Finding good growth hacking strategies through a Google Search in 2021 is hard given how saturated this topic has become since Sean Ellis coined the term over ten years ago.
Let me guess, on your search for great growth hacking ideas, you keep finding articles that start with a section titled, “What is Growth Hacking?”
Then, when you get to the actual list of growth hacking strategies, you either find the same 10 to 20 “growth hacks” that you found in the last article you breezed through, or 100+ little tips that leave you confused as to which ones you should actually use.
In this article, we’ll focus on providing more comprehensive growth hacking strategies that produce great results over long periods of time.
Because that’s what you really want, right?
So, let’s get straight to it. Here are 9 growth hacking strategies that will work for you right now, and for the foreseeable future:
- New Instagram automated messages.
- Be Data-Driven: The Growth Hacking Mindset.
- Send SMS blasts to your audience.
- Run viral contests online.
- Grow your social media presence with automation.
- Make a free tool: Engineering as marketing.
- Get bloggers to review your product.
- Run more retargeting ads.
- Start using multichannel chatbots ASAP.
#1. Growth Hacking Strategy of 2021: New Instagram Automated Messages
The #1 secret weapon for growth hackers in 2021 is the new suite of Instagram DM auto-reply tools by Customers.ai.
In fact, Customers.ai’s new tools for Instagram, which just dropped in February 2021, make the top of our list because there’s never been a chatbot that’s 100% Instagram-approved.
As far as using a chatbot to get instagram followers goes, Customers.ai is atop the leaderboard because there’s only one way to get the ‘right’ followers on Instagram: Organic engagement.
Not only will Customers.ai’s Instagram tools get you more of the followers that you actually want, Customers.ai has Instagram tools that allow marketers to:
- Finally! Manage your DMs like a pro with multi-user inbox management tools.
- Instantly reply to comments on your posts.
- Turn Instagram traffic into website traffic.
- Run a contest or do a giveaway on Instagram that incentivizes comments, shares, and mentions of your brand by your followers using auto-reply tools.
- Automatically engage with the people who share your content in Instagram Stories.
Customers.ai Founder, Larry Kim, who is has been an influencer in the digital marketing space for over a decade now, can’t believe what he’s seeing:
“It’s crazy, we have accounts that are doing nearly 100,000 messages per week and they are growing by tens of thousands more followers than normal!”Larry Kim, Founder, Customers.ai
The results of using Larry’s own software has convinced him that Instagram is the place to be for influencers in 2021.
Want to start using Instagram Tools right away? To get started with Instagram bot automation tools, here’s what to do:
Get early access to Instagram messaging tools.
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#2. Be Data-Driven: The Growth Hacking Mindset
57% of marketers who use data-driven marketing tactics see revenue increases.
Truly thinking like a data-driven digital marketer means thinking systematically.
So, if you remember the scientific method from school, it’s a good time to recognize its merits, because it’s very similar to what it means to be data-driven as a marketer.
As a marketer, here’s how to apply the scientific method to your own efforts.
Explore different marketing channels
If you look at examples of how many of the most successful companies found their path to growth, you won’t find a story about how they just did what everyone else was doing.
Instead, they identified a channel that was working for them through trial and error and then exploited it for all it was worth.
Before jumping into any marketing campaigns, you need to give serious consideration to all marketing channels – especially if you’re a young company/startup.
Even if you have zero data to go on, there are multiple frameworks to determine your best marketing channels.
And growing a customer base from nothing requires methods which are:
- Creative, and
Take a look at these two frameworks to determine your quickest path to growth.
Pay attention to your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Before you start trying to make sense of all of your data, you should first identify your company’s primary metrics.
These are commonly referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs).
Marketing metrics and KPIs are measurable values used by marketing teams to demonstrate the effectiveness of campaigns across all marketing channels.
The top KPIs for modern marketing teams consist of the following:
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
- Funnel Conversion Rates
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
- Customer engagement
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
- Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
The next step is to map your metrics to each stage of your marketing funnel.
#3. Send SMS Blasts to Your Audience
There are a number of reasons to add SMS blasts to your growth marketing mix.
At least 5 billion people worldwide can send and receive text messages. And 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes of being sent.
In the U.S., text messaging is the favorite way of the 20 to 40-year-old crowd to stay in touch with service providers.
SMS marketing can be used for:
- Growing your contact lists.
- Sending triggered text messages based on behaviors and interactions.
- Promoting discounts, events, exclusive offers, etc.
- Sending text message drip campaigns.
