90 Growth Hacking Tips for Apps
Growth Hacking Tip no. 1: It Has to be a BIG Idea that You, Your Team and Your Customer can “get” in a Second
What is this? When designing and building your app, make the core message of the app, as well as the benefits of using it, crystal clear to your users.
Why should you do this? We live in a very noisy world. The app store is filled with thousands and thousands of apps. The first step to a successful launch is to a have a BIG idea that catches the attention of the customers. Something that’s big enough to make them stop for a moment and focus their attention to your app. You need to cease that moment and capture their imagination.
Who else is doing it? Apple’s “Think Different”, Nike’s “Just Do it”, Adidas’s “Impossible is Nothing”. They are more than just slogans. This is about how your products connect to customers’ core value and how relentlessly you market the BIG idea.
How can you do this? Have a clear vision of your business and your apps. And strategically design each product and process to bring the core value to life. Painstakingly engineers feature with your customer’s pain points in mind. Your products should practically sell themselves.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 2: How to Use Celebrity Endorsement the Right Way and Identifying the Hidden Niche Celebrities
What is this? Unlike the typical A-list celebrities that charge upward of $70,000 for an appearance fee, a new breed of celebrities is mushrooming from the social network, niche blog and YouTube that could provide great marketing value with little to no cost.
Why should you do this? These new breed of celebrities are usually experts in their niche with raving fans and followers. Having them endorses your app and backend products immediately boost your trust level by association. These are the cheapest, high quality, targeted traffic you can get.
Who else is doing it? A big brand like Nike will go for A-list athletes, like Tiger Woods, Roger Federer etc. Small budget development companies who partnered with YouTube celebrities like PewDiePie and Michelle Phan have proven to be money well spent. Next time you see a celebrity mentioning an app on a talk show; it is marketing magic at work.
How can you do this? Do your research on all major social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger and seek out the gurus or celebrities in your niche. Popular tech bloggers are a solid bet because they can have access to a wide range of potential users. You can offer to sponsor a segment of their show or write an advertorial to showcase your apps.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 3: Strive to Muldrow Hacking Tiple your Profit 10x - 100x by Becoming a Polyglot
What is this? The simple act of translating your apps to mulGrowth Hacking Tiple languages could increase your profit by 10 fold.
Why should you do this? It’s really a no-brainer. If you look at the mobile device sales trends, it clearly shows an organic growth in non-English speaking countries such as Spain, France, China, Japan, and Korea. Although a big chunk of the app revenue is still coming from English speaking counties, the tide is starting to turn.
Who else is doing it? Almost every app is doing it nowadays. And it is one of the critical criteria to be featured by Apple in their TV Spot. Just focus on the big five languages (Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean) and adjust your effort based on return on investment.
How can you do this? The question here is not whether to do it, but how to do it efficiently and cost-effectively. Your best bet is to use Google Translate. Google Translate doesn’t produce the best translation quality in the world, but it offers a free way to test a market before you invest in a professional translation service.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 4: Mind Control - Anchor an Action to the High Point of the Experience
What is this? Every time a user hit a high point using your app, ask him to share his accomplishment on social media, email or SMS. For example, when a user completed a level in a game or got onto the leaderboard, immediately ask him to share the event.
Why should you do this? Essentially, you want the users to associate a good experience with sharing your app. The more he does it, the stronger the association, the more viral your app becomes.
Who else is doing it? All freemium games use this technique. FarmVille was the first to do this – it relied on community interaction for players to achieve specific goals and it worked wonders.
How can you do this? The implementation is simple: all you need to do is to trigger a sharing window or button every time the user hit a predetermined high point in your app. To sweeten the deal, reward their behavior by unlocking premium features or offering virtual currency for their efforts.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 5: Build And Take Care Of Your List
What is this? Whenever possible, ask your users to register as a member and sign up for your newsletters.
Why should you do this? There is an old saying: “The Money is in the list”. It means you need to have a mean to constantly communicate
Who else is doing it? Every app that requires a login or registration such as Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Living Social, you name it. Most developers are getting onto this trend. And Apple is adding new submission guidelines to curb this registration mechanism. Apple wants to keep the customer list to itself. They want to get a cut on every transaction.
How can you do this? The workaround for Apple’s submission guideline is to require the user to login before using your app. You can provide some kind of software as a service in your backend and make it an essential part of your app. During the registration process, add a little checkbox to encourage your user to sign up for your newsletter.
What is this? In order to establish a brand presence, all your apps, website and marketing materials need to have a unique, distinctive and cohesive color scheme and design.
Why should you do this? Your brand is one of your most important assets. Trusted brand images not only increase the lifetime customer value but also work great as a lead generation tool. You can even make money with your brand images through a licensing agreement.
Who else is doing it? Look at Angry Birds, the red, yellow and blue birds are everywhere. From cereals boxes, plush dolls, lunchbox to cell phone cases. The possibility is endless.
How can you do this? Hire a top-notch icon designer and ask him to create a brand color scheme for you. Then ask him to incorporate the color scheme in all aspect of your products and marketing materials.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 7: Trigger The Feeling Of Intrigue
What is this? You app need to provide something above and beyond the core functionality to the consumers. You want to intrigue your customers as if you are showing fire to cavemen.
Why should you do this? There is something hard-wired in our reptilian brains that we are drawn to innovation. Do you still remember the first time you see the iPhone on Apple’s keynote presentation? It is practically designed to push our “intrigue” buttons. After the iPhone announcement, all the audience can think of is how they can get one.
Who else is doing it? Apple’s products are all designed to intrigue the consumer mind. Through carefully selected color choices, precise design and well-thought-out user interfaces, they have the consumer by the balls.
How can you do this? You don’t need to come up with a single new idea. All you need to do is found what intrigue you in another app or product and incorporate that feature in your apps. It could be as simple as a gesture control or a fancy transition between tabs.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 8: Crowdsource New Features and Create a Tribe
What is this? Talk to your customers and get them to involve in creating the new product. When people invest their time into the product creation process, they most certainly want to be the proud owner of their brainchild.
Why should you do this? People like to feel involved and they will respond positively if one of the most requested features is implemented in an update.
Who else is doing it? WhatsApp introduced a lot of new features since the first release.
Many of those features were first requested by the users in the app store reviews.
How can you do this? Create a forum and make a poll. Let the users vote for the features for a new app or the next update. Reward your tribes by mentioning their names in the release log. People love this and they will show it to their friends, colleagues, and family. Free ideas, free marketing, it couldn’t get any better than that.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 9: The Power Is In “Powered By…”
What is this? In the same way that you see “powered by…” on a website, you can use the same principle to put your brand name in other apps.
Why should you do this? This is free marketing at its best. Seeing your brand in an app they enjoy and trust will instantly boost your brand’s credibility. At the same time, you establish authority because their favorite app is “Powered By” your brand.
Who else is doing it? A lot of apps do this. Email clients are the most famous ones – Touchdown, a popular corporate email application, is a famous example, it includes “Sent from Touchdown” in every email.
How can you do this? First, you need to create a free software service to fill a tiny market gap in your niche. Next, you need to reach out to your potential partners. They are app owners/developers that might benefit from your service.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 10: Bounce an Idea within Your Inner Circle
What is this? Get in touch with other app developers and ask for their opinions, see what they feel on your next great idea.
Why should you do this? Although they might be your competitors, it doesn’t mean that you should be enemies. Use other developers’ experience to your advantage. Get in touch with other developers in your niche.
Look for joint venture opportunities. When people buy something, they don’t just buy once and they don’t just buy from one source. The more often people hear about your products or services from different sources, the more likely they will buy from you.
How can you do this? Make a list of the influencers/app owners/developers in your niche. Try to approach them in seminar and developer conferences, qualify the ones that you feel comfortable to work with. Offer them joint venture opportunities either when they have an app launch or you have an app launch.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 11: Turn You App into an Evergreen Product
What is this? An evergreen product is one that remains relevant through time.
Why should you do this? You are going to invest tens of thousands of dollar into marketing your products. You don’t want to invest in a trend that will fade away within a short period of time.
Who else is doing it? MileBug is a rather mundane app. It is nothing fancy but it pulls in steady sales each and every month. That’s a stable cash flow you can rely on and grow.
How can you do this? Do an in-depth research in your niche. Find out what has been selling through different technology changes. Instead of looking at what is hot and trendy in the App Store, research on desktop software that stood the test of time and ports them to mobile platform. This will be the first generation of your app portfolio and you will keep updating them into new versions and new platforms for years to come.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 12: Use Pricing Psychology to Your Advantage
What is this? A proper pricing strategy will help your customers buy more often, in higher quantity and in bigger transaction size.
Why should you do this? It is your fiduciary duty to make sure your customers are buying as often as they should, in as high a quantity as they should and as big a transaction size as it can be. If your product and services are top of the line, letting your customers buy from another vendor is doing them a disservice.
