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The term “Growth Hacking” has been tossed around a lot over the past few years. Maybe even a little too much. Sean Ellis was the first to coin the term back in 2010 and now every startup’s dream is to have a growth team.

We hear stories of startups that go from 1,000 users to 100,000 users and from 2,000 email subscribers to 20,000 email subscribers in just a couple months. You have to wonder, how do they do it? What’s their secret? How can I implement the same strategies to my business?

Below you will find advice from some of the most influential Growth Hackers alive. These are folks that eat, sleep and breathe growth. As Sean Ellis puts it “Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.”

We asked 12 growth hackers,

“What Growth Hack Are You Most Proud Of?” 

Here are their answers and the tools they used…

1. David ArnouxDavid Arnoux

Growth Tribe | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: Growth magician at Growth Tribe and twoodo.com I’m all about growth hacking, analytics and conversion rate optimization. I’m also addicted to GIFs and Converse.

– Answer –

Here is how I growth hacked the press. This was inspired by a great post shared by Austen Allred.

1. Find a list of relevant articles by keyword using this tool: Customer Development Labs

2. Export the lists of relevant articles to a google drive sheet.

3. Manually eliminate all articles that are not relevant by reading through the descriptions

4. Take your list of selected articles and search for the twitter handles and email addresses of the article authors. Instead of doing this manually it’s faster to use Mechanical Turk or a virtual assistant specialized in finding contact information on Upwork.com or on Fiverr.com (Note: You can also use Buzzstream.com to find contact information although I only get 20% positive results)

5. Once you have your long list of targeted journalist twitter handles and emails write your press kit. Be sure to make things easy for the journalist. Include a great story, all product screenshots, logo, photos of founders, video and anything else of interest.

6. Pre-heat the journalists by doing a customized audience campaign on Twitter. you will need at least 400 Twitter handles. This is a great way to get their attention before contact them via email. They will have seen you brand and name before.

7. Send a personalized email to every contact. Make it short one-liners that are relevant to them. For example for a food app: “Hey do you like chiptole?” or “Are you more salt or pepper?” Short one-liners will get more reactions than your typical “Here is my presskit…” emails. Track email opens with Mixmax for Gmail or Yesware.

8. When Mixmax or Yesware indicate the journalist has opened the email send a tweet to the journalists linking to an article they would be interested in. Help them out. Be friendly.

9. Don’t hesitate to send a follow up email to journalists that opened the email.

10. When user answers that they are interested, send them the press kit.

This technique works like a charm 🙂

– Tools Used –

2. Jonathan BeckJonathan Beck

JonathanBeck.co | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: I have been early and grown 2 fintech software companies to acquisition, and 1 on its path to IPO. I work as a growth consultant now maintaining 20% MoM customer acquisition for all of my clients across a breadth industry types including consumer software, client services, information products, eCommerce, mobile apps, LMS software, Payment technology, and more.

– Answer –

My favorite growth hack is a co-marketing hack where you get a keyword for a niche or industry that you want to rank in, get to one of the many alexa or quantcast directories of blogs news sources and or blogs that rank based on keyword.

I scrape that site to get a list of at least 50 blogs with blog names, urls, and most recent post title together. Compile those into a .cvs doc where I can test mx record validation and social history for administrative emails for those domains (typically contact@, info@, and admin@). I will reach out with a specific template that sites their most recent post, validating me as a reader and fan, and asking them for their help with a post on our product with a discount for their readers and a 100% off coupon for them. I use streak to do this large mail merge for free.

For the sites I do not get a validated email address, I will have an international assistant go through and submit the templates I have made based on the custom fields from the csv at 10 cents a submission.

Generally, I have seen a 25% response rate and an 80% response to post rate (20% prospect to post). For hyper niches, I have reached top 10 ranking on google, getting to first page on within 60 days.

– Tools Used –

3. Eric SiuEric Siu

Single Grain | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: Eric Siu is the CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain and founder of the podcast Growth Everywhere, where he interviews world-class entrepreneurs.

– Answer –

Using YouTube ads to drive growth for an education company. It just makes sense to use YouTube when people are already using it for learning purposes. The channel is still fairly untapped and is the #2 search engine in the world. If your audience is there, it makes sense to give it a shot.

All you need to do is look for an ounce of traction and then go all in.

– Tools Used –

4. Sujan PatelSujan Patel

ContentMarketer.io | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: Sujan has 12 years of experience in digital marketing and is the VP of Marketing at When I Work. He is also an avid blogger and writes for Forbes, Inc, WSJ and Entrepreneur. In his spare time he created Content Marketer, a tool to help automate and scale content marketing and co-authored the Growth Hacking eBook 100 Days of Growth.

– Answer –

That’s a tough question, I’ve implemented so many growth hacks in the last year and I’m proud of almost all of them (even the failed ones). Right now my favorite growth hack is an in-app NPS survey I recently implemented because it took the least amount of time (30 min to implement and 2 hours of training for the support team) and had a very big impact. At When I Work we have over 500k users and we know that over 30% of our new business come from referrals so with this growth hack my objective was to increase the new business from referrals.

