Amazon - 100 million prime customers worldwide, Grammarly - 20 million users, Netflix - 74 million paying subscribers, Dropbox - 15.48 million paying users, Canva - 55 million monthly active users - How the hell did they pull this out?
The answer is simple! They aced AARRR with the right mix of Growth Hacks + Strong Product + Marketing Dollars.
I know you are looking for such huge success as well, so I won’t waste your time by telling what AARRR metrics or Pirate metrics are. Instead, what I have for you today is the most exhaustive list of growth hacks to ace pirate metrics on the whole internet. Let’s dig in some gold today!
Acquisition: How Do Your Target Customers Hear About You for the First Time?
Presented below are various channels you can acquire the users from with respective growth hacks.
I am sure you know what blogs are, here is how you can scale them.
Growth Hack #1: Scalable content marketing to rank on Google
Think of articles that can be templatized yet remain valuable. The templates that can be populated for thousands of companies or people or products. And in no time you become an authority in the eyes of Google.
Example: You search on Google for any company name along with the keyword ‘patents’. Say ‘Apple patents’. One of the top 3 results would always be from Justia. Here is the smart thing Justia has done. They have listed publicly available information about the patents of top companies. And, they keep updating the lists as and when a new patent is issued.
Growth Hack #2: A well-thought-out strategic cold email
5 must-haves in a cold email that gets opened and read:
- An inviting subject line - e.g. “Inspired by your work …”
- Open the email conversation by talking about the recipient, not yourself. A well-deserved compliment works like a charm
- Establish your credibility - you got to give recipients a reason to be interested in your offer
- A low friction ‘ask’ - Just aim for breaking the ice with the recipient - like a short connect
- Keep it crisp - Respect the receiver’s time.
Growth Hack #3: Use CRMs like HubSpot to automatically send a pre-created sequence of emails. To draft high-conversion emails, draw inspiration from email tear-downs by EmailMastery.
Social Media Posts
Growth Hack #5: Get noticed by viewing 100 people's LinkedIn profiles a day. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date. This shall help you get more visibility for yourself and your product. Use a profile picture maker to create a professional profile image.
Growth Hack #6: Use social media posts schedulers that help you schedule week-long posts at once. The schedulers like Buffer, HootSuite, TweetHunter help you schedule your posts for time slots that have the greatest probability of engagement.
Growth Hack #7: Use the hashtag "#growthhacking" on Twitter. Observe how impressions of your posts go up. Who doesn’t love growth hacks after all? People like you and me surely do ;).
Growth Hack #8: Make it frictionless for people to give you a shout-out on Twitter. UpSkillIndia does a great job at this. They have embedded a button on their website that says - “Share on Twitter”. The moment you click on it, you are presented with a readymade tweet. The one that website visitors can effortlessly share. You can embed such a functionality in your website through ClickToTweet.
Growth Hack #9: Engage in meaningful conversations that are already happening to get visibility. Pranay Pathole created a huge following of 70000+ followers on Twitter only by commenting on Elon Musk’s tweets. Truth or rumor - I leave to you to find out.
Growth Hack #10: Plan your launch on Tuesday or Thursday at 12:30 pm IST.
Growth Hack #11: Aim to be “#1 Product of the day” on Product Hunt. To do this you need a lot of support from friends, family, colleagues, community members etc. You need them to upvote your product on Product Hunt within 24 hours of launch. The only catch here is to make sure these people are active Product Hunt users.
PR (Public Relations)
Growth Hack #12: Be a part of communities that believe in thriving together. The ones where people help in boosting each other's products’ visibility by sharing each others’ posts or giving shout-outs. Example: @indiehackers
Growth Hack #13: Join cohort-based courses. Interact with the community. Create good connections by genuinely helping others. You have no idea how these connections come in handy to boost organic visibility for your product. The catch here is - ‘you get only if you give’.
Growth Hack #14: Land speaking engagements based on your area of expertise as podcast interview guests. MissionMatters and IAmCEO, are a couple of good places to start. You can also pitch someone from the leadership team as a guest.
Growth Hack #15: Conduct contests on social media to increase brand and product visibility. Rewards can act as a great catalyst to acquire more users. Do keep rewards a part of your user acquisition strategy.
