This was going to be all 39 hacks in a single post, but it kept growing because I didn’t want to just list each technique, I wanted to actually explain how and why in a bit more detail. Part 1 focusses on Acquisition hacks, the other 4 parts will appear live over the next few days.
An ideal growth hacking tactic in any startup is scaleable, sustainable and automated. However, I’m not saying you should ignore a possible tactic just because it doesn’t fit perfectly into all 3 of these criteria.
Spotted a window of opportunity that will only last a few months? Exploit it, and have some new ideas lined up ready for when the opportunity expires. Lots of growth hacking tactics are short-lived opportunities, but eventually they become saturated (all of your competitors copy you) or the loophole you’re exploiting gets closed up. Thats cool. That’s why you’re paid the big bucks, to constantly be thinking of new ideas.
Growth hackers need to be creative, able to attack problems in new ways and constantly be pushing the product team to try new ideas for growth.
Here are a ton of tried and tested growth hacking tactics to give you inspiration, categorised by the relevant stage in the AARRR lean marketing funnel that they support.
Acquisition Growth Hacks
1. Do skype interviews with popular people in your industry, and write up as blog content
Reaching out to influential people in your startups area is an instant way to acquire other people’s audiences and profile. Right now, there’s a good chance that no one gives a shit who you are (yet). However, that sudo-celeb who rocks twitter is much more likely to get some interest. Also, there’s a huge probability that they are much smarter than you, and the interview is a great way to learn valuable information.
Write up the interview on the blog, and put up the recorded audio/video on Youtube if the interviewee is OK with it.
2. Mention influential people in your blogs, email and tweet them afterwards to let them know
Whenever you write a blog post, you’re probably referencing other websites and people in your post. Whether it;s a case study, or an example tool that can deliver the service you’re talking about. Whenever possible, choose popular individuals or smaller startups to mention. Why? Because they’re less likely to be lofty and arrogant. Meaning, you can tweet them and email them when the post goes live, politely inform them that they’re a big part of your blog post, and invite them to drop you a tweet and a comment.
Finding someone who is big enough to drive a significant amount of traffic, yet awesome enough to not ignore you, is the trick.
3. Invite influential people to guest post on your blog
As we’ve already discussed, other people are probably more credible than you. In fact, unless you are Dave McClure or Mark Suster, it’s guaranteed that there is someone out there far more credible and interesting than you.
This means even if you wrote something academically brilliant, it’s going to be a lot harder to get the internet to care. So reach out to the popular people, who are also really smart, and invite them to guest post on your blog. I know what you’re thinking: “Why would they want to write on our blog, they already have their own popular blog with 53,958 subscribers!” Well that’s true, but they got their readers by being smart. And they know that you probably have some people reading your blog who aren;t reading theirs. So, with patience, great relationship building, and lots of ego stroking, you will eventually start getting people who want to write guest blogs.
Make sure to be crazy picky: you aren’t a crappy tech news site, so don’t accept any random “Social Media Guru” or agency owner. Only go for solid, industry icons who’s name carries along an existing audience and credibility.
Be sure to encourage them to promote the hell out of the post when it goes live.
4. Repurpose all your popular blogs as Slideshare presentations
Whenever you make an epic post, particularly list posts, there’s a good chance that the content can be converted into a Powerpoint presentation super easy. Like, copy & paste easily. While the ROI won’t make sense for every post, cherry pick the posts with the most tweet counts (usually you’ll spot these within a few days of the post going live) and publish it on Slideshare. Make sure to tag the hell out of the upload, and include links back to your product and blog in intro and ending slide.
Slideshare has a small, but extremely engaged audience. That’s not to say though that your startup presentation can’t get 354,000 views if it’s awesome (or you’re Dropbox).
5. Write detailed answers to Quora questions in your sector
Quora is the intellectual hangout of startup world. If your product truly solves a problem, then you’ll find smart people discussing that problem on quora. This is your chance to look like a thought leader, and bring credibility and traffic back to your product.
