30 Growth Hacks For Every Stage of Your Customer Journey

This article will guide you through all the stages of your customer and your business’ journey to help you find the growth hack that suits your needs.

The 6 Stages of your Growth Journey

Before you start reading through the different growth hacks below, take some time to look over these stages, and decide what area you need help with the most.  

Let’s get started…


THINK:
Get Unstuck, Solve Problems.Brainstorm Growth Ideas

Rethink your Product

Have you been in a rut trying to figure out the best way to sell your product? Why not completely rethink what your product does?

Bring your team together and ask them to brainstorm new ways to use your product for the first 10 minutes. Think of ways you can substitute materials, people or parts involved. Try combining two or more elements together from different products, or even removing elements (even your biggest ones) to make a more simplified version. This is about quantity, not quality, so the more ridiculous the better!

Once your team has come up with a list, take a break and write them out on the whiteboard. When your team comes back, ask them to think of ways they would market in using different scenarios.

At the end of the meeting, ask the team to figure out how they could start to market their product using some of the examples you spoke about.

Pro tip: If you’re leading the meeting, don’t let it get out of hand. Once people have created their list, don’t let the conversation get too far away from the original goal – coming up with new results-focused ways to market & grow your product.

How to lose a client in 30 days

Not sure how to fix a problem you’re having? Well, why not spend some time thinking about how to make it worse? (No, seriously!)

One of the best ways to break your usual thinking is to completely focus on the opposite side of the problem you’re having. Do you want to gain 1,000 customers in 30 days? Great! But for this meeting you’re going to focus on how to LOSE 1,000 customers instead.  The more outrageous, the better! Ask your team to individually come up with ideas on their own. Ask them to go on a break, and then write all the answers on the whiteboard. When they reconvene, discuss why each idea would lose customers, and then come up with the opposite of that solution.

Pro tip: If done right, you should have a list of four to five new things you can try to generate new customers right away! Good job!

Domino Solution

Bring your team in for a meeting and state the problem you’re trying to solve. Ask everyone to brainstorm one way to solve it and write it on a piece of paper. Once everyone is done, ask the group to pass their papers to the right.

Now it’s time for each person to read the new idea in front of them and add a thought or idea to the new page based on the new idea they’ve read. The goal is for everyone to explore and play off each other’s ideas.

Pro tip: When you’re done, you can use this list to start your brainstorming session and figure out how to solve your problem as a group!

Use Clickbait for Good

I bet you think i’m going to tell you to create tons of clickbait to funnel people to your website.. In a shocking twist, I’m going to tell you to use it internally with your team to come up with your best idea.

Listicle headlines are designed to grab your attention by promising you a list of solutions to a problem you face. But sometimes the solutions don’t really meet your needs; so what do you do? Borrow the headline!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Find an article headline that’s popular within your industry (e.g. “7 Growth Hacks to Jumpstart Your Business”).
  2. Instruct your team to spend a few minutes brainstorming what ideas they would have for this article.
  3. After a few minutes, have each member share their ideas and explain them. Write these ideas on a whiteboard.
  4. After everyone shares their ideas, vote as a team on the best ideas.
  5. Now take the list and find ways to apply these ideas to your business. Next, pick a few and go for it!


Revel in your Aha Moment

Twitter found that once users followed 30 people, they “got it.”  At what point do users become engaged with your product, app, or service?

On a whiteboard, draw out your onboarding process and what activities lead a person to their “AHA” moment. Consider what might make the “AHA” moment special. Now find ways to streamline this process or guide users to this moment sooner.


Find Your Conversion Leaks

People are entering (and leaving) your site all the time. Knowing when they are engaged enough to convert is important, but understanding where you lose them should also be top priority.  

Google Analytics can help you find where your traffic is coming from and can be a useful way to create targeted marketing strategies:

  1. Go to Analytics.
  2. View your “All traffic” report in Acquisition.
  3. Sort by “Best Converters to Worst.”

As a team, come up with a list of  three ways you can improve conversion for each traffic source.

Protip: You can do the same for demographics information, location, content and more!


Acquire:
Be Everywhere Acquiring New Customers

Stairway to Influence

Not sure who you should target when creating new content that needs traction? Doing some research and finding your biggest fans, and most influential people in your industry is a great place to start.

Put together a list of the easiest influencers to approach to the most difficult and figure out how you would approach them.