Who else is doing it? In the app world, you see strategies like bundling, upsell, cross-sell.
How can you do this? In order to increase the transaction size, you should bundle up your apps as much as possible. To increase the frequency of purchase, you should create themed marketing campaigns such as Black Friday Sales, Christmas Sales and New Year Sales, etc. Another trick to add to your arsenal is the popular 3 column pricing tables most often used by web service providers. The basic concept consists of 3 prices: one low end and two high ends. The goal is to create an illusion of choices and nudge your customers to go with the highest price option.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 13: Climbing the Influential Ladder by Association
What is this? Follow all the influencers in your niche. Interact with them through blog commenting, retweeting and facebook post. You want your name and your apps to be mentioned in their blogs, tweets or Facebook posts.
Why should you do this? It’s the most direct way to gain access to the followers of the influencers. High profile Twitter users tend to have a lot of interaction with their followers.
Who else is doing it? A number of recent Silicon Valley startups have successfully employed this strategy to gain access to angel fund manager and early round investors.
How can you do this? Start off with some tech bloggers that you know are into the same types of apps as the one you have and apply this to their user profile - remember, don’t interact with everything they are saying, but if it is related to your app and the field of your app, do it! Favorite their comment and leave a reply, and if it’s not too off topic mention your app by name (and link, if you have space).
You can easily do this with other people by using Twitter’s search function and searching for relevant phrases. Whenever you find a new Twitter influencer make sure you don’t start off by advertising your app, instead make 2-3 comments where you don’t bring up your app, and share a couple of his tweets. If he’s paying attention, he’ll remember that you are not just spamming.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 14: Value Building and Risk Reversal
What is this? Selling is an art. The idea is to present your value and benefit of your products in such a way that your customer will say “Shut up and take my money”.
Why should you do this? You cannot assume that just because you created a great idea and create an awesome product, people will line up to buy your stuff. The reality is that your products will be buried under piles of other similar products and will have a chance to be seen by your potential customers. You need to actively promote your products by building up the perceived value in the mind of your customers.
Who else is doing it? Late night infomercials, as seen on TV products and the Shopping Channel.
How can you do this? You can start doing this by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes, identify their nagging pains. You need to let them know it’s not their fault and how your products can help them turn things around. Take away their objective by offering no question asked money back guarantee.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 15: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
What is this? Frequent updates are cool, but you should definitely avoid having drastic changes from one version to another without conducting a survey or testing the water first.
Why should you do this? A great number of apps and websites lost most of their community through an uninspired update.
Who else is doing it? The most famous example is Digg – which pushed hundreds of thousands of users away with a much-uninspired update. How about the MySpace disaster?
How can you do this? If you are planning such a big release, make sure you announce it early and often on all social media accounts and get the feeling of the users – if many of them are opposed to it, call it off!
Growth Hacking Tip no. 16: Create Exponential Growth by Inventing Incentive Loops
What is this? Offer a user an incentive to invite a friend, and at the same time, offer an incentive to the friend when he joins.
Why should you do this? You have to convince both people that this action is something worth doing. First, you have to convince your existing user that it’s worth inviting somebody and that he has something palpable to gain from this action. Then, you have to convince the person who is joining that joining is actually worth it. Once you do it properly, though, you will see a drastic increase in such actions, and your overall user base will grow by leaps and bounds.
Who else is doing it? In the early days of PayPal, the online payment giant had a two-way incentive campaign. They gave each new user $10 when signing up, and another $10 to the referrer.
How can you do this? You can do it easily with virtual currency. Offer a new customer in-app currency when he signs up and another in-app currency for the referrer. You are essentially turning your customers into a zero commission sales force.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 17: Backlinks Strategy - Signature Backlinks
What is this? You should include a professional looking signature in all of the email communications. It should clearly show your company name, website address, recent product launch, and success stories. Make sure all the staffs on your team adopt the same policy.
Why should you do this? This is the most underutilized way to increase your company’s exposure. Your email signature is like your modern day business card.
Who else is doing it? Everybody communicates through email. But not many people put enough thought into their email signature. The largest corporation has an email signature. They clearly show the job title, department and confidentiality statement.
How can you do this? Every email client nowadays has a setting to edit the signature of outgoing emails. Include a call to action in your signature such as “Click here for more info” and embed your company URL and a link to your app portfolio.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 18: Backlinks Strategy - Twitter backlinks
What is this? Fill in your company website in your Twitter profile bio. And get your employee to do the same. For example:
I love mobile app programming and Marvel Movies. I’m the lead developer for @company.
Why should you do this? Twitter profile links are clickable. Not only will you get Google link juice to your company website. People who check your profile will also have a chance to check out the latest and greatest development from your company. You can also direct link your App Store page as well. Every traffic source counts.
Who else is doing it? This is most popular among entrepreneur profiles. This is self-promotion 101. Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek, Tony Robbins of Unleash the Power Within.
How can you do this? Just include your Twitter @profile in your bio and have your employee do the same.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 19: How a Simple App Naming Tactic Could Get You Tons of Free Traffic
What is this? The most important marketing asset is your brand. Your brand has to be unique and memorable and so is your app name.
Why should you do this? Many app business owners made the mistake of naming their app however they want. Since they think it’s their creation. The app name is one of the crucial parts of the marketing plan. If your app has a common, indistinguishable name, you set yourself up for failure right from the start. Because after spending tens of thousands of dollar in marketing, your app link will be buried among pages and pages of unrelated search results in Google search.
Who else is doing it? Facebook, Snapchat, ProCam, SuperText.
How can you do this? Use a combination of everyday terms to make up an app name that is easy to remember yet unique. Then search your app name in all major search engine and verify if it is indeed unique.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 20: How a Change in Mind Set in Your Social Present Impacts Your Bottom Line
What is this? Being omnipresent means being everywhere at once. It means increasing exposure through all media possible. In the online world, it means getting onto as many popular social media sites as possible.
Why should you do this? Just like in real life. After you make a new friend, you need to cultivate the relationship. You need to stay in touch with your customers, post your update on Facebook, Tweet your thought on Twitter and post your launch event on Instagram. Who else is doing it?
This is a core strategy behind Angry Bird’s success. They are one of the first to extensively use social media as a platform to heavily promote their apps through active interaction with their customers.
How can you do this? If you are not familiar with the current social media landscape, you should hire a social marketing team to help you set up profiles on all major social media sites. Then you will need a team to constantly promote your company and its core values through those channels.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 21: Guide Your User by Their Hands
What is this? When you are selling an app, you are not selling a piece of software. Anyone can buy a piece of code and put it on the App Store. What you are selling is the experience.
Why should you do this? People don’t share apps. They share their in-app experiences. You will be surprised how a simple step by step tutorial tripled the sales for one of our clients.
Who else is doing it? For a business app, “Clear” is a shining example of innovation and ease of use. It has been featured on the App Store mulGrowth Hacking Tiple times. For a game app, “Clash of Clans”, “Candy Crush” and many other have high-quality in-app tutorials.
How can you do this? Simply ask your developer to add a transparent layer to the app. Then ask your graphic designer to add high-quality graphical instructions to the layer.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 22: How to Use Hashtag to Increase Exposure
What is this? Make sure you hashtag all your social media messages. Include as much popular tags as possible.
Why should you do this? The hashtag is a critical part of your social marketing strategy. If you use it wisely, you will be able to get in touch with your niche authorities. The more niche authorities you hang out with, the more likely they will mention, retweet or share your messages.
Who else is doing it? Instagram’s explosive popularity is partly due to heavy hashtagging. People from different walks of lives explore Instagram by hashtag, it brings people who share the same passion together to have a conversation.
How can you do this? Just remember to use hashtags when sharing any type of content on social media.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 23: Sell the Experience Upfront
What is this? Add a video trailer or tutorial to show the in-app experience.
Why should you do this? Screenshots and description can only tell part of the story. Let the user experience your app in the way you designed it. This is not the same as providing a free version of your app. When a user is using your free app for the first time, he may never know how the app is intended to be used.
Who else is doing it? The app store added the preview feature where a developer can upload a video trailer to showcase features and benefit of the app. Most if not all game app development studio are using preview video to increase sales conversion.
How can you do this? You can either capture the screen on the device while you are using the app. Or shot a video with a user using the app.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 24: Engage Your Customers with Survey
What is this? Conduct a survey on upcoming or potential features of your app. Post the result on your social media accounts and share it with your customers.
Why should you do this? There are mulGrowth Hacking Tiple benefits in conducting customer surveys. Instead of guessing, ask your customer exactly what they want to see in the next major update. Not only will they volunteer the information you need to build your product, but they will also gladly pay for it. Magic!
