Growing a startup that serves the millennial generation is a massive feat but, with the right growth hacking tools, you can do this. Unlike before, when just having a good product could kick-start your growth, these days you have to develop a plan. Growth hacking is the term used for developing clever plans to enhance extreme growth.

The following growth hacking lessons will help you to push your startup in the right direction in this social media generation:

1. Remember that retaining is better than acquiring

Startups need to focus more on retaining their early customers than they do on acquiring new ones. The first batch of customers that a startup gets is crucial because they are the first users of your product. They will be able to tell you about the things that your product is doing in the wrong way.

These customers can clue you into the aspects of your product that you need to improve. However, if you don’t encourage this kind of feedback or you encourage it but fail to act on it, your first customers will probably leave. You can prevent them from leaving by soliciting their feedback and using it to make improvements to your product.

At the end of the day, until you can solve the bugs in your product they will continue leaving.

As long as your retention rate is low, there is no need to go after new customers because they will eventually leave. Instead, you should focus on improving the product, which consequentially improves your retention rate. Later on, when all the holes in your product are sealed, you can then focus on acquisitions.

2. Build something that people actually want

Many startup founders have built something that only they wanted or needed. The mistake they made is not talking to people to find out whether they were experiencing the same problem that their product is built to solve.

The best growth hack to build a product that people want is by consistently proposing your idea to people. Beyond that, wait to hear what they have to say from an objective perspective. You should also be open to criticism and suggestions for improvement.

Instead of building a product without any idea how many people need it, how about you go out and meet the market you want to make your product for?

Word of mouth is one of the best growth hacks. In fact, it spreads like wildfire. Most businesses use word of mouth to push information about the brand out to the public. However, this technique can be used to initiate productive conversations with the same market you’re aiming to serve. If you consider feedback and suggestions from your target consumers, you can actually make something people want.

3. Keep in mind that growth hacking utilizes several channels

Growth hacking doesn’t have a magical formula that you can apply to any brand in the same way. It’s a collection of different techniques carried out on different channels.

The challenge for startups here is to be open-minded. Don’t say no to any channels that your marketers present because you never know what will work.

In our real-life examples of growth hacking done right, you will see that each of these 15 prominent and hugely successful companies achieved growth using different strategies. These case studies show that different startups need different strategies for growth. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula.

4. Tap into human emotions

Think about the best growth that we have seen worldwide so far. This includes the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Airbnb, and Uber….

All these companies have one thing in common. They’ve created products that are now deeply ingrained in our culture. These products offer something special and they’ve reeled us in to the point that we use them every day. Creating a product that people get invested in is the ultimate secret to extreme growth.

If you’re developing a product and aiming for such growth, you should think of how to get in touch with people’s emotions through your product. The question then becomes, what problem is your product solving?

Therein lies the hack.

5. Remember that growth hacking isn’t as hard as you think

Growth hacking is viewed as a concept that is applicable for the Silicon Valley elite alone. This is far from the truth. While the term was coined by some prominent Silicon Valley elites, growth can be achieved by everyday entrepreneurs too.

Growth involves many aspects including some real hustle and creativity. Be that as it may, it’s not some mysterious phenomenon. Growth is a mixture of the good people you employ, the good data you use, the advice you receive, and the decisions you make.

6. Be informed by data

Let the data you get in the company from your testing and discussions in the office inform your decisions. This way, you can build a special product.

When you want to implement a new product feature or tweak your services, ask yourself what has informed that decision. If there is no information from customers or market statistics, then it’s best not to act on this whim.

7. Use the right words, in the right order

Startups are so obsessed with designing the best user interface, the best-looking product, etc. However, as much as this is important, you can never underestimate how using the right words can grow your product.

Sometimes, you won’t make a sale simply because you’ve demonstrated that you have the best product. On the contrary, the best way to win potential customers over is by convincing them that they need your product.

Growth is based partly on what your product can do and partly on what you say, when you say it, and how you say it.

8. Learn why growth hacks work differently

Noticing what causes growth hack A to work better than growth hack B is more important than noticing that growth hack A is better than B (We know this is mind-boggling). To avoid confusing you even more, the main question you should ask is “What causes A to be better than B?”

Getting this answer will be a process but you have to go through it.

First, you need to determine whether A correlates to B, C, and D depending on how many growth hacks you are working on. Then you need to find out whether C causes A to work better than B. That kind of thing.

9. Keep your product simple

No one wants complex products.

People just want something that works fast and solves their problems as it promises to do.

They don’t want to do mental gymnastics to understand your product. Product complexity is a killer – it pushes customers away.

10. Focus on making your product the best at what it does

You could push so many growth hacks into your product but if the product is bad, no amount of growth hacking will help.

Don’t use growth hacking to service a bad product.

Growth hacking is not a magnet that brings customers in and keeps them there. To know how well your product does what you built it to do, refer to the first point about retention.

As long as early adopters keep leaving, it’s a sign that your product has holes that need to be sealed. Before pushing for the growth hacks, work on that product and improve it. Only when you’ve improved your product should you develop a good strategy to boost brand awareness.

Growth hacking requires commitment, but with the right tools, it’s possible. In order to develop an effective growth hacking strategy, it’s important to pay attention to the needs of your customers and find ways to continuously improve your product. With the above tips, you can successfully grow your product and reach the right audiences.

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