If you are interested in growth hacking your product and finding your ideal customers, then this article will act as a beginners guide.

What is Growth Hacking?

Let’s begin with defining what Growth Hacking is and what it can do for you. Essentially all Growth Hacking tactics are data driven and are a form of low-cost lean initiatives.

The basis of all growth hacking is capturing data and to decide the success and failure of your hypothesis based upon valid results.

What is the role of a growth hacker?

A growth hacker is the hyper-focused, reflective, obsessive, and analytical person. He/she is someone who is familiar with all the data and goes through all the metrics.

He is familiar with all new developments that are new and foreign. Also, that person is good at correlating the related and unrelated, testing at scale, collect ing, and making sense of qualitative and quantitative data.

For him/her, every failure becomes a learning lesson for framing the right question the next time.

How can you start off the process?

You need to formulate a goal, then generate ideas around that goal. Once you have a list, prioritize the idea and find start testing.

Next step is the optimization part. For this, you need to collect data, analyze it through, and find valuable insight.

In essence, you are searing for the “scalable” opportunity.

What kind of product are you building? And for whom are you building it?

So what kind of product are building with Growth Hacking mindset? It’s usually a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

Why an MVP? Because with an MVP you are essentially building a product that has enough functionality for the early adopters. You can use this product to conduct researches, verify your assumptions, and build a better working version with the next iteration.

You initial customer should act as a foundation for conducting research, you can make necessary tweaks, and most importantly the insights that you gather here will help you to plan the next iteration of your product.

So, you need to listen to them, engage with them via personal emails, conduct surveys, talk to them in person or via social media.

The initial insights will do you wonders down the road. You will be building product features that will be super relevant and already anticipated by your customers.

What objectives your product hacks are meant to achieve?

Bain & Company, did a research and found out that a 5% increase in customer retention leads to a whopping 30% increase in customer profitability.

The major contribution of hacking growth is to optimize the Sales Funnel.

With growth hacking tactics you can Acquire Better Customers, Convert your customer better with a better product, and Retain your customers well. So, any tactic that works at either part of the equation will bring you massive growth. All combined together and working in harmony will make your venture a definite success.

So essentially, a good product does the job of converting initial customers into believers and then into advocates. Ideally, all of this should be done via product on its own.

So, look for hacks where you can lead them on to subscription models, improve the customer retention, learn why they are leaving and so on. For advocacy, you need to educate your customers. Once they see the full value of the product they will help you with free Word of Mouth endorsement. Build comprehensive walkthroughs, tools to share via networks, and listen to them via surveys.

How to achieve Product-Market Fit

A good approach to finding a working product-market fit is to see the reaction of early adaptors.

So what’s a good litmus test for your product-market fit? Sean also gave us the best barometer to determine the Product fit. As per him if you take away the product from your customer, around 40% should be disappointed. If not, going back to the drawing room is the only option you have.

Amazon CTO, Warner Vogels, recommends writing an FAQ document of your product before even starting. This way you understand all the pain points and the questions a user might have. And once you are building a product you can use to build a better MVP.

How will you find about your customers?

The right customers are those who need your product 🙂

Any venture will be successful if it can understand the target customer well, target them effectively and convince them to use their product and convert them into repeat buyers. Understanding user behavior can help with all the stages of the user acquisition to conversion.

The customer acquisition should start with the look at the existing data and trying to find segments and sub-segments that share a unique trait. This helps in identifying themes that can be utilized for tailor-made messaging and targetting for better customer acquisition.

In case you are just starting out, you can start with Hypothetical Customer Personas. To accomplish this, you come up with the desired customer profile. Don’t limit the definition of your customer to demographics. Describe in as much detail as you can. Name them and put pictures for them so that everyone on the team can learn about them. List down their education, profession, technology traits, their motivations to buy your product or your competitors. You should also conduct an exercise of introducing them to your friends or colleagues.

How to activate your influencers.

Influencers have the ability to convince their network to start using your product. Their participation, active or passive, can make or break your product. So find them and take very good care of them.

To accomplish this, offer them to beta-test your newer product features, make them provide feedback.

Most of the influencers would like to share their feedback and reviews, track all of them and make sure they are good and or getting better.

How to incentivize your user, especially influencers

You can build product features that unlock once they share. This will help you in leveraging the social circles of your users.

Remember to provide value for access to their networks. Values can come in form of monetary components too like eBay or the access to better features like Dropbox. To learn of such hacks, please refer to my article, where I highlight the hacks of top tech players.

Another way to make your initial users appear special is to give them access to the features not available to the market. This way they become a part of an exclusive club. Remember Gmail hack, where only special few get the access to the Gmail and they can share it with only a few limited friends.

How to hack virality

Virality isn’t always luck, you can use data to hack that too.

If you understand your customers well and know the reason why they would share a certain piece of content, then you are on track to finding your new viral piece.

To make it work, you need to focus on presenting them with the right content, via the right channel, and at the right time. Once you have known well about your Audience, Content, Timing, and Channels, then you are just a few tests away from unlocking virality.

To conduct surveys, explore your competition, look at viral pieces, explore social media, go through 3rd party tools like Google Insights and Trends.

Continue to research to learn about your customer motivations and then go back to your drawing room and work out which persona is most likely to share the piece of content, at what time and via which channel.

And remember, your content should make the sharer look good and they will, in turn, make you look good.

How will you capture the data?

Since all the Growth Hacking is dependent on your ability to capture and learn from the data. So, your product needs to be ready to support the associated Advertisement Stack and Business Intelligence Stack. Once both are in place and are functioning well, scaling becomes super easy.

Even if you are at the start, simple Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager (both free tools), can help you start off with the process.

How to partner with APIs

Opening your product to other networks can be a useful hack in accessing the traffic of already established players.

Uber opened their API to partner with Starbucks and many other players would use opening their product for better partnerships.

 Remember for this to work, you need to focus on providing value to the other player network and at times this access can only come from paying $$$.

How to deal with failures?

Upon failure, you might want to go back to writing betters ads, targeting betters audiences, and trying different channels. But with Growth Hacking Mindset, you should go back to the drawing board, learn from the experiment, and you might want to scrape off the project.

Remember, with Growth Hacking mindset, you are always asking for forgiveness and not permission.

What pitfalls you should avoid?

Pivoting. Pivoting is the rage. Most are tempted to pivot as soon as they run into issues. Rather, you should focus on finding better hypothesis, testing, and finding better ideas to work on.

Competition. Don’t obsess over it, don’t just copy whatever is working for them. Instead, focus and obsess over your customers. Find hacks that make their lives easier.

How to deal with failures?

With Growth Hacking, you will fail and will fail most probably because of misinterpreted data, not so good understanding of your customer and market, and because of faulty executions.

But once you have failed you should try to get to the root of the issue. Have a meeting with all the stakeholders involved. Discuss and go back to drawing board. Then come with newer better ideas to test.

I hope you liked the article and it helps you to start building and hacking your product features. To talk to me, please visit, App2Dev.com