Before we start on this topic, let me clear up one thing. The word “hacking” nowadays brings up pictures of annoying teenagers illegally breaking into computers, using some magic technique (which, by the way, are 99% made up or unrealistic!).
It actually derives from a verb that first appeared in English around 1200, meaning to “cut with heavy blows in an irregular or random fashion,” as the Oxford English Dictionary defines it.
And now, the term is used to “mix it up”, “get results quick”, “minimise effort” and more to the point here “doing things differently”.
In the journalists world, hacking refers to “getting a story out quick, before the deadline”, hence the reference to “hacks” in that world.
So the word is nothing to be afraid of. Growth hacking is merely the act of doing what works, while it works, and getting to most from it until it stops.
This article is taken from Sales Funnel Secrets, available for free at https://t4s.site/idea-to-reality/book.
This is why books on Growth Hacking are generally out of date quickly, and why I’m going to propose how you can use growth hacking now and in the future.
A quick note though on ethics. Some may consider growth hacking to err on the side of evil! Most hacks are simply bending the rules to your beneficial outcome. However, you must be responsible for choosing what routes you choose to follow, and if you are happy with them.
There are many channels you can growth hack. I would recommend picking your primary channel and nailing it, before moving to the next one. You can experiment with several, but you will benefit from the results of your primary channel whilst, perhaps, you experiment with others.
Also, start small. As previously discussed, get it right and then scale. The temptation is to scale immediately, and if you do so, you will be frustrated and claim it doesn’t work. Slow down, get results, and then scale.
Automation is a killer hack. But again, get results slowly and manually. And then introduce automation, which we will cover shortly. Finally, do not trust the automation. Testing, testing and re-testing is a key component of growth hacking, and you must constantly review automated hacks to ensure (a) they are working and (b) not having a detrimental impact on your goals.
Don’t let your success dictate your methods
Unfortunately, you will come across the “masters of their method”. An SEO agency will always suggest SEO as the answer. A Facebook Ad agency will suggest Facebook Ads. Google Adwords agencies will always suggest Google Ads. It is no fault of theirs, that is their motive and to suggest alternatives will cut back on the clients.
But you have the power to consider what is needed, for what purpose and when.
The steps to decide on your chosen methods and channels are actually simple:
1. Understand your customer (better than you know you).
2. Know where they “hang out”.
3. Find out how to engage, and then engage with focus.
That’s saved you several hundred $$$ of consultancy! So, how can we go about answering the above 3 simple steps?
Understand your customer
This is a theme throughout this book, and rightly so.
You know your favourite book character, or TV character that you know so well?
Their history, what triggers them?
What they wear, where they go, their family and friends?
Where they go on holiday, what they read, how they relax?
What social media they use (or don’t), what they drive, where they live?
What they earn, how they spend their spare cash, what they love and hate?
This is how you must know your customer – your perfect customer. You must be able to describe your perfect customer and know everything about them. Even give them a name.
It is often referred to as the perfect customer or customer avatar.
Why? Because you can then answer the next question.
Know where they “hang out”
By knowing everything about them, you know where they are – whether online or in real life. You know what groups they belong to, you know where they look (where their “eyeballs” are). Perhaps email is where they spend most of their time, or Facebook, or Instagram, or LinkedIn or reading newspapers.
You can see that you must first understand them, to know how to get in front of them. Otherwise you are simply guessing.
And growth hacking is not about guessing.
Through your research, you will be able to confidently say that Facebook Ads are best, or influencer marketing, or an insert in a local newspaper.
There are too many channels to guess, and too much money to waste doing so!
But, if you have done step 1 and step 2 correctly you will know who your target audience is, and where they hang out.
So, now engage.
How to engage with them
You will be as happy as you can be that your efforts are going to be targeted at the right person, in the right place (statistically speaking).
So now you can start to compose your message. You can do so with confidence, because you know what triggers them.
The following quote summaries perfectly what your tactics can be for engagement.
