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Reference: Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

Have you ever thought about what Growth Hacking is?займ с 18 лет онлайн

How companies like Dropbox, Mailbox, Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, Instagram, Mint, AppSumo, and StumbleUpon leveraged growth hackers and driven billion dollar valuations?

If the above questions bother you, then this quick read will definitely clear your doubts.

1. What Is Growth Hacking?

The end goal of every growth hacker is to build a self-perpetuating marketing machine that reaches millions by itself.

—Aaron Ginn

Marketing has always been treated like Showbiz. Grand launches, exclusive premieres, after parties have always given a glamorous aura.

But the difference between showbiz and marketing for a business is that business can’t afford to fail.

It is only one chance that one gets given the budget and timelines. It has to be a hit.

Case Study 1

Prior to 1996, when Hotmail became one of the greatest viral products, a meeting happened between Sabeer Bhatia, Jack Smith (founders of hotmail) and Tim Draper (famous venture capitalist) on marketing tactics.

Traditional Ideas

”Let’s put billboards”; “Let’s mail (spam) everyone on internet”; “Let`s air radio ads”

Then Draper accidentally suggested the Growth Hacking idea. He said,”we can put a message at the end of every mail which says`P.S. I Love you. Get your free email at Hotmail.com`

This led to exponential growth: 1 million members in six months.

Case Study 2

Google launched Gmail—now the dominant free email service—with essentially the same growth hacking strategies.

First Google built a superior product.

Then it built excitement by making it invite only.

And by steadily increasing the number of invites allowed to its existing user base, Gmail spread from person to person until it became the most popular, and in many ways the best, free email service.


Who is a Growth Hacker/ Digital Marketer?

In simplest terms, a Growth Hacker/ Digital Marketer is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable.

Their tools are conversions, PPC, CTRs, ROAS, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money.

“Marketing has always been about the same thing—who your customers are and where they are.” What growth hackers do is focus on the “who” and “where” more scientifically, in a more measurable way.

Growth hacking at its core means putting aside the notion that marketing is a self-contained act that begins toward the end of a company’s or a product’s development life cycle.

It is, instead, a way of thinking and looking at your business.

Steps of Growth Marketing:

Step 1

It Begins with Product Market Fit

The best marketing decision you can make is to have a product or business that fulfills a real and compelling need for a real and defined group of people—no matter how much tweaking and refining this takes.

Case Study 1

AirBnB started in 2007, as a way for founders to turn the living room of their apartment into a little bed and breakfast.

They named it airbedandbreakfast.com. But they wanted more.

They re positioned the service as a networking alternative when hotels were booked up. But they wanted more.

They targeted travelers who didn’t want a couch or hostels and also wanted to avoid hotels. It did better. But they wanted more.

Finally, they changed the name to AirBnB, abandoned the breakfast and networking parts of the business, and redefined the service as a place for people to rent or book any kind of lodging imaginable (from rooms to apartments to trains, boats, castles, penthouses, and private islands).

This was explosive—to the tune of millions of bookings a year in locations all over the world.

This is the result of continuous iterations and achieving product market fit.

Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, explains that the best way to get to Product Market Fit is by starting with a “minimum viable product” and improving it based on feedback—as opposed to what most of us do, which is to try to launch with what we think is our final product.

How to achieve Product Market Fit?

Case Study 2

Evernote made a company wide decision not to spend a  penny on marketing for the first few years.

They wanted to focus only on the product.

That made Evernote the most superior productivity app.

After getting the PMF, Evernote implemented some clever marketing tricks. One of them is given below:

“After hearing customers complain that their bosses were suspicious of employees using their laptops in meetings, the Evernote team produced stickers that said, “I’m not being rude. I’m taking notes in Evernote.”

Thus, their most loyal customers were turning into billboards that went from meeting to meeting.

The race has changed.

The prize and spoils no longer go to the person who makes it to market first. They go to the person who makes it to Product Market Fit first.

Because once you get there, your marketing efforts become like a spark applied to a bed of kindling soaked in kerosene.

The old way? It’s striking a match . . . and hoping it starts a fire somewhere.

Step 2

Finding your Growth Hack

The biggest growth hack that there can be is “be where your consumers are with what they want / need”

Case Study 1

Dropbox; today it has more than 100 million users, but when the file sharing service began it was not even open to the public.

New users had to sign up to a waiting list to be invited to join. In an effort to drive these sign-ups, the founders crafted a demo video that walked potential users through the service.

They didn’t hire some production company to produce an expensive or elaborate video that they jammed down people’s throats through widespread ads. They made the video themselves and they made the right one for the right place.

Knowing the outlets where they intended to post the video (Digg, Slashdot, and Reddit), they filled it with all sorts of allusions and references that those communities would love.

As a result, this homemade video was enormously popular with these potential users. It immediately made the respective front pages, it drove hundreds of thousands of new visitors to the special page Dropbox had set up for this purpose (GetDropbox.com), and the waiting list went from 5,000 users to 75,000 users nearly overnight. It was all trackable, all visible, and highly effective.