Who else is doing it? This is one of the most underutilized tactics in the app store. It is widely used in the information product business.
How can you do this? Go to SurveyMonkey.com and create an account. Create a survey with 10 questions. Display this survey with a popover inside your app. Give incentive to your customer for completing the survey by awarding in-app currency.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 25: Piggy Back Marketing - Spot a Trend and Ride the Coattails of the Giants
What is this? Closely follow the marketing campaigns of major events such as movie premiere, TV series, Apple or Android products. Then tailor your marketing campaign to blend in with the ongoing buzz.
Why should you do this? It takes tremendous financial resources to pull off a marketing event like the Apple Keynotes Event. However, it is rather easy to write a real-time blog post or twitter reporting the events. People who are not able to attend the live event will turn to blogs and twitter for the latest updates.
Who else is doing it? Most successful publications are good at reporting major media events. They acquire readership by simply talking about major events. And they profit by selling ad spaces.
How can you do this? You can attract tons of traffic by being the first to talk about a major media event. You should ask the visitors to sign up for your newsletters and promote your products in subsequent communications.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 26: KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid
What is this? Your product should focus on a small number of core features. It should perform the tasks so well that it becomes a synonym of the features.
Why should you do this? By putting all the resources into designing and promoting a small number of core features, you can provide a remarkable product for that niche. When you serve a niche well and build trust, people are more likely to buy from you again.
Who else is doing it? This is the main reason Whatsapp became the most popular messaging app on the planet. When people think about the messaging app, they think about Whatsapp.
How should I do this? Begin by listing out all the features of your product. Then highlight the top 3 features that you are absolutely confident that you can deliver a remarkable experience. Create a new product with only the top 3 core features and use it as AB testing. I guarantee you the new product will outsell the old by a large margin.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 27: Building a Personal Brand
What is this? A personal brand is a carefully crafted persona that connects with your targeted customers.
Why should you do this? People are more likely to buy from people they like. For this strategy, you are not really selling your product, you are selling you. If they like you, they are going to buy the product you are selling.
Who else is doing it? Steve Jobs from Apple, Richard Branson from Virgin Group, Tim Ferriss from 4 Hour Workweek, Anthony Robbins from Unleash the Power Within and Robert Kiyosaki from Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
How can you do this? Your reputation must precede you. You need to have a carefully crafted and sophisticated bio. This bio should establish you as an expert in your field with track records and accomplishment. Every time you have a public appearance, make sure the host introduces you by reading the bio you prepared.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 28: Take a Spin with PowerPoint
What is this? Convert your most popular blog posts into PowerPoint presentations and upload them to Slideshare.
Why should you do this? Slideshare is a great place to establish authority. It gets a lot of visibility from Google search. Use it wisely and you will get a lot of visibility.
Who else is doing it? Neil Patel from Kissmetric is famous for content marketing. He has more than a hundred decks on Slideshare.
How can you do this? Group your popular posts into mulGrowth Hacking Tiple categories. For long posts, break them down into parts. The idea is to create and upload as many slides as possible. The more slides, the more backlinks. The more links, the more anchor keywords. And it means more targeted traffics to your site.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 29: Facebook – Knowing How to Post is More Critical than Knowing What to Post
What is this? When you post something on Facebook, the site uses special meta tags to determine how it is posted on a user’s news feed. These tags can be used to determine which image to show, what title to use and the summary text in the news feed.
Why should you do this? You need to constantly test which combination of images; title and summary text will give you the best conversion rate. Choose the most interesting pictures that showcase the best features of your app for maximum effect. The title is essentially a headline. A good headline will lure the user to click on the post to find out more.
Who else is doing it? Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and Viralnova are perfect examples.
How can you do this? There are an art and science to it. Observe the post engagement of Buzzfeed and create a similar post with your product. You will soon see a pattern and be able to create high conversion post by yourself.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 30: Risk Reversal - Make it Easy for Your Customer to Buy
What is this? Offer “unconditional 100% money back guarantee” for your customers whenever possible.
Why should you do this? Money back guarantee takes away the main buying objection from your customer. There is absolutely no risk in buying and trying your product out. If they are not satisfied in any way, they get their money back. And if you don’t have a small percentage of refund, you are simply not selling hard enough.
Who else is doing it? Ever wonder why all late night infomercials have 100% money back guarantee? Because it works!
How can you do this? Make sure you include money back guarantee in all your sales and marketing material. You will see your conversion rate leap and bounce.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 31: Charge Premium Price and Provide Insanely Great Product and Service Experience
What is this? Most business owners believe that when their sales go down, they should reduce the price. This can’t be further from the truth.
Why should you do this? Low-end customers will drain your resources and they generally complain more. High-end customers are usually more determined to succeed and will put more time and effort to adapt your products.
When you charge a premium price, you will have more margin to provide an insanely great experience for your customer. And that is how to cultivate customer relationships. You will be surprised the ideal customers often not price sensitive.
Who else is doing it? Most niche apps and related products are secretly raising their prices. The ones that have staying power have figured out that increasing margin is the only want to outmaneuver the competitions.
How can you do this? You need to take the leap of faith. The best way to approach this is to add a zero to your price, hold your breath and see what happen to your revenue.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 32: Use Google Authorship to Increase Authority in Search Result
What is this? Have you ever notice some of the Google search results have the author’s photo and profile?
Why should you do this? Having your photo displayed in the search result increases the click-through rate by 15% according to 3 independent studies.
Who else is doing it? Get it done as soon as possible to rip the reward before Google discontinue authorship. Most popular tech bloggers and developers have implemented it successfully and have been secretly drawing traffic away from competitors.
How can you do this? First, create a personal Google+ profile. Then create a Google+ profile for your product. On the product profile page, enlist yourself as a “contributor”. Once you do this, your Google+ profile picture will be displayed in Google search result.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 33: Keeping Your Tribe
What is this? As you are building your list, you need to constantly engage your tribe in meaningful communication.
Why should you do this? Building a big list is only half of the battle. Nurturing and cultivating a relationship with your list is the other half.
Who else is doing it? Monster Fantasy Football, Dragon Lords are great examples. The owners of these two apps are active members of an iPhone forum. Monster Fantasy Football was doing so well they it was acquired by Yahoo.
How can you do this? Create an extensive forum on your company website. Encourage your customers to post feedback and suggestions. You should have your staffs actively engage in the forum. Build and roll out new features based on the suggestion. Essentially, you are tailoring your product to the tribe.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 34: The Internet Road Show
What is this? The internet Road Show should be part of your product launch sequence. Tech bloggers love unique contents. Arrange as many interviews with popular tech bloggers as possible. Craft a company story that captures the imagination of the audience.
Why should you do this? Hollywood celebrities have been doing this for years. Every time an A-list celebrity appears on a talk show, they always have something fun and interesting experience to share. At the end of the interview, they show you a captivating trailer for their upcoming movie.
Who else is doing it? Engadget, Techcrunch, and Buzzfeed are the big 3 outlets in the industry.
How can you do this? Contrary to popular belief, it’s quite easy to get featured in a popular technology blog. The trick is to create a compelling story behind your product. Hint: People love the stories of underdogs overcoming adversity.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 35: The Power of “ Featured on ”
What is this? You should list out all the media outlets that have mentioned or reviewed your products on your product website.
Why should you do this? Social proof is one of the most critical aspects when it comes to influencing the buying decision. An independent study reviewed that 73% of customers look up product reviews before making a buying decision. Having a “Feature On” section on your product website and a series of popular media logos will instantly boost your conversion rate.
Who else is doing it? This tactic is often used by the fitness, diet and technology niche.
How can you do this? The fastest and easiest way to be featured on popular media outlets is through media buying. Set a budget and buy as many advertorials as possible. Size doesn’t matter. This is a number game, the more social proof the better. Once your product has been featured once, you can use it for social proof for as long as you wanted. It’s money well spent.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 36: Streamlining the User Registration Process
What is this? Does your app require user registration? Remember to keep them as simple as possible. The more fields you put on the registration form, the high the drop off rate.
Why should you do this? The key of the user registration form is to bait a potential customer to sign up for a free report. Once he gets into your sales funnel, that’s where the fun begins. You can always ask for additional information once they show interest in your products.
How can you do this? Eliminate all unnecessary fields from your current registration form. All you need is the full name and the email address. You should split test your registration form by using the different headline, sub-headline, and offer.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 37: Get a Revenue Boost by Removing Free Trial
What is this? Remove the free version or free trial of your product.
Why should you do this? A lot of newbie entrepreneurs fall for the death trap of free trial. They are often pressured to generate growth based on a number of users rather than revenue. There are two types of people in the world: those who value their time and those who don’t.
The people that understand their most valuable asset in life is time will gladly be paid for products and services that will save them time. Those who don’t understand the value of time would rather spend days searching for the same information than paying.