To learn how to get started sending text message blasts to your audiences, check out this article: How To Send SMS Text Message Blasts
When your customers want to get in touch or have a question, more reach for chat than email or phone because chat is 1-on-1, convenient and real-time.
More and more, customers expect to be able to go to a business’s website and start chatting from a website chat widget should they need to be in touch with a business.
Using SMS chat blasts has the ability to reach audiences with whatever business information or promotional material you have to offer, as long as you’re using the right platform.
Customers.ai’s SMS opt-in and text message blasting tools are as good as it gets.
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#4. Run Viral Contests Online
Contests or reward-based campaigns naturally have the ability to go viral.
Online contests are an opportunity for lots of innovative ideas regarding the rewards, prizes, and incentives you decide to offer – which by the way might be very cheap…or better yet, free.
Something free might be as simple as assigning a status or giving recognition, partnering with other companies for some cross-promotion, getting to meet with the CEO, etc.
What’s important here, is to focus on aligning the rewards with your brand and the contest you’re running. Giving away an Amazon gift card only provides the person an incentive to get the gift card, which has nothing to do with your brand.
So, let’s say you’re Harley Davidson. Maybe you give away a custom bike as the top prize and then custom helmets or seats as the lower-tiered prizes. This assures that you’re attracting the right people, who naturally will want to spread the word about your campaign.
How to make a campaign go viral
Okay, so how do you get a contest or giveaway to go viral?
There’s no one way to go viral. There’s content virality (e.g. an article, video, meme), product virality (e.g. Google “will it blend”), systematic virality (which is more campaign-based) and so on.
When we’re talking about a contest or giveaway, we need to leverage systematic virality and run a campaign that gains a lot of velocity (traction + speed) with the right audience.
For anything to go viral however, there are some common factors that contribute to that velocity.
Viral advocacy has and always will be the most effective growth engine for your product, brand or cause. This is because it is based on word of mouth, authentic evangelism, and community activism.
Going viral requires a dynamic formula with both qualitative and quantitative aspects.
For example, in dynamic marketing campaigns, each of your assets takes on specialized roles (as illustrated in the rocket ship themed image below):
- Owned media assets ignite the initial launch sequence to activate early advocate participation. These are your customers, your SEO traffic, your email lists, social channels etc.
- Paid media is the rocket booster thrusting the growth velocity into overdrive in order to accelerate user activation and engagement. This is made up of your digital advertising, paid influencers, sponsorships, etc.
- Your Owned and Paid assets are what propel your Earned Advocacy, which consists of public media and word of mouth.
When you execute the release of this sequence of events (owned > paid > earned), with enough “fuel” this lifts what’s known as a viral loop cycle into a state of perpetual amplification.
Example of a viral online contest using a Facebook Messenger chatbot
This example is just about the easiest way to run an online contest, as you can set it up quite quickly.
The goal of this contest was to get as many FB Messenger bot opt-ins as possible, and the best way to get tons of people to opt-in to receiving messages is a giveaway.
What’s really great about this strategy, is it normally costs about 10X less than capturing leads with regular Facebook ad campaigns.
Here’s how it was executed:
Step 1: Imagine you’re trying to sell a muscle growth supplement in Australia.
A good attention grabber might be to find the best bodybuilding conference you could find in Australia, like this one: The Arnold Sports Festival Australia.
Step 2: Choose the most awesome tickets you can afford for the campaign and do a giveaway.
Here, the cost was $995 for the tickets, which include a photo with Arnold himself!
Step 3: Start blasting out Facebook ads – “Meet Arnold for your own photoshoot! Tag your gym buddies to enter!”
To take this campaign to the next level, tell entrants that they can enter the contest as many times as they want. All they need to do is tag a friend on Facebook in the comments.
One tag = one entry.
This tagging will greatly increase the chances of the contest going viral.
Step 4: The final step would be to have an omnichannel chatbot (I recommend using Customers.ai) send each commenter one sentence:
“To confirm your entrance into the Arnold Sports Festival Australia giveaway, please click ‘Confirm.”
Once they opt-in, you can message them all you want.
Lastly, now you can use these same viral marketing tools to run a contest or giveaway on Instagram!
#5. Grow Your Social Media Presence With Automation
Although you won’t find too many worthwhile ways to get organic growth from your social media channels anymore, you must have a strong social media presence, no matter who you are.
The good news is, in 2020 you can reliably automate a whole lot more of your social media processes than you once could.
Two of the best tools to do this with, are Phantombuster and MeetEdgar.