I used SatisMeter to conduct the NPS surveys & Intercom to handle all responses from the survey. We use Segment.io so it took 90 seconds to turn on SatisMeter. We already use Intercom so all I did was connect SatisMeter to Intercom which allowed every response from the NPS survey to go to our customer support team on Intercom.

Here’s what we did:
We enabled the NPS survey to every customer 61 days after they purchased (after 60 days our churn is practically zero). For everyone that answered 7 or lower (and responded with feature requests or bugs) we sent them over to our support team where they helped resolve their issues. We also mailed those customers hand written cards apologizing for the issues and a candy bar to sweeten up their experience with the When I Work brand. For those customers who responded with 8 or above we offered a free t-shirt (via startupthreads.com) & asked if they would share their experience on Facebook (from previous growth hacks we know that our customers love FB) & leave a review on iOS & Android Play Stores.

Outcome:
5x improvement in NPS responses
Receive ~30 positive reviews on iOS App Store & Play Store on a monthly basis
NPS score increased by 8 points
5% improvement in referrals
10+ bugs identified and fixed
547 unhappy customers (detractors) turned into happy customers (promoters)

– Tools Used –

5. Dan ScalcoDan Scalco

Digitalux | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: I’m the owner of Digitalux, a digital marketing company in Hoboken, NJ. When I’m not working, you can find me fixing up my old motorcycle or playing with my dog, Max.

– Answer –

While there are a lot to choose from, the most recent growth hack I’m most proud of is one we crafted for a global gym franchise.

They came to us wanting to promote their new location since previous, traditional marketing efforts were slow, costly, and not bringing in any leads.

We devised a scalable strategy/funnel that worked amazingly…

1. We created a giveaway to collect emails.

2. It was promoted via Facebook, hyper-targeting their perfect demographic.

3. Once the user opted in, they were put on a two-month autoresponder that was 80% awesome content (e.g. informative blog posts, workouts, interviews, etc) and 20% soft-selling the gym membership.

4. The final emails in the series offered the user deep discounts on the membership as well as other incentives.

While the final numbers are still being tallied, I can say it worked very well. Not only that, we are also able to duplicate this strategy for the three other new locations.

– Tools Used –

6. Benji HyamBenji Hyam

BenjiHyam.com | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: Director of Growth at Everwise. Previously first marketing hire at Thinkapps, Co-Founder Social Proof Interactive + Founder Insights, Marketing at Vistage.

– Answer –

While at ThinkApps, I was focused on figuring out a way to turn our blog traffic into revenue for the company. Instead of doing the normal ‘let’s get people to opt into an e-mail list and drip them,’ I was interesting in finding a better way.

I saw that SumoMe’s tool “List Builder” came out with a pro edition that allowed you to customize campaigns and A/B test, so I decided to run a test to see if we could get leads directly off of our blog.

For all of our blog pages that were ranking highly for mid-low funnel search terms, I created specific CTAs for each topic. For example: We were ranking highly for iOS vs. Android Development (we were a software development company) – my thought process was that if someone was searching for that – they probably already knew they needed an app built, and they were still researching how to get it built.

To capture people in research phase, I decided to test out a lead box when someone came to our iOS vs. Android article that said something to the effect of “Still need help deciding between iOS vs. Android, talk to one of our mobile consultants.” Below the copy was a place for Name, email and phone number.

Once we captured the information, we would use Zapier to route the information into our Sales slack channel and our Sales person would follow up on those leads.

After a lot of testing, we were able to drive ~3 leads per day, and ended up closing a 6 figure deal from a lead that came through this channel.

– Tools Used –

7. Luiz Centenaro

Luiz Centenaro

LuizCentenaro.com | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: Luiz Centenaro is a digital marketer specializing in conversion rate optimization, and inbound marketing. Currently the Customer Success Manager at Experiment Engine, in Austin Texas, Luiz loves A/B testing to create better user experiences. He is the founder of Hammock Town & you can follow Luiz on Twitter and/or connect with him on LinkedIn.

– Answer –

I’m most proud of keeping consistent. It’s usually not about a quick win/hack it’s about delivering value to the community. By using tools such as MailCharts and WhichTestWon I can analyze niche industries such as jewelry eCommerce and plan a path for success while sharing my learnings with the marketing community. This not only helps me better consult clients it helps establish my expertise and drives additional business my way, especially when referencing influencers and using tools such as ContentMarketer to promote content.

– Tools Used –

Ryan-Stewart8. Ryan Stewart

Webris | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: Ryan Stewart owns Webris, a digital marketing agency specializing in content marketing and organic search. With over 8 years of experience, Ryan has worked with clients like the Department of Defense, Accenture and SapientNitro.

– Answer –

Scapebox! I love it and my agency couldn’t function without it. It’s traditionally seen as a “black hat” tool but when used properly, it’s a white hat’s best friend. We use to it find thousands of white hat link opportunities like round ups, guest posts and resource pages. When you’re managing dozens of client accounts, trying to compile these resources by hand isn’t scalable. Scrapebox allows us to find hundreds of quality opportunities for clients within a matter of minutes.

