True growth hackers understand the misconceptions of Internet marketing and what it truly means to go viral. Like all outsiders who see an “overnight success,” going viral looks like a chance, coincidence, or a complete accident. growth hacking
In reality, while viral marketing holds massive appeal, it is not as easy as simply posting a video online. While everyone wants to go viral, it takes more than want to create a massive source of sharing.
For growth hacking, the first dilemma is deciding on whether or not a product or service is worth sharing or talking about. If the product is worth mentioning, the potential for customers to spread the word is higher than usual.
In this scenario, if the product is worth mentioning, it should also be easy to spread. In the most basic form, this may include add-ons like social media outlets as one example of sharing.
The biggest problem companies or individuals have spreading news of a product is by believing their product is worth going viral when it isn’t. Going viral is not something that happens out of thin air. The reason certain products spread faster than others are because they are simply worth mentioning and often better than their competition.
Growth Hacker Marketing
Diagnosing Growth Hacking
To begin, think about the individuals who will potentially be spreading the word on a new product. In order for virality to work, potential consumers or trend-setters must find a product that is worth taking the social media time to mention or post.
Whether this includes a simple copy and paste, adding a link, embedding a video, or mentioning a product, this takes time from any one individual’s social experience.
For smaller businesses, this may simply include asking a friend to post a video, share on Facebook, place on Twitter, or invite as a business contact. While speaking with true online friends is an ideal place to start, it must also be done in a delicate manner.
No one wants to help if a friend seems pushy or insincere. Instead, focus on asking a friend this enormous favour by making it not seem like a favour at all. Not only should this be worthy of trending, but it must also be conducive to trend when it extends your reach.
Growth hacking surpasses traditional marketing when it comes to spreading the word about a new product. Only certain products will ever go viral and the value of the product must be desirable for all of those who potentially come in contact with the product or service.
This only happens when a client believes in a product or when a product is truly remarkable. While the translation of the word “remarkable” has lost some of its meaning, it simply means that the product is worth remarking about.
Becoming a Growth Hacker
After choosing a product to help grow, it’s important to remember that a growth hacker has no actual influence to improve or even change a product in any way. Much like a spin-doctor aiding a politician, a growth hacker can do everything in their power to change the description of a product, but they are unable to change the product itself. Rather than live within the world of built-on marketing, growth hackers work to build virality.
Perhaps two of the best examples of recent growth hacking are LivingSocial and Groupon. These two daily deal sites not only continue to grow in terms of countless products and tons of special offers, but they also provide a great marketing plan.
LivingSocial offers a “Get this deal for free” option, which invites customers to share any deal with three friends through a specialized link, inviting the initial user a free product, despite the price. On Groupon, the “Refer a friend” option gives back ten bucks when a friend purchases a product through the site.
These examples are much different from something as simple as “Like this on Facebook” buttons, which do offer a chance for customers to share the product but do not offer any real incentive.
Through the LivingSocial example, a user could actually receive a free trip by simply signing up three friends. These daily deal sites save tons of advertising and the leads are much more satisfying than simply Liking something on Facebook. These two deals are actually paying users rather than taking a shot in the dark with wasted advertising bucks.
Shortly after these two sites hit the market, a brilliant (but struggling) company, Dropbox, started a “Get free space” option to invite additional users to use their cloud-based storage system.
For every new friend who joined, 500 megabytes were offered for any additional friends who signed up for the service. After months of struggling, Dropbox increased signups by approximately 60 per cent with nearly 2.8 million direct invites recurring each and every month. Presently, 35 per cent of customers still come from referrals.
Also Read: What is Attraction Marketing
Using Email Services
Gmail and Mailbox now use the simple idea from Hotmail: placing a line at the bottom of an email. In this scenario, Hotmail would write “PS: I love you—Get Free Email,” which tremendously helped the company grow—somewhere around a million members within the first six months after implementation.
These types of key strategies greatly trump hiring a PR firm because they begin within the organization and grow out. By growing from within in this manner, these organizations determine the presentation of the product as well as the inner workings of the product.
