Growth is no longer the ownership of marketing team; It is a joint property of product and marketing teams and essentially a mix of marketing, engineering and lot of experimentation, which we call growth hacking
Think about it, if you made a product which can achieve growth like Facebook, what would you do next? My point is unless you have thought of the end result, you haven’t yet started.
The first requirement of growth is a great product. If your product is a leaking funnel, there is not point focussing on growth. And if this not the case, and your product is retaining customers, you have a business case. You are welcome to move to next step of product marketing which is growth.
Remember the single biggest factor which will fuel growth is user retention. Nothing in the world is a better recommendation than existing customers talking about your product.
A good case study of customers talking about the product is Eventbrite. Eventbrite made a ticketing product for companies, and it was a B2B product. And when someone didn’t charge for the event or tickets, it became a free event without any payments to Eventbrite. It was an accident, but this accident exploded, and people worldwide started booking free events and promoting events on social media, blogs, websites, etc.
Eventbrite was getting noticed by everyone. After a while, people who hosted free events started hosting paid ones too. It becomes a tool for everyone, and Eventbrite became a B2C company. The company has now opened its API to developers worldwide which will power the company to grow faster than before. It is now valued at US$1 Billion with an IPO planned in near future.
The point is you need your users to talk about your product. Up to you to give them an incentive or not, but you need to get them talking. That’s how all viral marketing works. Sometimes you have a great product, but people don’t talk about it. Let’s solve this problem — let’s get them talking.
If you need people to talk about your product, you need to explore growth tactics and tools. A perfect example is Airbnb. Airbnb engineering team integrated with Craigslist, and growth exploded for Airbnb. Do you think someone in marketing can realise this growth hack without engineering teams? Growth is no longer the ownership of marketing team; It is a joint property of product and marketing teams and essentially a mix of marketing, engineering and lot of experimentation, which we call growth hacking.
Growth hacking is a fast-paced experimentation process intended to result in huge growth. It can be applied to the product or the marketing channels, or can involve discovering marketing channels where none existed.
So what are the few things which you can implement to achieve a growth hack but haven’t explored yet?
Remember it doesn’t happen automatically; People make it happen for their products.
For virality, you need to get your users to invite friends and keep a high conversion percentage. Try to fulfil this equation:
Invites sent * Conversion % > 1
If you are able to fulfil the equation, congratulations — you have won the virality game. If you haven’t implemented yet, then begin a comprehensive referral campaign. Get your users to invite others, and repeat the process with the new users. Make the process part of the core product offering and not a campaign. It should obvious to users to invite friends to use the product. Do you think before inviting anyone on LinkedIn, Dropbox or Google Drive? It just seems so flawless, and that’s the game.
Make it extremely easy for users to invite others.
Use engineering teams to make the presence of your website or app felt by developing widgets, toolbars, desktop shortcuts, and tools for sending invites to all in your email list, LinkedIn connections or Facebook friends. This can include launching header bars, releasing an API for your product, browser extensions, notifications on relevant activities, chatbots, etc. The easier you make customers access your product and refer across channels, the faster you grow.
Instant gratifications — they always work. Subscribe now and win, refer and win, download and win. Gift a value of your own product. Subscribe now and get the first-month subscription free. Refer and get two months subscription free. It has to be your own product gratification. Don’t gift an Ipad, Iphone, or car. Never integrate gifts that you cannot gratify instantly.
Explore marketing channels or outreach to users where you haven’t explored yet. Think of the possibilities, such as integrations with unexplored marketing channels. Food for thought: Can you explore WhatsApp as a marketing channel? Is it possible to integrate browser alerts, or perhaps an auto-scheduled phone call?
Automate processes to grow to retain and gain subscribers. Here are few examples of startups companies who have implemented this well.
Ready for zero is a fintech company which auto-deducts small amounts from your bank to collect and pay for your debts. It has created award-winning online tools for tackling debt and managing credit automatically. With US$350 million in debt paid down by its customers, it is a company to watch.
Another such company is Digit, which auto deducts small amounts for savings. Digit has collectively made savings of US$500 million for its customers. Do you think customers would have saved this much if left on their own willingness to save?
I loved this concept, and this can be applied anywhere — automate processes to retain your customers. Don’t ask them to do things. Rather, do it for them and they will love you for it. Jobscan just scans your CV to find right jobs for you. Facebook auto suggests your friends, so that you don’t have to search for them. Quora autosuggests people to follow, so you can read what they answer without difficulty.
Growth is not something you look for when you launch a product — you have to build features in your product to help you grow and at the same time keep on with experiments for growth via marketing channels. One day you will get the hack you may need for explosive growth.
Remember, no matter how world-class your product is if you don’t build it for growth, it will never grow. Just like your team runs a product or service exactly you need to have a team to focus on just one thing, growth.
The writer is a growth consultant: You can reach him at email@example.com.
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