Growth Hack #16: Reward users to acquire users by referrals and social shares. Dropbox has nailed the viral referral strategy by rewarding users with extra storage for a bunch of actions that lead to acquiring more users for Dropbox.
Growth Hack #17: Create slideshares with helpful tips and tricks to help drive traffic to your website.
Growth Hack #18: Make sure to list your products in various directories on the internet. Capterra and G2 are great places to list software. As they spend a lot on advertisements as well as they reward your software users with $10 for writing reviews. They email users on their own to request reviews.
Growth Hack #19: Create round-up posts featuring influencers to leverage the network of influencers. Roundup posts like this that feature quotes by influencers are a great way of providing valuable information as well as helping your content go viral. Do remember to personally email the influencers or directly message them on Twitter to request sharing of your content piece.
Growth Hack #20: Create or crowdsource helpful apps that can attract users to your product. Shopify App store by Shopify has nailed this hack like no one else. Shopify has facilitated tons of free and paid apps to solve various pain points of their target users like - logo designer, business name generator etc.
Growth Hack #21: Create free online tools to attract more visitors to your website. HubSpot Website Grader by HubSpot is a great example. WhatToTweet by TweetHunter is another great example - this one is super low on effort and expense.
Growth Hack #22: Use a combination of ads with and without rewards. Incentivise the user to take a particular action related to user acquisition. It could be app installation, registrations, free trials, subscriptions, orders, etc.
Here are 3 benefits of using advertisements with rewards:
- High Volume: You can attract more people from your target audience towards your product in a shorter time.
- Cost-effective: You are rewarding the user only completion of an action. Example: In case you are rewarding the user for installing your app, the cost per installation reduces significantly as users are motivated to install as allured by reward.
- Organic Boost: Rewarded traffic allows you to acquire users at a higher velocity, making your overall numbers more attractive. This in turn increases your visibility to more people.
Something like this by Amazon:
Growth Hack #23: Target popular competitor keywords for paid ads. Just as Riverside - a podcast recording tool does with Zoom.
On a personal note, Riverside does a great job in enhancing the audio of speakers in the interview. Their magic editor is super intuitive. The podcast interview recording gets ready for publishing in no time.
Growth Hack #24: Base your ad copy on how the target audience would benefit instead of product specifications in technical jargon.
“Very few computer customers care about the RAM, ROM, processors; most of them want to know how these can help them in their daily tasks.” - Anonymous
Pro tip: Bold and quirky ad copies increase the engagement factor.
Let’s take a look at a crispy ad copy by Riverside.
Growth Hack #25: A/B test your ad copy on a small group. Then double down the one that got more engagement in terms of leads and conversions.
Growth Hack #26: From an advertisement, drive traffic to a targeted landing page instead of the home page. Let’s say you offer ‘n’ different solutions, you run an ad for solution -’x’, instead of directing the user to your homepage, direct the user to a landing page that talks specifically about solution ‘x’. Driving the user to the home page shall bounce him back to some other website that offers him the solution - ‘x’.
Growth Hack #27: The world works on recommendations. Make sure to add a good number of testimonials to your landing pages. Testimonials give visitors social proof that many other people are satisfied with your product. This helps in moving the needle further in your favour.
Growth Hack #28: Make your 404 page a landing page. Here is how the 404 pages of Netflix, Canva, Grammarly, and Dropbox look like. Each one has prompts to go back to the home page or engage in some other way with their websites.
Growth Hack #29: Draw inspiration from campaigns happening across the world. Open your own t-shirt store online in just 10 minutes by Shopify is an exemplary viral campaign. The campaign managed to bring millions of visitors to Shopify’s website in a super short span of time.
Growth Hack #30: Make influencers your affiliates to sell your products. For example, grocery businesses engage with food influencers on Instagram and lure customers by offering discounts in the name of influencers.
Growth Hack #31: Reward users to sign up for your affiliate programs. Grammarly has nailed it with their affiliate program. It’s one of their prime channels for acquiring new users. Explore more about Grammarly’s affiliate program here.
Educational and Helpful Videos
Growth Hack #32: Launch courses on Skillshare, Coursera, Lynda or various other websites offering online courses. HubSpot Academy - A library of tons of educational videos around sales and marketing is one of their prime channels for user acquisition. A scaled-down version of that is having educational courses on third-party websites.
