The reason we never execute some of the most simple ideas because of the paradox we always have in mind that how can that solution be so simple enough and if it is simple it may be not good or ineffective. Growth hacks for your products are similar, they are simple and effective yet we don’t implement some of the basic ones as well.
We love complexity when it comes to solving problems. Simple things don’t excite us, we live in a false premise that every good solution has to be complicated and it must cost money.
There are few people who didn’t think like this, they loved the simplicity and in power of ideas. Then came a genius called Sean Ellis and he called them growth hackers. Why is growth hacker so misunderstood? Maybe it is because he doesn’t utilise the traditional marketing tools for the growth & he belongs to the marketing department who doesn’t talk about the same metrics as everyone else does. Let’s go by some definition:
A growth hacker is not a replacement for a marketer. A growth hacker is not better than a marketer. A growth hacker is just different from a marketer. To use the most succinct definition from Sean’s Ellis post, “A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.”
Every decision that a growth hacker makes is informed by growth. Every strategy, every tactic, and every initiative is attempted in the hopes of growing. This absolute focus on growth has given rise to a number of methods, tools, and best practices, that simply didn’t exist in the traditional marketing repertoire, and as time passes the chasm between the two discipline deepens.
Usually, it involves a lot of testing of various distribution models, a lot of A/B testing, using your own channels for growth and utilising various tools. I am not going to talk about emails, messaging, inviting friends, tools and networking, if you are on this page possibly you already know it. However, there are few ideas which were always there but maybe you have ignored them as always because these are extremely simple things to execute.
Languages: Ignored by many companies/startups.
Often when I interact I ask how many languages your product is there and the answer is usually one or two. That’s a big mistake. A good example is Facebook. Facebook was stuck at one point of time when they reached 50 million users. Now Facebook has 104 languages. French, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi and German other than English. Facebook did what other social sites couldn’t. They took the route which no one else before them tried.
If you are gaming or a utility or an App company it’s a sin not to be in at least 10 most popular languages in various target segments. If you are not focusing on the language you are restricting your own companies growth.
Chrome extension: An extension which sits either on the top of the world’s most popular browser or in the backend. There are two most popular examples I can give.
DuckDuckgo search engine has started distributing one recently when you use the browser address bar to search it will search from DuckDuckgo and not Google. So one shot 90% of my searches were on DuckDuckgo.
Another example is Pinterest, install the extension and any image that you see will have a Pinterest sign with save written on it. At one go the users will be posting a huge amount of links on Pinterest and they have made it super easy. You get addicted to the button if you are a Pinterest user.
Think about how you will be able to engage users using the Chrome extension, Implement one for your website. Be creative and that’s the key.
Windows App: A Desktop Windows Application which can be downloaded. One-shot you will have a chance to sit on more 1 billion computers in the world. I am not talking about the website. A Windows Application for your product. On a website, you need to pull people every day, on an app you are there living with them, part of their lives.
One of the most famous case studies here is iTunes. iTunes was part of Mac OS and launched in 2001 a year before iPod to support the iPod. The problem, iTunes was limited to Apple and that’s the reason iPod sales were sluggish in the beginning. In April 2003 Apple introduced iTunes to windows and Steve Jobs said: “probably the best Windows app ever written,”. Oh, and hell froze over that year and by June 1 million iPods were sold. iPod was driving Apple and in 2007 32% of Apple, profits come from iPod. On September 2012, Apple reported that a total number of iPods sold worldwide was 350 million. What made it possible to go viral and accepted by everyone is one change, that Windows App.
It’s right to be obsessed with the mobile app. But don’t forget the power of Windows.
People don’t focus on windows but they need to look at the reach of 1 billion people for your product. I don’t have windows, I use a MacBook and yet when I search Linkedin on the app store I don’t see an app for the Mac, You see how Linkedin has just stopped themselves from growing. Github uses a desktop version and look where Github is in a short span of time, at 22 million developers and that could be every 2nd developer in the world using Github.
Automation: Don’t suggest your users, do it for them.
Sometimes users are not aware how best they can experience your product. Make the experience easy. What’s App auto-reads your contact list and adds people. Think when you have to add people one by one on what’s App would you love the product. The answer is no. In simple terms don’t ask user permissions everywhere, don’t let him think much, do it for him what you want him to do next on your product.
Twitter needs new users to follow 30 people to stay on twitter, else they will churn. If I was in Twitter product/growth team I would add 30 best people from various categories for the person to follow and add users to the follower’s list. If the user wants they can unfollow. Although this may be intrusive to user privacy, Twitter can always ask if they can opt on the users behalf.
An automated process is why I love Ready for Zero & Digit. Both finance companies and growing fast due to their innovative processes.
Coming back to messaging if my product was a competition to what’s App I would add templates of messages to send/update my friends and initiate conversations. Think of your product is automated for growth and if not what you can do to bring the best value to the customer.
I guess that’s enough work there on the to-do list if you want to implement these growth hacks. Growth is no more the function of marketing and sales, it is a function of everyone in the company. Hire a growth hacker if you think you are missing the bus. The most important thing, don’t forget to see simplicity in things and ideas and adopt them, you never know what will change everything. Sometimes all a company needs is one shot and it changes everything. So keep experimenting and keep implementing.
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The Author is a business consultant and can be reached at Chandan mishra or write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org