Statistics for startups can be devastating and discouraging. And though the numbers vary when it comes to failure rate for startups, it is generally estimated to be somewhere between 80 and 90 percent. Even the businesses that start big can lose momentum and end up with closed doors. There is no easy way for a small fish to start swimming with the big sharks, but if there is anything that can be a true lifeboat, that is definitely growth hacking.
It is the secret behind the miraculous Tinder’s overnight growth from 5,000 to 15,000 users and other successful business stories such as Airbnb and Product Hunt. It is what makes the difference between swimming easily and struggling to catch the air and beat the waves. Here are some tips for understanding and using growth hacking to your advantage.
Understanding Growth Hacking
Growth hacking is not some kind of marketing in disguise or a replacement for marketing. It is, in its essence, making decisions aimed towards growth. This exclusive focus on growth has created various methods, practices, and tools which are foreign to traditional marketing repertoire, and the gap between the two disciplines continues to grow as time goes by. Growth hackers are, in that case, a combination of marketers and coders, because they use technology-based solutions to accomplish their goals.
The Growth Hacking Process
There are some definitive steps that should be taken in order for your growth hacking to be successful.
Defining actionable goals – Too broad goals can easily turn into meaningless goals. Breaking them into smaller achievable tasks, however, can lead to overall growth.
Use analytics to track your goals – Without analytics, goals are pointless. If you cannot tell when the goal is attained, you cannot move ahead.
Leverage your strengths – When you already have some asset that requires little energy, but can produce significant results, you should use it as leverage.
Conduct an experiment – You have to try out a tactic and learn from your success or failure.
Three Ways to Get Traffic
Naturally, in order to have a stable conversion rate, you will first need to establish sustainable traffic on your website. There are three tactics to help you achieve that:
- Pull them in –Give the visitors a reason to come to you first. You have to draw them to you with interesting content, like instructions, blogs, etc.
- Push them onto your website – Push tactic is more aggressive and it requires that you impose some content (video, add, blog) to visitors who are using the web for other reasons (YouTube, Google search, etc.).
- Use the product – Use the product itself to guide visitors to your website. If the product is good enough, it will generate a positive word of mouth and grant your brand better exposure.
Creating Engaging Content
We have to point out that of all the tactics we have mentioned, pull tactic is the most difficult one. Push tactic is in the hands of Google engines and YouTube, the products sell themselves, but to pull visitors onto your website means that you have to create your own interesting content. Blogging is the most efficient way to do that.
A blog is a powerful tool for positioning yourself as a leader in your field, build brand awareness, demonstrating your expertise, fostering an engaged community, and generating leads. It would be useful to publish content on some websites that are already established names for your niche. To find such sites, you can research the websites where your competition publishes by using link prospecting tool which can show you the activities of your competitors online.
Activating the Visitors
A blog is just one way to activate your visitors. Furthermore, you can get them to create an account on your website, ask them for their email addresses, get them to comment or share some content, ask them to fill out some questionnaire, and, most importantly, get them to buy something. The particular goals you may have will depend entirely on your product. Some text, images, or videos are more likely to be shared if it affects visitors’ emotions. Do not forget to prioritize your goals, the fewer you have, the more likely is that you will achieve them.
Retaining the Users
Now that you have successfully brought visitors to your website and got them to be active in some way, you have to take certain actions in order to retain them – make them use your product in such measure that it becomes habitual (for a content company that means consuming that content on a daily basis). If your retention is low, your growth hacking is meaningless.
On the other hand, users that have been retained for a long time are more likely to become evangelists for your product or content. The most efficient ways to retain visitors is to deliver the promises you have made, build a mobile app, give rewards, talk directly with unsatisfied customers, communicate with them on social media (follow their Twitter profiles), build a community, have great customer support and, most importantly make them happy.
Now that you have seen what the buzz is all about, it is the right time to start using it to increase your conversion rate and become more successful. Who knows, maybe one of these days, we will be using your startup’s name as an example of successful growth hacking?