Who else is doing it? Aweber is one of the top autoresponders on the market. They used to have a free trial in their pricing table. Since suffering from server performance issue from non-paying customers, they replaced the free trial with a $1 trial for the first month. This apparently minor change has a huge impact on their business.
The $1 trial is a hidden qualifier for a new customer and also a built-in a continuity program. The subscription service will continue to charge the new customer until he explicitly cancels the service.
How can you do this? Remove any lite version or free version of your products or services. Set up a $1 trial and a continuity program if possible. Otherwise, set up a $1 trial and a library of in-app purchases.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 38: Spin Negative Feedback into Positive
What is this? When your products or services receive a negative feedback, try to spin it in the possible light.
Why should you do this? As a business owner and marketer, the key to success is to take every single opportunity to promote your products and services. For example, when a user says your product is not accurate. You can post a reply and reinstate that your product is the most accurate in the marketplace and have been tested extensively according to international standard.
Who else is doing it? This tactic is often used in the Google Play store where developers have the benefit to reply to user reviews.
How can you do this? It is pretty straightforward. You need to understand that the most critical users are usually cheap customers. They will drain your time and energy because they are usually irresponsible of their lives in general.
Don’t feed the time vampire by being apologetic; otherwise, they will step all over you. Instead, take it as a gift from the marketing god as a perfect opportunity to promote the quality of your products and services.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 39: The Importance of Testimonial Variety
What is this? It is no secret that testimonials boost both sales and conversion. The question is how to use it properly to get the best result.
Why should you do this? The function of testimonial is to serve as a virtual word of mouth and provide social proof. You need to include a wide variety of testimonial. For example, a dentist will look for a testimonial from another dentist. The testimonial from a chiropractor just doesn’t have the same effect.
Who else is doing it? Almost all information products are using this tactic.
How can you do this? Send an email to your customers to ask for products and services feedback. Ask them what they like most about your products and services and ask them for permission to publish the feedback as a testimonial on your website. Show as many varieties of testimonial as possible.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 40: YouTube Search Ranking
What is this? It’s getting hard and hard to rank on the first page of Google search result for competitive keywords.
However, it’s much easier to rank the same keywords on YouTube.
Why should you do this? As a marketer, your job is to constantly look for a low cost and high return traffic sources. Google organic search was once a great traffic source, however, as more people caught on, it soon becomes cost prohibiting advertising on Google Adword. This is the time you seek out new traffic source and exploit it before the town mob arrives.
Who else is doing it? Did you ever notice when you do a Google search, there is often a couple of video search result at the top? Those are the early adopters for those particular niche keywords.
How can you do this? Perform a search on YouTube using the keywords you would like to rank for. Record video information such as tags, titles and video file names of the top ranking result. Then create and upload a series of videos in your niche using similar video information. This should get you to the top 1 or 2 page of YouTube search result.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 41: Blog Commenting on the Right Way
What is this? Blog commenting is a very reliable way to rank your website high in search engines.
Why should you do this? The days of using robot script for blog commenting is long gone. Nowadays, you need to hire a team to manually post comments on related blogs. The user account needs to be active and the comment should be relevant.
Who else is doing it? There are armies of blog commenters in the diet, fitness and internet marketing niches. Blog comment that includes links to external websites is usually posted by marketers.
How can you do this? Hire a team of 3 to 4 social media managers to work on blog commenting. They should sign up and post comments on related niche blogs and forums. Once they have posted a few comments on other subjects, ask them to post a question about your product. One typical post topic is “Has anyone tried Product A?” Then ask your social media managers to write comments on key benefits and critics. Adding critics is important because it seems more genuine.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 42: Create your own Press Release Distribution Network
What is this? Press release sites often promise massive distribution network for a low cost. However, the survey shows that most media outlets consider press release sites as spammers.
Why should you do this? When you create your own press release distribution list, you have complete control of the relationship with the media outlets. You can send pre-launch invitation only to selected contacts and post-launch interviews request to the others.
Who else is doing it? Apple has an army of public relations managers working with dozens of top media outlets throughout the year.
How can you do this? Firstly, you should start a blog commenting in your targeted media blogs. Once you get a conversation going with the author, get his or her contact information offline. Repeat the same process until your get around 10 contacts. Follow up with these contacts in live events. When you get a rapport going, you can start talking about how they might be able to help promote your products.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 43: Create an Inducement Prize Contest
What is this? You should create inducement price contests from time to time to keep your users responsive to your company’s product announcements.
Why should you do this? The purpose of an inducement prize contest is to raise awareness of your products. The key is to leverage word of mouth in the online and offline communities. Commodity products are often promoted through prize contest since they lack unique selling proposition.
Who else is doing it? Have you ever seen a “Win an iPhone” contest on Facebook?
How can you do this? The whole idea is to put the cart in front of the horse. If you have a hard time directly promoting your products or services, you should starting promoting the prize your users might get, after they purchase your product. For example, instead of promoting your app directly, create a social media sharing contest with a chance to win the latest smartphone.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 44: Productize Your Marketing Material
What is this? Rather than spending money on display ad, package your promotional material into a mini product such as a PDF booklet.
Why should you do this? It takes a lot of capital to promote a product through pay per click or pay per view advertising. And once you stop pumping money into the machine, its effect stop almost instantly. You can get a much longer-term effect by simply productizing your marketing material.
Who else is doing it? Most niche websites are doing it. They package beginner information as an introductory guide.
How can you do this? The goal is to establish your authority in the reader’s mind and soft-sell your products and services. For example, let’s say you have a monthly subscription forum. Instead of directly asking the audience to subscribe to your forum, casually mention how you talked about the latest marketing strategy in your member only forum. The idea is to tease your audience to find out more.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 45: Cancellation Marketing
What is this? Marketing should be done throughout the entire customer development life cycle. You should market additional or alternative products or services when your customer tries to cancel a subscription or refund a product.
Why should you do this? It costs a great deal of capital to acquire a new customer. The average lifetime customer value must exceed the average customer acquisition cost for a company to survive. A customer retention program will greatly increase the average lifetime customer value.
Who else is doing it? Customer retention program is one of the key operations of mobile telephone network providers. They will usually offer a bonus or discount plans that are not publicly advertised during the process.
How can you do this? When a customer tries to cancel a subscription service, don’t just ask them to fill in an exit survey. You should add an exit offer on the cancellation page and split test it. You will be surprised how much free money you have been leaving on the table.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 46: Exit Offer
What is this? An Exit Offer is an offer that is presented to your potential customer when they are about to exit your landing page or sale page.
Why should you do this? You spend a fortune to drive potential customers to your landing page or sale page. It is critical to design a sales funnel with a built-in self-liquidating offer as a safety net to recover the advertising cost.
When a potential customer comes to your landing page, you know your sales copy resonate with them. If they exit your landing page without a purchase, it means there is a product or service mismatch. It’s the perfect opportunity to act as a referral agent for your partners or even competitors.
Who else is doing it? Exit offer is very popular with ClickBank products and should be applied to all online businesses.
How can you do this? Sign up as affiliates with as many partners in your niche as possible. Before your potential customer you’re your sale funnel, display a popup message with an exit offer. We recommend the Optimal Popup from Optimalplugins.com
Growth Hacking Tip no. 47: The Guilt Trip Marketing
What is this? If exit offers didn’t work and the user canceled his subscription. Now what? You convince them to come back by sending him on a guilt trip.
Why should you do this? New customers are hard to get, but former customers already know your product and it’s easier to get them to come back than it would be to get somebody to come in the first place. Convincing a former customer to come back is a great way to reduce your churn rate.
Who else is doing it? Groupon is the perfect example for this. They will send you a funny video showing you an intern being punished after they lost a customer (you).
How can you do this? You should send out a time-sensitive discount offer within 30 days. It would be a 40% to 60% discount for an annual subscription if they reactivate the account within 14 days. You should send out mulGrowth Hacking Tiple countdown reminders along those 14 days. Don’t look at it as a steep discount; you should look at it as found money.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 48: How to Increase Targeted Traffic with a Floating Share Panel
What is this? A share panel is a panel that contains all the social share buttons of a blog post. A floating share panel means it will be shown on the screen as the reader scroll through the blog post.
Why should you do this? Most website owners are doing social sharing wrongly. They either put the social sharing call to action buttons at the top of the blog post or at the very end. The fact is nobody is going to share your blog post before they read it and the most reader never read the whole post to the end.
Instead, you should add a floating share panel where the share buttons float vertically along the side of the blog post. One of our clients increased his blog traffic by 23% just by implementing this little feature.
Who else is doing it? Pretty much everybody is doing this nowadays. Unless you are going for a specific site design, you should do it too.
