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Mistakes Most Make When Planning a Growth Hacking Strategy

1. For startups and digital nomads / remote workers - what is the biggest mistake most make when planning a growth hacking strategy?


Understanding your current stage of growth of your startup is the biggest mistake to know if you should even deploy a “growth hacking strategy” in the first place. 

Which stage of growth are you in?

  1. Hustle growth - you’re proving product-market fit and getting initial traction/customer base by any means possible no matter if what you’re doing isn’t scalable.

  2. Proactive growth - you have product-market fit and now you want to create scalable and predictable growth. One-off “growth hacks” aren’t enough - you’re looking for always-on growth tactics.

If you’re in “hustle growth”, then it doesn’t matter if the tactics you are deploying aren’t going to work tomorrow - your goal is to get initial traction and prove your product-market fit. 


On the flip side, if you’re post Series B or have a proven business model - you aren’t looking for growth hacks to scale up - you’re looking to build an always-on growth machine built on predictable systems.


So, first understand what growth stage you’re in to know if growth hacking is the right thing for you. 


2. If you were to develop a product that would be ideal for growth hacking what would it be?


Above we outlined that growth hacking is useful in the “hustle growth” stage and proving product-market fit, because it’s mostly about one-off tactics. 


Probably a mashup between Tyepform, Sumo and Unbounce. 


It’d allow you to:


  • Understand if your audience wants what you have to offer

  • Survey them and ask them questions to understand them further

  • Create a pre-launch audience for your product/service


It’s all about validating your next big idea. NextBigIdea.io would be the name :-)


3. If you were a remote worker what tools would you use for communication? growth hacking? marketing analytics? 


My go-to tools for remote workers:


Communication: 

  • Slack: communicating with my clients, colleagues through text and video calls.

  • Google Apps: Drive, Spreadsheets, Presentations… etc.


Growth hacking

  • Sumo: to build an audience using things such as exit-intent popups, etc.

  • Unbounce: to build landing pages on the fly to validate concepts super fast

  • Mailshake: sending cold emails to get demos, build links, etc.

  • Typeform: run surveys to get insights


Marketing analytics 

  • Google Analytics: Basic tool everyone needs to see the state of the top of your funnel.

  • Data studio with Supermetrics: Building key dashboards to look at your north star metrics. Combine with Supermetrics to pull in things such as Facebook ad spend etc. You need everything in one place to be successful.


4. Many startups have the ability to gather data on their customers however they struggle with what to do with it and do not have the resources to hire people that can. What suggestions do you have?


First, make sure you’re collecting the data in a GDPR compliant way - you let your users know why you are collecting the data and they have the option to opt in and out. 


Second on deciding what to do with the data - it depends what you’re business model is. 


But let’s assume that you have all of this information in your CRM (e.g. in Mailchimp). 


I’d focus on segmenting your users by company size and then personalising their onboarding depending on your ability to upsell to them. 


E.g.


Company size 1->50: 


The user goes through a touchless onboarding experience and they purchase one of your plans on the lower end. Their lifetime value don’t merit a human simply because the economics don’t work out 



Company size 50+: 


We think companies with 50+ employees have the potential to purchase on of our higher plans, and we think they need some type of human interaction to get them over the edge. 


Therefore our onboarding is focused on getting them on a “free consultancy call”, before asking them if theyd like to see a demo of what you have to offer. 


The trick is that on the “free consultancy call”, you are finding our their pain points, so later you are able to relate your product to them. 


Of course, you can use the data you have in many other ways related to personalisation - at the end of the day one of the key goals of marketing is to mimic 1-1 sales, but at scale. 


5. How has marketing changed over the past 4-5 years?


Two examples of how marketing is fundamentally changing:


One, it’s now about relationships, empathy and anonymity. 


With GDPR (and many other triggers), we are moving into a digital world where we expect to have given prior permission before being contacted and thus sold to. 


This leads on to why the brands that are winning, are now focusing on being human and empathetic. Google examples of these brands include Typeform and Squarespace - they focus not on functional benefits but on emotions, thus combining art and science. 


Two, smart machines are taking over. 


A great example to illustrate this is with Facebook ads:

  • 4 years ago - the focus was on interest/demographic targeting to make our ads reach the right people

  • 2 years ago - we now use lookalike audiences of our best customers to find other people who would be interested in purchasing our product/service

  • Now - 0 targeting - the machine finds people for you based on your past conversion data. As a marketer we leave the targeting up to the machine - but we are still in control with our message and the value we want to transmit.


Other ad platforms such as Google Ads are also moving into this direction. 

So what does this mean?

It means that the focus is on how we create value for our users, as a key differentiator in the markets we are in. 


