to measure the results. The purpose is to understand which experiments bring the most conversions to the table so that they can be determined to scale kill or pivot the experiments. Growth hackers can be creative too, but the growth metric always comes first.
Traditional approaches vs growth frameworks
Why do we write about the pirate funnel? Because we believe it is the future of marketing. Let’s look at a brief overview of the traditional way of marketing and what you need to know about the Pirate Funnel.
If you've ever worked in an agency, you know the score. You do your magic, create a fantastic campaign that boosts awareness and acquisition, and then all goes quiet. It's not your fault, but it's a problem that so many traditional marketers fall into. When they acquire a customer, they're done with their work.
The Pirate Funnel changes that. It's a new way of thinking about marketing—one that starts with awareness and acquisition like traditional marketing but then goes a few steps further. Instead of just acquiring customers and walking away, growth hackers are responsible for all customer-related operations: They help to keep customers engaged and excited about the product as well as make sure they're bringing in money through continual upselling and cross-selling. In fact, growth hackers are like pirates: They sail the seven seas finding new ways to grow their business and acquire more customers again and again (and again). And really, when you think about it, isn't that what you want? To keep growing your business?
Unmeasurable vs measurable
Traditional marketing agencies usually have their own teams of strategy geniuses who conduct research, focus groups, interviews, and other studies to develop their briefs for the creative department. Not every agency has the resources to conduct that scale of research, though—in that case, their strategy team will often pull from similar campaigns that have been successful in the past or make a guess based on what's worked for other companies.
Growth marketing is a data-driven approach to marketing that focuses on growth and customer acquisition, retention, and referrals. Growth hackers will experiment with new tactics and strategies, measure results in real-time, and iterate to continually improve their campaigns.
What does a growth hacker do all day?
On day to day basis, growth hackers work with teams of people—lots of them. From designers to copywriters to data scientists, they collaborate with anyone who might be able to help them reach their goals.
The other problem with focusing on the "hacking" part of growth hacking is that it makes it sound like a quick fix. Like you just need to find some secret trick and then boom, you're famous. But that just isn't how growth works. Growth hackers work hard and are constantly testing new ideas and strategies—they don't tend to expect overnight success or easy answers.
What sort of skills does a growth hacker possess?
There are a ton of different skills that go into being a growth hacker, and it’s not just technical stuff like you might be thinking. A growth hacker has to be able to build landing pages, use growth hacking tools to automate marketing tasks, A/B tests, data analysis, etc. A growth hacker also has to be able to run ads on channels like AdWords, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
But there are some specific technical skills that a growth hacker needs too. First off, a growth hacker should know basic HTML and CSS. Next up is knowing how to implement tracking tools and marketing automation tools like Google Tag Manager, Zapier, Google Analytics, Hotjar, or other heat mapping tools, etc. that allow you to see what people do when they’re on your website (like what links they click on) so you can optimize it for conversions.
A growth hacker is also known as a T-shaped marketer. He/she has expertise in one or two marketing facets and a passable knowledge of the rest. For example: if you're great at content marketing and SEO, but can also write emails and run ads, you're a T-shaped marketer.
So what are those facets? Here's the list:
- Content Marketing
- Paid Search Ads (Facebook, Adwords, LinkedIn, Programmatic, etc)
- Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
- Email Marketing/Messaging/Chatbots/Other Messaging Platforms
- Social Media Advertising/Organic Social Media Marketing/Community Building on Social Media Platforms
- Marketing automation, web scraping
- A/B testing, Data analysis
- Building landing pages, websites, etc
Growth marketing frameworks
When you're looking at the growth of a company, there are a lot of different factors that come into play. To understand what's going on, it helps to have a framework you can use to break down the different pieces of the puzzle. It starts with how you acquire leads, then how you convert them into customers, and finally how you keep them engaged and compel them to refer others.
What are AARRR frameworks in growth hacking?
The AARRR framework (sometimes called the Pirate Metrics) is one of the most popular models for Start-ups and SaaS companies to measure growth and success. Although it's often used with online products, it can also be applied to real-life products.
