This is THE buzzword in 2022: Growth Hacking. (well ok that makes 2, but you get the idea). In this article we go into detail about the definition of Growth Hacking, when and how to use it. We also talk about how we use it at Waalaxy. 😄
Growth Hacking: what is it?
There are a thousand and one ways to define what Growth Hacking is, so I will try to use a broad definition that covers the different aspects of the discipline:
Developing a Growth Hacking strategy is using unconventional techniques and methods to generate rapid growth in a business.
Growth Hacking is mainly used in small structures such as start-ups and SMEs. And yes, big companies are always behind in terms of innovation. Growth Hacking is no exception to the rule. 👆
Similarly, it is most often used in so-called “technological” or even “digital marketing” companies since the methods used almost systematically require the use and implementation of digital tools, especially with marketing automation. Before going into more detail on the use of Growth Hacking, it is important to define the marketing notion of sales funnel, key to your marketing objectives.
The sales funnel corresponds to the different steps your potential customers will go through. From their first point of contact with your brand/company, to the moment they become loyal customers who recommend your products or services.
In the vast majority of cases, it is necessary to go through one step of the funnel before moving on to the next.
The sales funnel consists of 6 phases, the so-called “AAARRR” sales funnel:
The 5 steps of Growth Hacking
1. Awareness is the very first step of the sales funnel. It is the moment when your prospects come into contact with your product or service for the first time. It can be an advertisement on social networks, a LinkedIn post, or even someone talking about your product or service, in short, any input from your acquisition traffic. Sometimes the awareness step is very subtle, even subliminal, but the cognitive bias of “simple exposure” (“Mere exposure effect“) will plant a seed in the brain of your target, and the more they are exposed to your product or service, the more likely they will be to make a purchase. That’s why big brands like Coca-Cola, already world famous, continue to flood billboards in their marketing strategy. Your prospect is not yet taking action, but is becoming familiar with your product or service, so that when confronted with it, they are more likely to take action.
2. Acquisition: That’s it, your target is taking the plunge, using your product or service for the first time, that’s the right strategy. In the case of an application such as Waalaxy, this stage corresponds to the moment a prospect downloads the tool This is our acquisition metric! 👊 For many activities, like e-commerce sites, acquisition will be related to the 1st visit to the website.
3. Activation: Corresponds to the moment when the user performs his first action with the tool after the signup. Following Waalaxy’s example, a prospect has just downloaded the extension, but now he has to use it, otherwise there is no point in downloading the application. For us, activation is when a user exports their first lead to the tool. We also measure a second level of activation, which corresponds to the moment a user sends his first action with the tool (a connection request, for example). It’s up to you to define your activation metric, it should represent an essential step your users/prospects go through in order to one day become customers. 👆
4. Retention: Corresponds to your ability to retain your prospects and turn them into long-term users, i.e. to build loyalty. This step is often underestimated, but it should be kept in mind that filling a shopping cart is vain. It must be your first concern, well before acquisition.
5. Revenue: Your main objective. This is the moment when your user/prospect makes a purchase. They buy your service/product.
6. Referral: This is the moment when your user/prospect buys your service/product. This is the grail. The moment when your product or service sells “by itself” because people who use it talk about it around them. 😜
Example of growth hacking that works
Here is an example of a sales tunnel that works, the one from Waalaxy:
We will discover the main levers of our web strategy step by step. The first step of this conversion tunnel is to attract visitors to the site (visibility goals). 🏃🏃
- By doing high value-added content marketing through the blog.
- By developing a digital SEA strategy, i.e. targeted paid advertising.
- By implementing a content strategy on LinkedIn, through recurring publications. (community management).
- By having a YouTube marketing channel with webinars in order to work on our notoriety.
The second step is to convert the visitor into a prospect 😉
- Thanks to a very well worked landing page.
- Thanks to a free trial or the free version of the tool.
The 3rd step is to make the prospect want to buy our tool. 😍
- An impeccable design and ease of use.
- Follow-up messages both on LinkedIn and by email that accompany the user and help him discover the tool.
- An available chat, which answers all your requests in less than 5 minutes.
- Youtube tutorial videos.
The 4th step is to make them a loyal customer. A good marketing strategy should never neglect its customer base. 🥰 It’s better to keep a customer than to go out and get new ones. It’s less expensive! To do this, the customer experience must be perfect, and the customer relationship must be maintained. On our side, everything happens behind the chat and in the improvement of the tool. The 5th step is to convert customers into ambassadors. 👑
- Thanks to an attractive offer!
- Thanks to a follow-up of our ambassadors.
- By working on the customer journey.
This is all cool, but what about Growth Hacking in all this?
I’m getting to that, I’m getting to that. In the word Growth Hacking there is the word “Growth” and “Hacking ” ( I feel I’m losing you 😂). The word “Hacking” is a bit misleading here, because in reality, it is not at all about conducting any kind of computer attack, besides, it is not even necessary to have skills in computer development to use Growth Hacking techniques.
No, the word “Hacking” rather refers to the idea that you are going to implement a “trick”, a “trick”, that is going to bring you an inordinate return on investment.
It is important to keep in mind that growth hacking techniques are often techniques that require very little financial cost, but that can pay off in a big way. To find the perfect hack, the one that will bring you exponential growth, the key word is “iteration”. You will have to test, measure, iterate.
Over and over again.
