Fundamentals

Let’s get started – Introduction to growth hacking

Importance of growth

Today, you will find growth hackers working for/ in almost every start-up. It is perhaps intuitive that driving growth is important for a business and critical for the survival of a start-up.

But what does growth look like for a start-up? Check out Facebook. Facebook was born, found its feet in infancy and zipped past childhood and puberty, turning into a mature business in a relatively short span of time.

Image result for facebook user growth

More recently, Uber’s exponential growth has proved that growth hacking is the go-to strategy for startups to become successful. And of course, there is the Airbnb growth story. These are just some of the many examples where growth hacking has played an essential role in the success of the start-up.

What do we mean by growth hacking and what does a growth hacker do?

The term was originally coined by Sean Ellis in 2010 – the guy who helped grow Dropbox at an accelerated rate. In his words, a growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.

A growth hacker uses data analytics to inexpensively run creative and innovative experiments with the objective of achieving exponential yet sustainable growth.

It is essential for a growth hacker to fully understand the product and be able to guide product developers/ managers to tweak and optimize the product in line with business goals and growth strategy. A growth hacker must be agile and responsive to changing business conditions and resultant opportunities and challenges.

A growth hacker should also be able to manage expectations of the stakeholders – it is not necessary that the initial set of experiments conducted by the growth hacker would result in increased growth. What is important is the learning that is gained from such experiments and how it is used to guide future actions. Therefore, it is important for a growth hacker to document his/her experiments and results in a regular manner.

Unlike a digital marketer whose primary focus is on the acquisition of new customers and top-line growth, a growth hacker’s focus is on the entire sales funnel.

An ideal growth hacker would have at the least basic technical, copywriting, and designing skills, combined with being highly data driven, having a high degree of execution power and an eagerness to learn.

We will explore these ideas in more detail in our subsequent posts.

Do let us know your thoughts on this post and what you would like us to cover in our next posts, in the comments section below.

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Product Market Fit

What is it?

A validation that you have built a useful product for a specific market. Ideally, an important milestone to reach before you scale your company.

Some symptoms:

  1. Lots of repeat users across months (not just days, weeks).
  2. User Acquisition is easy – WOM and Organic channels are shining.
  3. You are growing out of office space and support staff.

It doesn’t imply:

  1. Your startup is successful – Competitors will come and your market will evolve.
  2. That once achieved, you can’t lose it (eg Nokia, Myspace).

How to achieve Product Market Fit:

  1. Understand your consumer’s problems super well.
  2. Focus – on solving their biggest pain point.
  3. Be patient and restless – It will not happen quickly and will take toil, failures, experiments, pivots.

 

According to Marc Andreesen

Do whatever is required to get to product/market fit. Including changing out people, rewriting your product, moving into a different market, telling customers no when you don’t want to, telling customers yes when you don’t want to, raising that fourth round of highly dilutive venture capital — whatever is required.

When you get right down to it, you can ignore almost everything else.

Good reads:

 

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AARRRgh! The AARRR Framework and the Sales Funnel

AARRRgh!

Former PayPal Marketing Director Dave McClure leveraged on a pirate joke to coin an important acronym in the domain of growth hacking i.e. AARRR, which stands for Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue.

The AARRR framework is often depicted as analogous to a sales funnel – like a funnel, growth hacking techniques should guide the visitor towards a particular objective. It captures the various stages, right from acquiring a visitor to converting the visitor into a paying customer as shown below.

 

 

To put simply, a visitor may be acquired through social media or paid advertising. Activation could be the first positive or happy experience of the visitor with your product or business, for instance creating an account on your website thereby turning the visitor into a member. The member is retained and becomes a user if he/she comes back to interact again with your product/business regularly. The stage of referral is attained when the user likes your product enough to refer it to others. Revenue generation is realised when the user conducts monetized behavior using your product for instance, by buying the product or clicking on affiliate links.

How do you use the sales funnel?

A good starting point is to track your conversion rate at each stage of AARRR. As an illustration, in a given month, you might get 100 visitors, activate 20 members and retain 2 users. In this scenario, your monthly conversion rate for activation and retention would be 20% (20 out of 100) and 10% (2 out of 20) respectively.

You also need to identify the area of the funnel that gives you the maximum return on investment of time, effort and cost and focus your growth hacking strategies to target that area consistently.

We will explore these ideas in more detail in our subsequent posts.

Do let us know your thoughts on this post and what you would like us to cover in our next posts, in the comments section below.

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What is a Marketing Stack

What is a Marketing Stack?

What is a marketing stack?

A marketing stack is a group of technologies that marketers leverage to market and grow their business. This includes all technologies that marketing teams use, from marketing automation to data enrichment and analytics.

