So far this week we’ve looked at the first three steps in a growth hacking strategy.
Step One is making sure that the product-market fit is right. If your product is not useful to the market, if you cannot identify how it really adds value, and if it is not something that people are going to want, then you’re not a candidate for growth hacking. On the other hand, if you can ensure a good product-market fit, you might find that growth hacking tactics are a great way for moving forward.
Step Two is choosing the right customer. If you try and target everyone at the same time you’ll likely spend a lot of money and fail to secure a strong foothold in a noisy, crowded market. On the other hand, if you focus on convincing and converting early adopters and if you make your product seem scarce, valuable, and give a cachet of exclusivity, you can experience rapid growth in terms of customers and revenues.
Step Three is getting your product to go viral. It’s not easy and it is not even possible for every product, but if you can take your product viral you’ll be growing on an grand scale. You’ll need to encourage your customers to share the experiences with your product, and you’ll have to make your users into ambassadors, but neither of these things is difficult. Could you be the next GroupOn or Uber?
Now it is time to consider the next step in our growth hacking strategy. It’s time to go back to the drawing board as we embrace Step Four: Improve Your Offer.
Step 4: Improve Your Offer
Imagine that everything has gone to plan. You’ve attracted thousands, even millions of users. Your product is amazing, people love it, and you’re living the dream – maybe your company name has entered the vernacular, you’re an invited guest at SXSW, and people who aren’t related to you or paid by you are taking you very seriously. Your job is done, right?
While you’re enjoying the fruits of your success two forces are moving to take it all away from you.
The first group are your competitors. What for you is rapid and wonderful growth is for them a proof of market. The very fact that your product works means that theirs has a chance. Every customer that you have is a potential customer for them to steal away from you – after all, the customer loves your product, so why wouldn’t they like a competitor product that maybe has more features or might be a fe dollars a month cheaper.
The second group are your customers. While they have proved that they loved your product by getting on board and sharing their experiences with their friends, they are always looking for a better deal. They are intelligent, happy to experiment, and willing to embrace new products – that’s how you got them to be a customer in the first place, remember? That same intelligence, curiosity, and attitude means they always have their eyes open for the next deal. And that might not be you.
So instead of resting on your laurels and enjoying your success a little bit too much, you should be working on improving your product and commercial offer.
In short, getting your customers on board is one thing. Keeping them on board is quite another.
To keep your customers as fans and users of your product, you need to keep your product fresh and attractive. This means committing to a regular series of updates, changing the product to fit the changing needs and demands of your customers. Talk to them, interview them, quiz them, survey them – find out what they like, don’t like, and wish was improved about your product.
And then make sure your product evolves with your customer.
Sitting still is not the way to move forward. Businesses that want to grow and then maintain the gains that they have made need to be engaged in the creative destruction of their own product constantly. Only by improving the offer will a business be able to maintain the growth they have made and add to it in the future.
Holiday cites Twitter as a clear example of a business that listened to its customers and improved even upon its stunning early growth.
Twitter found that its sign-up rate was through the roof. So ubiquitous was their microblogging service and social network becoming, that most everybody was signing up for an account. Yet many of those accounts never tweeted. Or, if they did, they stopped and lay dormant quickly. Twitter knew they had good product, but they also knew they had to improve their offer if they wanted the growth to be something more than just sign-ups on paper.
Twitter employed a group of growth hackers who looked at the critical first few hours and first few days after a customer signed up. What quickly become clear is that people were much more likely to become active Twitter users if they manually added people to follow on Twitter during their sign-up process. Previously Twitter had assigned 20 accounts automatically for all new Twitter users to follow. With a small tweak to their product – encouraging and then helping users to add 10 accounts to follow all on their own – Twitter found that they were able to keep users active and improve the customer experience.
Twitter listened to the growth hackers who were able to explain the importance of the fourth step: improving your offer leads to more growth.
And what growth hacker wouldn’t be happy with that?
All this week we’re talking growth hacking at DOZ. Over the next few days we’ll move step-by-step through Ryan Holiday’s Growth Hacker Marketing strategy, giving you all you need to know to grow your start-up or business – and fast. To get your copy of Growth Hacker Marketing hit the link for Amazon, and share your thoughts with us on Twitter or in comments below.