If you want to succeed, then you must find ways to grow your business. You can't rest on your laurels and be satisfied with what you've accomplished. If you remain complacent with your current achievements, then there is no future for your business!
Growth hacking is a term thrown over often these days. Growth usually takes time, but some people find ways to expedite the process so they can double their earnings and sales in half the time.
Hacking the growth of your business is not through sheer luck. It takes a great deal of knowledge about your market, a good understanding of your audience, and an even better understanding of your own business before you can fast-track your way to success. It is by no means the easiest path towards success, but growth hacking is nonetheless the most rewarding.
Behind every growth hacker is a tool
For business owners looking for a way to implement growth hacking in their strategy, they need to be aware of the tools that make this tactic possible. Developing and implementing the strategy to hack your growth is one thing; using a software or tool to automate some of the processes in your strategy is another.
While you can do the tasks yourselves, it would be much better if you can delegate them to a growth hacking tool. The point of these tools is to make your job easier so you can focus on doing more important stuff for your business.
Therefore, if you have your growth hacking strategies in place or at least an idea on how to proceed with hacking your business' growth, then all you need now is the tool that will complete the pieces of the puzzle.
Below are business owners and marketers who share with you their growth hacking tools of choice that took the growth of their business to the fast lane.
Before browsing the post, the answers you will see cover different tools and apps that helped them grow their business faster. Therefore, expect a wide variety of answers that provide for interesting insights on how each respondent approach their growth hacking.
I'm bootstrapping my startup ProjectMQ, and I'm still working at my full-time job, so it's critical that I optimize my time. Buffer is a great tool for quickly creating marketing assets for Twitter. With Buffer's Chrome extension, you can click the “Buffer This Page” icon to easily create tweets from interesting articles on other sites.
Buffer also has a feature that analyzes your Twitter history, to suggest a posting schedule that gets the best engagement for your followers. Plus, Buffer tracks the engagement of your previous posts, and highlights each of tweets with the highest engagement as a “Top Tweet”.
The best part of Buffer is their “ReBuffer” feature: with one click, you can immediately reschedule your previous posts for a future day/time. So, in a few minutes, you can scroll through your old posts, and recycle your best performing content to share “Top Tweets” again with your Twitter audience.
My choice of growth hacking tool is actually nothing for a quick hack, but for continuously learning from your customers and being able to focus on what is truly important to them: I’m talking about measuring your Net Promoter Score (NPS) regularly and actively working with the collected feedback. That’s this famous question about how likely you are to recommend product XYZ to a friend.
NPS tools such as Delighted or Zenloop can automatically track your NPS at different touchpoints and in a follow-up question asking why the customer has chosen this answer.
Monitoring these answers and acting upon them (idea: a screen with the latest answers next to the office coffee machine) is key to building a customer-centric business. You would be surprised how often the real answer to why your email campaigns are not working is because your customers are actually unhappy about long delivery times, or poor customer service. You would also be surprised how many businesses track their NPS, but never look at the feedback collected with it. So start collecting answers, make sure everybody sees them, and change what your customers really care about.
The tool that has helped our young company the most is Accelo, a project and retainer management platform.
Accelo enables our website development and digital marketing teams to track their time against projects and tasks. This data enables our team to understand in real time whether we are on a budget for a project or retainer. The information is also made available to clients so that there are facts to show what work was performed and how long it took. In addition, the data has solved the problem of projects going over budget without our knowledge. Before Accelo was implemented, we were blind to leaks in our operations.
For example, if a client is requesting work that exceeds their allotted monthly budget, Accelo allows us to confidently alert the client that they will incur an overage and secure their approval before extra work is performed. A side benefit to Accelo is that it serves as our customer relationship management (CRM) platform and eventually we will be converting our invoicing to Accelo.
As a young company, we have learned to watch every minute because in our world time is literally money. Accelo enables us to do that efficiently by eliminating other islands of automation and providing both our staff and our clients with transparency into our relationship. This transparency has helped our client retention remain very high and earn our spot as the most reviewed marketing company in southwest Florida.
The two hacking tools I use to grow my business are Any.do and Evernote. Both are apps downloaded to all of my devices.
Any.do is a to-do list app that allows me to stay organized by creating various projects and tasks that need to be completed within each project.
With Evernote, I always have all of my information at my fingertips regardless of where I am and the time of day. I use it to outline agendas, create various lists, store historical information and jot down ideas. In addition, both apps allow me to share my notes and lists with others so they can add to them.