How can you do this? You should be using WordPress as your company blog content management solution. You can find the detail information on how to implement a share panel on http://www.DIYAppReview.com/essential-resources.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 49: Link Bait -Infographic
What is this? Infographic is a graphical representation of a popular topic or statistic. It is one of the most popular link bait technique. The well-designed infographic has a viral and long-lasting effect on your marketing effort.
Why should you do this? Infographics are built in link bait. They are designed to be shared in one of 2 ways: 1. Share the blog content along with the infographics. 2. Reposting and sharing the infographic alone. It is important to put your landing page information and brand logo at the bottom of each infographic.
Who else is doing it? Buzzfeed, Mashable are both very good at creating and distributing infographics both online and offline.
How can you do this? Pick a popular and controversial topic or statistic in your niche and hire an infographic designer on popular freelancing sites such as: odesk.com, elance.com or Fiverr.com.
The key is in both quality and quantity. Instead of spending all the time in the world by creating one insanely good infographic, make a plan to create one infographic every 2 weeks for 6 months. Post the infographics on your company blog and submit a summary of the blog post to the top 20 articles directories.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 50: How to Promote Personal Brand and Recruit Followers
What is this? As marketers, we like to do things that scale and have long-lasting results.
However, there is one thing that you need to do in person in real time – Give a speech.
Why should you do this? Volunteering to give a speech on a topic that you are passionate about in popular conferences will give you tremendous exposure. This is where you can test your company messages and see how well they resonate with your targeted audience in real time. This is the best way to build your network since only the ones who believe in your messages will come and interact with you.
Who else is doing it? Steve Jobs was the perfect example of a captivating presenter. His showmanship and storytelling ability was top notch.
How can you do this? Start small. Create or join a local MeetUp group in your niche (We are what we do | Meetup). Volunteer to be a presenter in the upcoming social event. Test and polish your speech until you think it’s ready for the big stage. Submit your topic and transcript to national speaker association and other event organizers and offer to talk for free. They are constantly looking for a new and exciting speaker and would be able to fit you in.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 51: How to Boost Sales by Harnessing the Power of Scarcity
What is this? Scarcity is a powerful marketing tactic. The idea is to motivate people to buy a product or service by telling them there is a shortage in what is available and they only have a limited time to act.
Why should you do this? You will sell more by telling your customers you don’t have enough. Magic! The key is to set the limit close to your estimated total units of sales. For example, you estimated that a certain product will only sell approximate 200 units. You should tell your customers up front that there will only be 200 units for sales, then the project will be taken off the market until further notice.
Who else is doing it? Apple has done it over and over again. Ever wonder why every time a new iPhone comes out, they are always in back order? By creating scarcity, the market value of the available units skyrocketed. And all new channels talk about how difficult it is to get one. That’s the marketing spin machine in action.
How can you do this? Due to the limitation of the app store, the most effective way to do it is what we call a Dime Sales. You promote your product to your list and through press releases. The price of your product will increase by $1 every time a predefined number of units are sold until it reaches the final price. The beauty of a Dime Sales is the built-in scarcity and urgency.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 52: Remarking through Autorespond Mailing
What is this? Remarketing means selling to the same prospects repeatedly after you acquired more information along the way. An auto-responder is a mailing service that lets you create a stream of pre-sales contents to educate your prospects and send it out in regular intervals.
Why should you do this? Marketing is expensive. In order to achieve the positive return on investment, you must constantly seek out new ways to drive down marketing cost. Remarketing is one example. Instead of sending your prospect to a sales page directly, send them to a landing page or a squeeze page.
The goal is to provide valuable information to the prospect in exchange for his contact information. He will then receive a series of email where you start to educate him on the best products and services available for his problem.
Who else is doing it? This tactic is used by a wide range of information product providers such as Golf Instructions, Business Coaching, Fitness, and Relationship.
How can you do this? You need to create a mini product out of products or services that you provide. And offer this for FREE in exchange for the opportunities to provide pre-sales content to your prospects.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 53: Headlines Matter
What is this? At the top of the main page of your website you probably have a small description of your app - a text of a paragraph or two that talks about your app, what it does, that sort of thing.
If not, you should have! That text probably has a headline that goes in front. If not, it should have! Basically, the headline you use should be convincing enough that people will be tempted to try out your app - try a couple of methods to see which draws in the most downloads, and use that headline.
Why should you do this? People usually look for the headline and they care about what it says. It might be out of laziness, out of a subtle psychological trait that makes people pay more attention to a headline than to the text. Whatever the case, headlines matter and it should matter to you.
Who else is doing it? Most apps that are in their early stages.
How can you do this? Try a couple of headlines and see which would be the best for your app description. You can test three of them and see (through regular surveys that you conduct with users) which draws in more users.
Extra Growth Hacking Tip: the headline should be short, yet descriptive. One of the choices you should try out for this should be the name of the app itself.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 54: Pay with a Tweet
What is this? Paying with a tweet (or a share) is a good way to let the user share information from your app to the outside world. At a certain point in the app, give away something for free if the user shares on social media.
Why should you do this? Because it’s free exposure at the cost of nothing. You can give away something incredibly simple for free - but have the user “pay” for it by tweeting about your app, for instance.
Who else is doing it? Big brands are the ones who use this technique the most nowadays. Kellogg’s had a similar campaign which encouraged users to pay with a tweet when they launched a new line of Special K crackers.
How can you do this? Let’s say you have a game where the main character is highly customizable. It is very easy for you to include an extra level of customization - or an extra character design altogether - and have it available to users at the cost of a tweet.
They will be glad that they are getting something for free, and while not all users will take advantage of the offer, some definitely will, and you will get some extra exposure at the cost of spending a small amount of time designing a new character.
Three things that you should take into account when you have them pay for something with a tweet are:
Make the offer attractive. Don’t offer something that is easily skippable - if you have three character designs, but two of them are only unlockable by in-app purchases, make the third one (unlockable by a tweet) just as good as the others.
Make it funny or creative - the tweet is going to go on the users’ timelines, and they will be more likely to share a tweet if it’s something that’s actually interesting for their followers.
Make it exclusive, or important - gone are the days of mindless sharing every new FarmVille achievement, and nowadays people are pickier about what they put on their Twitter feed.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 55: The Landlord
What is this? This Growth Hacking Tip applies for apps that are “directories” of some sort - for instance if your app reviews all restaurants in a certain area. Usually, these types of apps rely on user-generated content, which means that every restaurant owner will have to build their own entry into your app. Until they do, make sure that you have placeholders for their content by creating basic entries yourself.
Why should you do this? This type of apps rely on user-generated content, and especially in the beginning, it is difficult to have user-generated content without active user participation. It would not be attractive to have an app that’s entirely empty, so spend some time creating basic content yourself - entries that have just the most basic types of information, like the name, address and opening hours.
Who else is doing it? Many apps that feature local places – for instance, maps. Many apps that rely on communities also use this technique.
How can you do this? You can do this yourself or you can have somebody else do it for you, but just like we discussed before you have to choose between working on it yourself or paying somebody to do it. Whatever the case, you have to seed content is not a difficult process - one way to do it is to create an excel file filled with data, which you can then import in your app using a custom script.
The advantage of using this method is that if you do end up outsourcing this task it will be easier for the person doing the work to have it ready in an Excel file rather than work in your app.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 56: The Human Pyramid
What is this? Do you remember how a telethon works? I haven’t seen one in ages on TV, but this Growth Hacking Tip’s principle is similar. Have a countdown - or a count up - that counts the number of shares, the number of downloads, the number of individual tweets or the number of in-app achievements from all the users. When they all reach a certain level, unlock a feature for everybody.
Why should you do this? This Growth Hacking Tip revolves around the same psychological principles as the lottery - group participation that goes towards the same common goal. In fact, it’s even better than the lottery, because it doesn’t imply that people should spend money in order to get the achievement, and once the goal is reached everybody has something to gain.
Who else is doing it? This is a very widespread campaign which can quickly be adapted to current events. For instance, I recently saw it used by T-Mobile, where they were offering a discount up to 30% on new phones depending on the number of shares users’ tweets had.
How can you do this? The approach is very low-tech. For instance, if you are counting tweets there are a lot of Twitter buttons with built-in counters that you can use on your campaign page, and you can easily build such a page on your app’s website.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 57: The Queue Jumper
What is this? There are points in an app where a user has to be on a “waiting list” of some sorts. For instance, if you have a game and you implemented “energy levels” that refill after a certain amount of time, the user will enter a waiting list until he or she can play again. The point of this Growth Hacking Tip is to have them skip the waiting list by sharing content on Twitter or Facebook.
Why should you do this? People don’t like to wait. By offering them a way to jump the queue some of them will take the opportunity in order to advance - and the addition of queue jumping through social sharing adds yet another layer of promotion for your app.
