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Growth Hacking Strategies for Startups

by Noyal Sharook

It’s all good having a great idea for a business but not knowing how to promote it will stop your idea from going anywhere.

The best ideas sell themselves, but you still need the initial traction to get the wheels turning.

To reach your target audience, you need to implement growth hacking strategies that will help your brand to be seen by more people.

Building and promoting your brand does not have to cost a lot of money.

Most growth hacking strategies cost very little, or nothing at all!

Every business is different, so if these growth hacking strategies aren’t suitable for you, they may still give you a boost of creativity to think of some of your own ideas.

I’ve compiled this list of growth hacking strategies that you can use to grow your startup, but first, let’s look at what growth hacking actually is.

What is Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking itself is a term that only started being used in 2010.

The term was started by Sean Ellis (the CEO of GrowthHackers) and has been popularised by startups and entrepreneurs over the past twenty years.

Growth hacking refers to strategies that focus on growth, usually experimental, or on a minimal budget.

It is a blend of creative marketing, experimenting, and automation.

What skills does a growth hacker need?

Well, there are tons of different skills that are put under the umbrella term of growth hacking, but here are 8 of the most important growth hacking skills:

  1. SEO
  2. Copywriting
  3. A/B Testing
  4. Marketing Automation
  5. Customer Retention
  6. Conversion Rate Optimization
  7. Data Analysis
  8. Social Media Marketing

A good growth hacker also needs:

  • Digital Intelligence
  • Data-driven Decision Making
  • Creative / Experimental Marketing

A lot goes into growth hacking, but to keep it simple, its the ability to quickly grow a startup on a budget using experimental marketing strategies.

There are also many different tools that you may see growth hackers use, from SEO tools to social media management tools, a good growth hacker needs a good toolset.

Here are a few common tools used by growth hackers:

  • Zapier
  • Canva
  • Airtable
  • Hubspot
  • Google Analytics
  • Buffer
  • Ahrefs

As well as these, there are also many more tools that growth hackers use.

Have you ever used any of these tools?

Launch on ProductHunt

One of the biggest challenges startups face is pitching their product.

They spend days or weeks perfecting their pitch only to learn that only 0.1% of startups actually get funded.

That’s where ProductHunt comes in, it’s a website where startup founders can raise their visibility and get exposure to buyers before they’ve even raised money.

Product Hunt is a community for startups, where you can launch or discover new products.

This means that a startup can easily get press coverage and exposure from the top blogs and forums in just a few days.

Simply launch your product or service on ProductHunt, to be seen by thousands more people.

Here are some tips to have a successful launch on ProductHunt:

  • Respond to all questions
  • Make a gif for your logo
  • Create screenshots, videos & gifs of your product
  • Write an engaging tagline
  • Talk about the problem you are solving
  • Create a promotion only for ProductHunt users

Launching on ProductHunt must be done comprehensively in order to receive the best results, so make sure to take your time to build a well optimized listing.

Referral Marketing

One of the most effective ways for a startup to grow is through the help of its own users.

The idea behind referral marketing is that you can create a network through which you can attract potential new customers to your business.

So how does it work?

Once you understand it, it is quite a simple and smart strategy to use.

With referral marketing, your customers will promote your product or service for you, and for every new customer they refer to you, they receive either a set fee, or a percentage of the sale value.

So, with this strategy you are essentially paying your customers to promote your startup, but you only pay them when they get results.

Here is visual representation of the referral marketing process:

Before any of this, you will need to setup an affiliate program that customers can join, this will give them their unique referral links that they can share to friends.

Here are a couple of referral marketing tips:

  • Make referrals easy
  • Reward referrals
  • Encourage customers to become referrers

It can take some time to build a successful rereferral network, but it can be very rewarding.

Pre-launch Email List

One of the best startup marketing strategies is to send out pre-launch emails to everyone you think would be valuable to your target audience.

It’s a way of reaching your target audience before they have decided to buy your product or service.

The pre-launch email list enables you to test product features, ask users for feedback and identify what it takes to convert them into customers.

Build an email list of people who want to be notified when your product or service launches, and then email them when you are about to launch.

This will send a load of potential customers to your website as soon as you launch.

Reward Social Shares

When you propose a product or service to your users, one of the most important things you can do is reward them for sharing your content with their networks.

Social shares mean more exposure, which means more potential leads.

Reward them early on in the process by rewarding them for sharing your content.

Establish a social reward program for your startup right from day one.

Create Urgency

Startups grow by creating urgency in their users.

The five stages of a startup’s growth are: consumer, market, product, funding and exit.

The first three are about convincing people to try your product out.

The last two are about expanding the product you’re building and getting it to scale.

Three ways to create urgency:

These are my three favourite ways to create urgency, but don’t forget, there are also many more.

  1. Set a deadline on promotions
  2. Show that your product / service is nearly sold out or fully booked
  3. Offer a bonus / free gift if the order is completed now

Try implementing some of these strategies onto your website.

Get Reviews From Bloggers

One of the most critical aspects of growing a startup is being able to attract and retain users.

Growth hacking is all about getting in touch with the minds and hearts of your target market, and finding the right strategy that will promote growth.

Bloggers are often the most trustworthy source of information out there.

That is why it goes without saying that you should reach out to relevant bloggers in your niche, and ask them to write about your company, or product.

This would not only help them by giving them more content for their blog, but also help you to get more exposure for your product.

Use Your Email Signature

Your email signature is your first impression.

It’s a powerful tool that enables brands to instantly connect with their customers.

If you’re not using it, your startup might be missing out on potential leads, funding and new potential customers.

The most common mistake younger startups make is not crafting an effective email signature.

The most effective ecommerce brands are using their email signatures to engage consumers in conversations.

You can use your email signature to display contact details, recent blog posts, social media, new offers, product demo booking, product launches, and so on.

I like to use the Hubspot Email Signature Generator, to build a high quality email signature.

Here is an example of what you can build using this tool:

Hubspot email signature screenshot

Give Your Product/Service to Influencers

Give your product or service to influential people who can spread the word about it.

The most successful products get early attention from the people who actually matter.

Now you might be wondering what is an influential person?

There are two types of influencers:

  • Friend / family

Everyone has a few people they would rather see recommend the company than not recommend it – family, friends, co-workers, etc.

If someone that you trust has recommended that you buy a product, you are more likely to buy it, right?

  • Social media influencers

Then we have social media influencers, these are people who have a large following on social media.

Social media influencers can influence their followers to purchase a certain product or service.

It is important that you only work with influencers that have an audience that is relevant to your niche, so that they would actually be interested in what you are offering.

By giving your product or service to influencers for free, they could then show it to their audience, which will put more eyes on your brand.

Bonus Growth Hacking Strategies

If you don’t like any of the strategies listed above, maybe some of these will be more your style.

  1. Partner with another brand to reach a bigger audience and to add value to your brand.
  2. Create an invite only product or service to create a buzz around your brand.
  3. Create a blog or YouTube channel, and post regular content.

Read more: 13 Sure-Fire Twitter Growth Hacking Strategies for Startups

Let me know if you add any of these growth hacking strategies to your marketing plan!

What are some of your favorite growth hacking strategies?

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