Jake is Founder of InflectionGrowth, an online community for SaaS marketers. 

What Insurance Policies Do All Freelancers Need?

What Insurance Policies Do All Freelancers Need?

What Insurance Policies Do All Freelancers Need?

Recently, Freelancers Union reported that “50% of U.S. jobs are compatible with remote work arrangements.” It is no surprise, then, that so many companies are hosting video meetings and conferences, allowing employees to be location-independent, and hiring more contractors/freelancers than ever before. When working as a freelancer, enjoying this kind of freedom is exciting. However, along with the perks and freedom to work when and where you want, there are also some important considerations. One such consideration is equipping yourself with the right kinds of insurance. If you are now freelancing, or are thinking about freelancing in the future, explore three categories of insurance that you should definitely have.

Romania?

Romania?

Romania has been mentioned several times as the next Berlin whereas the downtown landscape is dotted with start-ups, tech giants to be and global investment money flowing into businesses and ideas across the board. 

As entrepreneur Bogdan Florin Ceobanu wrote "New technologies, fast-growing clusters and the token economy are changing the game. UiPath reaches $1B+ valuation."

Two Ways Startups and Corporations Can Partner

I found this interesting article in HBR (Harvard Business Review). However one has to watch out for accelerators and incubators as they have become new sources of revenue for their host and then there is the issue of IPR and intellectual property. Once you are in… you are in.

ARTICLE HERE

Hey Startups - The Importance of the MVP

Hey Startups - The Importance of the MVP

When planning development for your startup the rule of thumb is to focus on building a MVP. The MVP is the Minimum Viable Product that has core features for early adopters and the limited initial group of users.

2 Way To Think About The MVP

Many argue that MVP is the first deliverable product. Crowdfunding site Kickstarter have had numerous prototypes that have been built by developers. Many find that making a product available to early users is an effective way to gauge how the product is going to be received or so called “market acceptance”.

Erstwhile others believe that the use of the MVP would help validate the existence of demand for a product, or in certain cases, the product itself. The goal in this case is more than acceptance but to help create interest for a particular product even before the full version of that product is ready for launch. Often many make a sales page and have interested visitors or testers sign up.  TechCrunch has some great tips on how to create the MVP.

Deliver to Market for Early Validation

One of the biggest advantages of building an MVP is that it helps you validate/gain acceptance your product, quickly and to decide whether to continue pursuing your product idea as is or making changes or even ending it before it started. MVPs are only effective when you listen to the market feedback you receive.

Startups are usually based on a vision that revolves around something new, one that is believed to be embraced by a market due to its ability to solve an urgent problem, or fix a specific pain point, faced by that particular market. Like many established setups, startups opt to create a full product based on their initial vision and subsequently make it available to the target market. Often is the case that there isn’t quite as much traction as initially projected. This could be either because the market was not chosen carefully or the product was not compelling enough, it was not “ready enough” or support mechanisms around it were not yet in place.

The obvious question that arises is how it is possible to test a product that has not been fully designed or implemented or without the proper support mechanisms.

Established companies often offer their new “test” product to a specific segment of their customers or a target audience that perhaps they wish to engage. Startups operate in such a way that they will have a chance to learn while making sure their vision is viable - developing and learning on the fly. MVPs act as an effective way to replace ambiguity with certainty with minimal risk and over a relatively short time period.

The most efficient way for a startup to learn is to experiment and test different versions of its products against various metrics. Learning is about increasing the chance for success and validating at the minimum a new way of solving someone´s problem.

Your Assumptions

By testing their product, and listening to feedback which does not always happen in a startup, founders of a startup can put themselves in a better position to solve the problems of people in their target market.

It is necessary that the startup develops a version of the product that is at a level of completion whereby it can demonstrate the level of value that it can bring to customers.

Having a bare bones MVP it may be difficult for designers to avoid including features requested by users into the initial development, but they should resist such temptation and instead focus on the various experimentations that will help measure the impact of the MVP. In other words do not develop too much until you understand what the market is willing to accept.

The metrics designed to test the effectiveness of an MVP should go beyond happy ears results and go to the real business impact of the core product.

LEAN APPROACH

Lean startups must focus on improving how they develop products, e.g. the speed at which they reach the market with the correct products. A lean startup approach uses MVPs to target customers and their specific pain points, test the growth and value. The initial focus of development should be on answering basic questions related to the growth and perceived value. Upon these findings and any changes needed should the focus then shift to growth.

With today´s social network darlings, apps and online games e.g. Fortnite, The higher the rate of acceleration, the more chance the startup has of releasing a relevant product that closely matches what customers in the target market are looking for to solve their paint point or fill that need.