Conrad Wadowski has compiled a comprehensive list of marketing tools which other marketing practitioners use and consider a “must have”. The list provides details such as company name, funnel stage, marketing tool, description of the marketing tool, the name of the marketing practitioner who provided the information (‘source’), distribution methods, marketing team size, top channels, business model of the company, company stage and product. The spreadsheet compiling this information is available here: http://bit.ly/ghtechstacks

Juan González has also compiled a list of free or freemium tools only (no free trials) reproduced below with details accessible here: https://www.juangonzalez.com.au/cheapest-marketing-stack/

Stay tuned for more blogs on Marketing Stack coming under the Strategies Category!

 

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Understanding the three key elements of your marketing or growth strategy

 

1) Decoding buying centre

The buying centre is the group of people and factors that together determine a purchase decision. The first step in determining your marketing or growth strategy is to decode who is in your “buying centre” and how they operate, what their interactions might be, what questions they will ask, etc.

For illustrative purposes, let’s use an example of a telecommunications company that needs to purchase software. For the software purchase decision, we can assume that the buying center would be made up of four different groups:

  • Senior management
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Product Team

2) Developing buyer personas

The next step is developing buyer personas – a detailed picture of your target buyers based on their demographic and psychographic profiling. We would try to identify the needs of each constituent and what is important for them. This can be understood using Target Market Interviews by connecting via Facebook, LinkedIn, alumni network etc.

Using the illustration above,

  • The senior management wants to maximise profits and make the company grow, is not tech savvy, focused on stakeholder value
  • Finance wants to reduce costs and is focussed on the cost of the software
  • Marketing wants to increase customer base and average revenue per customer, wants the software to enhance the company’s market standing
  • Product Team wants a reliable, good quality software, very technically oriented, focussed on ease of implementation of software capable of resolving their technical requirements

Once you begin to understand the needs of the different constituents of a buying center, you can tailor the value proposition and marketing message to address the needs of different groups within the buying center.

3) Educating the market vs getting discovered/ found

The next step in determining your marketing or growth strategy is to decide whether you need to educate the market or focus on getting discovered. The former case would apply if your product is a new offering for which you need to educate the buyer about the need you are trying to provide a solution for – this would call for a focus on content marketing. The latter case would apply if the target buyer is already aware of the need for the product but needs to discover your offering – this would call for a focus on inbound marketing, SEO.

We will explore these ideas in more detail in our subsequent posts.

Do let us know your thoughts on this post and what you would like us to cover in our next posts, in the comments section below.

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What is SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation.It is a set of protocols or rules that enhance the visibility of a particular website on the SERPs(Search Engine Result Pages). Now, what do we mean by visibility? Say you have a website dedicated to food and recipe. And say, a user searches for a recipe that your site can provide. Naturally, you’d want the name of your website to be right there at the top of the search result page. That is what SEO is all about – Making your website stand out amidst other organic search results.

 

When you search for something on Google, it brings up a list of viable results. But they aren’t in any random order. They get ranked in such a way that the most viable ones are at the top, on the first page. And to get your blog, post, article or whatever it might be, to show up there you need the help of SEO. Now there are two types of SEO – Blackhat and white hat. Read more about them below..

 

Google rankings of pages work on a host of complex algorithms that take a plethora of factors into consideration while ranking your pages – some of them are well defined, some not. Blackhat SEO means taking the back alleys to go around the accepted rules in order to make your website rocket to the top of the organic results tree. This way you might earn a few quick bucks but you’ll always be looking over your shoulder as Google updates their algorithms very frequently and you’ve to constantly come up with newer dodging practices to match their pace. Chances are quite high that you’ll end up with a spammy website, filled with irrelevant links and crappy quality of material, ultimately leading to your website being banned.

 

So, if you are looking for sustainability that’ll help you in the long run and actually help your brand to grow then White hat SEO is the one to go with.You’ll actually put up quality content that’ll attract your users and customer base to go to your website and read. And all this while abiding by the Search Engine rules and regulations.

 

There are more classifications of SEO – the two other major areas are On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.

 

On-Page SEO is concerned with what you do in your page internally. This includes the quality of content, the strategic use of keywords, the structure of the page, HTML optimisation, etc. Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of On-Site SEO. Being a little tactical, like the inclusion of keywords in URLs or if it’s a wp-blog, the inclusion of keywords in the permalinks will do wonders in driving in a huge amount of traffic to your website. A well-optimised meta description is also the norm these days. Broken links and sluggish page loading speed are your enemies and before you know it, they’ll drag your ranking through the mud.

 

Now that we have a basic idea of On-Page SEO, let’s move on to the next one, Off-Page SEO which takes into account things that aren’t necessarily in your hands like contextual backlinks, the quality of shares, etc. Google looks for sites with low bounce rate, i.e sites from where users quit after just reading the first page. It is an indication of the quality of your content. So, lower the bounce rate, the better it is. It isn’t only about the number of backlinks you have, but also the quality of backlinks you have that matter.

 

There were a lot of new terms introduced and hopefully, this introduction will help you get a basic notion of SEO and how it might help you in the long run. It is an essential tool and one that you should deploy to steer clear of your competition and grab that top rank that you’ve vying for so long.

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