The more tests you do, the more you will increase your chances to find the perfect hack. So where do you start when you want to implement Growth Hacking? At Waalaxy, we use a pretty simple tactic to map out our testing ideas across different digital channels. An excel spreadsheet with the following columns:
- A. On which part of the funnel the test is supposed to have an impact,
- B. The description of the test,
- C. The hypothesis,
- D. The potential impact (from 1 to 10),
- E. Confidence index (from 1 to 10),
- F. Ease of implementation (from 1 to 10),
- G. Expected outcome,
- H. Iteration,
- I. Actual result.
We prioritize which tests to implement by adding up the potential impact (D.), the confidence index (E.), and the ease of implementation (F.). A high score indicates a test that should be implemented quickly. Come on, let’s get down to business, how do you build your strategy to make it work? 🔥
Implementing growth hacks: the 5 steps
Let’s go through the different steps of the funnel again with an example of a “hack” at each step, and some food for thought to conduct your own hacks.
Growth hack 1 : Awareness
- A. On which part of the funnel the test is supposed to have an impact: Awareness
- B. The description of the test: Create quality content on LinkedIn every day with all the people on the team (one person per day) by boosting engagement with Podawaa,
- C. The hypothesis: Develop visibility on our personal profiles, which are all optimized, and allows us to promote our products indirectly.
- D. The potential impact (from 1 to 10): 6,
- E. Confidence index (from 1 to 10): 7,
- F. Ease of implementation (from 1 to 10): 8,
- G. Expected result: generate 10,000 views per day on average over the week,
- H. Iteration: creation of fake accounts around specific themes and publication on each of the accounts, 3 times a week to boost the reach of the posts with Podawaa.
- I. Actual result: more than 100,000 views per week on all our LinkedIn posts to date.
The implementation of this hack is relatively simple, you just need to have LinkedIn accounts, a little inspiration, and take advantage of Podawaa.
Growth hack 2: Acquisition
- A. On which part of the funnel the test is supposed to have impact: The acquisition channel,
- B. The test description: automated LinkedIn prospecting campaign launch with Waalaxy. C. The hypothesis: LinkedIn allows you to reach your target.
- That is to say, it allows you to target prospects in an extremely precise way and to have results 10 to 15 times superior to classic emailing.
- D. The potential impact (from 1 to 10): 8,
- E. Confidence index (from 1 to 10): 9,
- F. Ease of implementation (from 1 to 10): 9,
- G. Expected outcome: reach 100 downloads per week from LinkedIn prospecting.
- H. Iteration: creation of fake accounts to increase prospecting leverage dramatically.
- I. Actual result: over 500 downloads per week from LinkedIn prospecting.
This hack is certainly one of the most powerful you can implement. Targeting an ultra-qualified and free database (LinkedIn) all in an entirely automated way (Waalaxy) and with the possibility of scaling up this process if it is successful (see: How to create a fake account on LinkedIn without getting banned).
Growth hack 3: Activation and Retention
- A. On which part of the funnel the test is supposed to have impact: activation and retention,
- B. The description of the test: set up an automated follow-up LinkedIn message system with Waalaxy based on B2B targets.
- C. The hypothesis: to re-launch users who have downloaded the tool without going further and those who have not used the tool for a while by offering them help if needed.
- D. Potential impact (from 1 to 10): 6,
- E. Confidence index (from 1 to 10): 7,
- F. Ease of implementation (from 1 to 10): 5,
- G. Expected result: better understanding of the difficulties encountered and anticipation of blockages
- H. Iteration: implement actions to remove blockages.
- I. Actual result: successful marketing strategy, 10 point improvement in activation rate.
This hack is already a little more complicated to set up, but it allows you to interact with your prospects/users and helps to get extremely qualitative information on the use of the tool. All that’s left to do is to improve your strategy based on the results.
Growth hack 4 : Revenue
- A. On which part of the funnel the test is supposed to have an impact: Income,
- B. The description of the test: show the price saved per year for pricing for annual subscriptions.
- C. The hypothesis: incentivize paying by the year rather than by the month.
- D. The potential impact (from 1 to 10): 5,
- E. Confidence index (from 1 to 10): 7,
- F. Ease of implementation (from 1 to 10): 10,
- G. Expected outcome: 10% increase in annual payments.
- H. Iteration: N.A,
- I. Actual result: increase in the number of annual payments by 15%.
Growth hacking is always closely related to human psychology. It is about playing on the cognitive biases and judgment heuristics of people. In the case of this hack, it’s all about highlighting a total amount saved over the period rather than the amount saved per month. And it works 😉
Growth hack 5: Referral
- A. On which part of the funnel the test is supposed to have an impact: Referral,
- B. The description of the test: implementation of an affiliate program that shares 50% of the revenue generated by B2b affiliates,
- C. The hypothesis: to delegate part of the acquisition to ambassadors who already have an interesting community, so that it is more relevant.
- D. The potential impact (from 1 to 10): 7,
- E. Trust index (from 1 to 10): 7,
- F. Ease of implementation (from 1 to 10): 7,
- G. Expected result: generate 10% of the turnover via affiliation.
- H. Iteration: automate commission taking via a third party digital tool,
- I. Actual result: < 5% of revenue generated via affiliation.
Referral is often extremely difficult to “crack”. Many have tried it, few have succeeded, but when it works, the results are exponential. We do not claim to have cracked the referral, but this hack is relatively simple to implement and allows to ensure a certain word-of-mouth. There is no need to use a commission automation system until you have achieved a significant income via thiscustomer acquisition channel.
Conclusion: Test growth hacking
Feel free to contact me on LinkedIn to give me feedback on this article, and on growth hacking technics you have implemented. 🚀