Manchester based digital marketing consultant, Rob Wilkinson, explains the benefits of Low-Cost Growth Hacking for SME’s and Startups.
Growth hacking is fast paced experimental marketing that results in finding the most effective way to generate business growth. The channels used tend to be modern digital, rather than traditional media.
Especially useful for startups, growth hacking is not just about generating leads, it is also crucial to conversion and retention. Important metrics include cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and lifetime value (LTV), not just click-through-rate and cost-per-click.
Growth Hacking is all about Business Growth.
Growth hackers use different types of marketing and product iterations — rapidly testing copy, email marketing, SEO and viral strategies. The aim is rapid business growth. But business growth becomes much harder if the customer attrition is high, so retention is also equally important.
However, growth hacking is also crucial to engagement (On-line community management, user-generated content, onboarding, conversion and the customer journey.
Low-Cost Growth Hacking for Startups
Many new, and some established, businesses struggle with not having much marketing budget, not having any marketing experience or both.
Growth hacking is about innovating new low-cost marketing and not wasting budget on experiments that aren’t working. Quickly testing a variety of channels and focusing on the one that makes the best return on investment – or at least shows the most promise.
Business growth is the top level metric, with conversion and retention contributing.
Some Low-cost growth hacking ideas:
- Growth Through Referral Campaigns.
- New Product Release or Launch Campaign.
- Ongoing Social Signup Prompts.
- Incentivise Reviews And Feedback.
- The Content Unlock – (for example) sign-up for pages 6,7 and 8.
- Free Discount codes.
- Offer Free Samples or subscriptions (Optionally via partners or existing members).
- Create Webinars.
- Cart Abandonment Engagement.
- Voting Contests.
- Instant Coupon Codes for sign-ups.
The New Business Loop
The “Customer Onboarding Process” is a low-cost way to drive viral growth. Offer new customers an incentive to spread the word across their network and do the customer recruitment for you! Share on Facebook, offer an upgrade, email a link.
By having new customers share your service with their connections, this, in turn, creates a new business loop of awareness, use, and sharing that can result in exponential growth for the company.
Growth Hacking For Conversion
Marketing automation is now a well established, low cost, function. CRM software is now able to automate the capturing of web forms, placing the information into a Sales funnel, and driving conversion. Regular emails, offers and newsletters can be automated to people that have shown and interest but not yet signed up.
Growth Hacking for Retention
Depending on the business model, retention can mean having regular users (because you are selling advertising) or making sure people renew their subscription.
It is an old adage that says it costs more money to recruit a new customer than retaining one. Keep your service fresh, relevant and interesting. Talk to your customers, engage with them. Ask them to contribute to your social media, give them freebies. It’s not just about attracting new customers, keep the ones you have happy!
Growth Hacking Strategy
The first step in growth hacking (and remember, this is meant to be a fast process) is defining goals. Growing the business may be the top level objective. But underneath this, you need to establish sub-goals.
Increase Customers by x =
— Grow visitors by y
— Improve conversion by z
Then, break down the goals into strategies. How are we going to increase visitors? This forms the growth hack experiments.
Low-Cost Growth Hacking Experiments.
Before you run your test (or experiment) establish a baseline about what you think might happen. For example, testing a PPC campaign, establish what you think the click through rate will be
This stage is about forming expectations. If the experiment performs better than expected, then don’t just accept it. Try to work out why and scale the test and run it again.
If worse than expected, then experiments are fluid. They are not things you do one time and then move on. Tweak experiments, re-run and measure again. Only give up on experiments when it’s appropriate to do so.
If an objective is to increase conversion, experiments might include:
- Highlight the membership benefits on the home page.
- Include case studies on the member’s page.
- Offer a free trial on the sign-up page.
- Improve the navigation on the menu by highlighting the sign-up page.
Measuring Growth Hacking
Essential to anything digital marketing is measurement. Here, Analytics or the tag manager are your friends.
- Track metrics (views, bounce rate, engagement).
- Track metrics by cohorts.
- Device measurement/engagement.
- Referring source.
- And on and on.
A/B tests are an essential part of growth hacking. You may think you know what the results of your experiments will be, but an A/B test will tell you the truth.
It is a very common situation these days with so many startups competing for customers. Move fast, test everything and don’t waste a penny. If it costs £200 to find out that a marketing channel doesn’t work, it has probably saved you thousand in traditional agency spend.