I have to confess that I hate the term growth hacking. Growth hacking has a certain sexiness to it but it can create a dangerous mentality. Here’s why:
- people think growth hacking is about beating the system or exploiting a weakness rather then working within the system. People who are trying to recreate the AirBNB Craigslist hack, for example, are generally not going to be successful.
- growth hacks don’t last and lose their effectiveness once they’ve been abused
- growth hacks create a psychological bias against investing in long-term marketing
Tonight, I want to share my list of 5 sustainable growth hacking strategies:
1 – SEO on someone else’s website
Most marketers don’t think about the benefits of enhancing their SEO on other websites. Most people think about improving SEO on their own website, but improving SEO on others websites can increase traffic to your website considerably.
Some benefits include:
- Improving SEO on other websites increases your credibility
- Improving SEO on other websites is often easier because other websites may have a higher domain authority then you
- Improving SEO on other websites appears less self-promotional.
As an illustration, consider a hotel. If a credible newspaper calls you the “Greatest Hotel Ever,” that is a much more credible claim then if you call yourself the “Greatest Hotel Ever.” When someone else talks about you, people are more likely to listen.
2 – Visuals in your social sharing
In the last 12 to 18 months, I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in the usage of visuals in viral social shares. Quite simply, visuals make your social posts more shareable (see Hootsuite studies).
Growth Hack Tip – you may have noticed that Facebook posts from brands that you like may not be showing up as much as they used to. This is true for single image posts, but multi-image posts still appear more frequently in your Facebook fans newsfeeds. To increase the amount of times your posts appear, post more content with multiple images.
3 – Use Video Snippets and Metrics with Wistia
YouTube is great but you don’t get SEO benefits when people share your videos with others. With Wistia, you can change where the link posts to and garner the SEO benefits from shared videos. Plus, Wistia provides helpful analytics that allow you to analyze when people are engaged, rewatching or turning your video off.
4 – Crowdsourcing the Answers to Insidiously Hard Questions is Shareable
Your customers have some really challenging questions and they want to know what others in your marketplace think. By crowdsourcing these challenging questions, you build engagement with your customers and the results are instantly shareable. Folyo, an online community for connecting designers and buyers, did a great job highlighting this strategy in a recent blog post they wrote about design pricing questions.
5 – Ask Qualified Visitors Why They Didn’t Buy
It’s important to know why qualified customers didn’t buy. What were their objections?
Ask yourself – how were people when they were first exposed to your service or product? What brought them to the website for the first time? What brings them back?
At Moz, we want to know why customers who have visited our site repeatedly and created a free account have not initiated a 30-day free trial. These customers are qualified, so why are they not converting? We’ve found that these buyer’s objections are generally pretty similar.
If you find that your qualified leads are objecting to your service for similar reasons, you should post answers to these objections on to your marketing site so that these customers convert in the future.
Rand Fishkin is the cofounder, and Wizard of Moz. He co-authored the Art of SEO from O’Reilly Media, co-founded Inbound.org, and was named on PSBJ’s 40 Under 40 List and BusinessWeek’s 30 Best Tech Entrepreneurs Under 30. Rand is an addict of all things content & social on the web, from his blog on entrepreneurship to Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and FourSquare. In his minuscule spare time, Rand enjoys the company of his amazing wife, Geraldine, whose serendipitous travel blog chronicles their journeys.