Essentially, these organizations are providing free data or free products to simply help the company spread the word on products and services that customers already enjoy.
Not just any product or video can be shared overnight to millions. It is important to have an enthralling reason for the community to share any specific item. Virality is an engineered procedure and not an accident.
Step-by-Step Hacking Process
Much like any successful enterprise, it is best, to begin with, a narrow focus on specific, realistic goals. When individuals focus on too broad a spectrum, the focus becomes meaningless because of its vagueness. Also, while large growth is of course the hope of the end result, achieving smaller tasks must develop it. Much like driving a car on a long journey, the end result only occurs after understanding the route.
Once potential growth hackers have defined a realistic, actionable goal, the next step is to implement analytics in order to track the process of goals. Without having precise analytics, goals are essentially empty.
It is, of course, possible to hit certain goals working without an outline, but the structure is vital for success. Analytics provide a definitive answer to prove that a result has or has not been reached.
They also provide the information for the suggestion of which aspects to change in order to test another hypothesis. Much like a sculpture, the unnecessary elements must be stripped away for the ideal end result.
After analytics have been put into place, the next step is to analyze the startup or company to find out which elements are possible to use as leverage for the company.
Every company has the ability to have something unique to help define or enhance the organization. In the example of mass email marketing, the answer is usually within the question. Certain companies would require one strategy while others another.
Always plan growth by building upon strengths and remember that each company features a different type of fulcrum for their specific leverage. Before moving forward, it is best to create a hypothesis. Much like the scientific method, a hypothesis is a strategic guess at potential results from a procedure.
After writing down the hypothesis, begin the experiment. When conducting any experiment, make sure not to be naïve when considering the resources required for predicted results.
If the organization requires thousands of users to work, do not expect it to work with a few hundred. When all of the data is in place and resources aligned, learn from any successes or failures and remember that the data will provide information as long as you are willing to use it. Experiments, in science or business, are meant to be performed repetitively until successful. This may require minimal tweaking or full-blown remodelling.
In the case of using email marketing, consider creating a control group. This group will help track the exterior environmental factors that are more difficult to track in even the most optimal settings.
It’s important to know when an outside factor greatly affects the sales of a product. Consider companies who wish to spread to another region of the world, only to find out their products offend aspects of certain cultures. This may be overlooked and thought of as a failure without a control group narrowing down the results.
Finally, make sure to repeat the process. While certain experiments do not work, others simply need to be tweaked and adjusted. Use the data and continue to repeat experiments until reaching success.
Much like the gold-hunter giving up his dig inches from richness, the answer is usually within reach, so make sure to continue the hunt for a successful growth hack, as long as you believe in your product and your company.
Also Read: Understanding Social Influence Marketing
Growth Hacker Myths
If the steps above sound a little foreign, ignore the scientific jargon and look at what it truly means to be a growth hacker. Since the phrase sparked in 2010, too many people have said it too often and too out-of-context.
Much like a new buzzword, other phrases and wrongful ideologies are quickly associated with a new phrase like this one. Rather than continue to believe it’s only for certain types of people, browse the following to learn the myths behind the buzz.
First, it’s important to understand that a growth hacker does not have to a programmer or a traditional marketer. In fact, marketers will have to greatly define and narrow their field in order to become growth hackers.
Narrowing their field will then require a marketer to deepen their skillset within that field. Among these myths, many outsiders feel that in growth hacking, growth hackers only rely on analytics, which is also a wrongful interpretation. While analytics are important, they are more of a guideline to proficiency.
In addition to analytics, growth hackers are also resourceful with a curiosity about creative growth. Truly, it is the combination of right and left-brain that help the most successful growth hackers expand businesses in a successful and creative manner.
These individuals build upon the smallest amount of success and narrow their focus much like passing helium into the small hole of a balloon to expand the entire project to its greatest capacity.
While increased traffic is vital and a key result in growing an online business through traffic, it is merely the end result and the journey is not only rewarding but recommended.
There are three ways to drive traffic to your website and each of these ways begins with the letter “P.”
Pull in traffic.
