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Growth Hacking: Not Just for Start-ups

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Growth hacking in tech is hot.  Every entrepreneur knows it.  It’s being credited as the new thing for tech start ups to drive exponential growth.  So what is it exactly? Essentially, it’s the science of developing software that can sell itself.

The thinking goes something like this. Early adopters are the new on-ramp to getting your product used, which in tech, is essentially the name of the game.  This means you need to have attributes that appeal to early adopters who will essentially drive the penetration of your product. In other words, you need to find the right combination of features that will essentially sell themselves.

The fact is many of us marketers are handed a finished product by our product development teams. Growth hacking requires the marketing and development teams to work together to develop a cohesive growth strategy for a new product. If you’re still depending on your sellers and your outbound marketing tactics to find 100% of your leads, perhaps you should consider whether you’ve overlooked the fundamentals.

Here are three essential product attributes to consider:

Design: The call to action here is to build a product that stands out from the crowd.  Average or expected functionality won’t make people excited or get your product shared.  What is it about your product that’s beautiful or surprising in some way?  Simple, clean, cool, edgy, new—these are the attributes that define something that gets noticed.  The product needs to be remarkable in some way.

Findability: Are the channels in place to drive awareness of your product as customers search the Internet for a solution? Your product needs to be extremely findable on the web. This has become a science in itself. SEO, backlinks and API integration are the key here. The ability for seamless sharing between apps enables new products to grow on the back of more mature communities. Think Spotify and Facebook—they are essentially promoting one another’s products and users. If you’re building a phone app, you’re one click away from adding every user’s contacts into the app circle. Consider a revenue share or promotion with a partner.  This can become a powerful marketing machine.

Shareability:  Is the product designed to encourage sharing?  This is a core attribute of the Facebook and Twitter model, in which early users attract their friends. The model is actually built around the user sharing with new users, which is fairly brilliant.  Each time someone comes to your site, they bring their network of friends to the product. Therefore, the product needs to have a wow factor or highlight the user in some way that can help it to become viral. You can also apply an offer to drive sharebility.  Dropbox uses growth backing by providing free storage space to users who add friends.

So ask yourself this: Does my product essentially sell itself?  Are there channels in place to drive awareness of my product as customers search the Internet for a solution?

If the answer if no, get together with your development team and your product marketing team and have a think on how you can drive natural penetration.  It might be through a feature, a beta that allows users to participate in the launch of a new product, or a sharing element.

To drive growth for a new tech product, you need to think like a growth hacker.

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