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Liza Perstneva

Growth Hacking Secrets Revealed #semrushchat

Liza Perstneva
Growth Hacking Secrets Revealed #semrushchat

The term “growth hacking” was coined by Sean Ellis, the founder and CEO of GrowthHackers. He said that startups live and die by their ability to drive customer acquisition. Indeed, in the first phase of any startup, you need one thing. It’s growth.

Therefore, he calls specialists who focus on building and engaging startups’ user bases “growth hackers.” Every decision they make is determined by the pursuit of growth.

To reveal growth hacking secrets and debunk some myths about the topic, we invited Vincent Dignan to our SEMrush Chat. Vincent is an award-winning public speaker who specializes in growth hacking, internet marketing, and personal branding.

Vincent Dignan and our other chat participants shared their experience and growth hacking tips, which will be useful for company founders, entrepreneurs, growth leads and anyone focused on growing a successful business.

Q1: What is the one growth hacking lesson you wish you’d learned sooner?

To start, we asked our chat guests to name growth hacking lessons they wish they’d learned sooner.

Here’s what they answered.

  • Facebook will remain the king of traffic

Vincent Dignan believes that Facebook is and will continue to be the king of traffic. Even if you can earn little bits of traffic using other platforms, Facebook will still be the major source of traffic to your website.

  • Spending money is not always a good decision

Some businessmen think that spending more money will definitely deliver better results. But it’s not necessarily right for every company, especially for startups. Instead of spending your money to the last penny, you need to carefully evaluate your budget and save every penny you can, because you never know when you’ll need it. “Just because you can make an expensive video doesn't mean you should,” said Ryan Johnson ‏@rsj8000.

Dawn Anderson also mentioned that creativity and determination combined with strategy and landscape analysis are the key to growth hacking.

  • Implementing accurate metrics is a must

Implementing effective metrics can’t be overestimated. Paving the road to success largely depends on how well you are informed about your business and its progress. Developing and utilizing the right metrics from the very beginning helps you achieve this knowledge.

Ryan Johnson also believes that the most important part of any project is baseline measurement and clear KPIs that focus on outcomes, not deliverables.

  • It’s important to estimate your time, prepare and be efficient

If you want to be more efficient, you need to prepare well. David Sayce pointed out that you need to understand on what your time is best spent. Also, you need to evaluate your own product or service, before implementing any marketing and growth hacking tactics. It will help you be more efficient. “Sometimes before you experiment with marketing tactics, take a hard look at your product or service,” recommended Jason Barbato ‏@Digital_JB.

  • Network effects are the key to any growth hacking activity

In a nutshell, network effects occur when a product or service becomes more valuable to its consumers, because more people start using it. Varun Kumar suggested that it’s the key to any growth hacking activity. Understanding network effects can help you build better products and improve your business.

  • It’s normal to fail

We all make mistakes. You need to understand that failing is not the end of the world. As long as you learn and recover from failure, it won’t do serious harm to your business.

“If you are going to fail, fail fast!” tweeted Jason J. Zotara ‏@JasonZotara.

SEMrush Chat Recap Q1

Learn these lessons from our chat participants to improve your growth hacking strategies.

Q2: What are three things every startup needs to realize early on?

Building and growing a business is not an easy task. However, there are several things every startupper needs to learn early on in order to avoid some common mistakes.

Annaliese Henwood recommended being patient and “human,” and engaging with your audience. In fact, this is a universal approach, because it applies to many disciplines, like social media marketing, email marketing and blogging to name a few. Nothing is ever immediate. It takes time to achieve results from your growth hacking and marketing activities.  

Some of our chat participants think that all businesses fail at something sooner or later. “Failure is inevitable at some point. What matters is that you can turn it into a positive and learn from it,” tweeted Express Writers ‏@ExpWriters. ThinkSEM recommended that all business owners keep on reaching for their goals and have a clear plan.

Jason Barbato also thinks that not everything will work out. He advised to go into details, instead of just looking at your performance, and remaining agile. Being agile means working to create a more efficient and effective organization, which means focusing on improving your business’ performance and increasing user satisfaction. Agile working uses communications and information technology to allow people to work together in ways that best fit their needs and help them increase productivity, improve sustainability and meet customer needs.

Ryan Scollon recommended focusing more on customer retention, rather than customer acquisition. Khalid Saleh provided a “Customer Acquisition Vs. Customer Retention Costs” infographic that shows that more companies focus on customer acquisition than on customer retention. Meanwhile, it costs five times as much to attract a new client, than to keep an existing one. “Build, nurture and retain customers; bring them along on the journey and they may be with you for life,” pointed out David Sayce.

Bryce Liggins provided several recommendations for startups. First, you need to establish your revenue model. Then you need to identify your audience. Finally, you should provide real value to your audience.

Bill Slawski pointed out that startups need to realize that no one knows who they are or what they’re doing. So, they have to change this situation in order to make your potential customers notice you.

And here’s a list of important things every startup needs to realize from our special guest:

Let’s sum up!

SEMrush Chat Recap Q2

Take into consideration these tips in order to avoid common growth hacking mistakes.

Q3: What current trends are going to affect growth hacking in the near future?

The digital marketing landscape continues to shift towards globalization and personalization. As a result, brands are focused more on clients’ needs and creating new ways to interact with them.

We asked our chat guest to name current industry trends that will affect growth hacking in the near future.

Our chat participants helped us identify five important trends to keep an eye on.

  • The importance of community management will continue to grow

Vincent Dignan believes that community management is becoming increasingly important. Today, many companies interact with their audiences in new ways by using various platforms. Online communication has changed with all the new tools and channels. Building a community around people has become crucial for many businesses.