  • Fans and followers
  • Super fans
  • Small somebodies
  • Professional influencers
  • Journalists, celebrities, and companies

Remember that some of the more influential of the bunch will probably need to be paid.  

Protip: Don’t get discouraged. Getting the attention of some of these people will be hard work. You should have a plan, and a way to slowly increase your clout from your fans to journalists.  The good news is, the higher you go up the food chain the more people you can add to your list!


Share your Expertise

Getting your brand in front of your target audience should be your main priority. This is why writing articles for publications and blogs with the same audience but don’t compete with you directly can be a great way to get noticed. Create fun & entertainment content that shares your expertise and gives your company a bit of personality.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to incorporate a link back to your website with a teaser and a call to action!

Partner Up

Now that you’ve started writing on other blogs and publications, why not take it one step further and find companies who are willing to partner up with you and share your audience.

Not sure where to start?

Grab a notebook or whiteboard and create two columns. On one side, list adjacent companies that you could work with for mutual benefit. On the other side, list aways that you could work with them.

Here are some possibilities:

  1. Offer help documents to a company that may come in contact with yours.
  2. Offer content to a company that doesn’t compete directly with you but that you can work together with in some way.
  3. Create a API to integrate with your software.

Instead of messaging them right away with your idea, see if you can meet with them at a conference or meetup to soft sell them on the idea first. If you’re feeling confident, create the content first, share it with your audience and then let them know of your adjacent audience. Being proactive gives you a better chance at a solid partnership.

 


Swap War Stories with Pros

Invite an industry pro to do a webinar or event with you. You can market each other’s email lists and then share participants with each other. Not only will you be expanding your reach to include their already curated list, but you’ll be making a valuable professional connection.

Pro tip: Can’t seem to get their attention? Work your way up the food chain by getting to know their contacts and friends. Then get them to introduce you.

 


CONVERT:
Get them to ActConversion Rate Optimization

Is your ask too big?

Having trouble getting users to convert? Maybe your ask is too big! Break down all the steps it would take for users to become a lead or customer.
Here are some ideas:

  • Guide: Offer an ebook or guidebook to people around trends / industry topics that may be new or confusing to the average user.
  • Discount: For e-commerce companies, create an exit pop-up that asks for an email in exchange for a discount.
  • Checklist: If your industry normally has a longer buying process, provide a checklist to potential customers that offers them a step by step of all the information they need, and all the steps they need to take internally/externally so that they’re ready when it’s time to buy.


Kill a Feature!

Stop adding new features . . . instead, take them away! Find out what users love by removing aspects of your product. When users start screaming, you know you’ve found it.
Now bring it back . . . only better.

When you’re deciding what to take away, make sure you don’t take anything away that you know will make your product stop being effective at all, and don’t take anything away for too long. Otherwise, you might lose users who rely on your product’s functionality.

Protip: If your feature is a popular one, keep a list of all the customers who’ve complained. When you bring it back, email them personally to tell them that you listened to them and added it back. Not only will your customer be elated, but they’ll likely stay loyal.


Mobile, First.

More and more people are using mobile to look at their social media profiles, browse, and research companies and products. You do it, I do it… than why is your website STILL not mobile friendly?

In 2016, Google changed their algorithm to “mobile first” indexing. Instead of looking at your desktop experience, they are pushing web developers to start designing for the smallest screens and working your way up to desktop.

Not sure how you can understand the mobile experience of your users? Head over to Google Analytics!

  1. Go to Google Analytics.
  2. View “Conversions on Mobile vs. Desktop.”
  3. Look deeper into which mobile devices convert best and compare the user experience.
  4. See which content does best and worst on mobile and a create a hypothesis as to why.
  5. Test your theory and optimize.


Personal vs. Product Landing Pages

Landing page testing can be really overwhelming. Why not start slow by looking at whether a product or personal page resonates better with your audience?

A personal page would detail a person’s problem and their journey to find your solution. It would include testimonials and maybe a video showing real people using your product.

A product page would outline your product’s features and benefits. The items you think sets your product apart from your competitors’.

Test them both and decide. The answer will give you some great insight into who your customers are and what they really want.


Identify Upsells & Downsells

Every user is different.  They may be eager to buy your product and only your product. They may be fully invested and all the bells and whistles that come with your product. They may still unsure about your product and are only willing to spend the bare minimum.  

