Do you have an idea or a company, but just can’t seem to get off the ground? When you’re strapped for resources and low on capital, growth hacking is your best option. However, not every strategy works, and it is important to play follow the leader to see how successful companies have done it in the past.
The Growth Hacking Funnel
Neil Patel and Bronson Taylor are two of the leaders in the growth hack movement. They’ve successfully growth hacked their own companies and now provide tutorials on how others can do the same. Perhaps their most recognizable contribution is their Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking, which includes a look at The Growth Hacker Funnel.
If you truly want to understand growth hacking and apply the tips mentioned in this article, it’s critical that you begin with a firm understanding of the growth hacking funnel and how to guide people/customers towards a specific goal. Thankfully, unlike so many other business funnels and models, this one only contains three levels: get visitors, activate members, and retain users. It’s easy to understand, yet difficult to master.
In the first level of the funnel, the primary goal is to build traffic for your website or app. They are referred to as visitors because (a) they’ve never been to your page before and (b) they don’t belong to you – yet. They are under no commitment to ever return and are merely checking things out to see if they’re interested. According to Patel and Taylor, there are three ways to get visitors. You can either push them in, pull them in, or “use the product to bring them in.”
Once you have a visitor, it’s your job to then activate them and turn them into members. How you define activating a member will vary, but it could be anything from signing up for an email list to purchasing an app.
Finally, after turning a visitor into a member, it’s up to you to retain them for long-term growth. In order to build a successful business or brand, you need these initial customers to stick around and continue adding value.
Growth Hacking Legends
Before diving into the tangible portion of the article, let’s take a brief look at three prime examples of successful growth hacking: Airbnb, LinkedIn, and Mint.
- Now valued at more than $13 billion, Airbnb is the poster child of growth hacking. They simply used some loopholes in Craigslist to propel their company to the top by essentially reverse engineering the website to drive inbound traffic. They never spent a penny on advertisements and built a huge following in a matter of months.
- By indexing profiles and company pages in the Google search engine to allow users to find people without sorting through pages of results, LinkedIn was able to grow from 2 million users to 200 million in a relatively short period of time.
- Understanding that people are drawn to visuals and practical applications that can solve real world problems, the folks at Mint utilized sleek infographics, guest blogging, and community sharing platforms to get their name out to the masses. Within a brief period of time, its website became known as the number one personal finance blog.
8 Tips for Growth Hacking Your Company
While these companies can make it sound easy, growth hacking doesn’t happen overnight. You have to develop a targeted strategy, expose loopholes, and maximize the resources you have at your disposal. While these eight tips won’t allow every company to growth hack their way to becoming a billion dollar corporation, they can provide you with a solid place to start.
Become a Very Specialized Thought Leader
In order to succeed, you need to be seen as a specialized leader in your industry. You can do this by establishing your expertise in niche online communities. “The best way to reach an audience starts with your blog as a home-base,” says Pete Schauer of SEMGeeks, a New Jersey based digital marketing firm. “You want to deliver a quality product, and one way to do so is to become a resource and thought leader within your industry.” Your reach might start small, but it will allow you build an army of advocates who can then take your name to others. Think of it as building tiny fires across the internet. If you build enough of them, they’ll eventually spread and engulf a much larger territory.
Invest in Original Content
Content sells and your ability to produce massive amounts of original content will provide a stable foundation for future growth. Fill up your own website blog, share posts on social media, guest blog on industry blogs, and guest blog some more. Wherever you see a potential overlap between your company and a blog or website, find out if there are opportunities to write an article or solicit a review.
Find Ways to Integrate
As Airbnb did with Craigslist, you should seek out opportunities to integrate already successful resources and tools into your business. You don’t want to be dependent on these resources, but they can be valuable at the start.
Run Social Campaigns
People love competitions and chances to win. Set up social campaigns that create a buzz around your product or service. Even something as simple as “Retweet for a chance to win” can work.
Aim for Virality
While investing in original content is a good starting point, you need to aim for virality by producing videos and posts that are easily shareable and can be well received by a large audience.
Provide a Reason to Believe
Why should a visitor want to turn into a member and ultimately a long-term user? Provide a reason to believe. Offer referral benefits for driving more users to your site and give users a stake in the action by letting them in. PayPal did this by offering new and referring customers $10 each for signing up.
It’s so easy to track your results that it would be foolish not to. Every growth hack you attempt should be tracked, monitored, and analyzed to determine whether or not it’s worth the time or investment.
Fake it if You Must
While you may not have the resources, capabilities, or proven track record that established brands in your industry do, you can’t let visitors and members know this. Fake it if you must, as Reddit famously did by creating faux profiles in the early months to encourage activity.
Hack Your Way to the Top
As long as it’s legal and ethical, anything goes when attempting to take a company from an idea to a successful corporation. Follow the lead of companies like Airbnb, LinkedIn, and Mint, and use these eight tips to growth hack your way to the top of your industry.
Featured Image: Public Domain
Other Images: Shutterstock