Growth Hacking 101: 13 Lessons From the Experts
- 10.08.2021 10:53 am
Growth hacking is a hugely popular buzzword right now. Founders are desperate to understand what it is and how to do it. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that there is an abundance of growth hacking books on the market. Unfortunately, while these guides are often packed with insightful tips and tricks, I've found that they also fail to put everything into context. Many times I'd finish reading a chapter and feel like I'd learned a bunch of interesting tactics but be left completely in the dark about which ones to use, when to use them, and why they work (or don't).
Determined to find a growth hacking book that could provide me with a holistic approach, an approach that showed me not just the what but also the why and how I searched for a resource to answer all my questions. Although I believe there are many great growth hacking books on the market, nothing fit the bill for me. This led me to put together this list of 13 Growth Hacking Lessons From The Experts so others wouldn't have to waste time wondering what to read.
This list includes 12 of my favourite growth hacks pulled from various books from startups, VCs, and business experts. Each lesson has been carefully selected to provide you with actionable advice on how you can use growth hacks to take your business from zero to hero. For example, if you're looking for tips on how to get customers without spending money or time on ads, then you'll love this resource.
"Always have a clear, measurable goal." – Gary Vaynerchuk
I agree with this statement. Before you do anything, you must know what it is you are trying to achieve. If you don't start out with a clear goal, you may go down many paths and won't get any results for your efforts.
Don't chase the shiny object.
A growth hacker's job is not to grow one thing, like email signups or Facebook likes. Instead, it's to see how many users you can get to onboard and use your product. If you work at a company where the goal is to get 1,000 people to share your content on Facebook, then you're likely working on the wrong thing.
You can't make everyone happy.
You may be trying to provide a great service, but that doesn't mean it will resonate with everyone. Narrow down your focus on the people who matter the most. Is your target market in a certain age group, gender, income level or profession? Take time to identify your ideal customer and then optimize your messaging so they know exactly why they need your product or service.
Growth hacking is a "game," so keep score.
Most people know that when they are starting a startup, they need to track their company's performance. In startup land, the main performance indicator is growth. This means tracking things like daily active users or monthly recurring revenue. The same thing goes for growth hacking—keep track of everything! Keep a log on your laptop or in a notebook of every experiment that you try and measure the results. Then move on to the next experiment because if you don't know what is working, how can you optimize your business for growth?
The only way you will be able to recognize patterns is by consistently tracking the numbers. So start now and keep up with your progress. You'll be glad you did when you look back at a year from now.
Figure out your product-market fit.
What is product-market fit? It's a term coined by entrepreneur Marc Andreessen in 2011. He said: "Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market." That's not just good advice for entrepreneurs; it's good advice for growth hackers, too.
Build A Community
It's so important to know who's following your blog or podcast because they're the ones who are most likely to support you or become customers. So make sure that you mention them by name and always keep them in mind when creating content.
How can you engage with your audience and make them feel special? Listener mail, interviews, feedback sessions are all great ways of showing appreciation for their attention. Engaging them in social media is another great way to gain their attention. Don't make engagement one-sided; respond to their comments and always ask for feedback. Offer a behind-the-scenes look at your operation.
File your taxes early.
While conducting your small business tax filing early may seem like a strange tip for a growth hacker, it's a brilliant practice that helps you to stay on top of your business finances. By doing this task as soon as possible in the year, you can better look at the financial numbers objectively and identify any problems or questions that might be looming further down the line.
"It can be eye-opening," says Gary Ruffin, founder of One Tree Growth's digital agency. "You can see which clients are underperforming or not converting from free trials into paying customers."
"Getting your taxes done early is about having an objective look at your business," he adds. "It forces you to think about what is working and what isn't. It allows you to adjust things before they become too big of a deal."
Tailor your customer needs
Here's a little nugget of wisdom from Aaron Ginn, co-founder and President ofSimple Target:
"Study your customer's behaviour and tailor your approach to match it. The best marketing campaigns use the same tactics that matter most to the people they are marketing to." Short, sweet, and to the point. This lesson is a great reminder that you need to be sure you are tailoring your approach to match your customers wants and needs. When you do this correctly, you'll be able to figure out which channels to spend the most money on and which channels aren't working for you at all. Of course, this strategy isn't an exact science. You can't just figure this out on a spreadsheet after crunching your numbers for a day or two. Your customers won't behave the same from one month to the next. They will act differently depending on what they just bought, how they feel about what they just bought, and how they feel about their general financial situation as well. You need to do more than just survey them, though. It would help if you watched them. Watch them purchase things. Read their reviews. Read their comments about price changes or product changes. Don't just listen in on your customers- watch them. That way, you can tailor your efforts to get more sales from them in the future by matching up with their behaviours.
Be Productively Disagreeable.
Steven Sinofsky opines, "People with strong views and the ability to state them assertively and passionately are apt to disturb the status quo and challenge existing assumptions. To be a productive contrarian, you have to be substantially right more than you are wrong. If you're right only 50 per cent of the time, you're not going to be heard. But if you're right, 70 per cent of the time, you will force people to take notice. That is what we called productive disagreement."
Make It A Habit To Look For Growth Opportunities - When you create an opportunity for growth every day, you will soon realize that it isn't as hard as it sounds. Learn to spot opportunities, and opportunities will learn to spot you.
Create A–Z Playbook For Growth - Go through many different cases, analyze what works and what doesn't to have a growth plan for everything from A to Z.
It's not about the tools.
You might be overwhelmed by all the tools available to you today. It's tempting to rely entirely on these tools and not think about your customers as people or what they want or need. That would be a mistake: Your customers are human beings with problems, desires, and goals. Tools don't know anything about this. You do. Figure out how to solve those problems and figure out what those people want, then find ways to connect those two things.
Confirm if your product is solving a problem
Confirming if your product solves a problem is crucial, and there are many ways to do that. Let's take a look at two techniques:
- Surveys: Send out surveys and collect responses to see if people want what you're planning to offer them. If they don't answer the survey, this could mean one of 2 things. In one case, they were too busy or didn't find the survey enticing enough; in the other case, they didn't feel like they wanted what you were offering or that they had the problem you're trying to solve.
- Asking your network: Another way to understand if there's a need for your product or service is to ask your network. If you don't have an established customer base or network, ask 5-10 people who are part of your target market directly if they would buy what you plan to offer them.