1 – You do not talk about growth hacking.
When you find something that works, you don’t want to write a blog post about it, you don’t want to tell your friends, you want to keep it to yourself. The best growth hacks are secret channels that you find that no one else knows about or would think about doing and you can absolutely rinse that and get users. My friends run an events app, they took a picture of the three of them holding a sign that said “Once you’ve found your match on Tinder, use us to find a great place to go out on a date” and they automatically right-swiped every girl in London, so loads and loads of girls got a notification, and as soon as they got a match, used their app to find somewhere to go on dates. That’s really thinking outside the box and is the very definition of growth hacking. Nobody had thought to use Tinder, which has 50 million users a day, as a growth channel, but these guys did. The best growth channels are the ones that only you can think of.
2 – You do not talk about growth hacking (to investors or the public)
When an investor asks what your growth is, when a PR company asks how you’ve been growing so fast, you should be as vague as possible about this. People always want to explain away why things are going so well, but people actually want to believe in magic. There was a viral site that found a way of gaming the Facebook algorithms – they were getting like 10 million visitors a month in their first month. An interviewer asked them, how on earth are you getting all this traffic in your very first month and they said ‘We listen to what people want, and we give it to them’. (lol). That’s the sort of answer you want to be giving. People want to believe in magic, so whatever your growth channel is, never tell them, they’re waiting for it to be explained away.
3 – Speak to your customers and define messaging before you go viral
If people hit your site and it’s not clear what you do, the site doesn’t load fast, and there’s no way for them to leave your email or otherwise convert them, you have absolutely wasted that traffic that you’ve got to your website. I recommend a book called The Mom Test, which is a book for how to speak to potential users. Imagine you tell your Mum about your app idea, maybe it’s a cookbook, she will say ‘Yes. That sounds amazing. I will definitely use it.’ But she actually won’t. That’s kind of obvious, that your Mum will always tell you your app ideas great. But when you go to a networking event and you say ‘Let me tell you about my app idea! I think it’s really good. Let me pitch you it!’ The other person is always going to say ‘Yes, I will definitely use it, let me give you my email and I’ll definitely use it.’ The won’t. They’re just being polite. If you go to someone at a networking event and you say ‘My friend has this app idea, I don’t know if it’s any good, would love your feedback.’ You’re going to get a lot more honest feedback.
4 – Investigate and map your channels from easiest to hardest
Entrepreneurs who are starting out always say ‘We’ve got loads of potential ways we can get traffic to our site’ and my answer is always the same: start with the easiest thing, that will get the most traffic in, and do that first. You’ll get the most learning, you’ll get the most momentum and you’ll get the most traction. Then you can use that learning to go for the harder channels. For example, if you’re really good at social media, hammer that first, if you’re a really good writer, hammer content marketing, if you have a connection who has an email list of thousands of people, hammer that first. Get those first users through the door.
5 – Get S.M.A.R.T goals.
“We’re going to get some more users over the next month” is a terrible goal. You want to say: “We’re going to get 5,000 users in the next two months: Here’s how we’re going to do it: 2,000 from reaching out to 20,000 people on Twitter. 1,000 from Facebook ads. 1,000 from going to 40 networking events and signing up 25 people a night, and the other 1,000 will come from our users inviting others using viral sharing mechanisms/social shares.”