Therefore, community management is now an essential part of one’s marketing mix. A community manager is responsible for making their brand’s community an active participant on the Web.

  • Accelerated Mobile Pages will grow in popularity

The AMP project allows webmasters to improve users’ mobile experience. Using AMPs enables webpages with rich content, including video, graphics and animations, to load instantaneously. Proactive optimizers have already embraced the changes and good practices necessary to improve their online performance. AMPs are already on everyone’s lips, and it seems they will be an even bigger thing in the near future.

  • UX will become a critical component of success

Users’ expectations for an online flawless experience continue to grow. Therefore, UX is becoming an increasingly important element of businesses’ success. User-centered designs that are developed around users’ needs and wants are also a necessity. If you want to make your site an effective communication channel that can compete with mobile apps and other technologies, you need to focus on user experience.

  • Data analytics goes mainstream

Our chat participants agreed that data analytics is another important trend of the near future. With today’s technologies, it’s actually possible to analyze your data and get answers from it practically immediately. Big data analytics helps companies exploit their data to identify new opportunities.

Those who work in the digital marketing world anticipate that product teams will use data analytics in order to develop products and services that truly meet customers’ needs.

  • The need for growth hacking specialists will result in more jobs, experts, tools and services

Demand for growth hackers is higher than ever, and it’s likely to continue increasing. Miles Technologies pointed out that the importance of growth hacking itself will bring more jobs, experts, tools and services.

You can check out a few other answers in the following recap.

SEMrush Chat Recap Q3

What new trends do you anticipate for 2017 that will affect growth hacking? Have you made any changes to improve your strategy? Let us know in the comments!

Q4: As a startup, should you care about retention from the beginning, and where do you start?

We have already mentioned that customer retention is of no less importance than customer acquisition. Now let’s delve into the topic.

We asked everyone whether or not a startup needs to care about customer retention from the very beginning.

Most of our chat guests answered in the affirmative.

Jason Barbato stressed the importance of customer advocates for your business who serve as facilitators between your company and your customers. A client advocate is a person employed by your firm to speak on behalf of your customer’s interests.

You need to create conditions that generate happy customers and foster client advocates. If you can’t retain customers, this won’t happen. You need to deliver what you promise, and understand your clients’ problems and promptly fix them. This will help you effectively retain your clients and build strong customer relationships.

Zak Nicola ‏@ZakNicola also pointed out that customer retention is more important than new clients: “Where do you think brand champions come from?”

David Rosam agreed that all startups need to care about client retention from the start. However, your business needs to acquire the right customers first. By nurturing relationships with them, you can make your clients want to spread the word about your brand.

Reva Minkoff gave a great piece of advice:

Lindsay Kavanagh recommended spending your time finding out who your customers are. Having this understanding will help you effectively retain your clients.

When answering this question, Bill Slawski recommended creating opportunities to grow your customer base, building relationships with your clients and making the existing ones even stronger.

SEMrush Chat Recap Q4

As you can see, most of our chat participants believe that startups need to think about customer retention from the beginning. If you have a group of customers who buy from you on a regular basis, that means they already know that they can work with you, and they may even mention you fondly to further prospects.

Q5: What is the best growth hacking trick you’ve seen recently?

We saved the best for last. Our chat participants shared the best growth hacking tricks they’ve seen recently.

Let’s check them out!

  • Hijacking Tech Crunch’s summer party with a Snapchat filter

James Shamsi was dubbed a “social media savant” by Business Insider when he ran one of the biggest viral campaigns of 2016. He heard of TechCrunch’s annual summer party, a great venue for networking. But instead of buying a ticket for $85, James Shamsi bought a Snapchat geofilter for $5 and used it to network. He said he got over 7,000 impressions from 64 people from the party who were taking selfies and using his filters. For the record, this was a niche event with influencers, investors, and heavyweights in the tech sphere.

  • Using Facebook video advertising

Everybody knows that Facebook is still the world’s largest social network and, today, snaps at YouTube’s heels. Those looking to share their videos online have to give Facebook some serious thought, because it offers a large platform on which you can spread your story among your target users around the globe.

  • Implementing referral programs

Many companies, like PayPal, Airbnb, Uber, Evernote and others, have referral programs that serve as great word of mouth. If implemented correctly, a referral program allows you to gain additional value by providing your customers with an opportunity to promote your brand to their friends. You can, in turn, reward your clients when their friends buy from you. Refer-a-friend reward programs can help you effectively drive customer acquisition. You’ll find some great referral program examples in the article “Referral Program Examples – An Epic List Of 47 Referral Programs.”

  • Providing a free preview offer

Varun Kumar told a story about Reliance Jio, an Indian 4G provider that offered its customers a 90-day free preview. Its 4G services will be free until December 31, 2016 for clients who sign up for data and voice. Varun Kumar said that this campaign helped the company enroll 16 million subscribers in just 30 days.

  • Business acquisition

A business acquisition occurs when a buying company obtains ownership of their target company. Obviously, this approach is typically used by large firms in order to increase their market share or their overall amount of business assets. Anyway, Bill Slawski pointed out that his client could attract more attention to their business by acquiring a firm in the industry they want to enter.

Miles Technologies also mentioned conversion optimization, saying that it’s more of a necessity than a trick.

SEMrush Chat Recap Q5

That’s it for today!

We would like to thank Vincent Dignan and everyone who helped us make this SEMrush Chat interesting and productive! We received plenty of valuable recommendations and great insights into growth hacking.

Hope to see you this Wednesday!

Liza Perstneva is a Social Media Manager at SEMrush and a #SEMrushchat host. Follow Liza on Twitter.

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