Owning and running a business is no easy task especially when it is online. Growth is the next phase which is an inevitable part of a business journey.
Every entrepreneur dreams of expanding his horizon in the virtual world and tactics need to be used for the same. These tactics are termed ‘growth hacks’ which is a word coined in the year 2010 by one of the top marketing experts, Sean Ellis.
Growth hacking is widely prevalent in small businesses or start-ups who don’t have the resources and funds like the big corporates. It is nothing but bringing about massive growth quickly using smart methods. For this, businesses combine marketing, engineering, and technology to get things done.
Take a look at the 17 growth hacks that you can implement.
Imagine that you have attended a lecture that deals with inspiring you from within to do a task. How long do you think the inspiration will last so that you can keep improving?
Here is another. Say if your close friend spends about 10 minutes with you every day discussing how to get inspired and motivates you to do things well.
Which one of the above scenario do you think will leave a lasting impression leading to better results?
Of course, the second.
That is because a person talks to you personally, just for you, whereas in a lecture, it is just a matter of an hour for a huge audience and not personal.
This is exactly what I mean by personalization.
Personalization can be implemented all through the journey of a customer on your webpage for
- Sending out emails
- Recommending products to buy
- For encouraging repeat purchase
- Literally for anything and everything
Even with the social media buzz all around, email marketing stands tall when it comes to acquiring customers. Stats say that 77% of people like receiving permission-based emails and 44% make a purchase through email campaigns.
The catch here is to send out emails one by one, over a period of time. This type of marketing is a growth hack and is termed as a drip campaign.
A drip campaign is a series of emails sent out to a person right from the time of signing up until the time of purchase and maybe even after that.
- Welcome email on signup
- A look into the blog along with product recommendations (2 days later)
- Upcoming sale / promotional email (2 days later)
This method will remind the person about the long-term association with you. The need for drafting a reminder mail gets ruled out here.
For this, it is essential to seal a deal with mutual benefits.
For example, you approach an influencer to market your product, probably, a fashion brand. In return, agree to provide products for free or on a whopping discount to the followers of the influencer for a giveaway. In this case, the benefit for the influencer is the increase in the number of followers and for you, the marketing is done.
H&M is one apparel brand that regularly uses influencer marketing to get their products across to the public. In 2017, the company partnered with Julie Sariñana on Instagram to market their fall collection.
Why this works?
You would definitely opt for an influencer with a huge fan following. With that mammoth following, the trust that needs to be built with the customer base is already present. The followers trust the influencer without giving a second thought. This is the selling point in influencer marketing.
A referral program is one of the oldest of the hacks out there but the most efficient if done right.
Dropbox has proved it.
The first marketer of Dropbox, Sean Ellis, is responsible for this. He devised a referral program that grew the company by 3900% in a very short span of 15 months.
100K registered users in September 2008 to 4M registered users in December 2009.
That’s huge! The program was a 2-sided referral program, that is, it benefitted the person who sent out an invite and the one who accepted an invite.
Since Dropbox is all about cloud storage, some extra storage space was the reward for the referral program. The rest is history.
This is a test that every online business must be knowledgeable about. Also called split testing, it is a method to determine which marketing strategy gives better results for the growth of the business. Moreover, the monetary needs for the same are very minimal or rather completely nil.
You actually test two variations of a strategy in this testing and compare the two. Does it mean you can test only two variants? No. You can go for any number by segmenting your audience for faster results. Things to test include CTAs, images, videos, logo, colors, headlines, and almost everything.
Let’s look at an example.
Movexa, a vitamin and supplement company had the title as ‘Natural Joint Relief’ for one of their products. They changed it to ‘Natural Joint Relief Supplement’ and saw an increase in conversion by 89.97%.
- Start off with small changes for testing. If you are gearing up for a big change, you must be patient enough to get the results.
- Never stop A/B testing. Do as many as possible and keep it going because as times change, the minds of people change too.
- Keep experimenting.
Use exit-intent pop-ups
On leaving a site, this pops up
Hey! You showed interest in this wallet.
It is yours with just a click.
Own it. With a 20% off.
A pop-up that appears on abandoning a page or site is termed as an exit-intent pop-up. This is the last chance to make the person buy the product when browsing.
For the above example shown, ‘Own it’ can be used as a CTA button and giving a discount acts as a prompt to buy the product. You can also personalize the same for a better impact.
This works just right for any eCommerce store or even to make a visitor subscribe to your newsletter.
It is found that at least 70% of people take a detour at the checkout page without completing the order. The reason can be many among which the most prominent one is the lengthy checkout process.
How to deal with this?
Here are some tips by top marketing experts.
- Never ever ask the same data time and again like the shipping address at the checkout for a loyal customer. Just the payment would do.
- Remove the need for mandatory sign up for checkout.
- Use the autofill option for the input fields.
- Provide all the possible globally accepted payment options.
Offer an automated coupon code to keep it going and bring in more sales.
HURRY UP!!! 50% Off on Clearance Sale.
Two hours left.
If the above message is advertised at the entrance of a shopping mall, won’t the sellers see a sudden influx of a sea of people?
Of course, yes and that is due to the limited time offer. The same applies to online sales with a little tweak in the advertising technique.
You definitely might have come across a similar image
‘Only 1 left in stock’ - this is scarcity marketing. It generates a sense of urgency within the prospective customers to buy the product. This is a strategy played with the psychological behavior of man.
Other ways to create scarcity
Countdown timers for
- Sale price
- Next-day shipping
- Seasonal and limited edition offers
Freemium - dissect it and it is free + premium.