Who else is doing it? Freemium games often employ this tactic that allows you to get quicker access to levels and energy for further play modes. Mailbox, Dropbox’s email app, had the same tactic when they first launched, and people were quick to share in order to get access to the service earlier.
How can you do this? If you implemented a queue of some sorts, you no doubt have a counter built into it that keeps the time or counts the number of interactions needed until a certain feature is unlocked. If so, it would not be difficult to add another variable to that counter that decreases the waiting time if a user goes through the motions of sharing something on Twitter, Facebook or on another social media site.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 58: Timebomb
What is this? When a user has to make a decision about a purchase or an important activity, make sure you pressure them slightly by including a time limit for the decision. For instance, if you have two subscription plans: one free and one that costs a certain amount of dollars per month, make sure you place a time limit on a discount on the paid subscription plan - it doesn’t have to be a major discount, either! Something like 10% or 15% will do.
Why should you do this? It’s a basic pressure tactic. If you give users a limited time to make a decision, it will pressure them into making it and people who are on the fence will likely make the decision you want from them purely out of impulse.
Who else is doing it? E-commerce stores usually employ this tactic to great effect, usually increasing their sales significantly.
How can you do this? Technically, this is easy to implement, as it only requires the addition of a counter that activates once per user. Make sure you don’t have every offer in your app activated with such a counter because users will ultimately become desensitized to this and they will not respond the way you like them to. Also, make sure to apply just the right amount of pressure - too much and they will become frustrated, too little and they will stop caring about the actual offer.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 59: The Winback
What is this? Take advantage of the email addresses you have from users and remind them about their activity on your app. Incentivize them to return by sending them periodical emails. Alternatively, give them notifications on the phone reminding them to come back to your app.
Why should you do this? There are a lot of reasons why a user might become inactive on your app, and a lot of the times this does not reflect the quality of your app or even their opinion of it - people just forget. A wingback campaign’s purpose is to remind users that your app exists and that they should use it. It’s easier to make inactive users return than it is to convince new ones to join!
Who else is doing it? Most of the mature e-commerce platforms implement some sort of win-back campaign after a month or so of inactivity.
How can you do this? There are two effective ways of conducting a win-back campaign: either through emails or notifications. Your database should have an accurate record of the moment a user has last logged in, and you can take advantage of this information by sending out notifications to users that haven’t logged in in a couple of weeks.
Careful not to overdo it with these notifications – typically, once every two weeks is enough to give them a phone notification, while email notifications should be sent out roughly every month.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 60: The Roadblock
What is this? Often, either in apps or on websites you will see a “roadblock” in the user experience - something that stops you from experiencing the app normally and forces you to either create an account or share something with your friends on Twitter or Facebook. That roadblock could be useful to you as a developer!
Why should you do this? It is very easy: this method guarantees that some of the more curious users will create an account or will sign up in order to experience the app properly. This will at the very least give you one more user, and at most, it will give you a satisfied user that’s willing to spread the word.
Who else is doing it? A lot of the services like photo editors have a specific, key service that is only unlockable after you sign up for a premium account, or simply for an account that defines you as a user.
How can you do this? This Growth Hacking Tip should be implemented right from the get-go, when you think about the whole way your app is used. Implement this right in the user experience and set up one of these roadblocks at a crucial point.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 61: Webinars
What is this? Similarly to the offline conference, you can hold a presentation online, in the form of a webinar. You can use this opportunity to introduce people to your app, and teach something useful to the audience in the process of doing so.
Why should you do this? A webinar is a great way of combining offline presentations with the ease of holding them online. They’re a great tool for businesses worldwide and have proven to be a great asset for marketing as well.
Who else is doing it? Many companies oriented on local businesses or even enterprises use webinars to great effect.
How can you do this? First of all, you should choose a topic that you feel very comfortable presenting - that’s why holding a webinar on your very own app is considered to be the best idea.
Then, use all your online and offline marketing tools to make it known to your users and your followers that you are holding this webinar. You should expect that you will be talking for a while alone, and it will be more awkward than actually holding a presentation in front of a real audience!
Growth Hacking Tip no. 62: Packaging Matters
What is this? This is quite the niche advice, but not unheard of in the app world - if you ship something to your customers, turn the experience into much more than just opening a box. Make it personal. Make the unboxing an event.
Why should you do this? Look at unboxing videos on Youtube - the simple act of taking something out of a box has been transformed into so much more than just opening a box and using a product. It is now a ritual in itself and an experience that is so good that it’s often shared with friends and strangers alike. When a person does this they are actively promoting your product, your app and you!
Who else is doing it? Apple is the king of fine packaging. The way the packed the first iPhone made history, and today a lot of the packages we see – especially the ones in IT and telecom – are based off Apple’s principle.
How can you do this? Even if your app doesn’t have anything to do with shipments, you can still get in on the action. There are countless occasions when you can send users a small gift - not more than a branded mug, a sticker or some swag that lets users know you care about them.
Make the unboxing special by having something unique and personal, something that is really worthwhile. The best way to do this is to find a local boxing company that is willing to go the extra mile in order to provide you with something truly unique and awesome.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 63: Vanity
What is this? Anytime a user accomplishes a goal that he has been working towards, or anytime he reaches a milestone, has him celebrate by offering the opportunity to brag about it!
Why should you do this? This tactic exploits a user’s vanity by letting you get some free marketing right on their social media accounts. It’s obviously not that easy to make users talk about your app, but by talking them up to their friends it might make things run smoother. For instance, wouldn’t you be inclined to share something that says “this user just beat level 100 in MyApp!”.
Who else is doing it? FarmVille is one of the best examples – they had users share whenever they accomplished the tiniest thing within the game, and it was part of the reason why the game enjoyed the popularity it did.
How can you do this? Think about a milestone that your users need to pass when they use your app and turn that into an event that needs to be shared. This can be as easy as opening a popup window and offering the possibility to post on social media.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 64: Intro Videos
What is this? The aim of this Growth Hacking Tip is for you to create an introduction video of your app and show it off for users. Use a short 2 or 3-minute video to show the main features of the app, what it can do and how it can help people - basically, make it into a 2 minute long commercial of your app.
Why should you do this? You can always have text on your app description and talk about it and the main features, but if a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is definitely worth a short book.
People can instantly get the feel of your app from a video, and it can become extremely easy for you to reach new audiences. Even a 30-second animation or narrated video can have a great impact on users, which will increase the understanding of your app.
Who else is doing it? Kickstarter is the one service where this method is not only advised but crucial – being able to accurately describe and promote your product within a couple of minutes is critical in a day when people don’t have the patience to listen anymore.
How can you do this? The most basic way to do this is to have a camera, or even another phone, and film the app on your phone doing a couple of basic actions. It doesn’t even have to be anything amazing (no outlandish animations or anything), just the phone has to be clearly visible and catchy enough so that people will be interested in the app. Obviously, the more time and money you spend on the video the more professional-looking you can make it!
Growth Hacking Tip no. 65: Auto-follow
What is this? When a user creates a new account for your app, have him follow popular accounts automatically.
Why should you do this? If you are creating a type of social app where users interact with each other and follow each other, you can face the “cold start” problem. This implies that new users who have nobody to follow in the app would be discouraged from interacting further with your app - and for good reason.
If you are a new user and you see an empty timeline, you are not encouraged to discover the full potential of the app. However, if you give them a glimpse into the app by auto following popular accounts, you can increase the number of users that actually interact with your app.
Who else is doing it? One of the main promoters of this technique was Pinterest. In order to have a basic idea of what you’re expecting from the service, Pinterest will show you pins from categories that you like (ones that you’ve selected) and encourage you to follow the users that generated those pins.
How can you do this? When your app is new, have a new account be created with a couple of major other users being followed. In order to preserve objectivity, you can make these new users something official - for instance, how Twitter used to make you auto follow @Twitter when you first signed up. However, when your app gets some traction and people know it more, you can drop this tactic altogether.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 66: One Time Offers
What is this? For first time users, make an exclusive offer that is set to expire soon.
Why should you do this? Not all first-time users are set for life. There is a certain “trial period” when using an app - this can range from a couple of minutes to a day or so, depending on the duration of your app’s lifecycle. However, you shouldn’t think that these trial users have a negative feeling towards your app - they are neutral, and you should push them to be positive by offering an incentive and drawing them on your side.
Who else is doing it? E-commerce sites are, again, some of the main ones who use this technique. You might be familiar with expressions like “call now to receive this one time offer” or “call within the next hour and you will receive this guaranteed…”.
How can you do this? Think about an incentive that would make users come back and keep using your website. Have an offer and give them this incentive at a reduced cost - and add a sense of urgency by offering users this only for a limited time. In order to make sure you only offer this to first-time users, make this offer as part of the introduction to your app, and have it only show up once.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 67: Annual Upgrades
What is this? For people that are already loyal users of your app, offer an annual upgrade for a higher service, at a lower price. Ideally, you should only do this once after their first year.
