Growth Hack Strategies Any Business Can Use
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
This article is included in Entrepreneur Voices on Growth Hacking, a new book containing insights from more than 20 contributors, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders.
So let's say you launched a business, and it’s starting to grow, but you desperately want to expand your audience and customer base. To achieve this goal, you need to execute a forward-thinking marketing strategy.
Growing a business isn’t easy because there are so many bases to cover -- from reducing churn (current customers are worth up to 10 times more than their first purchase), to delighting customers, to content marketing, to new customer acquisition.
There are also plenty of ways to lose business en route. Thankfully, with some simple tactics and a solid strategy, you can gain traction, where your competitors are still struggling.
Here are the top eight growth hack ideas that any business can implement to bolster its efforts.
1. Get active at the right time.
Have you ever noticed that musical artists tend to release tracks toward the beginning of the week? That’s when you’re most likely to capture people’s attention. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to time your content-publishing schedule and marketing campaigns to roll out on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
This advice isn’t universal, however. Your particular audience might display different behavior, so do some research beforehand to find out when they’re most active online. That will give you insight into the best times for media releases, social posts, ads and other promotions.
2. Keep your opt-in visible.
If you want to keep your audience’s attention, put your opt-in near the top of your pages. If you don’t want a static opt-in, then test the effectiveness of drop-in or slide-in opt-ins. Make sure your site is also optimized for mobile users and can easily avoid penalties from Google’s upcoming updates.
“Don't make people dig around your site to stumble across subscription options,” writes Andy Pitre, inbound marketer for HubSpot. “Keep your offers up-front and include calls-to-action on just about every page of your website.”
This can also be used to sway exit-intent behaviors.
3. Embed social content.
Social proof is a great way to build trust. Rather than pasting generic-sounding testimonials, go find social mentions for your brand. Embed tweets or content from other social channels directly onto your site. Social reviews will always be perceived as more trustworthy when they can be easily traced back to the original source.
4. Claim broken links.
This is one of my favorite methods for building a natural link profile and gaining referral traffic. Find high-quality resource lists that mention brands, products, topics or services similar to your own.
Search through the lists for broken links with a simple tool, and reach out to the publisher if you find a broken link. Offer your resource as an alternative to keep the link alive rather than deleting it.
Another approach is to scout around for broken links on high-value sites, then build content specifically designed to replace the link before you contact them. This lets you customize the content to fit that site and its audience.
5. Connect with influencers.
Every industry has people who wield massive influence over a target audience. Consumers trust their insight and experience. Connect with those influencers and offer discounts or free access/products in exchange for some promotion.
If they’re not interested in that exchange, find out if they do sponsored shoutouts and determine the costs involved. This is usually an affordable way to get your product mentioned in front of a large audience.
6. Improve the new user experience.
New customers have different needs from those of recurring customers. When you acquire a completely new customer, he or she is initially going to be highly critical of everything you do. New customers have certain expectations that need to be met before they feel comfortable.
You can win them over and increase the likelihood of better referrals by creating a better onboarding process.
Once the new customer makes that first purchase, provide supportive content that will continue the conversation and education beyond the initial handshake. This will help you build a relationship and let the customer know that you value him or her beyond the first transaction.
7. Build your authority.
I’m always impressed when I see influencers and figureheads for major brands spending their time in discussion groups and on sites like Quora. It says a lot when someone is willing to take time out of a busy day to provide free advice and information for others.
This is a great way to build visibility for your brand. You’ll find topics, questions and discussions that are relevant to just about every industry if you browse a little while. Provide insight for free, and you’ll develop a group of followers who might later transform into brand advocates for your business.
8. Get it done now.
You can’t base your entire strategy on long-term goals; you also need to spend time scoring quick wins. Figure out which things aren’t exactly scalable but will get customers buying from you right now. Those quick wins may only be short-term solutions, but they’ll immediately generate revenue that you can use for future growth.
“Startups take off because the founders make them take off,” writes Paul Graham of Y Combinator. "There may be a handful that just grew by themselves, but usually it takes some sort of push to get them going. A good metaphor would be the cranks that car engines had before they got electric starters.
Related: Growth-Hacking 101
"Once the engine was going, it would keep going, but there was a separate and laborious process to get it going.”