Growth hacking is the process of experimenting across the marketing funnel to improve sales. The key word is “experimenting.” In order to be a successful growth hacker, you must adopt an experimenter’s mentality and adhere to the following principles:
- Nothing is set in stone
- Design and test all your ideas
- Measure results
- If results are acceptable, improve the plan and repeat
- If results are not acceptable, discard and move on
Make it easy to do business with you
Buying from your business should be easy for your customers. This point is so obvious it should not be listed as a growth hack, right? But you’d be surprised by how many businesses make their prospective clients jump through hoops before letting them make a purchase. This scenario happens everywhere and in every industry. The solution is to keep improving the way you onboard clients to reduce the amount of friction.
Here is a simple example from my industry: Our original financing applications asked for a lot of information. The format was a legacy from the banking days. Prospective clients hated the applications, but underwriters liked them because they were deemed to be exhaustive.
We were losing business because clients refused to fill out the applications. To fix this problem, we set up a test using the standard application and a new “shorter one.”
The result? Sales increased while client quality remained the same. Contrary to underwriting’s belief, lengthy detailed applications did not lead to stronger underwriting results. Thus, by simply using a more concise application, we improved sales without having to do anything else.
Build an email list and use it wisely
A well-maintained mailing list can bring you regular business if you use it correctly. Building a list takes some time. Ask your clients to join your list when they contact your business. If your business has a website (and it should), this process can involve implementing a pop-up window that launches on a page. Alternatively, have your salespeople ask prospective clients to join your list. If you are in retail, you can simply add a fishbowl and collect business cards.
Contact your clients only when you have a good offer, such as the ones discussed in tactic number four, below. Don’t contact clients too often, or you risk going to the spam folder. Test which offers produce the best results and which types of clients tend to buy more often.
Partner with complementary businesses
Develop partnerships with good companies that don’t compete with you, that provide good services and that complement your business. This type of partnership creates the opportunity for you to send them referrals, and vice-versa.
Not every partnership works or attracts the types of clients that are good for your business. Measure how many clients the partner refers to you, how easily the clients are buying and how much revenue they bring. Optimize your partnership so that you can work with your best partners only. Politely and respectfully withdraw from those that are not working for you.
Build hyper-focused offers
The market is full of competitors. Making a generic, bland offer seldom produces results. It is best to build hyper-focused offers directed to a well-defined audience. Sure, your audience may be smaller, but your conversions will likely be higher. And, ultimately, they will provide higher revenues. This strategy also allows you to test many offers until you find the right one.
Here is an example: assume that a startup sells coffee supplies. They could create a targeted offer for people who love Italian Espresso coffee roasts. They could then get the best brands of Italian coffee, package them appropriately, and sell them.
Hyper-focused offers also work well with mailing lists and can be a source of ongoing revenues.