– Tools Used –

Conrad Wadowski9. Conrad Wadowski

Fedora | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: Co-Founder at FedoraGrowHack and started the User Growth Bootcamp.

– Answer –

Helped activate new users by launching free courses on ProductHunt using Fedora. These launches have brought in over 26,000 users and $200,000 in sales for course creators: How We Acquired 26,447 Users and $207,152 in Sales on Product Hunt.

– Tools Used –

Aaron Ginn10. Aaron Ginn

Aginnt | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: Aaron leads growth and product development at Everlane. Before Everlane, he ran growth for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and StumbleUpon. He is well-known for his writing on growth and politics.

– Answer –

At Everlane, we made a faster way to check out called “Quick Add”. It dramatically increased conversions and new user acquisition. We saw through user research that there are two types of customers: those that are browsing and those that know what they want.

Tiffany daSilva11. Tiffany daSilva

Powered by Search | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: Tiffany daSilva is the Director of Strategy at Powered by Search. She’s spent the past 10 years working in all facets of digital marketing in startups such as Geosign, Achievers & Shopify. She is and will always be an aspiring growth hacker.

– Answer –

I was around 10 years old and I created a site that sold shaving products. I wasn’t expecting much. I sold no more than 10 products, and the site looked soooo 1992-ish. I immediately got some sales within a couple of days of me opening the CVS affiliate site. So I got curious and started looking in the data… what I found was pretty shocking.

Instead of the females I THOUGHT I was selling to (My website was bright pink after all and selling very girly shaving creams and shavers) I found that I was actually selling to the opposite. Men who were athletes were buying my products off the web. When I emailed them to ask them why they said that they were too embarrassed to buy products from the store.

What was my growth hack? I took this information and immediately changed the color, font (comic sans anyone?), and descriptions for my products. I went from a couple of dollars to thousands by the end of the summer. The funny part? I never cashed a cheque.

At the end of the day I learned the most valuable lessons that will always help me with all future growth hacks:

1) Always Ask Your Customers What Made Them Buy From You
2) Fail Fast & Learn from it
3) Iterate Quickly
4) Rinse & Repeat

Lincoln Murphy12. Lincoln Murphy

SixteenVentures | TwitterLinkedIn

Bio: Lincoln Murphy is founder of Sixteen Ventures where he helps B2B SaaS companies grow through a focus on customer success.

– Answer –

I help B2B SaaS companies optimize their Free Trials, it’s kind of my specialty, and one of my most effective and repeatable growth hacks is getting the prospect that signed up to invite team members to help test.

When it comes to growth hacking, one of the key things to understand is how to infiltrate the network of your customer. Most people understand this at a high-level, but the implementation is generally wrong.

One of the key network infiltration points for a B2B SaaS product is in the “invite your team” process.

But most SaaS companies use this process all wrong; the biggest mistake people make is adding this to the initial onboarding / engagement process too early. The customer that signed up doesn’t already know, like, and trust you so this “ask” is too early so they don’t invite people.

So what I discovered was adding this after the person that signed up has a chance to get to know the product a little bit makes it much more likely that they will invite their colleagues.

Now the reality is some products are network-centric and you can’t really get to know it without inviting the team. In that case, you can still generally find a way to move this “ask” a little further down the onboarding process.

The secret when you do that is to tell the user to “invite 3 of their colleagues to help them test the product.” Not only are you framing it in a way of helping them test the product rather than inviting a bunch of people to an unknown product, you’re also limiting the number of people they can invite, meaning they’ll only invite the three people who would actually help them have a good experience.

If they just uploaded their address book or invited everybody, the chances are good that there will be people that would make the experience bad. By limiting the number – and not even saying “hey invite the best colleagues” they just will.

This has worked amazingly well to dramatically improve Free Trial conversion rates for lots of B2B SaaS companies I’ve worked with over the last couple of years. Don’t forget to have a fantastic onboarding process for the colleagues they invite… a detail a lot of companies miss.

Want to learn from the Godfather of Growth Hacking?

Sean Ellis

Sean Ellis, CEO of GrowthHackers.com and Qualaroo will be discussing future trends in growth hacking, its impact on startups and SMBs alike, and some of his biggest learnings along the way at InboundCon in Toronto, Ontario! Experience 9 sessions, 1 full-stack panel and 1 fireside chat with Sean Ellis all in a single day.

Grab your tickets at the lowest price of the year. Use the promo code: InboundConSave100 to save an additional $100 off early bird ticket sales.

Buy your tickets now!

Tagged with: Aaron Ginn, Benji Hyam, Conrad Wadowski, Dan Scalco, David Arnoux, Eric Siu, growth, Growth Hacking, Growth Marketing, Jonathan Beck, Luiz Centenaro, Ryan Stewart, Sujan Patel, Tiffany daSilva

About Joel Popoff

Joel is a Digital Marketing Manager at Powered by Search. When he isn't working, he's probably still working. Connect with him on Twitter and Google+.