Growth hacking is the way startups are using little to no budgets to grow their companies. Airbnb, Dropbox, Hotmail, Uber used almost very little marketing budgets to grow into huge companies.
In this article, i will be talking about some growth hacking techniques you can use for your startup. Most of these techniques work in combination with each other and you will need to iterate on them to see which techniques works for you.
Growth Hacker marketing is all about creative ways to continuously uplift your product growth. I will explain the techniques which companies are using to grow their user base or increasing their user retention.
- A/B testing
- Landing pages
- Viral factor
- Email deliverability
- Open Graph
This technique is now used extensively by companies like facebook where they even display different versions of facebook screens to a small percentage of their users and then roll it out the most successful version of the screen with highest engagement to all its users.
There are companies that are even using this technique on plants to see what light or nutrients best worked on the plant.
This technique can be used to improve your signups, signins initially so that the screens with highest conversion rates are used and then it’s something that is going to be used during the lifetime of your project.
Viral factor is very important part of growth hacking. Virality is not magic, it’s a strategy , a recipe for engaging your customer. You need to make it easy for your audience to share your product.
Lets look at how some companies used this factor to grow or retrain their user base
Your product is your Advertisement – Hotmail
“Get your free email at Hotmail.com” this line strikes the marketing fit to Hotmail history. Every hotmail user who used hotmail to send email was also advertising the product to the receiver.
Invite Strategy – Gmail
Gmail growth hack started with the “invite” strategy. Only an existing gmail user could invite new user. This gave the product an exclusivity and i remember people like myself were asking friends to send an invite for the product.
PayPal adopted “referrals” strategy, they spent US$60 million on its referral incentives.
They offer their customers to pay off 20$ by creating an account and 20$ off if they refer it to anyone. As their network expanded, PayPal reduced Refer-A-Friend bonus for regular users to 10$ and then 5$ and till 2015 PayPal had marketing ROI of $46.6 billion.
The growth hack for Groupon was “refer a friend and get 10$ for your friend’s first purchase”. It worked for Groupon and now, Groupon has 48.9 million active users.
Growth hack for LivingSocial was “Get it for free” means if you want to buy a deal and recommend it to 3 friends then it will be free for you and you get it via a special link. This worked for them and now LivingSocial has 70 million active users worldwide.
Apple uses “Sent from iPhone” line after an SMS has been sent. That line actually worked for them. Another growth hack of Apple is they made their headphones white instead of black. Now, people bought their accessories from Apple, advertise it everywhere on social media.
The role of landing page starts even before you launch your product. They describe what your product is all about. You can use google ads, landing pages and a/b testing to see your ROI on advertisement dollars spent. How many users are coming via ads to landing pages and what versions of landing page are working is going to be extremely important.
Making landing pages, viral is another strategy to boost up the growth. Landing pages are actually the pathway pages where a person finds the detailed information of what they want to explore.
In this technique, we focus on email to our target users. If our target market is hard to approach then we can adopt this approach by getting a list of emails via subscription.
Make sure that you are targeting your intended market and not all the people on the internet. You can use google ads, landing pages, subscriptions, useful articles to grow your subscriber list.
Quora used “subscribe” strategy to occupy the market. They use to send Top Stories of the week in the email of their subscribers. Now Quora have estimated 18k daily active users.
Airbnb initially occupied the massive scale of Craigslist market. The way they adopted market was very friendly. They researched that a lot of people are putting their houses for rent on Craigslist. They scrapped all of the data from craigslist and contacted the homeowners via email to put their listing up on Airbnb. This gave them an explosive growth in the beginning.
Open Graph is a protocol which enables any web page to become a rich object in a social media graph.
If the users share your product and that is looking awesome in their timelines, chances are the post will get much more clicks. Open Graph tags is the standard to achieve this.
Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook all recognize these tags. The main advantage of these tags is to increase the click-through rate and grabs the web traffic to your website from social media.
CMS like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, OSCommerce, Drupal have their own OG plugins/extension/add-on.
if you are still thinking about using billboard’s, tv ads, spending millions on facebook ads on first day of your launch. You need to learn about growth hacking techniques and how growth hacking can help you. A good book in this regard to read is Growth Hacker Marketing. I would also recommend you to watch this video review of the book https://goo.gl/pgik8j
Do let us know in comments on how you are planning to use growth hacking and if some specific technique has helped you in your startup