Case Study 2

The email app Mailbox launched with a similar strategy to that of Mailbox. An incredibly compelling demo video racked up 100,000 views in less than four hours.

This one-minute video, combined with a very cool interface that showed users how many other users were in front of them on the app’s waiting list, created a spectacle that drove an enormous amount of social chatter and blog attention.

Within six weeks, Mailbox had a million users signed up and eagerly waiting for the service.

A very common question:

Where do I find the right people?

If this isn’t immediately obvious to you, then you don’t know your own industry well enough to even consider launching a product yet. Period.

Below can be some of the ways:

  1. You can reach out to the sites you know your potential customers read with a pitch email:

“This is who we are, this is what we’re doing, and this is why you should write about us.”

  1. You can upload a post to Hacker News, Quora, or Reddit yourself.
  2. You can start writing blog posts about popular topics that get traffic and indirectly pimp your product.
  3. You can use the Kickstarter platform for exposure and bribe your first users with cool prizes (and get some online chatter at the same time).
  4. You can use a service like Help a Reporter Out (www.helpareporter.com) to find reporters who are looking for people to include in stories they are already writing about your space.
  5. You can literally find your potential customers one by one and invite them to your service for free or with some special incentive (that’s how small we’re talking)

“The more innovative your product is, the more likely you will have to find new and novel ways to get at your customers.” For example:

  1. You can create the aura of exclusivity with an invite-only feature (as Mailbox did).
  2. You can create hundreds of fake profiles to make your service look more popular and active than it actually is—nothing draws a crowd like a crowd (as Reddit did in its early days).
  3. You can target a single service or platform and cater to it exclusively —essentially piggybacking off or even stealing someone else’s growth (asPayPal did with eBay).
  4. You can host cool events and drive your first users through the system manually (as Myspace, Yelp, and Udemy all did).
  5. You can bring on influential advisors and investors for their valuable audience and fame rather than their money (as About.me and Trippy did—a move that many startups have emulated).

“Focusing on customer acquisition over ‘awareness’ takes discipline. . . . At a certain scale, awareness/brand building makes sense. But for the first year or two it’s a total waste of money.”

Step 3

Going Viral

Everyone wants their posts to go viral.

But a growth hacker asks following questions:

Well, why should customers do that?

Have we actually made it easy for them to spread your product?

Is the product even worth talking about?

Expecting a post to go viral is basically asking someone to spend their social capital or linking or posting about you for free.

You are saying: Post about me, write about me, share me, tell your friends about me, ALL FOR FREE.

Why will people do this enormous favor for you? Only when they don’t consider it to be a favor.

They feel empowered or identify a reason to spread it.

Case Study 1

One of the simplest and most straightforward examples of this is Groupon and LivingSocial, the daily deal pioneers.

Each and every deal on these sites—which at the time of launch felt a lot more exciting than they do now—is accompanied by an additional offer.

For Groupon, it’s “Refer a friend” and you get $10 when your friend makes his or her first purchase.

For LivingSocial, it says, “Get this deal for free”: if you buy the deal and recommend it to three friends who buy it via a special link, it’s free for you.

No matter how much the deal costs.

Providing incentive is clearly the simplest and most cost effective way on path to go viral.

Case Study 2

Thoughtful integration with big platforms is also an effective way to go viral and ultimate success.

The massive growth and spread of Spotify, a music streaming service launched in the United States in 2011, was largely driven by its integration into Facebook.

How many of us saw that our friends were listening to it and thought, “Hey, maybe I should try it, too”?

Case Study 3

Dropbox, offered its customers a 150 MB storage bonus if they linked their Dropbox account to their Facebook or Twitter account.

They also came up with the most effective and most viral referral program in the startup world.

To give 500 MB of additional space for every invite. Nearly 35% of current user base of Dropbox is via referral.

Growth hackers aren’t going to try to create brand awareness through buying product placement on national television or signing up celebrities to endorse it.

Instead, a growth hacker will look for ways to get this social currency for free.

Step 4

Closing the Loop: Retention and Optimization

The job of a Growth Hacker is not just to bring in potential users and leave at it, but also to create lifelong customers.

A Happy and satisfied customer is a marketing tool in itself.

Case Study 1:

Twitter experienced a major issue in its early days.

They were getting tons of new sign ups but the users became dormant within 3-5 days of signing up.

That’s when they implemented a change that completely altered the course.

They suggested new sign ups to follow 15-20 known people or the big celebs and influencers.

Then they also started showing sidebars with continuous suggestions to follow.

This turned out to be the biggest retainer strategy of all times.

 Growth hacking really is a mind-set rather than a tool kit. 

Once you break out of the shackles of antiquated notions of what is or isn’t marketing, the whole field becomes cheaper, easier, and much more scalable. The game changes forever.

It gets exponentially better!

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