Growth Hack #33: Interview-style podcasts are easiest to manage. Work on landing expert guests. Use dedicated software like Riverside to make editing and publishing as easy as a piece of cake.
Google Business Page
Growth Hack #34: Create a Google business page. It helps target customers discover your product/service in your vicinity through the “Near Me” functionality of Google.
Growth Hack #35: Use the following factors to evaluate various channels for user acquisition
- Brings Most Traffic (High Volume)
- Brings Most Customers (Best Performing)
- Costs least to Acquire a Customer (Low Cost)
Growth Hack #36: It’s not possible to use all the channels, shortlist a few and double down on what works the best for your business. To do so, you can use the bullseye framework, given by Peter Weinsberg, founder of DuckDuckGo.
Bullseye Framework (Simplified)
Bullseye Framework (Exhaustive)
The outermost circle represents the possibility of using a variety of marketing channels. The middle circle tells the 5 channels that seem probable based on the target audience, product, type, marketing budget etc. The innermost circle shows the top 3 channels you can use for acquiring customers based on experimenting with the 5 from the middle circle.
Growth Hack #38: Give something unexpected (FREE) with limited availability. That’s exactly what Robinhood did. Robinhood, a stock trading app, offered trading at zero commission for first 1 million users. Who doesn’t want to trade stocks for free? And of course, no one wanted to miss out on this opportunity (#FOMO)
Activation: Do Users Have a First Great Experience?
Growth Hack #39: Keep your sign-ups as frictionless as possible. No one wants to remember one more username and password. Either allow login with existing accounts like Google, Facebook, or Twitter or make use of magic link functionality
Growth Hack #40: Offer a discount coupon for the first purchase - ‘10% off on your first order’. People have gotten so used to this first-time discount that you just can’t do without it.
Growth Hack #41: Reward users for signing up. Uber, Grab etc gave $10 credits to users using the app for the first time. These taxi apps managed to acquire users at a super-fast rate.
Growth Hack #42: Give users a reason to stay for a longer time on your website. Engaging content, interlinking of articles within the article, content suggestions in side or bottom bars, etc go a long way to do this.
Growth Hack #43: Lure users by telling them about your loyalty program. I just added an item randomly in the CaratLane cart. And, it showed me a trailer of their loyalty program.
Growth Hack #44: Use exit-intent popups as an activation strategy. Neil Patel does it pretty well with his website.
Growth Hack #45: Invite website visitors for more. Show something valuable, hide something even more valuable. Keep more valuable stuff gated behind sign up on the tool. Here is how Patentbots does it. They provide a good deal of information about patent examiners and keep some of it accessible only after login/signup.
Growth Hack #46: Let people taste the awesomeness of your product by making them experience a small functionality. Here is how Xoxoday has nailed it. Xoxoday makes it lucrative for you to reward your customers by providing software and a global catalogue of 21000+ items. As a trailer of their product users can try sending instant rewards from their online portal.
Growth Hack #47: Apply a hello bar to your site - it’s just like a thin banner on top of your website or blog page. The idea here is to drive traffic to the most important part of your website. Maybe you want them to engage in a particular offering as a part of your marketing campaign. Hello bars are simple yet effective conversion tricks. Hello bars automatically scroll with a user in order to ensure you are constantly providing users with a CTA. You may wish to explore a free hello bar code.
Retention: Do Users Come Back for More?
Growth Hack #48: Utilize festivals to offer specials. Better plan this in advance. I was at Starbucks on Halloween weekend. A 10-12 years old girl entered and ordered the Halloween special drink just by looking at the picture.
Growth Hack #49: Look for a way to stay in the user's sight and mind. Netflix nailed this by placing a “Netflix” labelled button on television remote controls.
However, Netflix must have paid a lot of money for this premium spot. I have a Sony LED Tv. Its remote has a “Netflix” button, quite ironically it doesn’t have a button for the “SonyLiv” app.
Growth Hack #50: Use loyalty programs, reward every transaction by your customers. And keep your loyalty programs super simple.