Social Media Automation Tool #1 – Phantombuster
Phantombuster provides over 200 code-free automation and data extraction tools that you can use individually or create full workflows for your marketing, sales and HR teams.
Workflows exist for LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Zapier, Medium, Quora, and others.
For example, here’s a workflow that uses three different Phantombuster tools to generate leads on LinkedIn, completely automated.
Use Phantombuster on your social media channels to:
- Generate leads
- Save time
- Build audiences
- Increase reach and engagement
Social Media Automation Tool #2 – MeetEdgar
MeetEdgar is a content recycler which you can use to automate the sharing of all your evergreen content across most major social media channels.
You’ve likely heard the phrase, “Content is king” a hundred times. However, it’s evergreen content that truly is king, because evergreen content holds its value and relevance to your target audience over long periods of time.
So, what’s great about this tool, unlike content schedulers such as Hootsuite, you can create the posts that are most important to your content strategy one time, and then have them post on a recurring schedule over time.
This ensures that your followers and page visitors are most likely to find the content that converts and attracts a wider audience.
Use MeetEdgar on your social channels to:
- Promote your best content, on repeat.
- Save time scheduling the same content over and over again.
- Auto-generate and test variations of posts linking to the same content.
- Schedule how many times per day you want your evergreen content posted to each channel, and at what times.
#6. Make a Free Tool – Engineering As Marketing
Building a free tool as a growth hacking strategy is also known as “engineering as marketing.”
Customers.ai’s CEO, Larry Kim, has his own “engineering as marketing” growth hack from his days as a Founder of WordStream, a PPC advertising platform.
Here’s what it was: The people who were signing up for pay per click (PPC) management software were not interested in spending three hours of their lives learning how to use WordStream.
What they really wanted to know was whether their advertising budget was being misallocated somehow, or not employed effectively.
With that in mind, they built the AdWords Grader to do just that.
It took three engineers just three months to build the AdWords Grader, which is a really clever invention.
The software grades your AdWords account and gives you a report to the effect of something like: “Hey Johnny. We looked at your AdWords account and it’s in the worst 4% of AdWords accounts we’ve ever seen in your city in your industry.”
Results of WordStream building a free AdWords grading tool
This created a tremendous amount of urgency on the part of the buyer, and in turn, it reduced their sales cycles and improved sales efficiency.
WordStream also made it so that it was practically idiot-proof to see the value of the product without having to spend tons of time and energy to learn all the tips and tricks in the tool.
They would also out a villain — part of the report card would say, “You know that agency that’s managing your account? They haven’t logged into the account for four months, and they haven’t really done anything.”
That would really get people worked up.
So, when talking about finding your unicorn growth hack, we’re not talking about getting a slightly better B2B white paper offering.
We’re talking about finding a truly remarkable, differentiated offer that drives insanely high conversion rates.
For WordStream, they went from a 2% conversion rate to a 40% demo-to-close rate because this growth hack was so effective.
Additionally, they were able to tighten the sales cycle from 30 days to less than 7 days, and millions of AdWord report cards have been generated by customers on their own volition over the last few years.
There were dozens and dozens of venture-backed companies vying for the same space, but they were able to crush them all because no company could have come close to competing with what they were offering.
#7. Get Bloggers To Review Your Product
Offering free accounts in exchange for reviews from influential bloggers can be another way to get the word out about your product or service.
Many companies have added this to their list of growth hacking strategies. For example, from our own efforts in the early days of Customers.ai, we’re lucky enough that some of the best digital marketers on earth, including Neil Patel, have reviewed Customers.ai.
Consider providing a free basic hosting plan for life in exchange for an honest review, or maybe offer a premium account for six months in exchange for a review, for example.
This is a smart growth hacking tactic because it lets people get to know your product or service, increasing the chance of them wanting to promote it even more.
In addition to getting bloggers to review your product on their site, or even on Medium, you can always invite people to contribute to your blog in exchange for a free account. This is an excellent way to get content, as well as free promotion.
Some tips to get started with adding this to your growth hacking strategies:
- Do a Google search for bloggers that commonly perform reviews and lists of products and services similar to yours.
- Use tools like MozBar and Klear to see how influential they are.
- Grab the URLs you’re interested in analyzing, and place them in Buzzsumo to see if their content gets shared.
- Connect on LinkedIn, try to find a common connection that can make an introduction, and/or reach out to them via email.
- Always provide and demonstrate the value you’re bringing to the table (e.g. a free account) before asking them for anything.