It was created by Dave McClure, a venture capitalist and entrepreneur who founded 500 Startups—a seed fund and accelerator program that invests in early-stage, high-growth startups. It's based on the idea that there are five stages of customer engagement: acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue. Each stage is a key indicator of growth potential and is meant to help your company set goals for success at each stage.
We'll walk you through each step.
This refers to how you obtain new customers through marketing strategies like SEO (search engine optimization), social media advertising (think Facebook ads), or paid search ads (think Google AdWords). Your goal here would be to get people onto your website or landing page where they can learn more about your product/service or sign up for your newsletter. You might want them to download something from you or make a purchase. Your goal is to get as many people as possible who fit inside your target demographic into this funnel.
How & where to acquire customers?
Step 1: Understand who your customers are and how you can solve their problems.
It's tempting to try and appeal to everyone, but that’s neither efficient nor effective. You need to narrow down and focus on specific buyer personas, so you can communicate effectively with your audience. To do this, consider the following:
Examples: if you're a software company selling an email marketing tool, you might want to target CMOs of small businesses. Let's say your CMO persona has a deep-seated fear of not getting enough ROI from marketing campaigns due to poor email marketing performance. Your persona also values efficiency and time savings.
Finally, your persona's desired future state would be having more time for strategic planning for their business rather than spending all their time managing campaigns. This will help you understand how to communicate with the CMO. They don't care about the features of the tool; they want to know how it will save them time and make them more money.
Step 2: Find where your customers are?
You’ve built a great product and you are ready to get your first customers on board. However, getting traction is tough and requires the right approach. Here are some marketing channels that have helped us acquire customers:
- Content Marketing
- Paid Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, etc)
- Affiliate Marketing
- Viral marketing
Acquisition metrics to track
This is the number of times your target audience clicked on your ad. Clicks don’t necessarily have to lead to conversions, but they do give you an idea of how many people are interested in your product or service.
This is the number of people who have seen your ad at least once. These are not always unique viewers, as one person may view multiple ads.
An impression refers to a time someone views your ad. If one person views the same ad three times, that counts as three impressions.
A visitor is a person who has clicked through to your site from a paid ad.
Traffic refers to all visitors, including those who came from organic and paid searches. This metric gives you a clearer understanding of how successful your ad campaign is compared to other marketing efforts.
Inquiries are the total number of people who contacted you after viewing and clicking on your ad. This includes both forms submitted and phone calls made by interested people. It doesn’t include emails, however; these are treated as conversions instead because they already know how to get in touch with you before they click through to your site.
Activation is the beginning of user value. It could be considered a product's 'Aha!' moment - the point at which customers realize that they need your product. How do you get people to your activation moment? Marketing activities such as ads, sales funnels, and landing pages drive users to take action. Once they sign up or respond, the lead has activated and is ready for the next step.
It’s important that you track and measure these actions as they are an important step in your growth funnel. Activation helps you understand how many of those initial interactions turned into actual prospects for your business.
The metrics for the activation stage
- Product demo signups
- Free trial signups
- Drop-off rate
- Sales demo signup.
- Dwell time + viewed pages
Some of the activation examples
When you complete the first ride
“Congratulations! You’re officially an Uber rider! Your first ride is on us. We hope you enjoyed your experience and that you’ll continue using Uber in the future!”
When you create a free account
"We’re excited to see your company using Slack! Check out our app directory for integrations in your industry to make the most of your workspace. Let us know if we can do anything to help you get more out of Slack."
When you send your first email
"Thanks for sending your first email using Gmail. Now that you’ve gotten familiar with the process, here are some tips for organizing your inbox and getting more out of Gmail. You can also visit our Help Center for resources or contact our support team directly if you have any questions. We hope you enjoy using Gmail and we can’t wait to see what you do next!"
When you receive your first order
"Don’t forget to rate your shopper and leave a tip—you could win $5 off your next order! And be sure to check out our special offers."
