How to start Growth Hacking without Data?

The idea of Growth Hacking is that you collect data, analyze it, focus on one number, and improve that number. That number should not be some arbitrary number. Instead this number should be related to your funnel. For example it could be one of the Pirate metrics:

customer acquisition funnel

If you are at the very beginning you may have an idea of how this works conceptually. However, you may not know what the specific, let alone optimized, funnel looks like for your particular offering. So you need to get started somehow.

One option is to create a landing page that presents your value proposition. Lacking any data, just create the best version of it you can. You will adjust later, but give it your best shot.

Then the number you are looking initially might be the number of users per hour or day that visit your landing page. How can you improve it? That depends on many different factors. For example, Google makes some basic recommendations about what you should consider for your web site Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. Another option is to follow the advice available at Moz The Web Developer's SEO Cheat Sheet.

How do you direct traffic to your landing page? Well, that is what you need to experiment with. You want to improve the number of users finding your landing page in the first place. You can experiment with various social networks for example. Try to find out where your target audience is. Then be present, participate in the conversation. Each social network has a different culture, has a different set of (unwritten) rules, and follows a different style.

You can also tap your rolodex and send friendly emails, one at a time, or even call people. It all depends on your audience and what means you have available. Be creative!

Be aware, though, that people in general do not like to be spammed. So be careful about what you do and how you do it. Make sure you take a long term approach. You don’t want to put off your target audience. Instead you want to provide value and to make your offering attractive, regardless of whether it is content or a software as a service product (SaaS).

Also, be aware that unless you then try to qualify the users of your landing page further, you might look at just a vanity metric. For example, you might want to sell to businesses, but all your visitors (perhaps unknown to you) are consumers and don’t purchase for businesses. In that case, the number of visitors is of little help. On the other hand, without any visitors at all, you won’t be able to qualify them further.

In summary: Pick a number, e.g. users per day, then improve it. On a regular basis review whether the number you are looking at is still the most important number. After a while you will find that moving to a different number is the right thing to do. As a growth hacker you need to be flexible, adaptive, and creative, so that as the available data improves you can quickly change your tack, and focus on something new.

Happy growth hacking!

Posted: Sunday, June 29, 2014 9:10:23 AM UTC