Hands down HotJar has given us the biggest “growth hack” opportunities on website projects. HotJar is a user experience reporting tool which allows one to measure where clicks are going, which areas of the website people are spending the most time on, complete on-site surveys of customers and even record entire customer experiences via video.
The data this tool delivers (when used correctly) is priceless.
A quick example of its use on a recent client project:
The client operates in the Supplement space. They wanted to rebuild their website as many of the functional processes on their current framework were rather clunky – so this was already costing them sales.
However, before pen hit the paper to strategize their new store we installed HotJar on their website for a period of 2 weeks.
Clicks & time spent on site and where in particular.
Video recorded traffic flow – where were visitors were getting stuck.
Most of the problems the click & video tracking produced we already knew about – these were obvious fixes to be made on the new site.
However, it was the survey that delivered the “GOLD” in terms of the marketing angle of the new website.
Overwhelming feedback in terms of price issues came through the survey. Visitors didn't understand why they should spend more on higher quality products and what made the client's product different (better).
So this objection was addressed on every product page on the new website.
After launching the new store and implementing the fixes it dramatically increased sales & conversions compared to the old website.
That is the power of collecting, analyzing, and implementing fixes using the data Hot Jar provides.
I love this topic. In my current startup, I used something really simple. Normally, growth hacking is all about being quick. I'd like to do a different take because growth hacking can't always apply to every industry. In my case, this is local and very niched. The industry is built on trust and referrals.
It's why I'm focusing on community.
I built a private group of verified users of the app. I encouraged them to share their thoughts on how to improve the system, share their feedback, setup, experiences, etc. We've built a good enough trust that they automatically invite other friends to the group which eventually turns to signups and users. It's just a consistent cycle.
Sure, not everybody will be on Facebook. I estimate around 40% of our total users are in the group but it's a good avenue for social proof. It's just one part of many growth hacking strategies I implemented (I also use Messenger marketing among others) but it's a major piece that I focused on early on.
Twitter has helped me grow in many ways. First, people have found me on Twitter and signed up for my blog, so my email list has grown as a result. Next, when I share my articles with influencers I quote, my exposure grows. Also, people have hired me after finding me on Twitter.
People have hired me to write sponsored posts and to give them blog coaching. Twitter enabled me to host a Twitter chat where my exposure and influence grew further. Twitter also allows me to give back to the blogging community through retweets. Without a doubt, Twitter has been pretty good to me and has enabled me to give back to others.
Schedule Once save me lots of time. It eliminates the useless and time-consuming chore of asking “Are you available this Tuesday at 2:00 or next Wednesday at 1:00?” Simply send a link and the recipient can pick their best time. If they need to cancel or reschedule, they can do so easily. The program also sends reminders and posts the meetings on your calendar so both you and the client never forget.
I'm sure there are other programs as good as this, but I don't have time to check them all out. This one works and it is pretty inexpensive.
My profile is optimized to gain ghostwriting business, and I get several qualified leads because of it every week. In fact, over 50% of my business comes directly to me from LinkedIn (the remainder find me from my blog or personal references.) I post to LinkedIn several times a day using a WordPress plugin called SNAP Autoposter, which randomly picks an existing post from my blog to publish.
Because of this, I maintain a constant, daily presence promoting my brand, business, and expertise. At the moment, I'm bidding on a $20k book project and a $200/hour book coaching project, and they both found me from my LinkedIn.
Our favorite tool by far for growing our business is this: we create free (online) tools to allow our users to do something useful for them, for free.
We actually use LaRavel PHP Framework to quickly create the tools, but the “growth hack” per se is using “freebies” to bring people to our site by giving them something they need.
For example, we've created stuff like quotation generators, proposal generators and other tools for freelancing users and agencies within our niche. By creating these free tools for our target customer, you get two main advantages.
You get your potential users on your website doing something which they need, allowing you to craft the perfect pitch to onboard them as customers
you can outreach popular publications with the free tool to get powerful incoming backlinks, giving your domain plenty of authority. You can then use the domain authority for excellent content marketing to bring in more users through organic search traffic.
These two concepts combined have allowed us to quickly grow a business from an unknown to a relatively strong brand within its niche.
For me, one key growth hacking tool is Canny.io. This may sound counter-intuitive at first because Canny is a feedback service for your (already) customers. But it's without forgetting one important point: Good community along with good product is golden. If you show your customers that you care about what they think, and implement the features that many asks about, you'll end up with a product loved by your members. And what's best with that?
Word. Of. Mouth.
