Growth Hacking Ideas for Startups

Mike Townsend

There is so much information on the Internet about growth hacking but often times the best advice does not get shared publicly. At least it's not easy to fine. Good hacking is a broad term that gets thrown around in start ups as they scramble to find new users and early revenue. Today acquisition channels are more diverse and more complex than they ever have been in the past, and every business is different and how it should think about customer acquisition. However there are commonalities across different business models that I would like to highlight.

For businesses that are trying to get users on a platform for advertising then a word-of-mouth and referral or affiliate program make a lot of sense. Search engine optimization or SEO is a common approach as well because new user acquisition is very inexpensive and could be very large when you do have high search engine rankings.

For businesses that have a direct monetization strategy it opens the door for paid acquisition through advertising channels like Twitter Facebook Instagram and even off-line channels like newspaper TV radio billboards, depending on your business model. Initially the online platforms were self-service and fairly simple to get into, and I'd argue that today they still are a little barrier to entry as they want to invite all types of businesses to get started spending money however the array of tooling and the complexity of options on these developed advertising channels that we can all social media networks can be overwhelming. As a result there's a whole industry that serves between the advertisers and the publishers these would be things like a social media manager or an ad words or Facebook ad manager, affectively they control the budget and determine how much to spend and how the results are looking. So businesses want to maintain a particular cost for acquisition and people whose focus on ad spend. There's so much to say about ad spent but the key idea is that there is a set of ads which could be visual or text and they're shown to different users at different times of days on different devices in different formats and the end goal is to get users to click on the a and make a purchase or a sign up.

If you're a very small start up then it may make sense for you to have a contact generation process to do more than just write on your blog, it may make sense to write on quora.com as well as Reddit or other places that people in your industry may stumble across. As difficult and time-consuming as it is speaking to customers or potential users about the places that they go and the places that they read is a valuable exercise, don't cut yourself short have at least 30 conversations to really understand the different demographics of the people that you're trying to reach.

So generally growth hacking can be split up into different categories with a focus on social or social media you be approaching users directly trying to reach people where they're spending their time on these networks. In the case of search engine optimization, SEO you'll be spending your time trying to be attractive to Google and that may include writing blog posts like this or videos or rankings, anything to be interesting and get attention. Google will measure the time on site it'll measure all sorts of key performance indicators to determine if you are actually generating useful content or not and if you've made it this far then hopefully this has been at least somewhat helpful.

The concept of growth hacking really is about the hacking part because growth is fairly straightforward and is more colloquially called marketing. So Marketing and engineering together is growth tacking with a very creative incentive. The goal is to find the hidden fruit find the areas where you can find users that other people aren't looking for them and grow in that same direction. Consider the new playing field to be Linkedin, as their growth is super strong.

So for now I'll leave you with this if you're looking for ways to grow consider what type of visit model you're in whether it's a user base model we are just looking for social engagement or whether it's a software as a service business that you're charging for money or whether it's a service business where you have custom billing. Think about where customers would find you and think about unique ways that you can access those places where your customers reside this is thinking like a growth hacker.