Follow a bunch of topics related to your startup and start jumping in on questions where you can add value. Be sure to add disclaimers (and links) whenever you discuss your product directly.
One word of caution: short, non-intellectual answers on Quora will get downvoted or hidden, making your time completely wasted. On really popular questions (which have huge traffic) there might be 20+ answers, so write something awesome and you’ll soon see you’re answers sitting near the top and reaping huge ROI.
6. Add, or write answers to “Alternative to…” or “X vs. Y” questions on Quora
As well as being an intellectual hangout, Quora is also used a lot for product comparisons and discovering alternatives. Other founders go to ask questions such as “Is there a cheaper alternative to Basecamp?” or “Which is better, trak.io or Mixpanel?” (The answer is trak.io).
These are awesome opportunities to firmly plant a flag in the ground for those people who are actively searching for products like yours. Also, you need to be ready to defend your product ti comparisons (if you don’t have any competitors, you’re either clueless or solving something that no-one cares about.)
7. Produce an educational course on Udemy
Udemy can be an awesome revenue source for anyone who knows something about anything. In your case though, you want to use their awesome community to drive credibility and exposure to your product. What problem is your startup solving? What other problems do your customers have in common? How else can you attract their attention by offering valuable education?
Education is the #1 way to build credibility. Udemy is a sweet platform for doing exactly that – and if you’ve already been blogging, doing skype interviews, writing quora answers and producing slideshare presentations, you already have everything you need to create a course! Be efficient about repurposing content and you’ll have a popular education course in no time.
Be sure to reference the course on all your other online properties, so that people know you’re also a teacher of this topic (because you’re just that damn smart).
8. Integrate with the most popular platforms that compliment your product and can fast-track you to bigger audiences
Building a rewards system for eCommerce owners? Well why not tap into the 60,000 ecommerce store owners using Shopify? Building an content-focussed analytics platform? You better hope you have a WordPress plugin already.
Providing simple, zero-development integrations to popular platforms removes a lot of friction with your activation process and exposed you to a huge audience. The least you’ll get is a listing in their ‘Integrations’ directory, but you should push for a blog announcement, an announcement to their mailing list and lots of twitter love.
Your integration brings retention and value add to their users, so don’t be afraid to ask for direct exposure to their audience.
9. Write a 7 day educational email course on your industry topic, and promote the signup form on your blog
Home cooking startup Feast launched a 7 day crash course (made from re-purposed blog content) and saw click through rates of over 41% and built a mailing list of over 1,000 subscribers in a few weeks. While 1,000 subscribers may seem low, these numbers are relative and were great considering Feasts early stage.
Your 7 day course should be purely educational, until email 6 or 7 where you introduce the conversion goal (whatever is relevant to you). You can decide whether people move onto your general mailing list at the end of the course.
10. Bring together an eBook from existing content, interviews and contributions
Book authors are instantly catapulted to credible thought leader status. The prestige of having a paperback, with your name on it, available on Amazon and on bookstore shelves isn’t going away anytime soon. (One day, I’ll write a book…)
However, for scrappy startup growth hackers who don’t have the time to pen 40,000 words of brand new content, and go through the hassle of publishing (or self publishing) you have the option of repurposing all of your blog, interview and guest contributions into an edited & formatted eBook. Not to sell and make money, but to provide credibility and an alternative content consumption experience.
Now, a 6 month process becomes a 2 week process. The key is to pick your most popular content, and curate it without unnecessarily creating extra work for yourself. At the same time, we don’t want to be in the “me too! I’m a blogger and wrote a shitty ebook” territory – you need to make sure the ebook clearly has a quality tone from start to finish, and will deliver genuine ROI to a reader who invests hours to read it.
And make sure you’re capturing emails for the ebook – nothing in this world is free.
That was part 1 of 5, coming up next…
29 more hacks, focussing on Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue! Let me know in the comments or via twitter if you have any more cool hacks & tactics not in this list!