Pushing a startup’s growth in this millennial generation is the foundation of any effective growth hacking lesson. 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 people who develop clever plans to enhance extreme growth. However, since growth hacking is not some magic, startup growth strategies fail flat as soon as they begin.

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

1. 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 are 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.

Your first customers will probably leave, albeit, in small or large numbers and this depends on how close to perfection your product really is.

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, instead, 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 thought could have worked. The mistake they made is not talking to people.

The best way to build a product that people want is by endlessly proposing your idea to people. Let them improve it.

Instead of endlessly banging on the keyboard, how about you go out and meet the market you want to make your product for?

Word of mouth is one of the best hacks, it spreads like wildfire. When it catches up, and if you consider your target market’s suggestions, you will actually be making something people want.

3. Growth hacking utilizes several channels

Growth hacking doesn’t have a magical formula which you can apply to any brand in the same way. It’s a collection of 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 are not sure 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 found growth by using different strategies. It shows that different startups need different strategies for growth. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

4. Tap into human emotions

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

One thing is common; these products are now ingrained in our deep sense of human culture. They have something special about them, and they have made us too involved that we use them every day. And that is the secret to extreme growth.

If you develop a product and aim 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?

There lies the hack.

5. Growth isn’t as hard as you think

The truth about growth hacking is that it’s viewed as a concept for the Silicon Valley elite only; this is far from the truth. While the term was coined by some prominent Silicon Valley elites, growth can be achieved by the non-elites too.

Growth is 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 decisions you make and the advice you receive.

6. Be informed by data

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

When you want to implement something or tweak your service, ask yourself what has informed that decision. If there is no information from, say, customers or the market statistics, then it’s best leave it alone.

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 that is important, you can never underestimate how using the right words can grow your product.

Sometimes, the selling process doesn’t just need some demonstration of the best product. In fact, most of the time it requires convincing people that they need to use your product.

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

8. Learn what causes the change

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 (Confusing? I know). To avoid confusing you even more, the main question here 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 is correlated to B, C and D depending on how many 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. Stick to simplicity

No one wants complex products.

People just want something that works as fast as it promises to do.

They don’t want to do a thousand jumps in their brains to understand your product. Product complexity is a killer, it pushes customers away.

10. Product is key

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 push growth hacking to service a bad product.

Growth hacking is not a magnet that sticks the customers there. To know whether your product is bad or good, refer first point about retention.

As long as early customers 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, then 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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