Streamline Your Startup Growth Process With These 22 Tools
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At heart, a startup is a company designed to grow fast. You have to have an idea, product / market fit and some capital before you can set your sights on growth -- but once you have those things, it's time to get going. Your survival depends on it.
But you can't go at it haphazardly. Approach it like a technical problem, like optimizing code. Set concrete goals and do whatever it takes to meet them. Paul Graham says that early-stage startups should grow at about 7 percent per week.
Use these tools, and if your product is good, you'll hit that in no time.
Watch, in real time, how your users are actually navigating your website. Find out what parts of it aren't working, what parts are leaving them clicking around and scrolling at random, so you can align your customer's journey with the one you envision.
This collection of tools brought founder Noah Kagan's site AppSumo to a million-plus subscribers -- heat maps, scroll boxes, list builders and more to grow not just your website traffic, but your conversion rate.
Google Analytics are powerful but complicated, and reading through all that data can be a huge time-sink. Coastics simplifies the process by trawling your reports and regularly emailing you with the actionable information that you actually need.
A lot of people don't believe that Facebook ads are worth it. Don't listen to them -- they're using them wrong. AdEspresso will help you navigate the complexities of the platform and give you the metrics that you need to improve, and they'll even help design your ads for you.
Rather than relying on an expensive public relations firm for your big announcements and think-pieces, reach out to journalists directly. JustReachOut gives you a list of people to get in touch with, a model email that you can tweak to your specifications and a kind of writing tutor to improve your pitch itself.
Along with being the only SaaS technology that most public radio listeners have heard of, MailChimp offers an extensive set of tools to manage your email campaigns and analyze the results. They're adding features all the time, too. Just a few days ago, they implemented new ways to refine automated campaigns and target individual recipients.
Two years ago, a small team at Elastic was handling sales for over 200 corporate clients with software they built themselves. Then they realized that the software they'd made was more popular than the service they provided, and now the entire Elastic team works on Close.io full-time.
8. Pay with a Tweet
Viral growth -- part luck and part science -- is every startup marketer's dream. Take care of the science side by putting discount codes, content upgrades and other valuables behind a Tweetwall to drum up word of mouth and referral conversions.
Customers spend 20 to 40 percent more money with companies they're engaged with than companies they're not, but tracking down each mention of your product on the Internet isn't really worth your time. Colibri IO trawls through conversations and alerts you so that you can participate and show customers you care.
Integration between web apps has long been a problem, especially in software-as-a-service. Some companies build their own tools to smooth out their workflows, but if you don't have the time or the developers to do that, Zapier offers automated integration between more than 500 different apps.
Dropbox's meteoric rise started from an explainer video that they uploaded to their home page. Video has only grown in popularity, but sites like YouTube take your traffic and divert it away from your product. Wistia, on the other hand, offers business-focused video hosting, with analytics and customization that will help turn your videos into an actual part of your marketing strategy.
Smart marketers know that growth is driven by funnels -- finding your customers and then nudging them toward your product. Landing pages narrow your visitors' options and are a proven tool to increase conversions -- but many marketers still aren't using them because they simply don't know how. Unbounce offers a developer-free solution with a drag-and-drop editor and native A/B testing.
With social media, engagement is key. Having 1,000 true fans is way more important than a million spectators. Buffer lets you plan out your campaigns, schedule posts and assess your efforts in terms of quality, not just quantity.
We know that reaching out to customers directly is the most effective way of getting information about your product. With Qualaroo, you can ask targeted questions about things like why a customer abandoned signing up, how they found you or whether anything about your check-out could be improved. It's like A/B testing, except you get solutions right away, and straight from your users.
You can't forget about customer retention. We all want growth, but retention is an essential part of that. Getting more customers means very little if you're leaking existing customers like a sieve. Customer.io helps craft drip email campaigns that will remind your customers that you're looking after their needs and improving your product, and there's native A/B testing to optimize your messaging.
This one's a little sneaky -- Mixrank monitors the traffic sources of your competitors and judges the results to find people who could be customers of yours, giving your sales team better leads and also works backwards to find out where you should be putting your content so future customers come to you first.
The iPhone's read receipts were useful until everyone turned them off. Yesware integrates that technology into email, so that your sales team can see their click and open rates and figure out what they need to do to improve them. It also provides scripts so that you can specifically target individual segments of customers -- such as people who clicked on the cold open but didn't respond -- with targeted messages.
The second biggest reason that startups die is money. Through consulting with startups at various stages of growth, ProfitWell found two out of five startups to be misrepresenting their revenues. Don't let yourself be the next Zirtual and leave the complex financial calculations to the professionals. A team is in place to audit each new customer to ensure that ProfitWell's automated reports are actually accurate.
Some of your customers are not interested in waiting for their support ticket to be answered. For them, there's Olark -- a convenient box on the edge of your site with live chat operators who can respond to comments and questions in real time. It's a personal touch that lets customers know their concerns are of prime importance to you.
The people visiting your site could be divided into two categories: those who are potential customers, and those who aren't. For the former, LeadzGen gives you detailed information on just who they are, how much time they're spending on different parts of your site, where they're clicking, and more, to provide a portrait of just how likely they are to make a purchase -- and what you might need to do to give them that extra nudge.
Find anyone's email address, now. Not all marketing is about tinkering and optimizing, after all. Sometimes you need to go the old-fashioned route and reach out to someone who matters but hasn't made their contact information public.
With all these new marketing tools, you're going to have a lot of plans to implement and results to analyze. Trello gives you a place where you can organize all of your projects alongside one another with an intuitive card-based system for moving tasks along in the pipeline.
These aren't the only tools that can help you, of course. I'm sure you have some that you love. Let me know what they are in the comments.