This is the most powerful tool for converting new customers. When someone will hear about your product from their best friends, you will not only earn a new customer, you will earn an engaged customer. This is the true value of organic growth.
One of my favorite tools to help grow a business is Accuranker. Accuranker is a cloud-based keyword rank tracking tool.
Using it, I was able to grow organic traffic at Kinsta by over 571% in just 13 months. And more traffic means more sales.
Now, of course, a lot of other factors come into play with this as well, such as keyword research, competition, engagement, writing high-quality content, etc. However, Google is still an algorithm and still relies on keywords and search queries.
It's true that SEO is constantly changing, especially with voice searches now appearing more than ever. However, Google will always need a data point to fall back on.
You should always put the user first when coming up with new content ideas. But there is no reason you can't be smart about it as well. Write for the user, but optimize for Google. Just don't over optimize :)
Accuranker helps me figure out which posts are doing well organically, as well as things I could go back and improve upon. If you're dealing with a lot of evergreen content, keeping track of keyword positions in SERPs is essential to growth.
In my view, the most effective and sustainable way to grow our business is nothing fancier than to have a deep understanding of what our clients want and need, and then solve that problem for them.
For this, we find our marketing automation tool, Act-On, is particularly helpful. It allows us to see to great detail how people use our website and infer what they're looking for.
Alongside data from Crazy Egg, we've been able to use this information to make some significant UX improvements (to increase conversion rates) and product developments (to improve customer retention), including the Investor Dashboard which allows SyndicateRoom members to tracks the status of the paperwork behind their investments.
If you have a service-based company I can think of no better tool for growth than Podium. While there are several services that provide the ability to reach out to customers for reviews, the customer service, ease of use and quality of the Podium platform really stand out.
The importance of engaging happy customers is essential as consumers are 10x more likely to proactively review a company if they had a negative experience than a positive one. Podium shifts the power balance, allowing you to reach all of your customers and creates a streamlined way for them to write about their experience.
I have used this with several businesses and have had tremendous success each time. The power of increased positives reviews has multiple positive implications for your business including:
Increased credibility with potential customers
Increased search engine optimization as companies with engaged users, high ratings and large numbers of reviews powerfully and positively affect your organic search rankings
One of my clients, Integrative Spine and Sports, a sports medicine and rehab practice in Manhattan has been using Podium with great results. In 2 months we were able to increase the number of reviews from a total of 5 to over 40, an increase of 700%. We were also able to increase their ratings from 4.2 to a perfect 5. The increased reviews and rating were crucial to increasing keywords on the first page of Google from 82 to 97, an increase of 22%.
Startups are mostly poor, anonymous, unclear, and invalidated. Having said that, if your products or service holds value with large companies, then you can take a stab at growth hacking through channel marketing. If a product or a service you offer benefits adoption at Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, NVIDIA, Intel since you are using their products, brand or service (you get it – anyone who's huge and in your sector) the marketing folks at these giants might help you spread the word.
Being mentioned regularly in social media feeds, blogs and newsletters of such companies will propel your growth, brand, legitimacy, and opportunities fast, free and furiously. They are the pipe to millions of users. Benefit them and they will benefit you.
Sounds unsexy but hugely useful: it’s LinkedIn Premium. I can research companies and access practically anyone on demand. And I’ve used Linked to create long-term valuable partnerships for years.
Every business has a story to tell, and we can't help to blurt it out whenever we get a chance. But when I want to get exponentially better results, I remind myself to listen.
Customers (and all of us) long for connection with people who care enough to get to know us, like us, and hear our stories.
There are tools that make this much easier today. I always have the Nimble extension running in my browser. A minute or two researching a person will always give me ideas and questions that will drive a conversation deeper than the “Hi, want to buy something” pitch, and open up relationships that allow us all to win.
ClickFunnels. It is by far the best tool out there right now to build out your customer journey. It has a simple drag-and-drop builder feature to help you design amazing landing pages quickly. What is so amazing about CF is that there is such a great community around it. If you need help with anything, people are there to help you with your “funnel.”
What I like about ClickFunnels is that it integrates so easily with other software and services and the coaching provided by Russell Brunson, the Founder, on sales is amazing. I use it to build out and quickly launch any product I want to sell. In particular, I use it a lot to tell advertising and personal branding gigs on my website.
Social Insiderhas helped us grow our digital business by allowing us to “spy” on social media accounts (Facebook+Instagram). Since we're looking to expand our roster of clients with bigger brands, the tool helps us figure out what improvements we could make, while also comparing it to the competition.
