Growth Hacking 101: 11 Tips From 50 Experts
Growth hacking is an excellent way to expand a business, both in terms of revenue and users. It does, however, require intention and careful planning, so it’s essential to be prepared.
This article is the result of a analysis of interview of 50 expert growth hackers. These experts include Neil Patel,best-selling author and creator of KISSmetrics, Ivan Kirgin, who grew Dropbox’s users by 12 times, Elliot Shmukler, who took LinkedIn from 20 to 200 million users, and Josh Elman, responsible for Twitter’s growth during its period of active development.
What follows are 11 top tips from these 50 growth hacking experts.
Tip 1: Retention is more important than engagement
Of course, any business needs to focus on attracting new customers. That said, new users aren’t the most critical growth hacking metric. What’s more important than new users is the retention of current users.
A business could be acquiring 1,000 users a day, but if 999 leave the platform in a matter of hours, that 1,000 number is meaningless.
Instead, focus on delivering value to existingusers by solving pain points and understanding your target audience.
At worst, the business acquires most new users through word of mouth, which is honestly not a bad problem to have. These satisfied users are far more likely to stick around and be worth more bang for a company’s buck.
Tip 2: The best growth hackers are agnostic
How does the term “agnostic” apply to growth hacking? Simply put, some growth hackers are biased towards a given marketing hack. Unfortunately, however, startups are vastly different from one another.
Evaluate each company on its own and never exclude any growth hacking techniques. There is no place for emotions or intuition when it comes to growth hacking. Experiment and let the data do the talking.
Tip 3: Personal experience is more valuable in growth hacking than proven sources
Information is great, and a growth hacker should have plenty of it. That said, what makes a startup succeed is usually due to the make up of the team.
These people are experts with proven experience in their field. Growth hacking is no different. Use information and analytics, but don’t let them direct all decisions.
Individuals working in the way they know best will lead to the most successful ventures. Let people operate on personal experience; make sure the data is merely guiding them.
Tip 4: Growth hacking doesn’t work on a person’s psychology
A business can use any tricks it wants to attract audiences. It can test, iterate, and test again. No matter what it does, it will never change centuries of evolutionary psychology that guide fundamental human decision-making.
The best growth hacking mechanisms use people’s psychological biases and addictions to their advantage. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
Tip 5: Turn off all genius
Growth hacking, if boiled down to one thing,would come down to simplicity. Complexity kills even the greatest of ideas, so turn off all genius. Talk to customers like they’re 5th graders, and they’ll love you for it.
Among many other tasks, growth hackers are around to ensure that a company’s product makes sense to everyone, not just the technical experts working on it.
How can a team distill its product down to the simplest few sentences possible? Doing so will facilitate growth.
Tip 6: Remember the “one metric that matters”
When face-to-face with pages of analytics data, it’s easy to get lost. The natural instinct is to optimize every metric one can get his or her hands on.
All experienced growth hackers know that this is misguided. By spreading itself too thin, a company fails to move the needle. Impact is always more important than quantity.
Any growth hacking venture must draw a line in the sand and define the “one metric that matters.” Whether it’s engagement, downloads, or click-through-rate, pick one metric and devote all efforts towards positively influencing it.
Tip 7: Metrics can’t tell you what decision to make next
Metrics and analytics are great, but they won’t tell you what to do. It’s up to a business to interpret these analytics and decide how to proceed.
Consider A/B testing. This analytics tool is profound and frequently applied, but by simply deciding to run an A/B test, one does not know what “A” and “B” to pit against each other.
Remember, metrics are only as good as the tests behind it. Excellent growth hacking comes from the thought behind a company’s efforts, so don’t get too sucked into the analytics itself.
Tip 8: Experiment with words
Copywriting is a skill as much as it is an art. Never underestimate the power of great copywriting.
Experiment with verbiage. Make sure the chosen words sell, are easy to understand, get to the point, and ultimately do the work for the business. The right words, in the proper order, can work miracle sat the right time.
Tip 9: Correlation is good, but causation is great
Never confuse correlation with causation when growth hacking (or ever). Simply because A moves one way when B does, doesn’t mean B is driving A’s change.
Ask these questions: Does B affect A? Does Aaffect B? Are they affecting each other? Does C affect A and B?
Correlation offers insight, but causation provides direction. Always uncover the causation.
Tip 10: The product is the focus
Growth hacking, when applied to a bad product,is a waste of time. It’s crucial that a company’s foundation, its product, is as strong as possible.
It is at this point that analytics and growth hacking can work real magic. If people love the product and if the product meets a need, growth hacking can allow it to take off.
Tip 11: Build your own (growth hacking) team
Growth hacking only works if it’s a priority. Build a team around it and have regular meetings. Make sure the entire company is on board and get everyone working on the product.
Organizing internal meetings to discuss growth allows the team to share experiences, exchange ideas, and discuss any problems. This enables growth hacking to be the best it can be.
Time to get started
With these 11 tips in mind, it’s time to start growth hacking. This can be a phenomenal tool to increase a business’s presence, and it’s never too soon to start. So go out there and get to growth hacking!