Some people might say that businesses like Amazon, Google and Facebook had it easy when they first got started. The world was in a ripe position for change and the products and services they offered had little or no competition at all.

If you look under the surface and actually read their stories, this isn’t necessarily a fair assumption. Sure, they had the advantage of being early to market, but they also worked extremely hard to position their superior product in front of enough of the right audience and let the product do the talking.

They’re prime examples of why startups need growth hacking strategies that actually work. While, yes, every startup and every market is different, the idea behind growth hacking strategies is generally to acquire as many users or customers as possible, while spending as little as possible.

Start with your Goals

Make sure you set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Startups are notorious for needing to pivot and adjust often, so unless you’re 100% clear of your destination, you’ll get lost.

Let’s look at a quick example, using the goal: ‘An online toy shop that wants to boost sales.’ A SMART goal would be: to increase orders by 30% more than my previous three months by engaging in five new growth strategies, measuring performance weekly.

Now that we know our goal, we can explore strategies. Most growth-hacking strategies fall into three main areas:

  • Content marketing
  • Product marketing
  • Advertising

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media.

This article is an example of content marketing! We’re a company that develops software, apps and websites, so we’re sharing industry-specific content, to people just like you, who have a problem and want to find out how to solve it. Our content marketing objective in this case, is that if you’re needing a service we offer, you’ll come to us, because we’ve already helped you through this article. Make sense?

 Product Marketing

Before you can decide how to market your product, you need to develop a deep understanding of how your product fits into the market. This is known as ‘product-market-fit’.

You need to become an expert in the wants and needs of potential customers, how your competitors are solving customer pain points and the general market landscape. You should be able to communicate the benefits your product provides, along with any weaknesses the product may have in a clear and succinct way.

Some of the typical product marketing activities that MUST be done are:

  • Creating competitive analysis docs
  • Creating product one-pagers
  • Creating go-to-market (GTM) strategies
  • Crafting messaging
  • Understanding product nuances
  • Defining buyer personas

By understanding these foundational pillars around you and your business, you can begin crafting a successful product marketing strategy. Some of the hottest growth strategies being employed by startups we are seeing these days include:

  1. Creating Sales Funnels where your platform takes customers on journeys through your product 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  2. Conversion Rate Optimisation/Landing Page Optimisation –  Drive traffic, measure, tweak your platform, drive more traffic, and measure again. The most successful changes stay.

Affiliate or Referral Programs are also delivering outstanding results for startups. Leveraging relationships with businesses that have similar customer groups to cross promote products and services.

Digital Advertising

One of the best ways to get your product to market is through digital advertising. It’s on-demand, scalable and very effective. The biggest danger is that startups can burn a lot of cash trying to find the model that provides an effective cost per acquisition.

Cost per acquisition, or ‘CPA’, is a marketing metric that measures the total cost to acquire one paying customer from a campaign.

CPA is usually found in the following paid marketing mediums:

  • Pay per click marketing like Google Ads
  • Affiliate marketing programs
  • Paid social media campaigns like Facebook Ads or sponsored posts.

Let’s look at an example of how this works:

You’re running a Facebook Ads campaign. You pay $1 per click to your website. 100 people come to your website, costing you $100. Of those 100 people, 10 people buy your $20 product. Now it has cost you $200 to make $100.

Hacking this growth model takes an extremely savvy approach to setting up, managing and modifying your campaigns to get a cost per acquisition model that makes sense. Sometimes the numbers are the other way around.

At Spring Digital, we’ve worked with plenty of people who have adopted each of these different strategies. If you want to talk about what might work for you and your product, feel free to get in touch with us.