The idea behind this subscription
- Offer the basic services for free to your site visitors.
- When they become your customers, offer a premium version of the same product with added value and services.
The users of the free version will start liking it and turn into customers at a later stage.
A time frame can be set up to use the free version within which the person can decide on purchasing the premium one.
In the premium version, you must deliver much more than expected to retain the customer. Just an additional feature will not make the product ‘premium’.
The purpose of giving away the basic version for free is the publicity that you might get through the online medium.
Viral mastery is a hack that every online business must learn to increase revenue and grow tremendously. This is possible only when your business profile is active on social media, on all leading platforms.
Keep posting on social media and answer queries to cement your brand in the minds of the people.
Buzzfeed’s growth hack was to generate traffic out viral shares. This actually worked out because Buzzfeed knew and still knows what type of content gets accepted and shared virally.
The title says it all. Social media is what comes to your mind first. It is common to see an image similar to the below one nowadays when online.
This is called social proof. It resonates the trust these many numbers of people have in you as a business. This acts as a driving force to magnet more people. I would like to term it is as a ‘number play’.
Another way to build trust is to use the logos of the companies you have served if you are a B2B business and the number of people who have purchased your products/services in case of a B2C business.
There is no better place than a landing page to use these tactics. People on seeing these social proofs literally get a feeling ‘Oh, these many people may never go wrong’ and go with the tide.
‘He is a New York Times best selling author. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.’
All of his top achievements are mentioned in this snippet. Wouldn’t you purchase his services for just this?
Reviews and testimonials are also part of social proof but they stand out for a reason. It is a human tendency to look for a review before making an online purchase. The more the number of reviews, the better will be the chances of conversion.
You can ask for a review or testimonial via a follow-up email after a week of purchase of a product or else the product must be just too good to entice the customer to submit one on his own in your website. However, it is better to prefer the former.
- The all-too-good five-star rating in all your testimonials will create suspicion and the authenticity is lost.
- People mostly go for products with around ratings from 4.2 - 4.5. Beyond this, the number of purchases decline.
- Negative reviews along with a solution for that from your side must be displayed to create credibility.
- The trust is cemented when the reviews are from verified buyers. So, use a ‘verified buyer’ trust badge.
- Make displaying a review a must for higher priced items since the conversion impact is greater here.
- Reviews in the form of videos can also be included to show the set-up and working of an appliance, the method to use a makeup kit, and so on.
Many times people simply browse the site and do away with it without making a purchase. In order to grow as a business, you must keep nagging the person to complete the purchase and shop for more.
Retargeting works well here because the visitor has already shown interest in the product.
With retargeting, even when the person is browsing other sites, they see your ad with recommended products or the ones that they had planned to buy earlier. This urges the customer to get back and finish the deal.
A discount can also be provided to make it even more interesting.
The basic tools needed for retargeting are Google Display Network and Facebook Ads. There are others too in the market like AdRoll and Criteo.
Words speak louder than action and this is why great content always stands out and helps in growing an online business. This content creation is nothing but blogging.
Neil Patel says, “Yes! Your brand absolutely should be blogging.” It works for both B2B and B2C businesses.
According to Coschedule Blog, the conversion rate for a business that uses content marketing is 6x higher than the ones that don’t. This is solid proof about the long-term effectiveness of blogging.
Inbound marketing is the term used to drive traffic by writing blogs. Hubspot is the perfect example for using this growth hack. They put up blog posts regularly by using their own inbound marketing tools. The blogs posts in turn help in the sales of the tools to other marketers.
When every business creates blog posts, the competition is tough and is there a way to get noticed?
Oh, yes. The key is to provide the visitors to the site with exclusive content that no one else offers.
Exclusivity in content can be provided by offering content upgrades. Content upgrades mean offering an e-book or some other useful content that is actionable to the visitor. Hubspot did the same to grow up the ladder.
Blogging is not for your website alone. You have to think beyond this virtual boundary.
Writing a blog post on other similar sites have become mandatory nowadays. The trick is the same - provide content that sells value.
Promotion is not the idea behind guest blogging. The focus is on the information but yet there can be a link back to your website which the readers will automatically opt for if the content clicks.
Leo Widrich, the founder of Buffer, used this strategy to set up a user from 0 to 100,000. The result as of today - Buffer has millions of users world over.
Talking, talking, talking. This is what you have to do in all the phases of your online business journey. There is no end to it.
When I say talking, I emphasize on the literal meaning of it.
You might even think affirmatively that you have been doing it all this while through social media, forums, blogs, and other ways. What is new in this?
Think again. All the talking that you have been doing is indirect communication.
We are discussing direct communication here, not in person though.
A LIVE CHAT…!
No, it is not about a robot being present at your end to do the work.
A real genuine person who has good knowledge in what he does and who can read the minds of the customer base.
Will the customers approve of this method?
Yes, they have already and here is the proof.
To grow your business, you need to know your customer base in depth and there is no better way than live chat to do it because the information that you receive is first-hand and raw.
Create campaigns and strategies more effectively based on it.
Data - the foundation for any business and the forerunner of wealth. If you want to keep the money flowing in, you must make use of the data in hand to understand your business better and to reap success out of it.
Are you new to the online business domain? Then, you need to collect as much data as possible for the growth of your venture. Start off by using Google analytics set up. Information pertaining to the pages visited, the number of times visited, the time spent, network location, IP address and all such stuff are collected for you to analyze.
This basic information will give an insight into what your customers are interested in and how to get them to purchase more products and services. Any marketing strategy for the growth of a business is incomplete without data in hand.