Growth hacking has been a hot trend for several years now. The benefits are clear, as the companies who do it well have displayed the impact on revenue a great growth hacking plan can have. Despite all the talk about growth hacking, there is still a lot to learn about how to do it properly. If you look up the definition of growth hacking on Wikipedia it says:

So, this sounds simple enough. Right? It’s a bit vague and inaccurate however, because this implies growth hacking starts when the company and product is set-up and ready to sell. Effective growth hacking actually starts at the product development stage. At product launch, there are different strategies to use, and then another set of tactics post-launch. A good plan will cover the different needs in these stages.

This is the stage when you want to get people excited about your product and build some anticipation around. How do you do this? A couple of tips:

  1. Market research: Check your competition and your target market. Figure out what it is that makes your product unique and special. Develop your branding and messaging around these aspects to get people excited about the new product.
  2. Collect leads: Create some beautifully designed landing pages around the product and make sure your value proposition is clearly communicated. Give people a reason to get excited!
  3. Get it out to the presses: Evaluate the target from your research and score potential leads and media outlets on their potential interest. Reach out to them with press releases and send them to your landing page.
  4. Contests and Kickstarter: Many new companies have used contests or Kickstarter to generate a lot of buzz around their products pre-launch. Get sign-ups, pre-orders, feedback, and offer special prices or prizes for early adopters.
  5. Network: If you don’t have a product that makes sense for Kickstarter, or is in a more competitive space, take a different approach and determine what makes your story unique. Go out and sell it to reporters who cover your industry, or your network and ask for referrals.

Some companies prefer to launch their product and grow organically without a lot of press or contests around it. This is another option to take, and in this case, market research, landing pages and networking will still be vitally important to organic growth. This could actually allow you to test the market and perfect your branding before pushing word out to the press and a larger market.

The final piece at this stage is to constantly evaluate and test that you are reaching your target audience. Fine tune your outlets and your activities as needed in order to get the word out to the right people.

To grow your customer base using growth hacking, you should:

  1. Amplify your content marketing: Now that you have market research and targets and are seeing some organic growth, focus on your blog and content marketing to expand your reach. To some people growth hacking is just a fancy way of saying content marketing + distribution. Yes, it means not just creating a variety of great content, on different channels, but it also means getting it seen.
  2. Develop your distribution plan:Guest blogging and sharing content on forums help a lot more with generating leads than social media alone. Target influential blogs that are reaching your audience and offer up some of your great content marketing to post. Do your research on forums and do not stop at Quora and Reddit. There are more forums popping up all the time that serve more targeted and niche audiences. Get to posting on those as well.
  3. Email is not dead: Do not underestimate the power of email marketing. It is still incredibly effective at converting your leads and you should develop a good strategy just for email. Use drip campaigns, share your great content, build your brand and loyalty by keeping your followers engaged with useful information.
  4. Analyze, analyze, optimize: At this point, you will have lots of different activities on different channels, including landing pages for capturing leads, social media posts, email and all more. Analyze everything with the right tools and recalibrate to reach the right audience and to boost your conversions as much as possible. This means also looking into how your web site is designed and how many leads are coming from different channels and from different kinds of content.
  5. Try as many other things as needed: There are several different things you can do at this point that include paid search, offering users cash back and freebies for referring you to their friends and social networks, remarketing, incentivizing some partners to send along targeting prospects, and many more!

At VBOUT, we have used a lot of these tactics for growing our own start-up. We also developed a great marketing automation platform that you can use to achieve a lot of these goals. How good is it? We use it ourselves to create landing pages, email drip campaigns, analyze our results, and figure out how to optimize our activities. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have on our growth hacking and the tools we developed and used.