Simply put, this is a way for you to pull in visitors by providing a reason for these individuals to continue returning to the website. Whether you entice them with information, incentivize them with prizes or gifts, or provide a free book, users will be drawn to the site and thirsty for more.
Think of Pull as an open door that reads “Welcome” and think of Push as an individual passing out invitations. With Push, growth hackers skip the enticements and go directly to users, pushing them onto their site.
For example, think of those individuals hoping to see a new YouTube video, finding out they can only view the video after seeing a paid advertisement. This is Push marketing and it exists because you find your potential users and push them to your website.
Stands for Product.
The simplest way to describe this method is through a social media outlet like Facebook. Basically, the more people that use the product, the more it is able to spread. This is true for any type of app that requires some sort of “friends” to interact with, including Words With Friends, Snapchat or Instagram.
Analyzing the Methods
Both push and pull methods ask growth hackers to rethink the word “distribution.” Almost like predicting the future, growth hackers are able to analyze which trails of online distribution are spreading, and in which direction.
For those less experienced, simply conduct the research in order to determine which online portals are most popular. Much like a popular restaurant, there are ways to determine which areas are more inviting and user friendly, in terms of group congregation.
Knowing where users congregate ultimately results in how and where to push or pull them to your site. With the product method, however, distribution remains the same but the term “product” can be changed in order to apply to more customers.
Again, this applies to types of customers as well as the skill of the growth hacker in question. While the product itself cannot be changed from growth hacking, the purpose or definition can be warped to apply to multiple groups.
Also, there is no one method that specifically works better than the other and each will depend on the product as well as the hacker, while other products will rely on using portions of all three methods for ultimate success.
Top Pull Methods
Perhaps one of the most well-known methods of Pull is to be featured as a blogger or guest blogger. These methods are ideal for pulling traffic, especially thanks to SEO context within blogs that aid search engines like Google to search for specific words to highlight articles, phrases, and products mentioned.
With these methods, the more you write (daily articles for example), the more chances to be picked up within the search. The most successful blogs, however, still focus on living within a specific niche.
Besides blogging, growth hackers can also focus on podcasting or guest podcasting. Much like a blog, podcasts spread information on a regular basis to specific audiences who enjoy that category of information.
Unlike blogs, podcasts have the ability to open new realms in terms of hearing versus reading. With podcasts, guest podcasters are able to reach a specific audience, assuming the crowd listens to each and every podcast.
One drawback from guest podcasting, however, is that the podcasts are not typically indexed like that from SEO and links or businesses mentioned are harder to find, versus clicking on text within a written article.
Next, there are guides, whitepapers and ebooks, which can be sold or given away for free. While it’s easy to skip over a blog post, it’s more difficult to skip over a beautifully crafted, well-written book on a niche subject.
Offering a free book will often entice visitors to sign up for a site that interests them in hopes of downloading the book. Users will feel a fair trade when giving up an email in exchange for a free ebook. In addition, these are easily spreadable through outlets of social media, inviting online authors to spread their work to those interested in similar subjects.
Infographics are another form of pull method that is often highly effective among new users. These beautifully designed visualizations are able to highlight information along with design and invite users to spread them through social media.
When developing an infographic, consider finding a great topic with current data. Build the narrative and come up with a style of design that highlights the concept and make sure to polish the design and information before spreading the information. Infographics are popular on sites like Pinterest that feature an image and invite users back to the initial site of publication.
Webinars are an online source of a seminar that invites users from all over the world to learn more about a subject in somewhat of a classroom setting. Usually, live, webinars are scheduled to be hosted like an event that users can look forward to, and invite their friends via simulcast.
In order to make it more like an event, these types of pulls are usually invite-only with limited seating, asking those who are serious to join. Because these methods are educational, they act as a win-win link between businesses and users.
Using social media has been sprinkled throughout the text, but it’s important to remember that it’s more than just an ingredient. While there are many things to avoid, other methods to focus on, include engaging with those within your product’s demographic and providing value as frequently as possible.
Always answer questions and give advice to curious consumers. This will not only build relationships but it will let your company know what customers want to see next. Let your creative juices shine in social media and make sure to view it as a distance run rather than a sprint.