“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”
– Blair Warren
In fact this quote is so good, we can use it to fully understand how you can engage with your perfect customers.
Encourage their dreams
People, if you remember from earlier on, buy their way out of something, not into something. So what are your clients drems? This is what they desire the most.
You should know (from the customer avatar), and in some way, what you are selling should take them a step further towards them.
You are probably not selling them the actual dream. But perhaps you will allow them more time in their life, to allow them more freedom to get closer? Or they can increase their income, to give them more money, to get them something which will help?
And so on.
If you are not selling something that is on your customers path to their dreams, you have
A classic example is the magic diet pill. Nobody wants to go to the gym if they can pop a pill every day. They know it probably won’t work, but it’s their dream.
It’s why fads come and go, in all sorts of niches, people buy their dream, but eventually they get found out.
You may not be at the end of the ethical spectrum as diet pills, but you do need to tap in to dreams and sell them.
Justify their failures
You must remove the blame that people put on themselves. To continue with the diet pill, “it’s not your fault” is a common phrase.
“It’s not your fault you’ve been suckered by fast food and convenience food.“ By saying this you are absolving the reader from any fault of putting on weight. If they feel it’s their fault, they will be less likely to be buy, so remove the blame.
Allay their fears
People have barriers, they have fears. You need to remove them. So use credibility “in studies it has shown that…” is always a great way to add objective credibility.
But also, always use testimonials (especially video testimonials) from real clients. If it has worked for others – who, criticall are similar people to the prospect – the sale is more likely.
Confirm their suspicions
People start off not believing, they are sceptical, especially if your product or service is not unique. Remember the 5 stages of awareness covered earlier on?
They may have heard stories of people being “ripped off” or deceived. So hit them head on!
“You will have heard stories….” or “it has been said many times” are common phrases you will come across.
The important point is that you shouldn’t try and hide the suspicions, but instead raise them and remove them. By addressing them up front you actually earn trust and take away those barriers and fears.
Throw rocks at their enemies
Whatever your personal opinion of Donald Trump, he mastered this technique to boost his chances of becoming President of the United States of America.
His enemies were numerous: Mexico, Political Insiders, those within his own party, foreign countries and many more. Buy throwing rocks at those enemies it united enough people to help him get elected.
It is risky (will you unite enough people against your enemies) and can be used in not-so-ethical objectives.
But used wisely it can be an incredibly powerful marketing technique.
Growth Hacking Techniques
An entire book could be written in any one technique, let alone several – and there are many, many techniques! Numerous such books exist. It is simply not in the scope of this book to be able to cover them all in detail. So rather than skimp or brush over the hacks available I am going to go cover a couple: Getting Press Coverage and Instagram/Twitter growth.
This book is all about sales funnels, and are in fact a hack of their own. Other hacks are mostly about getting traffic to your funnel.
For others, I encourage you to look at which would benefit you, and by all means contact me for further information or advice. It would be remiss of me, in a book such as this, not to remind you that the course that accompanies this book is (a) available immediately and (b) goes into alot of detail as videos, and discussion between us – with all growth hacks included.
Okay. Sales pitch successfully squeezed in! Let’s look at getting press coverage and Instagram/Twitter growth.
I should be clear that I am not personally recommending them or that you should use them, I am simply making you aware of them.
Getting press coverage
Remember your perfect customer avatar, that I keep banging on about? Same here, except your “customer” is the reporter or blogger that will cover your startup or growing business. So get in their head, and know them – and know them well!
Anyone you approach will, before doing anything else, “do a Google” on you, to see who else is writing about you and what social proof you already have.
Remember, the top tier writers, journalists and bloggers can pick and choose what they write about.
To start with, we want the opposite. Those people who are desperate for content! Those that are not so worried if you’ve not been covered before. Because when you have more authority, you can approach the top tier writers.
First, install the Google Chrome Scraper Extension (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/scraper).
Then go to http://www.blogmetrics.org and drill down into a niche that represents yours to get a fantastic list of related blogs.
