Every business comes to a point where growth is stagnating. The need for a growth boost becomes more and more obvious and the team simply needs to take action!
When this moment comes, the first thing that comes to a business owner’s mind usually is to grow the number of social media followers. Okay, let’s do it. Maybe the accountant could dedicate half an hour of his workday to find a photo and post it on social media. After a while, results are still missing. What did we do wrong? The answer is – probably everything.
Social media is a full-time job that requires creating clever posts, targeting audiences, and tracking analytics. And, it’s not enough for real growth. This can be just a part of your growth strategy.
Audience growth can be pretty tricky these days because everyone is using similar tools and going after the same people. Moreover, seeing results from a growth strategy can take a lot – sometimes months, sometimes even years.
That’s why small companies have turned to a new way of accomplishing growth – growth hacking.
Growth hacking is a term created by Sean Ellis, CEO and founder of GrowthHackers.com. With this term, he refers to agile growth of organizations. He coined it because he realized that traditional marketing doesn’t focus on growth as much as it should.
Basically, we can say that growth hacking is a synonym for marketing. However, this synonym puts growth into focus, putting aside a lot of by-the-way actions that traditional marketers take. The “hacking” part refers to discovering a shorter path to greater growth.
What’s common for growth hacking strategies is that they use minimum spending to get to the maximum number of users.
Going deeper into the dynamic digital era increases the need for actions that bring quick results. A company needs to find its most efficient ways of getting to users. Pursuing a long-term strategy with defined tools might need a lot of on-going modifications because technology keeps changing.
So, what can you do to effectively boost growth? Here are some of the growth hacking strategies that work in the digital world:
1. Give them something when they least expect
What is it that customers hate a lot? Emails with product offers. What is it that customers get every day? Emails with product offers. If you keep sending these offering emails, you’ll probably end up ignored. What is more, your emails might get labelled as spam.
If you don’t want your users to get bored with your messages, you might want to send them something they didn’t expect. Something nice.
Giving out something for free without asking for anything in return is an effective growth hacking strategy that can engage your customers and get them excited. This could be a free tool that can be useful for your target audience. This way, you’ll collect leads that match your buyer persona and you can offer them your product later.
For example, Neil Patel has a free SEO analyzer that can analyze your page, highlight your SEO problems, and show you how to fix them. All features are completely free, targeting website owners that might later ask for help for a more broad marketing strategy.
2. The good old referral
A pretty simple hack we’re all familiar with. A referral program was basically how Airbnb and Dropbox hacked their growth. PayPal and Payoneer are also some of the companies that made it to the stars with this simple tactic.
Airbnb offers its users a $25 reward for everyone who brings in a new friend, after their first trip. They also give $75 to everyone who brings in a host, after they host their first guest.
Dropbox gives more storage space for people who refer, and Payoneer also gives $25 for each referral.
This is one of the most used growth hacking strategies that’s never failed. It’s basically a situation where everyone’s a winner – you grow your user base and your users and their friends get rewards.
3. Create a sense of urgency
This is a pretty big psychological trigger. Release a limited-time offer, putting an accent to the limited-time part. Take it now, or it will be too late. Adding a timer that counts the time by the end of the offer also contributes to the urgency feeling.
Black Friday is a pure example of a sense of urgency. Discounts probably aren’t as much as we think they are, but all the hype around this day simply makes us buy. In 2017, Americans spent a record $5 billion in 24 hours.
Booking is a master of creating a sense of urgency. You’ve probably noticed they put statements like “in high demand” or “only one room left” under their accommodation offerings.
4. The fear of missing out
Another powerful psychological trigger that could be used together with a sense of urgency.
Let’s face it. People are insecure. Especially today, when there are so many options, and having too many of them puts enormous pressure on customers. Will I buy the right thing? Is this what my friends have also bought? What if the cheaper alternative is actually better? There are so many questions we keep asking ourselves.
We also often think about how it feels to have something and what are we missing out if we don’t have it. Social media are a perfect example. We created our profiles out of curiosity. We wanted to see what’s going on there. We didn’t want to miss out on anything.
How to use this trigger? Create an invite-only program. Something that not everyone can get. We all know that people are more interested in things that are hard to get.
Booking’s “in high demand” message is a good example here too. When reading this you probably think: “A lot of people are buying it, it must be good!” And you buy it so you too can get a piece of the “good” cake.
If you have an e-commerce shop, it’s also good to show what others are buying. You’ve probably seen the “people who liked this also liked” section under a product a lot of times.
Path to success
These aren’t the only growth hacking strategies, there are tons of them! With so many options, you don’t have an excuse for not growing your user base anymore. As a company, you should be open to trying new things. That’s the only way you can find the right strategy that works for your product and your audience in particular. The path to success isn’t the same for everyone. You just need to find yours.