In addition to social media, consider using contests to bring in traffic. Contests are good for small and large companies. The key when trying a contest is to give away something worthy and consequential to your growing audience.
Not every type of blog should be giving away the newest gadget, especially if they are hoping to sell something that exists without technology. In addition to picking the ideal grand prize, make sure to include something for first, second, and third, so users feel they have a better shot to win.
Finally, when choosing a winner, make it a big deal and let everyone know the prize is legitimate.
Understanding Push Tactics
After mastering pull tactics, consider moving on to push tactics. With push tactics, some type of interruption is involved, unlike within pull tactics, where an enticement is being offered.
Think of an advertisement on YouTube when thinking of a push tactic. While the ad is not what the user was searching for, they will have to watch the video before watching the video they had to set out to watch. Pull invites users in while push seeks users by going out to look for them.
Before diving into push tactics, it’s important to understand the lifetime value of a customer. Known as LTV, this encompasses all of the profit that can be made on a customer over a lifetime. LTV is why Starbucks justifies placing a location on every corner—each location represents a specific number of lifetime customers.
Within the formula, certain products will make a certain number of income per year but may exist within a product that customers change every five years, meaning their entire LTV exists within those five years.
Perhaps the most well-known push tactic would simply be to purchase advertisements, such as those mentioned that play before a YouTube video. While these seem more like marketing than true growth hacking, there is a time and place for everything and growth is the ultimate goal.
With buying ads, however, there is still the open invitation for creativity as well as strategy in terms of both when and where to place an ad. When placing ads, there are the giants like Google but there are also niche sites to consider that relate more specifically to certain products. When buying ads, also consider the platform, strategic calendar of ads and the personas of your demographic.
The next type of push tactic is the promo swap, where companies will both mention one another’s product in order to quickly spread the word on a product while helping another company grow. This works best when you find another company that shares a similar demographic.
While there are many ways to conduct a proper promo swap, consider beginning by swapping tweets or Facebook posts. In terms of email, there are dedicated email swaps and sponsored emails swaps. With a dedicated email, the entire body is dedicated to another business whereas email swap usually only features a linking, “sponsored by” newsletter within the text. Other types include giveaway swaps and ad space swaps.
Another push method would be to recruit affiliates. Essentially, this method creates a sort of chart where you pay someone for each milestone they hit. Milestones could be whatever you choose but often result around examples such as bringing visitors to your site or activating current members.
Affiliates could use any number of methods to bring traffic but the main idea is that you are paying them to do it instead of doing it yourself. When searching for a key affiliate, make sure to vet the individual thoroughly in order to find somewhat that is a reflection upon yourself, your product and your company.
Finally, direct sales are also a form of push growth hacking. While direct sales teams do not work for every type of product, they do work more for some and should not be disregarded completely. While most startups these days tend to avoid these methods, consider appstack.com. This company began with mobile ads for local businesses and they actually began from telephone sales. In today’s modern digital world, this is less common but does still exist and may work for some.
Also Read: How to Increase Sales In Affiliate Marketing
Using Product Tactics
Perhaps the most advanced method of growth hacking is the product method. While push and pull methods are both effective, using the actual product is one of the most engaging methods for sharing a product and growing a business. The vast effects that result from product methods are irreplaceable when compared to any push or pull methods.
Pull methods have the unfortunate side effect of potentially losing individuals that makeup traffic. Consider using an infographic to build traffic, with the thought those inbound visitors may decrease daily because seeing anyone graphic only relates to individuals a handful of times.
When using the product, however, it is entirely possible that each visit to the site will not only mean a returned customer, it will mean they bring their entire online network with them. If every one individual simply brings one additional individual with them upon return, then that product or service has then officially gone viral.
In industry terms, the viral loop comes into play. Basically in growth hacking, if a growth hacker is able to set up a network where every individual who enters a product brings another person with him or her, that equals a coefficient of over 1, known as “K,” which equals exponential growth.