We're going for the 1-2-punch: showing the brands where they can improve, while telling them why the competition is beating them. We're then crafting a personalized email to decision makers at those brands and starting to create a relationship. Towards signing a contract with us.
I'm a fan of simple search engine optimization. Google traffic can become a constant source of your visitors. And if you do not use the opportunities that Google can give, you are likely to lose.
For me, this growth hacking tool is MozBar. It will allow you to evaluate the strength of competitors in seconds. MozBar will help you decide which keywords to choose for your website, and is it possible for you to get on the first page of Google.
Enter your primary keyword into Google and look at your competitors’ data.
Is there any website that has a lower DA than yours? Or a website that is a maximum of 5-10 points higher than yours?
If DA of all your competitors is 2 or 3 times higher than yours — then just find another primary keyword.
MozBar helped me to get thousands of visitors to my blog, although it is in one of the most competitive niches (online marketing).
Twitter is by far my best tool for growing any business, as I used it to grow 3 separate 7-figure businesses (a local service based business, a national E-commerce store selling office supplies and an International top SaaS company).
People are having discussions all day either about your niche or with other Twitter accounts that are similar to your business.
By listening in with a tool like Social Quant or using Twitter Advanced Search for Free, you can easily engage those accounts by following or replying to them.
If you have an optimized Twitter account, meaning a good Twitter cover, a personal Twitter profile picture, a great engaging Twitter bio, a well-crafted Pinned tweet and are following or engaging with the right people; these Twitter accounts will follow you back and click on your pinned Tweet.
If your Pinned Tweet is pointing to your website, this will be by far one of your top 3 traffic sources guaranteed.
One of the greatest hacking tools that any business owner needs to have is the ability to get inside the head of their target audience. Knowing their needs and wants allows us to not only serve our audience better by providing them with answers to questions they really need help with, but it also saves us time and money with our marketing efforts.
That is why I use Answer The Public to find out the wants and needs of my target audience. Complete with a free training course, Answer The Public takes high search engine phrase queries and displays them in a fun circular phrase wheel. This is a great tool for generating new ideas and creating content that your audience will love! Stop wondering what your audiences' wants and needs are and start to Answer the Public.
If you really wanted to know the “growth hack” tool I used to grow our business, I’d be lying if I didn’t say NinjaOutreach.
Long before we made NinjaOutreach our main thing, our business was already around inbound and influencer marketing. So, we needed something to help us build our database of influencer bloggers, make it faster to find all of them, message them, follow up with them, track them and their online stats, as well as organize all our conversations.
It used to take us loads of time (and man hours) to accomplish all these, but when we built and used NInjaOutreach, we were able to do all these things faster, and at scale. These were before we had decided to formally open up NinjaOutreach as a paid tool for other users.
These days, I hope it’s helping others as much as it has helped us when we were its first and only users.
I’ve found that when it comes to growth hacking there are many ways to generate business growth without having to spend a fortune on advertising.
One of the ways I’ve grown my business is through relationship development – I always ensure that I provide value when it comes to any online interaction or interaction face to face. Your network and reputation are your keys to success.
I use both LinkedIn and Facebook to develop strong relationships to ensure that people get to know me, and then to like what I do and ultimately to trust that I will deliver on my promises to provide a great service to them.
A great way to do this is to create a community or tribe where you provide value, genuine connection and support and also enable your tribe to support each other too.
I launched a Facebook closed group to provide accountability support to job seekers and career changers and those considering venturing into entrepreneurship. Within a few short months, the community has engaged and shared their concerns, their hopes, their plans and their goals.
This, in turn, leads to views on my website, a curiosity about all of my services and calls for exploratory conversations and bookings plus sales of my online products and workshops.
No-one will buy from you if they don’t know you so spend the time to build a community of people who are raving fans!
My favorite business growth hacking tool is Google. Google is the #1 most popular site on the Internet and using it to drive traffic is a no-brainer. Yet, there is much more you can get from it. One trick is to use Google for market research.
Using Google's Keyword Planner Tool you can find out what people are searching for and how much demand there could be for a product or service. With this huge database of search activity combined with an SEO strategy, your business can realize this market potential.
My favorite growth hacking tool at the moment is MissingLettr. With social, the name of the game has always been to be on top of the feed. That's never really been easy, and with ad revenue being more of a primary factor in how social platform displays your content, it keeps getting harder.
