If you’re an e-commerce merchant, then you know that growing your business is one of the most important things you need to do, but it is also one of the biggest challenges you have to face. Now, are you aware that there is a revolution in startup growth that’s currently taking place? This new phenomenon is something that could help make the growth challenge easier for you to overcome. It is known simply as “growth hacking.”
Okay, first things first. Growth hacking isn’t a magical solution, nor is it all a matter of luck. Rather, it is a marketing strategy focused on growth. It combines innovation with efforts to connect with website visitors and learning what it is your site visitors want. It isn’t just about getting more customers. Rather, it is about continually gaining new customers while increasing the value of existing customers at the same time. Once you understand this concept, you’ll most definitely have an edge over competitors who are only beginning to hear about it.
Relax and read on as we tell you all about this new phenomenon.
Do you have what it takes?
In any career or business undertaking, it is normal for some people to be more successful than others. These people are those whom we call “the perfect fit” for the career or undertaking they chose. Before you get on the growth hacking train, you might wonder if you have what it takes to succeed in it. What kind of person is the “perfect fit” to become an effective growth hacker? Let’s find out.
One of the most important assets of a growth hacker is a deep love for analytics. Almost every aspect of growth hacking involves at least one element of analytics. So if you hate analytics with a passion, and cannot imagine yourself ever developing a love for it, you can forget about being a growth hacker and focus on other marketing strategies instead.
Get a mental picture of the capitalized letter T. The horizontal part of the letter represents the skills and disciplines you need to become an effective growth hacker. Note that you need to know at least the basics of practically anything under the sun in order to be effective in growth hacking. But there should also be areas you’re really good at. These areas are represented by the vertical line of the letter T.
Yes, growth hackers need a love of analytics, but they also need to be creative, naturally curious, and fond of qualitative facts and anecdotal evidence. So, if you’re a right-brained individual who just happens to appreciate the value of analytics, then congratulations! You can be a successful growth hacker.
You may find growth hacking interesting (maybe even fun) for a week or two—almost everyone does—but will you still deem it interesting in a year or so? Remember what we said at the beginning? This isn’t a magic trick. Therefore, your first few tactics may not work as expected. It may be the 200th tactic that gives you the kind of success you were aiming for at the outset. You have to be focused enough to follow your goal until you achieve it.
Growth Hacking Tips
By now you should know whether you do have what it takes to be an effective growth hacker or not. If you’re still reading this, then you’ve probably adjudged yourself highly capable of successful growth hacking. Alright then, let’s proceed. Here are some tips on how to ensure success in this endeavor:
1. Take Advantage of Coupons and Giveaways
Who doesn’t love a good deal? People are naturally drawn to marked-down prices and freebies. You need to think of ways you can take advantage of this fact. Tests conducted by StoreYa revealed that a 10% discount is the key to turning coupons into an effective growth hack. It may seem absurd, but a 10% discount generally results in higher conversions than bigger discounts. Perhaps 10 is a magic number of sorts.
You could, perhaps, give away a 10% discount coupon to first-time buyers or to anyone who makes a purchase on a particular month. Bigger discounts also work if you paired it with a sense of urgency (e.g. 50% discount coupons to be given away TODAY only). If you’re introducing a new product, you could offer it as a free gift to anyone who makes a purchase on a particular day; or, you could give one of your bestsellers for free to anyone who buys the new product on its launch date!
2. Optimize Images for Social Sharing
Everyone is on social media these days. There are even those who have become addicted to social media; they cannot function properly unless they are able to check their social media accounts at least a few times each day. People keep in touch via social media. People vent their anger and frustration on social media. People do business transactions on social media. Some people even talk about the weather on social media!
And take note of this: Almost 2 billion photos are uploaded on various social sites each day! It only makes sense, then, for you to optimize your images such that they get shared more than others. And the first step towards optimizing images is to make sure they’re the right size. For Facebook, the ideal size is 1,200×628; for Twitter, 1,024×512; for Instagram, 1,080×1,080; for Pinterest, 735×1,102; for Google+, 800×1,200.
It also helps to add a watermark to your images. This tells people where the image is from and where they can find similar images or similar products to those shown on the image.
Don’t limit yourself to selling your products on your website and promoting them on your social media pages. No matter how well your site is doing and how high your search rankings are, it is always a good idea to sell your products on other platforms like Amazon and eBay. These sites have already established their credibility. People trust them, so when they see your products on these sites, there’s a good chance they’ll come to trust you as well.
It is also worth noting that these sites regularly implement strategies to draw in more traffic. When they bring more traffic to their site, they are also helping increase visibility for your brand. Choose the most interesting part of a collection of products you have and then sell that product on these other sites. That should get people interested in the rest of the collection.
4. Answer Questions
One of the best ways to step up the growth of your business is to establish yourself as an expert—an authority in your field. And one of the best ways to do that is by providing practical, to-the-point answers to questions posed by your target customers. You don’t have to go too far to do this. Check the comments section of your social media pages and blog; address the comments and questions posted there in a professional manner.
You could also join conversations on sites like Reddit, Quora, and niche-related forums. Even Yahoo! Answers can be a good place to showcase your expertise in. Just be sure to focus on your audience’s needs when you provide answers, not on your expertise. Remember, they are there to find answers and solutions, not to be preached to.
5. Offer a Money-Back Guarantee
When you offer people the assurance that you’ll return their money in case the product they buy does not deliver on its promise, you’ll have a better chance of earning their trust and they’ll be likelier to buy from you REPEATEDLY. In fact, Quick Sprout has conducted a study where they found that sellers who offered a money-back guarantee generally saw a 21% increase in their sales. And the same study showed that only about 12% of consumers ever ask for their money back. That’s not such a bad deal for you, now, is it?
These are just some of the things you can do to speed up the growth of your online business. There are several other strategies you can make use of, and you’d definitely do well to learn how to take advantage of them in the future. To begin with, though, the tips and strategies discussed herein should be enough to set you off on the right track.
Now, here’s a bonus piece of good news: There are tools you can use to make growth hacking an easier process. Google Analytics is perhaps the most popular for acquiring general data. You may also want to use KISSmetrics to track people and events. It is also a good idea to search for an analytics tool that is focused on your niche; a simple Google search should help you find one.
Growth hacking is not just a strategy. It is a skills set that you can learn. And once you’ve learned it, you would have effectively safeguarded your business’ growth well into the future.