In most scenarios, examples such as B2B enterprises, there are rarely coefficients as high as 1 because even the most expert tactics do not work for every product, nor do they work in every type of market. However, despite the odds, it’s important to remember that any K factor above 0 results in positive growth.
Social networks are all around us, and network invitations are great ways to show off products. Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, and LinkedIn are perhaps the most well known, but other social groups are spreading rapidly. Of these network invitations, remember to think of all of your resources, including phone contacts, email contacts, and social contacts.
Mobile apps are more and more likely to feature a button that invites users to invite all of their friends with the click of a button. Likewise, there are also email lists and social media contacts that work the same way. Even if only a handful of individuals initially download the app, but decide to share it with their hundreds of friends—you will find that these numbers quickly add up to reach mass audiences.
Social sharing, which is somewhat different from the method listed above, involves the act of simply allowing others to mention a product or service within their network.
For example, instead of asking someone to invite their friends to “Like” your page, this method simply asks that the individuals mention the product in their profile or status so others can see and perhaps click on the item.
These are often available in the forms of buttons below a posting, for example, in a blog. There will be an example such as Like, Tweet, or Share, along with the number of others who have shared the topic or post. This data also comes into play in terms of analytics. If most of your traffic comes from Twitter, make sure to not only allow users to post on Facebook.
Building upon social sharing, API Integrations integrate products at a higher level. Rather than asking for permission to share, API Integrations actually creates an experience where users can share in the background without constant reminding.
Consider the example of Spotify, which is a music-based app and website. Spotify connects with Facebook and automatically publishes Facebook feed for anyone connected with Spotify and Facebook. This type of frictionless sharing only works with open permission. Another type would be the Nike+ app, which also connects with Facebook. This app allows for runners to share their trails and times online in a seamless fashion in order to inspire and create competition among friends.
The only probable difficulty with these methods is that the dominant side holds the reins. Meaning, Facebook will always share with others to spread their message, but they may shut others out of their information in order to stay the biggest and the best.
The backlink option was one of the first types of growth hacking. Hotmail launched a service that reads “Get your free email at Hotmail” along the bottom of each message, inspiring others outside of their group to join, creating a viral loop. Consider any type of widget or side panel to work as a backlink. Guest blogs are another example and are as effective as they have ever been.
When the word incentive comes to mind—within the realm of growth marketing—the business Dropbox is usually on the tip of the tongue. After months of struggling, the group launched a tactic to give away free space in the crowd by simply signing up friends. In this regard, their storage space quickly changed to currency, inviting outsiders to sign up and share with friends for more and more space to save data.
With Dropbox, the company earns new users, creating value, while the users earn free storage space, valuable to them. Many other companies tried to copy Dropbox and failed. Perhaps one reason why is because Dropbox also rewarded those who better understood their product, giving away additional space by testing educated users and offering additional rewards.
Finally, there is organic word-of-mouth. Individuals sharing your product either online or offline is still one of the most effective methods and only happens when customers truly love a product. This method may or may not even result from an orchestrated attack of growth marketing.
These individuals are happy to spread the word even without being incentivized. This type of method cannot be measured, nor it can be controlled. Think of sharing the information about an upcoming movie or new gadget—only doing so before you look forward to the device or event.
While these methods are seemingly unpredictable, there are certain behaviours to make word-of-mouth advertising more possible. Consider creating beautiful products that can be described in a simple demeanour. Other organic products are those that are trendy as well as those, which effectively relieve pain. Finally, emotional, unique, and fun products spread quickly and with no effort in some occasions.
Activation & Closing Statements
While it’s been a great deal of the journeys to simply bring visitors to a site, visitors alone are actually more of a problem than a solution. Rather than merely have visitors circling the surface, it’s time to activate members.
Visitors who only visit will, unfortunately, leave at outstanding rates. Therefore, activation is the ultimate goal. Activation occurs when visitors do something that you have decided for them to do.
While these methods can range from an array of areas, the main idea is to get these visitors interested in more than just the surface of the website. Usually, the main idea is to get a visitor to enter an email address or make a purchase but there are other techniques as well.