What I love about MissingLettr is that I can put my articles in there and it creates a full year's worth of posts for me. A content drip like that gives me a better chance of having my content seen in the noise of social by the people that really need to see it, even if they aren't online during the 5 minutes that my post is circulating at the top.
My favorite growth hacking tool has to be the hashtag #journorequests on Twitter or, even better, signing up to JournoRequest who curate the day's hashtag for one and deliver it daily via email. I've managed to secure substantial online and offline coverage this way in a variety of high profile publications such as The Telegraph, The Times, Evening Standard and many others.
As it becomes more popular, it does require being one of the first ones to answer the shoutouts that journalists and bloggers post seeking spokespeople for their stories but as I have a background in PR, I find it comes naturally to me. Twitter, in general, is one of the best ways to reach out to media and for anyone wondering how to reach a particular media outlet, it's always my first port of call.
My best hacking tool to grow my business is a tool called TinyRanker. It is a tool that helps you locate what rank you have on a certain keyword and who is in the first 10 rankings. For me, it is highly important that people can find me online.
As a sexologist, people search for the sex problems they have – and if they cannot find me, I have no business. So I use the tool to keep track of my rankings and when I create new blog posts I can check the ones on page one on Google to see what I can do better than them and in that way get ahead. AND I can follow how my rank improves as time goes by.
I think tools are a crutch and people lean on them too much. The real secret to growth hacking is to leaning on your customer base and asking them to bring their friends and like-minded associates.
Facebook Ads and other devices work but the power of a referral from a trusted advisor will convert much higher than an ad or a tool. Depending on the industry or company you could see a hockey stick growth by simply emailing your customer base and asking them if they are happy and would they tell someone about it. Incentivizing those people (financially or with status like an airline letting you get on the plane first) can make this all happen even quicker.
One of my favorite tools for increasing engagement is through the creation of videos. Videos continue to grow in popularity and show up better in your newsfeed across platforms. I enjoy using the pro version of the Ripl mobile app to educate or provide step-by-step processes.
Ripl allows you to create great short videos with or without royalty-free music or your own voice, provides suggestions of three different types for posts on specific days of the week, and allows you the opportunity to measure the amount of engagement of your videos across the different platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). When used on a consistent basis, Ripl has tripled the engagement with my business brand.
The best way to scale your agency is through cold email. This is hands down the simplest and most effective way to consistently reach new prospects with your message. In order for it to be successful, you need to be sure that each message is personalized and provides immediate value to the recipient.
We here at Business Marketing Engine help our clients create effective cold emails with our product Copywriter Today.
The basic sequence is:
Send to a highly targeted list of 50 people in your niche
Call all those who open the message
Resend to those who don’t open
Using this approach you can reach 250 targeted prospects a week and if your offer and copy are right, you can expect to have 5-10 appointments per week from this outreach.
Cold email is the best tool available for any business looking to grow.
If you browsed through the answers, you'll notice that each of the 30 respondents have different answers. No growth hacking tool was mentioned twice in their answers. This trend goes to show that growth hacking comes in different shapes and sizes.
How you grow your business exponentially depends on the goals you've set for your business. The participants coming from diverse backgrounds and industries are clearly motivated by their unique objectives, which made for this rather eclectic roundup post.
Therefore, you need to identify what you want your business to achieve in order to identify the tool that you need to use for your growth hacking strategy.
For instance, if you want to track your site's SEO progress, then you may want to use a rank tracking tool like Accuranker and TinyRanker as suggested by Brian Jackson and Maj Wismann, respectively.
For some, getting your schedule organized so you can free up time is a growth hacking strategy in itself. Dan Janal suggested Schedule Once so they can organize their day-to-day tasks and have a clear idea of what tomorrow brings to them.
Others even went as far as to say that tools are a crutch, as Saul Colt mentioned. It's all about determining what you want to achieve through your growth hacking strategy and just following through with your plan. It's an interesting and bold take in a roundup post littered with a wide selection of growth hacking tools. However, for those who find solace with old-fashioned elbow grease, then there's definitely nothing wrong with that, either.
Looking at the answers, you are sure to see the kind of tool that help you implement your growth hacking plan. Their responses identify a problem that they had until their growth hacking tool helped me get out of that rut. You can't go wrong with any of their answers.
About Christopher Jan Benitez
Christopher Jan Benitez is a professional freelance writer who provides small businesses with content that engages their audience and increases conversion. If you are looking for high-quality articles about anything related to digital marketing, then he's your guy! Feel free to say "hi" to him on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.