This is why it’s important to offer different levels of commitment to your products and services. Thinking about upsells and downsells is a great way to enhance the customer experience by offering different options for each commitment level.

So, It’s time for you to get your team together and identify the following:

  • What products would go great with what you’re selling? (Upsells)
  • People don’t want to buy yet? What’s the smallest thing they can buy or do to keep them invested? (Downsells)


Retain:
Get Them To ActRetaining Customers

 

Get Personal, Reach Out.

Don’t make the mistake of being distant with your customers. Show them who you are and reach to learn more about them to really understand why they need your product. Feeling personally valued can positively impact a user’s interest in re-subscribing or buying more of your products and could increase the likelihood that they’ll become an informal brand ambassador. Send an email, gift, or discount to show customer appreciation. Make sure it’s personal and specific.

Protip: Don’t get “too” personal. Giving them insight to your weekend partying on instagram or inviting them to a party with your bros from college might do more harm than good. Use your own discretion and err on the side of professional yet approachable.

Gamification

Spending money can be stressful, but games are fun, right? If you can gamify a user’s experience, every interaction will feel like an achievement, and your customers will actually enjoy engaging with your product.
There are many ways you can gamify your product/service. Here are a few ways you can start:

  1. Allow users to collect points, such as contribution points that they can use to redeem prizes outside of what your product sells.
  2. Rank users based on frequency of use, most recent login, most comments, largest investment (think VIP members)—whatever works for your product or service.
  3. Make different subscription points into different “levels” with different abilities.


Be Kind When they Leave

Customers come and go. It’s a fact of life. But how annoying is it when you want to cancel something and you can’t figure out how to do it? For this reason, you need to make sure that the cancellation/return process for your customer is just as easy.

Now this isn’t just making sure that your button is in the right place. For example, do you know how your company responds to customers who want to cancel their subscription? Is there a flow within your customer service department that makes this as easy as possible?
If you have a product that users can click to cancel, you can make sure it’s easy by doing the following:

  1. Give users a way to cancel from within your app or site.
  2. If they click cancel, remind them of the value they lose (data, history, et cetera).
  3. Give them another option (suspend their account, hide it).
  4. If they don’t cancel, mark as a churn threat and reach out to re-engage.

Keeping your cancellation process easy, and creating a process for those at risk of cancelling is the difference between renewed interest or a bad rep.


Know your weakness

Do you know why you’re customers are leaving? You don’t? Do you even know what you’re bad at? Okay, okay, It’s time to start asking some serious questions to your customers.
Here’s your real talk of the day: The best way to reduce churn is to know what you’re bad at. User testing, surveys, or even taking a look at your competitors’ products will allow you to answer two important questions:

  1. Why don’t people sign up for your product/service?
  2. What is your company not very good at?

This brutal honesty will allow you to make some tough decisions. This may lead to you changing your buying process, or fixing a major problem with your product. In some cases it might mean to start really focusing on what you’re good at instead, and removing the feature that customers hate entirely. The most important part here is that you’re asking the right question.

 

Offer a “Lite” Version for Cancelled Users

Your customers have asked to cancel, and you don’t know what to do. Your email drip campaign hasn’t work, but you have a feeling that customers don’t really want to leave they just want to put your services on hold for a bit. A “lite” version of your product may be JUST what they need to get going.

A “lite” version allows you to discount your product or service heavily while offering them a very small version of your product. Sometimes it’s as small as keeping your account on hold but not deleting your data. That way users can come back when they are ready. This will allow them to give you another chance when they’re ready.



Advocate:
Get Them TalkingCustomer Referrals


The Double Sided Referral

Want to lower your acquisition costs? Referrals can be just the thing, but asking them may not work. If customers like you enough they would probably do that anyway, but for everyone else you can probably increase their chances by offering them the right reward.

That’s why you should try the Double Sided Referral. Ask your users to invite a friend in exchange for a discount for them AND their friend.
For example, Airbnb lets you send your friend a $25 coupon. If they use it, you get $25 off your next stay.

Interesting fact: Dropbox grew from 100 thousand to 4 million users in 15 months using this tactic!

Be Unexpectedly Helpful

What if you you treated your customers so well that they will spread the word and told all their friends?

Sounds expensive? Trust me it’s not. Being accessible and consumer-friendly goes a long way.

