Growth hacking is the buzz word which is been used by many companies today, introduced by technology evangelists of Sean Ellis identifying it as parameters of scalable and recurring method for growth, which in turn would be driven by growth and inspired by data.
Growth Hacking as a concept
Read on to find out the easiest example of understanding growth hacking concept.
You want to execute an email campaign to the list of registered users on your platform. You’ve executed it by deploying the best possible actions – incorporating responsive designs, attractive graphics, delivery schedule but it turns out that the customer did not open the sent email.
Now what? What could be the reason that it has failed to make the customer take note of it?
This is how growth hackers will answer- “Tweak the “SUBJECT LINE” and alter the Time of delivery.
Growth hacking in a nutshell
It is a myth that growth hacking is required only for the initial stage of your start-up or midsized organization. The simple rule is – if you need growth, you need growth hacking techniques.
For a start-up, it is essential to achieve product traction. A Mid-sized company which already has achieved product traction needs possible ways of generating revenue and engaging the current users; and companies who have acquired few users need recurring or repeat business. So what is one solution which is commonly applicable for all these different kinds of organizations? It is Growth Hacking
Another myth that surrounds growth hacking is its nature. The truth is that it is not just about it as a part of Marketing. Instead it is the intersection of “Product, Marketing & Analytics” along with learning & sharing the analytics.
The easiest and apt definition of growth hacking would be “You do an activity for a purpose; the purpose which in turn defines the further action of your startup”
Indian e-commerce retailers have a lot on their minds these days, whether it is how to personalize the shopping experience for each user, how to improve the search functionality on their site to make it faster and more precise or how to activate and engage customers across each lifecycle. So here we discuss how growth hacking strategy is an essential plan of the Indian e-commerce companies and how they are using it in the form of five cycles –Acquiring, Activate, Retention, Revenue and Referral.
- Acquisition – The Amazon way! How can Flipkart/Snapdeal enhance its user experience during the purchase journey
As I spent hours on Google the other day to decide upon a blood pressure monitor of a specific brand, the organic results revealed from these three foremost e-com sites – Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart showed marked difference and harsh realities of the organization’s growth strategy business plan.The results have been tabulated making them easy to understand.
The first three points in the table relate to the search results (image attached below) whereas the latter three are observed on the product listing page.
As a category manager or a product manager, if you ponder and plan these three vital driving factors for decision making – Substantial number of useful and descriptive reviews, overall experience, guaranteed protection for buyers and impeccable browsing experience, you have won half of the battle.
- Paytm & Jabong Method way
In simple terms, Activation is when you push your user to the next level of the customer life-cycle, after they are on your website; which means either they could move to register themselves onto the website or could proceed ahead for a transaction.
In a more sophisticated way “It is an acknowledged fact for you and your marketing team that your customer’s relation with your organization / brand / product invariably undergoes a transformation; and you would want to ensure that these transformations would bring affirmative changes to the customer-brand relationship.”
Example 1:- Paytm :-1+1 offer on voucher tickets
Example 2:- Jabong
Offering incentives to users when they activate (e.g. 1+1 movie offer)
Incentives always work as a hook which pulls the users. These hooks may feel as additional cost when you view it superficially, but in the end they always bring in more ROI because once you can pull a user through incentive means they would try and visit you again to check out some other incentives available.
What remains important is that you keep a tab on costs so that you’re sure of your ROI which would be dependent on the rate of conversion and LTV.
One sure shot way to achieve profitability and improve the graph of ROI is when you retain your current users / customers or reduce customer churn. It may sound bizarre but it is a harsh reality that an organization spends 5 times the amount in acquisition of a new user than it does in retention of the existing.
For those who have crossed the start-up hurdles of how to acquire and activate your customers, your next plan of action ideally needs to be on Retention.
Think why people would want to be interested in your product. Will it prompt them to take the next action or will it fail to linger in your user’s mind and result in ignorance. Would they be instigated to visit the website?
When a user is shown particular events of interest, be it through notification or email, the user tended to get hooked and increases retention. Once you can track these actions, you would be able to gauge till what time will the event hook back the user and when it would be time to alter the email frequency and refurbish the content.
Showcased below is an example of an email if sent in excess may not nail it right. Change it, optimize it and you have just retained your user.
This is how Freecharge does it. They offer Rs. 50 as cashback for each transaction. I have been a regular to Freecharge where I used to transact for mobile, dishtv and other recharges from the platform. Due to my change in location, I have not performed an action or been on their platform since some time now, so they have tried to incentivize me to use Freecharge by offering a coupon of Rs. 50 and have also tried to draw my attention towards major changes made in the platform. This stroke of theirs is a good attempt to keep the customer aware about the development and how it affects their interaction quality.
While one gets through the initial 3 stages of customer acquisition, activation and retention , it is also important that one makes the most of these to generate revenue; which is essentially making the most through retention of active users and activating the idle / immobilized ones.
Plan to revive your idle / inactive customers by deploying drip email campaigns whereas hook back your existing customers by using coupons or similar incentive offers.
Another way to monetize is through remarketing or retargeting which eventually leads to long term retention. The basic reason is because you do not advertise your ad banners to random faces instead focus it towards the targeted segment which has visited the website before. Hence it is as good as gently reminding people how amazing your product is and it will keep on delivering the value associated with the product. For further narrowing it down and pin-pointed targeting, it is advisable to showcase ads within the dashboard only, which would make them visible only to your registered customers. One may feel too much of a narrowed funnel may misfire but our focus at this juncture is to retain the users and not acquire them.
Nothing can grow your business sustainably if you have never had viral growth; because you can never reach every customer of yours through your marketing spend. Shareability is what your product needs to build and not just build but should get deeply rooted into your business plan. Your customers need to become your advocates and vouch for you and even swear by your products. But one needs to remember that people will never vouch if the product is a waste.
The ability to convert your traffic to registered users (acquisition and activation) will have a big impact on shareability of your business model. After you are sure to have crossed the initial stages with substantial results, the time’s ripe to integrate shareability with the product so that it becomes your result yielding metrics.
The #LookGood campaign by Myntra is a classic example of customers being your advocates and product shareability strategy. Myntra has cashed on the customer pulse posting photographs on Facebook and Twitter and has devised a campaign called LookGood. This campaign asks you to click and upload your photographs with your Myntra products on Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtag #LookGood. The more likes and comments the photos have the more chance you stand to win Myntra Vouchers. What a fantastic way to get the audience first be your customer, then your advocate and then again your recurrent buyer when you offer them incentives!
Online business empires cannot be built in a day. The number of e-com businesses failing everyday is more than the number of launches done; however when trendy, out-of-the-box and innovative marketing approaches can usher in expanse of customers, wide-spread brand awareness and result in sustained growth.