This is a guest post by Matt Janaway.
Gary Vaynerchuk describes growth hacking with this simple quote:
“Growth hacking is just: GET USERS!”
It’s a simple statement pulled from his Twitter account, and it works as a nice introduction to this term we call “growth hacking.”
I’m not a huge fan of the movement, considering it’s a vague term, and most people don’t have the slightest idea what it means. So, yes Guy is completely right. Growth hacking is simply what online companies would call the pursuit of bringing in more and more customers.
However, this can also be called customer acquisition, or some of the many other terms you stumble upon when building your online business.
Growth hacking is when a company uses ideas, tools, technology and products in intelligent and creative ways to generate more customers or conversions. Quite often, growth hacking is brought into play when an online company doesn’t have that much money to spend on a marketing budget. You can even growth hack using email marketing.
Most of the tactics put forth with growth hacking are done with the help of data and analytics, so your business is not taking wild swings in attempts to reach out to new users.
So, in short, growth hacking is an educated creative marketing endeavour.
What are some of the best growth hacking tips for new eCommerce stores?
From testimonials to ratings, social proof is one of the easiest ways to convince customers that your company is credible. For example, you don’t have to spend much, if any, money to ask for a testimonial from one of your early customers. Posting the testimonial on your homepage is a surefire way to boost conversions, considering people make decisions based on what other people have done in the past.
Social proof gets creative on many fronts, and it’s not only reserved for the testimonials that you may post in a video, text or image format.
For example, many eCommerce stores have ratings and reviews on their products, while others share social follower counts in sidebars. After all, if a company has 100,000 Facebook followers, many others will want to follow. Other great examples include links and logos to known businesses you’ve worked with in the past.
Many eCommerce shops highlight logos of the publications they’ve been featured in. Along with case studies, customer stats and more, the power of social proof is one of the top growth hacks out there.
When we say to cut out the majority of junk on your homepage, we mean almost all of it. Most customers aren’t going to land on your homepage, so what’s the point of having dozens of little widgets, sidebars and images to distract those who do come to your homepage?
New products are nice to have on your homepage, but what about all of the other content that takes away from the initial message? Since many of your customers are more likely to land on product or category pages, they are not even going to make it to your homepage to search for a product. In fact, they’ve already done so in Google.
So, cutting down your homepage to the barebones, delivering only one or two messages to the brand new visitors who heard about your company from another website, blog post or from a friend.
Use it as the ultimate landing page. For example, Tomtom wastes no time explaining that the company is about, but they keep the content to a minimum. A slider is provided with recent sales and events, and the most popular products are highlighted in one row. That’s about it. Everything else can be learned on the product or category pages, and it’s shown to keep new customers interested longer.
Interestingly, cutting out the junk can also help with your website’s conversion rates. An easy to use website with just the right amount of information and very little noise will always perform better than a website which draws the visitors eyes all over the place. Here are a few tips to improve your conversion rates quickly.
Learn how to test your site speed on a consistent basis with tools like Pingdom and GTMetrix. Slower page response times result in more abandoned carts. After that, many of these people are not likely to return to your website since they don’t have the patience to wait around for your slow page loads.
This is the most common growth hack you can find online for eCommerce stores. It doesn’t take much money, but it is wise to spend a decent amount of time per month improving the speed of your site.
The tiered discounting method was made famous by Groupon, in that customers would receive steeper discounts when they referred more people to a particular product sale. It worked out rather well for Groupon since it became one of the fastest growing companies of all time.
Giving customers a benefit while buying serves as a handy growth hack, because you don’t generally have to spend too much money, and the potential for social sharing is huge.
Square built buzz about their new company by giving out free card readers when companies signed up for their mobile card processing service. The Square device was a pretty inexpensive tool, but they were able to get consistent subscribers by giving away something that was close to worthless.
Many other companies give back by going with free shipping after a customer buys a certain amount of items. Others are prone to give away items with an email signup.
Do you treat old customers just as you would new customers?
In fact, a wonderful growth hack entails segmenting your site visitors drastically to reveal certain promotions, emails and even ads that may relate to them better than it would other people. For example, AirBnB automatically starts giving little pop ups on how to use the system for new users. When you become a more seasoned user, they get right to the point and ask about your next trip.
Growth hacking tips for new eCommerce stores are all over the place, so you can come up with your own or tweak some of the suggestions we talked about above. If you have any growth hacks that are bound to be useful for our audience, let us know about them in the comments below.
Matt is a digital & online entrepreneur and marketer, specializing in the retail & eCommerce arena. He has built, purchased, optimized and sold in excess of 10 eCommerce businesses with multi-million pound revenues and is now heading a team project optimizing 30 websites with over 20,000 products.