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Lets start off by talking about what growth hacking actually is. Growth hacking involves using technology as an aide to acquire customers. Andrew Chen describes a growth hacker as "A hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph. On top of this, they layer the discipline of direct marketing, with its emphasis on quantitative measurement, scenario modeling via spreadsheets, and a lot of database queries."

Growth hacking can generate tremendous results. For example, LinkedIn implemented a growth hacking strategy centered around allowing users to create public profiles, and as a result, their user base grew from 2 million to 200 million. Hotmail was at the forefront of implementing growth hacking back in the late 1990's, when they added a line at the end of every email sent that simply said "PS - I love you", with a link back to the Hotmail homepage, and as a result, they had an amazing growth spurt up to 12 million email accounts. With that in mind, if you're ready to jump no the growth hacking bandwagon, here are same strategies you can begin implementing today to boost your business:

Build Relationships With Influencers

It doesn't matter what industry you're in, as there are always people in each who have a large following on social media. And those people are easily able to impact the buying decisions of their followers. So getting these people to talk about your business on social media can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line. The goal here is to build relationships with these influencers over time, so when the time comes where you need to leverage them, you're on their good side and they're willing to help out.

Some of the more common ways to build relationships with key influencers in your industry is by offering them discounts, free access to your services, or free products, depending on the kind of business you run. Once you've been chatting with these influencers for awhile and they're into your business, you can ask them for a shout out on their social media profiles, or do a Q&A of sorts with them and incorporate your conversation with them into content, and then post said content onto your social media profiles, and ask them to do the same. You can also ask influencers if they do any sponsored shout outs and see what they charge in return to determine if it's a worthwhile marketing expense for your business.

Know How To Create Successful Landing Pages

Landing pages can very easily bring your entire marketing campaign down if they are not designed correctly. A poorly designed landing page will not convert well and lead to minimal sales, while the "right" landing page will relate well to your target audience and lead to a very successful marketing campaign. It's important to note when designing a paid marketing campaign that you should never direct traffic to your homepage, as you want to send people to a targeted landing page designed to accomplish the overall goal of your marketing campaign.

According to VWO, a landing page should feature a clean design, a clear call-to-action that tells customers exactly what is going to happen when they click on it, and simple and obvious writing. They recommend a headline that can be read within 5 seconds and a call-to-action that is obvious to all. A/B testing is always a good idea when creating landing pages, as you can create a few variations of the same overall landing page (different headlines, different colors for call-to-action buttons, etc.) to see what your target audience responds best to, and you can use that data for the future design of landing pages for any other marketing campaigns you may run.

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The "Refer A Friend" Strategy

The "Refer A Friend" strategy has proven to be very successful by many companies, including the well documented example of Dropbox. What Dropbox did was create a win-win strategy for everyone involved, as they had a very appealing "Get more space" section built into the onboarding process, where if you referred a friend and that person signed up, you both got 500MB of free storage space, up to a grand total of 16GB of space. And as a result, they were able to bring in 4 million users over a 15 month period.

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Dropbox was inspired to implement the "Refer A Friend" growth hack strategy based off a referral program PayPal ran. What PayPal did was actually pay their users to invite their friends, and while they spent tens of millions of dollars as a direct result of this program, they experienced a daily growth of 7 to 10% and grew their user base to over 100 million members. While that is an extreme example of the "Refer A Friend" strategy, you don't have to spend money to experience growth, just ask Dropbox. If you are, for example, an SaaS-based business, you could reward users with a free month of service if X number of their friends sign up and so on. The idea is to get creative and generate some excitement with your user base.

Introduce Exclusivity

People love the idea of exclusivity. They want to feel like they have something no one else does. The exclusivity growth hack can produce awesome results as you are giving your customers the impression that your product or service is something only available to a limited number of people. If people feel like they are going to be excluded from having something, it brings out a natural fight in them to want to get their hands on that product or service.

Ello, which is an online, ad-free social platform, introduced the exclusivity growth hack perfectly and the results speak for themselves. The idea here was to join Ello, you needed to get an invitation from someone who is already a member. This created a viral effect, and as a result, they were getting over 35,000 registrations per hour!

Pinterest initially went the exclusivity route, as well. Instead of users inviting other users like with Ello, with Pinterest you initially had to go to their website and request an invitation to join. You then received an email from Pinterest explaining they had a long waiting list, but in due time, you would be accepted to join the social platform. The exclusivity of Pinterest helped generate tremendous buzz, and within a 3 year period, Pinterest grew from 100,000 users to over 70 million users!

Instagram Growth Hacks

If you're looking to grow your follower base on Instagram, here is a growth hack you can begin implementing right now:

  • Choose a few hashtags that complement your product or service
  • Search for those hashtags on Instagram
  • Like the top 3 or 4 pictures containing the hashtags, follow the accounts posting those pictures, and continue to like their most recent pictures.
  • While time consuming, this Instagram growth hack has a fantastic follow back rate and will help with growing your follower base (and hopefully customer base) over time.

Having a fully optimized Instagram profile is another rather easy growth hack you can implement today. Having a profile that stands out will help with garnering more attention on Instagram and growing your follower base. Here is a good guideline to follow:

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