Think of growth hacks as cheat sheets for your startup. These tactics can resolve issues in five categories: acquisition, activation, retention, referral and revenue.
Growth hacking — particularly in the acquisition and activation category — can decrease your cost per lead in paid advertising, help generate leads, encourage users to share content with their friends and measure and increase the quality of leads you’re receiving.
But which hacks will help you increase website traffic and gain more contacts? Here are six:
1. Keep your homepage minimal.
Visit Dropbox or Netflix, and you’ll notice they all have minimal homepages. These kind of homepages are incredibly effective at generating sign-ups. Last year, the people at The HOTH ran a test in which they set up two homepages — one minimal and one not. After 30 days, they found the minimal homepage yielded more than 10 times the number of sign-ups than the other ones website.
Focus your homepage on one clear value proposition. It gets results.
2. Trade resources for information.
HubSpot’s Marketing Grader is a great example of offering free content in exchange for users’ details. Users provide their website and email address; in return, they get an automated report on their website’s marketing quality and how it compares to others’. It’s an incredibly useful tool — and many people use it, providing HubSpot plenty of leads.
If you don’t have the resources to set up a system like HubSpot’s, you can always offer e-books, videos or webinars showcasing your industry expertise. Experiment to see what works best for you and reach out once you have those email addresses.
3. Survey your users.
I’m a huge fan of surveying tools such as Qualaroo. They produce useful data to improve lead generation. Ask, “Is there anything preventing you from signing up?” Your answers can range from “I’m unclear on pricing” to “I’m not sure whether this product is for me” (and include a fill-in-the-blank option).
Optimizing for leads is an ongoing battle. Surveys are a valuable weapon.
4. Build landing pages
Landing pages are the entry points to your website. According to HubSpot, companies that expand from 10 landing pages to 15 get 55 percent more sign-ups.
Each landing page should be 99 percent unique. Don’t replicate content. Use different offers to target different customer segments and highlight different selling points on each page.
Direct paid ad traffic to these pages rather than your homepage. They have much higher conversion rates and offer a lower cost per acquisition. Follow this advice to ensure your landing pages are as effective as possible.
5. Use paid ads to test headlines and images.
Testing landing pages is difficult. You may not get enough traffic to derive valuable data. Instead, use paid ads. Because your pool of people to test becomes everyone exposed to the ad — and some ad platforms only charge you on a per-click basis — you can spend much less to get more data.
Turn off ad optimization when testing. Many platforms stop sending traffic to one variation to reduce your ad spend, which messes with your test scores.
It’s also worth trying out audience targeting on platforms such as Facebook to see whether certain age groups or demographics convert higher.
6. Remove landing page links.
These distract people from your call to action. Yuppiechef saw its conversion rate double when it removed navigation links from its landing pages, and others have seen rates increase.
Groupon used to remove the footer of its site when users visited the homepage directly, but if they visited via Google, it would appear. The links in the footer reduced conversion rates, but they were necessary for search engine optimization. It had two variations on its homepage: one for those in the know and one for those who found the website by chance. You should be hacking for both.
Once you have the first steps of the cheat code out of the way, it’s time to tackle the next levels of growth hacking — from retention all the way to revenue.