Take Hipmunk, for example. Their users create much of their content. Their founders have even been known to write handwritten thank-you notes and randomly make stickers for users. The site itself is oriented toward a fun, stress-reducing approach to travel planning, from the cute site mascot to the sorting categories (which include “agony” and “ecstasy”).

The company’s respect for their users and their commitment to “making travel planning simple and delightful” have led to a multi-million dollar company with rave reviews.

How can you be like Hipmunk? Focus on creating an enjoyable and hassle-free user experience, and let customers know you’re there for them.

Free For Bloggers

Find bloggers who are interested in your industry or products and offer them a free product to provide a review of what they think. Give them the chance to act as brand ambassadors and they are more likely to attract high-quality traffic. By offering them this chance you are creating a new relationship and gaining the trust of an extended network of potential customers who share interests and needs with established users.

Interesting fact: Research has shown that 75% of users have clicked on a product/service that was shared by friends on Facebook.

Protip: Be careful where you advertise for this. If you’re on Amazon, for example, then providing reviewers with free products in exchange for a review on the site is a very big no-no. Be sure to be very clear on what you’re looking for and make sure it is right for you.

 

 

Know When to Ask

While setting up automated ways for customers to refer their friends and colleagues to your product is great, sometimes a spontaneous, personal approach is best.

If a customer compliments you or sends you a nice note, ask them for a referral. Make sure to let them know how much their confidence in your product and/or service means to you, then ask if they know anyone who might benefit from what your company does.

Pro tip: Have a good introductory link or referral package ready to give them so they don’t have to figure everything out themselves is crucial to making this work.

Tweet for an Extended Trial

Want some brand awareness? Give users the opportunity to tweet about you to get an extended trial or freebies in your app. It keeps your users a bit more engaged and time with your product before they ultimately make their decision about your product and it also helps you gain potential new customers through your existing users’ networks.

Pro tip: To reduce the effort-to-reward ratio for your users, you can provide a standardized message and let users customize (or not) from there depending on what they want to say. You can even include a hashtag specific to the promotion.


CASH IN:
Get PaidGrow Your Business

Merchandising

Do people think you’re pretty awesome? Does your brand have a mega following?  It’s time to reward them and cash in at the same time!

Offering merchandise like t-shirts, mugs or even doggie wear (I’m looking at you unbounce..) makes your loyal customers happy and gives you a new chance to advertise to new audiences outside of their desktops or mobile phones. And the best part? You’re also making some money off the merch!

Protip: Make sure your merchandise is advertised as a limited time offer. This gives your customers that sense of urgency to buy now.

Turn Monthly Users Into Annual Ones

Want to keep churn low and your cash flow healthy? Get your monthly users to switch to an annual plan!

If they make the switch they’ll become used to having access to your product long-term, and you’ll have more consistent sources of revenue.

Pro tip: Not sure how to approach it? Pass some of the savings along to users by offering deals on year-long subscriptions. Even a small reduction in costs could be a convincing reward for commitment.

Extend Your Reach

You’ve been calling, emailing and advertising to your target audience and you’re starting to run out of prospective customers. Looks like it’s time to extend your reach!  

Regardless of the location of your business, there’s always a way to expand. If you have a business with physical services, you can do so by expanding the geographical area you service. If customers usually come to you, consider making home delivery an option in cases where doing so could be worthwhile.  If your business is purely online, make your product available across more platforms, new languages or new markets.

Increased compatibility means more people have the opportunity to purchase and use your product.

Let Your Users Decide the Price

You have an amazing product, but have no idea what to charge. Why not ask your potential customers? You can let users decide by offering a donation box or user-suggested pricing for a limited time. This is a great idea for companies who have a popular blog, brand or a large following already.

Protip: Don’t forget to prompt them before they download or test your product. They might forget once they’ve downloaded, and you’ll lose your window. 

 

Time to Update!

Have a great product that users love but that hasn’t been updated in awhile? Make some useful changes (especially ones your customers have been asking for) and offer the new and improved version for an additional cost.

Don’t forget to reward loyal customers who already use the product. You can offer them a discount on the updated version.

Protip: This is a good time to check out the feedback from your churn list. If you address an important concern, you might want to email the list to let them know of the new product offering and provide them a special discount to return.  

Want More GREAT HACKS?

 

 

1 thought on “30 Growth Hacks For Every Stage of Your Customer Journey”

  1. Growth hacking is the most important part when it comes to building a new startup. This blog helps me for building my startup in near future.

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