Retention means that customers are regularly using your service and stay subscribed. If you cannot continuously provide value, people will eventually churn. Most SaaS companies focus on getting the retention part right. There is a simple reason for this: it is much more expensive to win new customers than to keep existing ones.
Let's look at an example of how much money you can save by increasing your retention rate:
A company has a monthly recurring revenue (MRR) of $500k, which means they have 5,000 customers paying $100 per month. The company spends $2 to acquire a new customer. That results in an acquisition cost of $10,000 per month or a total acquisition cost of $120,000 per year.
The average customer lifetime value (CLTV) is $1,000, with a gross margin of 60%. This means that the CLTV after deducting the costs for delivering the product is $400. The retention rate is 100% in the first month but decreases by 5% every month thereafter.
Types of retention
There are different types of retention: subscription-based, where people pay for a product on a regular basis; and non-subscription-based, when someone uses an app for free but doesn't feel compelled to keep coming back. If your business relies heavily on subscription revenue streams as Netflix does, then getting people hooked on content is essential for keeping them happy and paying customers in the long run. And that's where great writing comes into play.
Netflix knows exactly how important its content is to its success. That's why they have a team of writers who spend all day coming up with the perfect descriptions for each movie or TV show they release on their platform.
They know what words will entice people into watching something new—and they're really good at it! The best part? They don't just write these descriptions once - they rewrite them every single day because each day brings new opportunities to try different ideas out! And that means Netflix keeps getting better and better at what it does best: getting users hooked on content so that we'll keep coming back
Wondering how to keep your retention rate high?
- Make it personal. Use your customer's name in every email, and make sure you're approaching them as a person rather than a number.
- Communicate benefits, not features. People don't care how something works; they care what kind of life they can live if they use it. Tell them about that.
- Send emails based on customer behavior. Send an email when the user is most likely to be engaged with your product or service (i.e., after they buy something or sign up for a new service). This will vary depending on the product you're selling and the clientele you're trying to sell it to.
- Give every email a clear call to action. Are you trying to get them to buy this product? Are you getting feedback on their experience with the product? Make sure each email has a distinct goal and is tailored towards leading them in that direction.
Referral marketing is the practice of encouraging existing customers to refer your company to their friends. The goal is to use word-of-mouth marketing to drive growth. The best part? When people recommend your service or product, it's like giving out free coupons that have a 100% conversion rate (that's unheard of).
This means that if you can get referrals going, you'll be able to grow quickly without having to spend money on ads. To start, identify your best customers and ask them if they know anyone who would benefit from using your product or service. That way you will be able to acquire new customers at no cost while also deepening relationships with the people who already love you.
However, the real magic happens when you can make getting referrals a core part of what you do—that's when you can see real exponential growth. For example, Dropbox offers additional free storage space as an incentive for inviting friends to use their service. This has created viral loops that have helped Dropbox grow rapidly over the years.
Metrics to measure for referral campaign
- Measure the percentage of customers who refer their friends. This is an important metric because it shows how well your program is doing at incentivizing referrals. You should be aiming for a 20% adoption rate.
- Track how many customers are being referred by other customers. This number can tell you whether you have enough customers yet to create a sustainable referral program.
- Calculate the lifetime value of referred customers. This helps you understand how much profit you can expect from each individual customer throughout the time they continue to be a customer.
- Monitor how many positive reviews and social media shares are referring back to our company as a result of our referral program
Revenue is the last Pirate Metric in the AARRR conversion funnel. One of the most important metrics in the revenue phase is the customer lifetime value. The metric describes the total revenue generated by a customer over their lifetime.
Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the total revenue generated by a customer over their lifetime. This is an important metric to track because it helps you see how much that customer is worth to your business.
The simplest way to calculate CLV is:
CLV = [average revenue per sale] x [number of sales per customer] x [customer lifespan]
Let's say you're a clothing retailer with a small but loyal customer base. You know that the average customer buys three items in a year and that each item costs $100. You can calculate the CLV of these customers like this:
CLV = $100 x 3 x 1 (year) = $300
That means that on average, each customer brings in $300 over the course of their life with your company.
