Growth Hacking Techniques for Your eCommerce Project
Every business owner sooner or later faces the problem of stagnation. This leads to the search of new marketing strategies. And when everything is already tried unconventional techniques come into use. Growth hacking is one of them. This is a relatively new concept, which was coined by Sean Ellis in 2010. I bet that many business owners have already tried some of the growth hacking techniques unwittingly before it formed into a separate movement. So what is growth hacking and why is it so important to know its techniques for your business development?
Who are growth hackers?
Growth hacking can’t be referred to some particular department like marketing or coding. It plays a cross-functional role, uniting different elements to achieve the business growth.
For the majority of people who are far from computer world the word “hacker” is a synonym of “miscreant”. This is a global stereotype created, perhaps, by the mass culture of 1980th. However, the concept of hacking is rather multi-faceted. Basically, this stereotypic understanding of hacking describes only one aspect of this notion, which is related to security hacking and refers to the black hat hackers, or crackers. Crackers use their programming skills to earn some profit.
Growth hackers have nothing to do with it. These are people whose primary objective is to define the most efficient ways to develop the business and to provide its growth. You should not confuse the growth hacking with marketing. Pursuing the same purpose they use different methods. Growth hacking includes both conventional marketing strategies and unconventional experiments that help to achieve the growth of business.
How does the growth hacking process look like?
At a casual glance, it might seem that the main component of growth hacking is experimentation and creativity. However, this is an organized well-thought process that requires certain accurate steps and careful planning. Here are the main stages of growth hacking process.
- Defining the goal. This step is very important and it should be regarded with the utmost seriousness. It is clear that your main goal is growth, but this goal is too broad and doesn’t make any sense. You need to break it into smaller actionable tasks.
- Implementing analytics. How would you know that you have reached your goal? Of course, you need to track the results. Implementing analytics to track your progress you will be able to collect a massive volume of data, which can be useful for your future goals as well.
- Defining and using your strengths. On this stage, you need to define your strongest sides and use them as a lever to boost your business growth.
- Performing the experiment. You have worked a lot with planning and now it is time for active actions. Before starting the experiment make a guess regarding the results. Inform your team about the experiment you are going to run. If the results of the experiment appear to be not that promising as you have expected, take it easy. It is a natural process. Just learn from your success or failure and use this knowledge in your future experiments.
- Optimizing the experiment. Experiments should be optimized. A/B tests are the most popular methods among the growth hackers.
- Repeating. Don’t stop. Having finished one experiment start over with another one. You will have to undergo all the steps again.
What are the major tactics of the growth hacking?
One of the fundamental notions in growth hacking is “the growth hacker funnel”. Everyone knows how the funnel looks like. It has a wide opening and tapers downward. The funnel serves for guiding liquids to some small hole. This principle is adapted to the growth hacking and describes the process from getting the visitors to retaining them.
Here are the major tactics to attract the visitors or 3 P’s, as they are referred.
- Pull tactics. This tactics relies on providing something that will engage people to visit your website. Among the methods you can use are blogging, podcasting, eBooks, tutorials, infographics, webinars, SEO, social media, various contests, etc.
- Push tactics. The main difference between pull and push tactics is that in the former case you provide the user with interesting content. And the latter is not just the interesting content, but content with an ad. Pull tactics usually costs money. That’s why it is important to calculate the lifetime value of the customer on this stage.
- Product tactics. As it becomes clear from the name of the tactics, it implies using the product itself to drive traffic. To make it easier to understand this principle let’s use the example of Dropbox. They offer more storage space to the users who referred their friends. What methods can you use? Network invitations, social sharing, API integration, backlinks, incentives, etc.
Now you have visitors, but this is just the beginning. You need to activate your visitors. One of the best choices for this purpose is a landing page.
Retaining users is the final stage of the growth hacker funnel. Now you need to make the use of your products habitual to the users. For blogging, this means consuming your content on regular basis. For eCommerce website, this means making the users your regular buyers. On this stage the methods that will help you are regular emails, alerts and notifications, community building, etc.
How can it be applied to your eCommerce projects?
Applying growth hacking to eCommerce is, perhaps, the most obvious way. First of all, for your start-up you will need a website. You can either apply to the web studios or individual developers and have it created from scratch or use a ready-made template. The latter is much more economical and fast. Designing a website from scratch will take you up to 1-2 months depending on the complexity of the project. Choosing this option you should also estimate your budget. A ready-made template will cost you 8-10 times less and your website would be ready to go live within a couple of days.
After you website is launched it is high time to use some growth hacker techniques to stimulate the growth of your business.
David Henzel from MaxCDN.com defines 5 golden rules of website development.
- Know your customer. Knowing all their needs you will be able to offer them solutions even before they raise the issue.
- People don’t read. If you want to get out a message to your visitors, you need to catch their attention.
- Collect emails. Optimize your website for email collection. You can use free eBooks, tutorial, free trials, whatever to get the visitor’s email.
- Offer discounts for those things that might help to popularize you: emails, re-tweets, etc.
Use A/B testing. We have already mentioned it and repeat once again. A/B testing is the best way to learn whether your new experiment works or not. Optimizely is a great tool that will help you with A/B tests.
So now, when you have an idea of what growth hacking is it is high time to get started. Grab one of the eCommerce templates we have hand-picked for you and start building your online business.