Growth Hack #51: Events are a great way to acquire users. Catalyze their engagement using rewards. Reward different actions of people participating in your events whether virtual or on the ground to increase engagement.
Adsyndicate, an independent advertising agency automated rewarding the participants attending their virtual events. Here is how they managed to give 100 unique awards to participants for different actions.
Growth Hack #52: Gamify your product experience with rewards to make your product almost addictive for users. To give you an example: There is a boom in the industry for online educational courses, thanks to the pandemic. Users not completing the courses and short user life cycles are some common pain points product managers face. Rewards come as a saviour for these product managers. Explore how you can turbocharge your learning program with incentives!
Revenue: Do Users Buy From You?
Growth Hack #53: Use a well-planned email nurturing campaign to convert free users into paid users. Grammarly’s email tear down for converting free users into paid users is quite inspirational.
Growth Hack #54: Give customers a reason to buy from you again and again. Amazon does it quite well with its clean interface, intuitive user experience, fast deliveries, excellent service etc. You are sure to multiply your revenue.
Growth Hack #55: Automate shopping cart abandonment emails to close orders. Send an email as soon as someone bounces from your checkout page without purchasing. This is the moment to address any objections the potential customers might have had which prevented them from purchasing. Make sure to add a prompt for the customer to complete the order in the email.
Growth Hack #56: Aim to sell yearly subscriptions instead of monthly subscriptions by showing the benefit of a lump sum deal. Example: Smule offers a monthly pricing plan at $7.99 and yearly at $39.99. The chances of selling yearly subscriptions are far higher at such pricing.
Growth Hack #57: Try to get users on subscription-based buying. Example: Amazon prime offers a subscription of monthly orders of soap, shampoo, detergent, dishwashing liquid, toilet papers, etc at a discounted price. Somethings users need on a recurring basis but want to avoid the headache of ordering again and again. Getting these at a discounted price is cherry on the cake.
Growth Hack #58: Go out of your way to retain customers and make more sales. Many Amazon fresh users prefer to order groceries from Amazon only. One very strong reason is an assurance of quality products and refunds without any questions if at all the product doesn’t meet your expectations.
Growth Hack #59: Create a hype in virtual space to thrive in physical space. HeyTea! Is a popular milk tea brand in China, when they were about to open in Singapore, they did something really smart. They engaged local social media influencers, invited them to try their drinks, and spread a word on social media before opening to the public. You won’t believe the outlets had long queues right before opening.
Growth Hack #60: Create a buzz on social media with the uniqueness of your product. Something that attracts people and encourages them to share their experience with your product over social media. A couple of examples are: cloud over your coffee and your picture on your coffee.
Growth Hack #61: Create special experiences for your customers and give them a reason to buy more. Here is something smart that a renowned handbags and accessories brand called Charles & Keith did in Singapore - Tea and Threads. They conducted a special embroidery workshop with a designer of one of their collections.
Pro Tip: When conducting such events reward users with some gift or discount vouchers.
Growth Hack #62: Although it's a no-brainer, it is a brilliant way to increase sales - offer membership, enroll members for reward-point programs. Airlines, hotels, coffee chains, credit cards, e-commerce stores etc. do a great job here.
Growth Hack #63: Design your pricing pages based on human psychology.
- Decoy Effect: Place an additional option for pricing which the customer would find mispriced. This will help you nudge them towards the plan you want to sell.
- Center-Stage Effect: People are more likely to choose the option presented in the middle. Place the preferred purchase in the center.
- Framing Effect: Accompany pricing with value. Drive people by gain (in presence of your product) or loss (in absence of your product).
Growth Hack #64: By default keep your subscriptions in auto-renew mode. App Store by Apple, GoDaddy, and many other businesses do it. It removes friction for users to make repetitive payments.
Growth Hack #65: Have a Telegram channel to keep customers updated on your latest collections. Help them visualize your collections by collaborating with influencers. Charles & Keith do it quite well. Take a look!
Growth Hack #66: Keep a huge value gap in free and paid tiers to progress users into paying customers.
Growth Hack #67: Add a factor of urgency to your exclusive offers. For instance, check this one by PCloud. The sales offer is for Singles day 11:11, the offer popup has a timer running for deal expiry. A further smart move here is to keep the offer available in the hello bar in case the website visitor misses out on the popup.