Metrics to measure
- Customer lifetime value. This is the total amount of money a customer will spend with you over the course of their lifetime. It's a critical metric for determining how much you can spend to acquire and retain customers.
- Customer acquisition cost. This is the amount of money you're spending to bring on new customers — including advertising and sales commissions, but not employee salaries, which should be amortized over time.
- Monthly recurring revenue. This is the monthly subscription revenue from your customers. While it's not quite as important as customer lifetime value, it does show whether or not your business model is sustainable in the long term, which many venture capitalists look for when deciding whether or not to invest in a company.
- How many free customers become paying customers? If you offer a freemium product, this will tell you what percentage of users sign up for paid accounts and how many do not — which can help you predict future growth and revenue.
- Average order value per customer. How much are your customers spending on each order? Higher average cart values can often be attributed to better customer service and loyalty incentives like coupons, discounts, and reward programs.
- Repeated purchases.
Growth hacking process
Even though Growth Hacking is a relatively old field, it's not magic. It's about following the process. So you've formed your Hypothesis, you've created an experiment and you're running it. You will quickly find out if it works or not. If it doesn't work, try again with a new experiment. If it does work, scale up the winning idea and implement it in your product or marketing strategy.
Once a hypothesis is proven true, you can turn it into a strategy that can be implemented by anyone on the team. Growth Hacking is also a mindset, but there are best practices to follow and tools to use.
Here are the 4 steps involved in Growth Hacking;
Product market fit
The growth process is useless if you haven’t reached product-market fit. It’s like trying to drive a car without an engine.
How do you know when you have reached product-market fit?
Some say that if 40% of your customers would be very disappointed if they could not use your product anymore, then you have achieved product-market fit.
Is Growth Hacking useless before Product Market Fit then?
No, it is not. You can always start working on acquiring new users and optimizing your conversion funnel but don’t spend too much time or money on this until you have reached PMF.
Find the sweet spot in which it makes sense to apply the Growth Process.
Once you have achieved PMF and are able to grow organically, start to work on your growth strategy. Use the frameworks from the course to find the best approach for your business.
When it comes to a successful business, you can't just launch a product and hope for the best. For example, say you're selling a new kind of hiking shoe (we'll call it Hike Shoe). You've done your research and have found that there is customer demand for a shoe that's both water-resistant and breathable, with sturdy soles and a good grip. So you design this shoe, make it available online, and talk up its benefits.
If the customer demand is significant enough, your sales will start to grow. This is known as product-market fit—when there is enough interest in your product that you can begin to scale. But just because you've reached this point doesn't mean you're done yet! There are still a lot of things you need to do to ensure that your business continues to grow as quickly as possible.
The first thing you'll want to do is make sure everyone in your company is on board with this growth process. To do this, clearly define five prerequisites before you start experimenting:
G.R.O.W.S model by Growthtribe
Implement a process of rapid experimentation, look no further than the GROWS model. This model is all about generating new ideas, deciding on the best ones, and then executing experiments that test them.
First, you'll want to Gather your Ideas (G). This can be done by brainstorming as a group or individually. Try not to be too critical at this point—just get all your ideas down on paper.
Once you have a good list of ideas, you can move on to Ranking them (R). You can do this by voting as a group or having each person vote for their top three choices.
Outline Experiments (O) with the chosen idea(s). Make sure your experiments are specific and actionable so you can move into the next phase.
Now it's time to Work (W)! The work phase is when you actually run your experiment(s).
When it's over, you'll move on to Study Data (S). You should analyze what happened during your experiment and figure out if it was successful or not. If it wasn't, try tweaking your experiment and running another one!
Famous growth hacking examples
Growth hacking is the discipline that makes a small business go from zero to one million in a year, but it's actually been around since… well since there have been businesses. The history of growth hacking is a fascinating one, and it's worth taking some time to learn about how this powerful strategy has evolved over the years.