#8. Run Retargeting Campaigns
There are tons of different retargeting growth hacking strategies. In 2021, however, retargeting continues to gain importance due to the price of serving ads on Facebook. In fact, in if you check out Larry Kim’s best Facebook retargeting strategy for 2021, the ratio of retargeting vs regular “vanilla” Facebook ads, has shifted in recent years.
Here are some more retargeting growth hacks that have proven results:
Hide retargeting cookies for 45 seconds
Retargeting users who bounce immediately from your website (like in the first few seconds) is a waste of money for you, and annoying for those visitors.
Try hiding your retargeting cookies for 45 seconds to stop targeting users who bounce from your site in the first few moments. This way you can ensure that your retargeting budget is spent on people who actually take the time to stay on your page and consume your content.
A simple strategy for this is to add a small piece of code to your website that unhides your retargeting cookies after a set amount of time.
Convert abandoned cart visitors with retargeting coupons
Use coupons when retargeting visitors who leave your checkout page.
Lots of people make it all the way down your funnel and leave just before deciding to buy. Many times, the decision to leave was due to the price, which is emotional by nature.
Segment this audience, and use a coupon to bring them back. Be sure to demonstrate urgency by using a time limit on the CTA (i.e. 24 hours).
If you can, tie the coupon offer back to some event or brand promotion you have going on and the potential buyer won’t necessarily connect the ad to the fact that they were on your checkout page, which causes even less friction.
For more retargeting tips, see this post from Rebrandly – “Retargeting Campaigns: 25 tips from marketing experts”
#9. Take Advantage of Chatbots ASAP
There’s a reason why chatbots are all the talk surrounding growth hacking tools.
- Significantly higher engagement and open rates
- End-to-end automation
- Virtually endless use cases
Here are just a few examples of how to use chatbots in your growth hacking strategies.
Increase Reach and Decrease Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) of Facebook Ads
You can use chatbots to broaden the reach and decrease the cost of lead acquisition with Facebook ads. The chatbot tool used to do this is called a Facebook Click-To-Messenger Ad.
Facebook ads with chatbots have a conversion rate of 3x-5x higher than traditional Facebook ads.
And that’s because Click-to-Messenger ads are:
- Super engaging
- Always mobile-friendly, and
- The conversion rate is 100%. as
Wait, 100% conversion rates? Yes, you automatically get everyone’s contact info and can message them back via Facebook Messenger. All it takes is for someone to interact with your ad.
With Facebook Messenger Ads, you’ll see your contact list skyrocket, guaranteeing a solid ROI on your next Facebook Ad campaign.
Take a look at this case study we conducted ourselves, which resulted in a cost per acquisition (CPA) decrease of 97%.
How to generate leads using chatbot auto-responders
There’s a lot of ways to generate leads using chatbots.
Chatbots are already replacing email for communication with customers, because chatbot apps regularly get:
- 80% to 90% open rates
- 20–50% clickthrough rates
Compare that to emails at 21.8% open rates and 2–3% clickthrough rates.
So, clearly things are changing.
When it comes to acquiring new customers via chatbots, Facebook Messenger bots are at the top of the list. Messenger bots are the only bots that instantly capture lead info automatically.
That means you can explode your lead volume simply by capturing name, location and the ability to send future messages before your bot even says “Hi.”
Here’s one example using Customers.ai Facebook post comment guards (aka Facebook post auto-replies or private replies). These are a highly engaging way to get new contacts.
What you do is take ordinary Facebook posts and turn them into lead-capturing tools.
If someone comments on your Facebook post, you can program a chatbot to send a private reply in Messenger.
This is just one of many ways to generate new leads using chatbots.
So, if acquiring customers with chatbots interests you and you want to learn more, here are: 12 examples of how to get tons more qualified leads using a Facebook Messenger Chatbot.
Use chatbot forms to increase sign-ups and registrations
Let’s say you have an upcoming webinar and you’re trying to get as many registrations as possible.
Typically, marketers use email marketing to drive webinar registrations. However, relying on email alone to get sign-ups requires a great drip sequence and time to get results.
So what’s missing from webinar sign-ups via email?
- Forms are clunky on mobile.
- Emails get trapped in spam filters.
- Email open rate is around 5-25%.
Instead, jump on a rocket-powered unicorn and get more sign-ups using chatbots, which have:
- Higher engagement than email.
- Interactive and conversational user experiences.
- Messenger forms that are always mobile-optimized.
- Automated follow-up messaging to audience segments.
Learn more about using chatbot forms to increase sign-ups and registrations for your brand.
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Time To Put these Growth Hacking Strategies to Work!
We hope you learned a ton from these tried and true growth hacking strategies.
What to do next?