Growth Hack #68: Pitch a sales offer at exit intent (When the visitor is about to leave your website). Something like this:
Growth Hack #69: Pitch a solution to the pain point to sell. For instance, take this anti-ant dish, their pitch clearly tells customers that they can be saved from the pain ants give if they were to keep something sweet in a dish.
Growth Hack #70: Facilitate virtual try-ons to help customers visualize products on themselves to increase sales. FarFetch is one such platform where many brands and designers have listed their products; these products are available for virtual try-ons.
Growth Hack #71: Import a bigger platform’s user base. Just like Airbnb imported from Craigslist. Although AirBnB’s hack is an infamous one, there can be ways to do the same differently.
Growth Hack #72: Make thoughtful collaborations with non-competing brands to get more sales - a win-win for both. For instance, Lego and Adidas collaborated over a collection of Lego-inspired shoes in July 2021.
Growth Hack #73: Install vending machines at prime locations like malls and big offices to increase sales. Btw, heard of tech accessories vending machine at Facebook? Or observed PPE vending machines at airports?
Referral | Do Users Recommend Your Product to Others?
Growth Hack #74: Using rewards to incentivize referrals is a no-brainer. However, the hack lies in using automated referral solutions like Xoxoday to scale referrals like never before.
Growth Hack #75: Go out of your way to earn customer referrals. The other day I asked my friend for some restaurant recommendations. She suggested a few and recommended one very strongly for 2 reasons. One - she loved the food. Two - The restaurant team went the extra mile to make my friend feel special. They offered her a complimentary platter of sweets because of the big order size.
Growth Hack #76: Use branding on freemium products to earn auto referrals. Example: Drift does it quite well. It just adds a sentence on the chatbot: “Chat by Drift”
Growth Hack #77: Give users a plethora of choices for rewards to earn referrals. Tie up with companies like Xoxoday that provide global catalogues for gift vouchers (21000+). The best part is reward choices are global and well categorised. Categorisation makes it easy to match the reward with the receiver persona.
Growth Hack #78: Use cash payouts and digital rewarding to incentivize customers for referrals. Digital rewarding shall help ensure genuine redemptions, ease of use for receivers, ease of budgeting etc.
Growth Hack #79: Host exclusive, invitation-only events. Invite a mix of clients and prospects. You shall observe your best clients doing the selling for you automatically. Also, request referrals in such events, people love the opportunity to get invitations for their friends and colleagues to an exclusive event.
Growth Hack #80: When giving rewards for referrals - make them count. Make it so special that receivers can boast about it. That makes their friends, relatives or colleagues feel envious ;)
Whether you sell a SAAS product or a physical product, acing AARRR metrics can boost your company’s growth. And, what you just read is the most exhaustive guide on growth hacks to ace AARRR metrics on the whole internet. It’s not possible to summarize these hacks in a small wrap up section. So sharing some broad ideas for each leg of AARRR metrics:
"A business that doesn't implement a strategy of automation in the client acquisition process is doomed to have slow growth, even puts itself at risk of declining"- Bob Mangat
Scalable content marketing like PatentBots and Robinhood’s 1st million users acquisition is exemplary. Head over to growth-hacks for the user acquisition section to know how they did it!
“The period where users achieve activation is usually when they are testing out your product and that is exactly when the onboarding experience provided to the user can either make or break the overall user experience.”- Matthew Vernhout
Think of activation as your first date, you got to nail it to continue dating, and ultimately enter a relationship.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”- Jeff Bezos
Retention is a continuous process; you can’t really mark it off from your to-do list. You must make your customers stay in love with you. Amazon has actually managed to do it. Go out of your way to wow your customers; you would be surprised to see how they reciprocate.
“Your profits reflect the success of your customers.” - Ron Kaufman
The best approach to multiply revenue is to make your customers successful through your product or service offering. The hack lies in timing, offers, relationship, loyalty programs etc.
“Consumers are taking ownership of brands, and their referral power is priceless.” - Erik Qualman
Incentivising people with rewards is a proven hack to earn referrals. The cherry on the cake is automated and scalable solutions to implement a referral reward program.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article. With this, we send you our best wishes to boost the growth of your company.
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