Let’s look at five examples of companies that made growth hacking work for them in a big way—and what lessons you can take away from their success.
How did Google launch its email service, Gmail? By using an invite-only system. And it worked: the fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful growth hack and, if you have a product that’s useful to a lot of folks, this strategy can be instrumental to your growth.
Gmail was launched in 2004, and it was invite-only until 2007. If you wanted an account, you had to ask someone who already had one for an invitation—and they were limited on how many invites they could send. During that time, everyone wanted a Gmail account. It was something special and exclusive. You couldn’t just sign up online… you had to know someone!
By the time Google made Gmail available to everyone in 2007, it had acquired 10 million users. The lesson here? If you have a product that’s useful to a lot of people, and you want to drive growth by using FOMO as your growth hack, an invite-only system is a way to go!
When Netflix was a DVD rental service, it had a major problem on its hands. The company wanted to grow its subscriber base, but to do so, it needed to convince people to purchase DVD players. So the company teamed up with DVD player manufacturers like Panasonic and Sony to include a coupon for Netflix in the box of every DVD player sold.
The problem was that customers didn't want to buy DVD players because they couldn't find DVDs easily in stores. By including a coupon for Netflix, the DVD manufacturer could showcase a library of 1,000+ titles that customers could rent by mail without having to visit a store.
Not only did this solve the DVD problem for manufacturers, it also helped Netflix grow its customer base by targeting people who had already purchased DVD players. This partnership helped Netflix acquire 500k new subscribers within just one year—and it all started with a simple coupon inside of a DVD player box.
Like most companies, we've used social media to promote ourselves. We urge our users to follow us on Twitter or Facebook and are always looking for new ways to grow our audience. Sometimes it will be a contest or raffle for a free T-shirt. But when Dropbox first started out, they didn't do any of that—they did something different.
Instead of offering a reward, with each follow or linking of accounts, Dropbox would handout 125 MB of storage space. This growth hack is incredibly powerful—not only do users spread the word but they've also given them more reasons to keep using the product. Today, Dropbox has 4.4 million Twitter followers.
We're not saying you should copy this exactly (though you might want to), but we do think you should consider experimenting with strategies that are outside the norm in order to get people talking about your product on social media—and make them want to come back.
In 1996, Hotmail was founded with a simple idea: Hey, what if we make email more accessible?
In April 1996, it launched with a sign-up page that read: “Houston…we have to lift off!” and a freemium model. Users got 2 MB of space in their inboxes, which could be accessed from anywhere. The best part? It didn’t cost them a dime. Instead, they had to deal with ads that ran at the bottom of every email they sent.
The ads were tiny (barely noticeable) but effective. They said things like “Get your free email at Hotmail.com” or “Sent from MSN Hotmail, the world’s largest Web-based email service.” To get around spam filters, the ads were added to the signature of every email sent by Hotmail users. It was subtle enough to not bother people from signing up or using the product, but prominent enough to garner attention from recipients who would pass on the message through word of mouth and viral marketing—at no additional cost for Hotmail!
Within six months of launch, Hotmail had 1 million subscribers—and eventually grew to 10 million by 1998!
When Airbnb first launched, its founders noticed that most of the listings on their platform were also posted on their biggest competitor, Craigslist. So what did they do? They did something completely unprecedented. They provided their users with the ability to post simultaneously on Craigslist and Airbnb!
They encouraged their users to post on both platforms so that they could find more customers and make more money. The catch? You could only contact the owner of the property if you joined Airbnb.
Soon enough, Airbnb’s listings became far superior to those of other sites: nicer photographs, better descriptions, and more personality. It was a huge win for everyone! As we all know today, Airbnb is valued at over $113 billion and many claim that this single hack is responsible for the company's success.
When PayPal launched in 2000, it faced a big challenge: how to grow its customer base. They tried advertising, but it was just too expensive, so they needed to find a way to get new users that would be based on organic and viral growth.