Why should you do this? After the “trial period” at the beginning - the one we discussed previously - a user can be drawn in and become a supporter and a fan. However, after some time of using the app there can appear a plateau that prevents users from continuing to use your app at its full potential. To counteract this, you can offer users a further incentive: a discount for an annual upgrade.
Needless to say, this works with subscription-based apps, where you pay the yearly fee upfront. The benefit for this is that a paying customer knows the value proposition better than a new one, and it can be easier to convince him that an upgrade is worth the money.
Who else is doing it? Dropbox has this technique down. When a user is some time away from the billing cycle, he will receive an offer that gives them a couple of months of free or reduced price on a higher plan.
How can you do this? A very simple way to put this tactic into practice is to send a customer an email and remind them about the annual upgrade offer. For instance, if users make yearly payments and you have set a timer for the upgrade, make another time one week in advance and offer them a reduced upgrade to a higher subscription plan.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 68: Horoscope
What is this? This is more of a content-related Growth Hacking Tip. You can have a section in your app that defines the personality of a user based on answers to a standardized set of questions. You don’t even have to be 100% right and add a bunch of details (you can’t possibly know their mothers’ maiden name), but just hitting the ballpark can be a great incentive for users to appreciate your app.
Why should you do this? People love to talk about themselves and they love to be defined. They always find it fun to see how others feel about them or how answers to certain questions put them in one category or another. This is a great opportunity for you to put the user in the spotlight - and here’s the kicker: once you do place them in a category, have them share this on social media.
Users are more likely to share things that relate to them in particular, and if your app tells them that “you are a curious, intelligent person” they will be more likely to share that on Facebook or other social media sites. Just think about it - how many of your friends share things like these on social media?
Who else is doing it? A lot of Facebook-based apps have perfected this technique, and users absolutely love it. They will even tell have quizzes that tell you what type of animal you’ll be in a next life – things that cannot be proven to be wrong and are fun to users.
How can you do this? Again, this can be different depending on all the different types of apps that are out there but pick one subject that is related to your particular app.
Generally speaking, you want to make it as broad as possible while still tied together with your app - if you have a photography app, don’t make a quiz related to “What type of dolphin would you be?”, but make one that asks “What type of photographer are you?” and have users placed in different categories: nature photographer, macro photographer, etc.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 69: Follow-up emails
What is this? Find users that have not used your app in a while, or those who have canceled their accounts, and send them an email asking them why. Show interest!
Why should you do this? Feedback is important for two reasons: first of all, it helps you identify the areas where the value proposition of your app is weaker and helps you improve in that certain areas. The other reason is that people like to be involved. If they’re on the fence about your app some users might even return when they see that you are actively looking to improve.
Who else is doing it? Many SaaS vendors send this type of follow up email to people that did not continue with the company after the trial period.
How can you do this? All you have to do is send an email to users that meet certain criteria - for instance, as we’ve said, users that have recently canceled their accounts. Have this feedback as a checklist, and have users check one or more boxes in that list containing reasons why they are/were not satisfied with your app. You can then group that feedback and change the biggest reasons, thus improving your app!
Growth Hacking Tip no. 70: Teasers
What is this? Don’t make all your content available for users that have not registered for an account with your app. Have part of it shown, while keeping the true backbone of your app unavailable until a user decides to sign up.
Why should you do this? Your goal is to have the user sign up, so you can have at him with other marketing methods (emails, notifications, reminders). As a result, you should have only part of your app shown for everybody, while “hiding” the bigger, true reason of your app behind a sign-up wall. If you offer subscription-based access to your app, it’s going to be even easier to make them sign up for a “premium” level instead of a free one.
Who else is doing it? Media outlets do this most often. Newspapers will not show the entire piece of information upfront, because they would otherwise lose a big chunk of their potential visitors.
How can you do this? As is the case with a lot of other Growth Hacking Tips, it all mostly depends on your business model and the way you want users to actually make use of your app – and this is exactly where this Growth Hacking Tip comes into play. Set up a plan – how much you want users to see without signing up, and the rest of the content. Then follow up on that plan!
Growth Hacking Tip no. 71: Content Seeding
What is this? For an app that is based on content, it’s difficult to have that content shown in the beginning when there are not many users actually active on your app. The solution is to create user-generated content yourself.
Why should you do this? Let’s say you have a social news app, where people discuss the latest news. In the beginning, you will have next to no active users, so no actual content to show people that are just downloading the app right now.
The solution is to create a bunch of bogus accounts and simulate content until there are actually people there to create content. This will help your app appear active, which will then encourage users to contribute to the content themselves.
Who else is doing it? Reddit, the website which today has users that number in the hundreds of millions, took off by having its founders create tons of fake users and content.
How can you do this? As is the case with a lot of other Growth Hacking Tips, you have two options - either you create content yourself and spend time doing so, or you hire somebody to create content and spend money. Whatever solution you go for, the effect is guaranteed.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 72: Email Detective
What is this? When sending out an email to potential stakeholders - like bloggers that you would like to review your app - and you don’t know the proper contact channels, try finding it out or guessing it.
Why should you do this? Contacting a new stakeholder is the biggest sales pitch for your app, and it’s crucial that you do it properly.
Who else is doing it? Everybody who has ever worked in business development.
How can you do this? You can try a lot of tricks to guess the email of a person within a company. You can try email@example.com - the basic trick to finding an email. If that fails, try various combinations.
for instance, if the name of the person, if you’re trying to contact, is Adam Smith, try firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If even that fails, it never hurts to contact the company and inquire about the person directly.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 73: Increase Conversion by Optimizing Newsletter Delivery Time
What is this? When sending out newsletters, you should test and track every possible combination of time of day and day of week delivery. Optimize your email campaign based on the amount of conversion you get from each newsletter.
Why should you do this? Email newsletters are an incredibly powerful marketing tool. But you need to be careful as to when to send the emails. It’s unlikely for your prospect to respond to what you offer when he receives your email right before his busy community to the office. If you send out your newsletter on Friday after hour, it has a good chance to convert right from the beginning.
Who else is doing it? Most of the big time marketing gurus have perfected the timing to the T.
How can you do this? There is a lot of email marketing software that let you test and track conversion and call to actions. Start out by testing the day of the week and the time slot for sending these newsletters. As a benchmark, try sending these newsletters out on Friday at 4 pm. Then test out other times, according to the time zone of the majority of your users, and see which performs best.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 74: Pre-fill forms
What is this? Whenever possible, all the fields that need to be filled out by a user should be pre-filled with placeholder information automatically.
Why should you do this? Not everybody is tech-savvy. Filling out forms is a daunting task for one a mobile device. You should help your users in every way possible. The easier it is for your users to fill out a form, the more you sell.
Who else is doing it? Just about every form is pre-filled nowadays. For example, the country and area code is usually pre-filled.
How can you do this? There are two ways you can do this:
1. Get all the information you have on a user and add it to the form. Do you know a user’s email address, first name, and last name? Prefill the form with that information.
2. For the rest of the information, prefill the forms with standard placeholders. “email@example.com” is a good placeholder for an email form field.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 75: Thank You!
What is this? Periodically send thank you letters to users. This can either be done through emails or - better yet - notifications.
Why should you do this? Even in the business world, it’s good practice to thank your customers - why should apps be any different? It shows your customers that you are grateful for your partnership, and it’s a helpful interaction with a brand.
Who else is doing it? There’s a story that has come close to be a legend, and it revolves around the Ritz Carlton hotels and one family that stayed there. The family’s small son forgot his toy giraffe at the hotel, and not only did the representatives return the child’s favorite toy, but also a series of photos of the toy enjoying itself in the hotel. The story went viral and generated a lot of great press for the hotel chain.
How can you do this? Depending on the type of app you have, you can use a timer to thank users every couple of weeks, or after completing a task or signing up for a new service. Find what moment works best for your particular app and send thank you notes at that precise time.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 76: You need to sell them after they have bought
What is this? You need to tell your customer what they have bought and why it is a great decision. Ask them to register for a user account and sell them the idea in the welcome email.
Why should you do this? By now, you probably already have a system in place where you take users through the early process of using your app. However, it helps to create an email and explain the top 2-4 features of your app and welcome a user.
It’s gotten to the point that every time I sign up for a new account with something - be it a new app, a new web service, anything - I expect a welcome/clarification email. There are three main user types that you will encourage by sending this email: users that get distracted after signing up, users that don’t find a specific feature and would then rather give up and users that have a question about your app and are too lazy to google it.
Who else is doing it? Just about every service that requires you to have an account will send you a welcome email when you create a new account with them.