Right click the top one, and chose Scrape similar…
Your installed Chrome extension will open, but where it says Selector, change the  to [*].
And click on the Scrape button to scrape again. You should then see, in the right hand side, a long list of web site addresses (and some other stuff we will clean up).
The results, and the important change to [*] (make sure you do this) are shown in the downloadable version of this post at https://t4s.site/idea-to-reality/book. Oh, and that’s a free download.
Click on Export to Google Docs… button. This will create a new spreadsheet in Google Docs and open it for you. Now we are going to clean it up. First delete the first row with the titles, we don’t need that.
We also don’t want the RSS feeds, so order the sheet by the first column (select everything, and then use the Data menu) and delete all the rows with nothing in the first column (highlight all those rows and right mouse click, then choose delete those rows). All being well, you’re left with an awesome list of blogging websites to contact.
Before sending, create a press pack that includes your company overview (tagline, one sentence description, three “how it works” paragraphs and a call to action), founders photos, logos (at least PNG, and AI or PSD if you can), press mentions or testimonials (social proof), and finally, product screenshots, videos and so on.
Zip that all up as your press pack which you send along with your email. Keep your email short and to the point, for example:
Hey [their name],
My name is Simon, from T4S.site. We created a new website that allows small business owners to create online sales funnels. Quicker, easier and cheaper than all the competition.
I have a press kit, and I’d like to send you a copy, and create a free account for you to [check it out/review it] if you’d be interested. How does that sound?
Don’t include links (as you’ll be emailing quite a few, so bad for spam scores) and don’t include the attachment (similar reasons). Your goal is to get a reply, even a “Sound cool, sure thing” type response.
Because your main goal is to initiate a conversation, which is personal, not automated. It gives you more freedom to just chat, become friendly, praise them, be interested in what they do. And all the time, increasing the chances of a blog post or write-up for their audience.
To send the emails, you have a choice. You can visit the websites, and send out your email (keep a record of the email address in your Google Sheet from earlier).
If you are happy to exchange a few dollars and save some time, use BuzzStream to automatically visit the site, find the email address and even send the email. The choice is yours.
I would recommend sending as personalised emails as possible. It takes longer, but the results will be better.
Also, don’t be annoying. Follow-up politely by all means, but don’t be intense. Hopefully you will be in regular contact with these people, and you don’t want to burn any bridges just by being a pain!
Instagram and Twitter
To gain followers every day with minimal effort, get a Virtual Private Server (VPS) with Windows operating system (Google for loads of providers), and then purchase and install Followliker (http://www.followliker.com).
Purchase some proxy IP addresses for your protection (http://www.squidproxies.com among others) and then set up Followliker to automate growth.
Depending on the “age” of your accounts, keep numbers reasonably low when starting your automatic growth, and increase them steadily. I tend to average about following 300 a day and same for unfollowing, 30-60 seconds apart. But always less to start with.
The key to getting engaged followers is to post regularly (daily at least if you can) with good quality material that encourages comments. Always include a call to action, such as questions. Try and initiate two way conversations, and always (always!) respond to comments.
For hashtags, you want a “hashtag ladder”. Hashtags that range from extremely popular to extremly niche. The former will get you loads of “eye balls” but not for long, the latter the opposite. Everything in between is a scale.
And don’t forget to include a hashtag for locations, you get all the local traffic! Advanced hack tip: you don’t actually need to be in a place, or hotel, or event to tag yourself as there. Let’s say that an event is being held in New York for your industry, and you can’t get there. No problem, tag your posts as if you are. Just be careful not to post images that give it away 😉
Finally, my favourite way of using FollowLiker is to find competitors, or “similar” accounts and target their followers. After all if they are interested in your competitor, chances are they will be interested in you too.
This always gets me a nice and steady growth of followers.
Want to know more? Download the free book (a proper book, not a pretend PDF!) at https://t4s.site/idea-to-reality/book.