The solution? Give people money—$10 for new customers and the same for referrals from existing customers. The benefits were clear: exponential growth, users who were highly motivated to share the service with others, and a loyal customer base. While the cost for each new customer was high (PayPal was paying $20 for every new user), this strategy helped them cross the tipping point and grow exponentially.
Growth hacking strategies for start-ups
Submitting to Product Hunt
If you want to get your product in front of an audience, Product Hunt is the place to be. These days, startups get launched every day. You'd think that would mean that it's hard to stand out, but with the right approach, you can get the attention you need to succeed.
Whether you're launching a product or just want to reach new audiences, knowing where to turn and what to do can make all the difference. We can help you pick the right launch strategy for your unique needs, so you don't have to spend your time wondering what will work best for your business.
Build pre-launch email list
When it comes to finding leads and conversions for a startup, email marketing still reigns supreme. This type of marketing will allow you to reach your audience and deliver your message effectively.
Additionally, email marketing can help you build hype for your product or event before it even launches, so that you can acquire potential customers before you've even gone live. But don't just create a list of email addresses and forget about them! Take some time to really build up the hype and make people excited about the launch. You should aim for at least a week's worth of teasing to get people eager for what's coming next.
And once you're ready to go live, use an email service like Active Campaign or Lemlist, which allows you to push emails effectively and professionally. Communication is one of the most important parts of any conversion process, so make sure that you reach out to your potential customers at least a week before launch day.
It's no secret that the best way to grow any business is to listen to your customers. And when it comes to trying to get into the minds of your audience, content marketing is one of the most effective tools at your disposal.
Content marketing helps you focus on customer feedback and market your product with ease. It doesn't matter what industry you're in, either—having a content marketing strategy will always help you attract the right audience for whatever you're trying to sell.
Your first step should be creating content that people are actually going to share, like video content or online courses. Video content has become the central pillar of many content marketing campaigns, and more businesses are doubling down on efforts like creating explainer videos and engaging with their audiences on social media.
Social media communities
Social media is a valuable tool for promoting and growing your business. You can leverage communities, promote yourself, and receive market feedback on all kinds of platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Slack...the list goes on. We're not just talking about posting every now and then—you need to invest time and energy into creating content for an audience.
Even though it takes time to get started and build an audience, your social media endeavors should align with the overall direction of your growth. One way to do this is by creating a Facebook group around your brand.
Once you create this community space for your audience to engage with your brand, you need to make sure it's valuable for them. By doing this, you will inspire people who may not have known about your brand.
One of the best ways to grow your business is by making new brand partnerships. Partnering with other companies on marketing and product development is a great way to make noise and generate buzz. It's a chance to get news coverage and increase visibility of your products or services. When you partner with another company, you get all the benefits of their audience and branding combined with yours, plus you can create new products around a theme.
Big brands have done this successfully, and small-medium companies can too, as long as they find the right partner that brings value to their brand.
Effective referral marketing
When you leverage referral marketing, you can convert leads much faster than you would otherwise—and with fewer costs to boot! And here’s why;
First, referrals generally convert faster because they are coming from someone you know and trust. These referrals also have a lower cost-per-acquisition (CPA) than other leads, which can lower your costs as a business.
Second, the retention rate for referral customers is 16% higher than for non-referral customers. This means that these customers are more likely to remain loyal to your business, increasing your lifetime value (LTV).
Third, sales experts who use referral programs earn four to six times more revenue than those who don't use them.
Growth hacks and tactics from Digital First AI
Growth hacking is a strategy that innovative companies have been employing for years to increase their success. Are you new to growth hacking? Don't worry! We've got you covered with some of our favorite growth hacks and tactics from 2022. We hope they inspire you as much as they’ve inspired us!
Cheeseburger tactic (McDonald's proven!)
Step 1: Choose your Cheeseburger
Determine which of your services/products is the most popular and ready to be sold on its own.
Step 2: Choose claim
Prepare copy that'll convince your potential client that it's worth it's price and recommended by others.
Step 3: Send mail
Set marketing automation campaign to your current base of contacts, that are not your clients yet.