How can you do this? Set up an automated email to be sent out every time a user signs up for a new account. As for the content of the email, you should be looking to provide basic support by answering frequently asked questions, and encourage users to continue using your app by proving you are in touch with them.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 77: Bundling up to boost transaction size
What is this? The whole idea of bundling up your apps for sales is to increase the transaction size.
Why should you do this? Bundling is a great way to increase revenue. In the app business, since there is next to no cost of material and delivery. You are essentially getting free money what you would otherwise not receive.
Who else is doing it? The infamous Angry Birds bundles, The Infinity Blade bundle and the Humble Bundle on Google play, just to name a few.
How can you do this? Capture on the moment and run a press release ahead of the campaign to brew anticipation, and set yourself above the crowd by offering a big discount. Seek out the media on your niche and contact them early on about including your campaign in their announcements.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 78: Ask for Registration Afterwards
What is this? A major app design mistake is to ask the user to fill in a lot of information before they get to the meat of the app. It’s a great idea to get the contact information form the users, so you can upsell and cross-sell them in the future. But asking for too much information before gaining trust is a major turn off.
Why should you do this? Let the user try your app by only giving up minimal contact information. Once they have invested time and energy in your app, you can begin to offer secret hidden features in exchange for a full registration. You can then segment your customer's list based on the profile information to put them into different sales funnels.
Who else is doing it? Many Facebook apps that offer quizzes will only show the quiz’s results after users sign up for an account with them or allow the app to access the user’s Facebook data.
How can you do this? Here is a real-life example – a photo editor app, which should remind namelessly. After you download and installed the app, and edited the photo to your personal delight. You registered for an account to enable the sharing on the cloud. Little did you know that there is storage limit, at some point in the near future, you will be asked to fill out the full profile or risk losing the changes you painstakingly applied on your favorite photos.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 79: The Event
What is this? Host an offline event for users in your niche.
Why should you do this? Offline events are a great way to interact with people. They do cost significantly more than conventional online marketing methods. However, it’s highly effective. You need to start promoting the event 6 months before the event date. Pick a location that is easy to fly to. E.g.
It only takes about a 2 hours flight from anywhere in the States to Chicago. It is a great way to establish authority and a great way to create buzz on the app you happened to be promoting at the time. A lot of startups live by organizing and promoting events because it’s a time-tested and proven way to generate leads and partnership.
Who else is doing it? 37signals’ success is largely due to their contrarian image promoted in such events across North America.
How can you do this? First of all, decide if you want to and how much money you are willing to spend on this. Then, get working on contacting the relevant people in your business, and people whose presence at this event would help you out. Have a small presentation at the beginning of the event, make sure there is a central theme to everything, then have people mingle and have a good time.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 80: Responsive Design
What is this? Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)
Why should you do this? You need to be able to effectively market to your potential customers no matter where they are. When they are accessing your site on a desktop, you want to fully utilize the visual elements and real estates of the screen to obtain the highest conversion rate. Same goes for a mobile device, navigating the desktop version of your site could be a pain in the rear on a mobile device. Your job is to optimize the conversion rate on all devices.
Who else is doing it? There are literally thousands of app-related site migrating to responsive design each and every day. The easiest way to get started is to visit Squarespace, an online design service that let you pick and choose from an array of responsive designs.
How can you do this? A responsive design is based on CSS features that tell browsers what the best way to display content for the current device resolution. There are a lot of guides out there that teach you how to implement responsive design for an existing website, or how to build one from scratch.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 81: The Speed of execution
What is this? Increase the speed of your app by optimizing it for as many devices as possible.
Why should you do this? Speed kills. Slow speed, that is. There is nothing worse than dealing with slow traffic, slow internet connection and slow apps. Research has shown that there is a significant correlation between user engagement and the speed of an app.
Who else is doing it? Smartwatch Pebble’s Android app is one of the most recent examples – after they increased the speed of their app, the user interaction spikes.
How can you do this? Tweaking performance is always a tricky business. The best way to do it is to test early and test often. Before your official launch, you should have a trial launch or beta testing with people ranging from novice to expert.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 82: Sharecropping in the New Economy
What is this? Adding this idea to your apps could turn an underdog into a golden goose. Let’s face it. High-quality contents are expensive. But creating a system that let users created their own highly targeted contents are much easier and cheaper.
Why should you do this? When people create their own contents they are more drawn to and motivated to share them, and therefore promoting your apps as they are doing it. The key is to have them create the contents on the land (apps) you own. “Sharecropping is a system of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on the land.”
Who else is doing it? Buzzfeed is one of the services that rely heavily on community posts.
How can you do this? Once more, this depends on the type of app that you have and the model you want to pursue. This is something you need to keep in mind when creating your model: allow people to create their own content. The bottom line is to pay attention to the social side and open up to third-party content creation more.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 83: Movers and Shakers Affiliate Programs
What is this? Recruit an army of super users or affiliates and put them on the mission to acquire new users for your app. In return, they will get a piece of the action.
Why should you do this? Affiliate programs are a classic tactic that stood the test of time. An affiliate program works much like a two-way reward system, with a couple of differences: first, the rewards are higher, implying a higher incentive for the users to refer new customers to your app.
Second, while the two-way reward system is open for everybody, the affiliate program is focused on a small group of highly influential people. The abilities to tape into the “force field” of these movers and shakers are the key to a long lasting and successful business.
Who else is doing it? Affiliate programs are nothing new, they are found all over the internet. They drive user interaction wherever they are used.
How can you do this? There are a lot of courses that will teach you in detail how to conduct efficient affiliate marketing - however, regardless of the type and implementation of this campaign, the two most important things to take into account are incentives and tracking of the campaign.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 84: Mature slowly with the rules
What is this? In the early stages of you releasing your app you could play dumb for a bit and interpret the rules of the game. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that the rules that aren’t up for interpretation are the ones from the app stores - having your app pulled from them isn’t a good way to promote it to people.
Why should you do this? By closing an eye to some of the rules you can have an advantage in the early stages of your app. There are risks; however, so make sure you don’t go too far!
Who else is doing it? One of the most famous uses for this cheeky technique is Airbnb, who built a “publish directly to Craiglist” feature, even though this was against Craiglist’s own rules. Similarly, YouTube allowed users to publish tons of copyrighted content in the early days of the service.
How can you do this? When you’re just starting out, there isn’t constant scrutiny towards your app, so you can avoid not playing by all the rules - for instance, if you see users sharing content that’s originally from another place, and they don’t specify a source, don’t be too harsh and delete the content. Just claim innocence at first.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 85: Secret Underground Partnerships
What is this? Similarly to the IFTTT API integration, you can integrate your app with another via their API, and get promoted by your partner in the process.
Why should you do this? Being promoted by a partner can boost your downloads significantly, and add to your own social network - having reliable partners in the business is a good way of building your name in this industry. The users also have a lot to gain from this by benefiting from the advantages of two or more apps.
Who else is doing it? Facebook has a full page of add-ons that link to all of their partners.
Similarly, a lot of apps will come together to provide an even better service.
How can you do this? Find another app or a developer that does something complementary to your own services. Choose the partner with mainly the user gain in mind, and also based on their own qualities. You can then promote this partnership, resulting in both of you have to gain in exposure.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 86: Make Money out of everything you have got
What is this? Another way to partner up is to white label your app and offers it to others to sell as their own. Ideally, you should do this after you have gained some notoriety in the business, and it can land you quite a bit of money to use as investments.
Why should you do this? Partnering up with another business can gain you access to their own market, as long as you don’t sell your services anonymously. If your goal is mainly revenue, putting your name out there is not that big of a deal, but if your goal is to create a strong name for yourself as a developer you should make sure that the clauses include promoting yourself as well.
Who else is doing it? The majority of the VPS industry relies on reseller activity.
How can you do this? White labeling your products is a complex topic, and one that entire books have been written on. Another form of white labeling includes making your app exclusive to third-party app stores - therefore putting any possible technical issues in the hands of the people you are working with.
Growth Hacking Tip no. 87: The Money is in the NEW thing… Tap into the pulse of the future
What is this? Once you feel that the app’s lifecycle is coming to a close and it is time for something new, don’t be afraid to try something new. Plan on having a new app put out and always keep an eye on the future.
Why should you do this? There’s hardly a developer out there that became rich and famous after creating just one app, so it’s a good idea to expand your portfolio. By doing so, you can use the community and the user base from your previous apps in order to build up the new ones.
Who else is doing it? Every successful developer and entrepreneur is doing it, and you should too!
How can you do this? Keep an idea log at all times and try to think about app ideas. When you think of a great app idea, write it down and revisit all of your previous choices after a couple of weeks, and see if you feel the same about them. When your current app’s life cycle is nearing the end, choose the best suggestion and expand on it.
PJ Taei is the founder of Uscreen, a video platform that helps anyone sell videos online and build a living by doing what they love!