In addition to the two techniques listed above, consider asking visitors to read a blog, make a comment, fill out a questionnaire, watch a video, interact with another member, or request some sort of friendship or membership.
While these seem simple, much of growth marketing only requires small results. Remember, a lot of small results equivocates to large results. The key is to be consistent and continue to work towards greater and greater goals.
Internet marketing and programming are no longer separate entities. The methods and procedures used for each are both coming together in the form of growth hacking.
Businesses, both small and large, are steadily seeking growth hackers to help grow their businesses to exponential, seemingly overnight, levels of mammoth success.
Internet marketers began as IT professionals and business students but are moving to the underground, in the form of all sorts of hacking techniques.
Thanks to increased technology, growth hacking can occur at the fingertips of any individual, through a keyboard and into the ever-expanding Internet that spreads worldwide.
Individuals are invited to build portfolios from their college years, through internships and freelancing or on their own as Internet-savvy fanboys. Portfolios can range from all sorts and levels but must be kept up to date in order to highlight a designer’s best work.
Portfolios can exist in many freelancing fields, but it’s important to always use proper grammar and spelling techniques. In addition, it’s wise to occasionally go back and revise old work, using new techniques that you have picked up along the way.
Perhaps the most important aspect of any portfolio is the open-ended ambition that a well-kept portfolio invites. Future employers want to know where you want to go with your work and encourage foundation with a view.
Also Read: When Should You Build Your Portfolio
Amidst the portfolio, a specific niche often helps individuals as well as businesses. By defining a particular niche as described within the long-tail of keywords, even the smallest companies strike high search results among the largest search engines.
Specifying an area of study greatly improves the success of a business by helping the business itself focus while keeping a simple strategy in mind among present and future customers.
There are countless examples that currently exist and even more on the horizon. When looking for a niche, consider examining fields of interest that currently catch your attention. Consider ordering niche magazines or conducting in-depth research to find out more information.
When choosing a niche, business-minded individuals will quickly come up with grand ideas to improve categories within the field. Others will simply want to blog about the subject in order to highlight their knowledge to the world, creating a community of additional, like-minded folks.
Once a product has been created, there are four methods to begin a business that never go out of style. First, always focus on relationships. This benefits everyone, from brick and mortar pizza shops to online teapot sales in Taiwan—customers appreciate developed relationships.
Direct response copywriting is another important aspect and a subject that should not be left to subtlety. In our milli-second world, it’s important to have engaging, tagline-like headlines to hook visitors.
Content marketing is the third method of success and asks for users to deliver scheduled content to their readership in a way that readers expect and crave emails and additional information.
Make sure to have valuable products. In this scenario, value is not relevant to monetary, but valuable in terms of worth. Do not waste your time or your customer’s time writing, blogging, or advertising about an inferior product.
In growth hacking, growth hackers understand the “going viral” is no accident. Any video or product that reaches millions has more than just overnight success. Virality only occurs from a great product and lots of belief.
After finding the ideal product, growth hackers can then define actionable goals to follow through with. These goals will be guided through analytics, making sure to leverage the strength of any given company for ultimate success.
While any hypothesis could be wrong, a hypothesis with a narrow focus and backed results have a better chance of equaling success. Through these marketing experiments, growth hackers can prove results and repeat as necessary to find the best results for amazing results.
In addition, to track growth, it’s important to understand the mindset of the consumer. Through a funnel, growth hackers understand how to funnel occasional visitors to the site in order to find those willing to sign up for an email account or even purchase goods on a recurring basis.
Gaining visitors is vital for growth hacking. Through various techniques of marketing, growth hackers can pull and push users directly to a site. Pull methods use incentivized techniques while push methods chase potential customers through advertisements.
Another technique, and possibly the most successful, is the product technique. This involves methods like Facebook and Twitter, where users must be logged in to use a particular service.
Finally, remember that visitors on a site are not enough and it’s as important to bring visitors, as it is to funnel those visitors through the site. Simply ask your visitors to read a blog, click on a link, watch a video, or sign up for an account and you will be on your way to becoming a successful growth hacker.