Step 4: Prepare campaign
Set a Facebook campaign targeted to your core audience advertising your Cheeseburger.
Step 5: Upsell
Set a marketing automation campaign for people who actually bought your Cheeseburger that'll upsell your other products or services.
"Don't leave" pop-up
Step 1: Set the rules
Set the pop-up display rule in your Marketing Automation system. Decide whether the pop-up should be displayed to everyone and whether it should be displayed every time someone tries to leave the page or only once a day.
Step 2: Design a pop-up
Use the pop-up editor and choose one of the ready-made templates or ask the graphic designer to create a new graphic.
Step 3: Create a copy
Create a text to encourage the user not to leave the page.
Step 4: Think of a Call-To-Action
Think about what you will offer the user in return for not leaving the page - maybe you will ask him to leave contact or go to a subpage with free content?
Blog post distribution with automation
Step 1: Start creating blog texts in Airtable
You can either move your text storage directly to Airtable or paste the created texts into the appropriate table.
Step 2: Create a newsletter template
Prepare a newsletter template in your Marketing Automation tool, which will have dynamic places to link to a blog note and a lead fragment that will announce the note. At this stage, you decide how many last notes you want to show in the email.
Step 3: Add integration
Associate Airtable with your Marketing Automation tool. If your tool does not have such integration, help yourself with Integromat or Zapier.
Step 4: Set frequency
Select how often you want to send this type of newsletter. The frequency should depend on how often you add content to the blog - the email should show something brand new every time, so if you blog 3 times a month, limit your posting to one per month.
Step 5: Set the group of recipients
Decide whether everyone should receive such e-mail or only selected recipients. You can always sell the press service as a paid service!
We know it's hard to stay on top of all the latest digital marketing tactics. That's why we're here to help—with 100+ tactics for free to try out, you can get a taste of the best digital marketing practices that work for your business and industry. But don't take our word for it: let Digital First AI use its AI recommendations to bring you the best marketing tactics for your needs. Don't wait another minute. Try it today!
Growth hacking tools
The best growth hacking tool for your business is dependent on where your customers are in their journey. There are four main stages to the customer journey: awareness, consideration, conversion, and loyalty. The right growth hacking tools can help you move your customers through each stage and nudge them closer to purchase while providing valuable information that can help you improve your marketing strategy.
Here are the best growth hacking tools for every stage of the customer journey:
Growth hacking tools for acquisition
Growth marketing tools that help you market to new potential customers and raise brand awareness fall into this category. If your goal at this stage is to attract new customers to your website or social channels, consider starting a blog or using paid advertising. Blogging can help you build a community around your brand, and paid advertising on social media, search engines, or niche blogs can help you get in front of new audiences.
- Sprout Social
Growth hacking tools for activation
This is the phase where visitors become leads and leads turn into buyers. Your goal as a growth hacker here is to find tools that will help you convert more visitors into paying customers by capturing contact information so you can optimize the sales funnel.
- Active Campaign
Growth hacking tools for retention
If you want a steady growth of your customer base, it is crucial to be constantly aware of their needs and expectations. This means that you should always strive for developing tools that will make your customers' life easier and make them feel like they are being taken care of.
- Help Scout
Growth hacking tools for referral
- Viral Loops
Growth hacking tools for revenue
We have put together a list of the 80+ handpicked popular growth hacking tools you can use to build your marketing funnels.
It's a wrap
Growth hacking can give a company—and the agency working for them—an edge in the marketplace, and it's a vital tool for smaller companies to compete in an increasingly crowded market.
But even if you're not in the startup world or strapped for cash, growth hacking is a mindset you should always have as a marketer. You should always ask yourself how you can maximize your efforts and use your skills to grow the business, whether it's through a new product launch or by doubling down on retargeting ads.
At the end of the day, marketers are really growth hackers at heart—we experiment with new ideas, we test our campaigns to see what works best, and we top it all off with a dash of creativity. This concludes our science-backed primer on growth hacking. We hope it has been useful and enlightening.