In the world of big and small eCommerce companies, growth hacking is the new buzzword. Why spend $20 on publicity when you can be a little creative and hack your way to success? “Hack” has a negative connotation, at least this is what technology has taught us, but not in growth hacking.
Growth hacking is a simple and effective way of planning to grow a business using specific and intelligent growth strategies that require minimum time and money to get results.
A very common misconception is that a growth hacker has to be a tech geek or a developer. While being a developer will certainly help, the misconception is not true. People who are developers and can come up with success strategies should definitely be envied, but to get into growth hacking, you can be a leader and make a team who helps you achieve a goal.
“With Goldman Sachs expecting mobile-based shopping alone to hit $173B in the U.S. by the end of 2018, while eCommerce fairytales like Nasty Gal serve as case studies for hungry startups. In this context, growth hacking strategies for e-retailers have risen to the top of founders’ toolkits—especially now that growth hacking has evolved into something more scientific.” – FoundersGrid
8 growth hacking strategies for eCommerce
When it comes to spreading the word about your products, giveaways are one of the most efficient ways. Customers get involved with a new business happily, thinking of the benefit of a giveaway.
To celebrate ‘No Shave November’, popular company BeardBrand ran a giveaway for seven days to celebrate. Over the span of seven days, they gave a gift every day to a lucky customer, worth $70 each. At the end of the campaign, they had doubled their email list and increased their sales four times!
The key to a successful giveaway is not the product itself, but the setup of the giveaway. You need to design a setup and then identify your goals from the promotion. The gift you promise should also be of worth. If you want to gain email addresses, make the contest submission-type.
This will earn you many email addresses. If you want to increase sales, you can add a promotion at the end of each purchase, like ‘Buy one and get a chance to earn a trip to Mexico!’
To compliment the giveaway and make it seen, you need to promote it as much as you can. And run it for a span of a week. You can promote the giveaway by sending emails, sharing newsletters, banner ads, blogging, via blogger outreach and definitely by using social media like Facebook and Twitter.
A giveaway will earn you some good customers in the beginning. People will engage with your brand and you can take this opportunity to educate them and nurture the cycle.
2. Make the product exclusive
If you limit the subscription to your product or service, or limit the possibility of accessing your service, it will create a sense of curiosity in the minds of the potential customers. The feeling of exclusivity will increase the chances of subscription at a very low price, compared to Pay-Per-Click ads.
The best example is OnePlus. They made their item available only to those who would subscribe. This had a great acceptance in the phone market, making 1.5 million sales during the first year until they launched a new model. It is a significant number, considering that OnePlus is a new player compared to the mobile company giants who have been established the market since long.
Another company which used this growth hacking strategy is Dropbox. They offered their clients more space to store their data, in exchange for recommending the tool to their contacts. The sheer number of Dropbox users in the world is a clear example of the fact that this strategy worked very well.
3. Email marketing campaigns
Emails are one of the best ways to talk to your customers. They still rank highest in converting customers to leads. So, for growth hacking, it is beneficial to invest in a proper email campaign. Drip email campaigns are the best tool for that.
According to a study, 77% customers like to receive permission-based emails. And 44% of customers made a purchase by one of these email campaigns, while 82% customers will open an email from a company.
You should schedule a set of emails to send to someone who provides their email address to your business. This is called a drip email campaign.
Emails drip to your customer’s inbox, one at a time. They are part of an overall drip campaign. Rather than putting it all on the table, you can gradually educate a customer about your business and drip emails also create a long-term relationship with the customers.
For example, when a customer signs up for your lists, give them a warm welcome with a welcome email. Then, a few days later you can send a scheduled email, giving them a first look at your products, deals, and promotions. The next few emails can target specific needs or upcoming sale events. Don’t get worried about creating and scheduling emails by yourself. Technology has got you covered on that. Countless apps, like MailChimp, Drip and AWeber will help you with your drip campaigns.
3 reasons why these campaigns matter in eCommerce growth hacking:
- Attracting leads: Drip marketing starts at the initial phases of a business journey and nurtures the customer’s relationship. Then, it takes care of the customers and turns them into leads and maximizes sales.
- Timely information: These emails allow you to inform your customers when they need your product the most. For example, a holiday sales email. You can also send customized emails for a greater impact.
- Easy automation: Using one of the programs mentioned above, you can easily automate the drip email campaigns. It is easier than other automation processes for growth hacking.
4. Create awesome content
Content is the undisputed king of online business. This claim has a solid foundation in truth and 70% of customers prefer getting to know a company through content, rather than ads. But also keep in mind that customers only give you 8 seconds before bouncing off the page to a new seller. Content should be simple, easy to find and extremely engaging to be able to attract the attention span of a visitor.
Your content has to speak to your site visitors because a user only interacts with the content of your pages. That’s why creating good content is so important for the growth of your business.
Every letter, image, and media on your website should reflect the goal of your business. If you check the RedBull website, you will notice that every page on their site talks about extreme sports. Every piece of content on the site reflects that theme.
5. A/B testing
One of the best ways to find the most workable growth hacks for your business is to learn them through A/B testing. Marketing optimization is improved manifolds through A/B testing.
An Adobe Digital Marketing Optimization report found that marketers are spending $92 to acquire traffic and $1 to optimize it.
You could be wasting 92% of your budget or efforts in advertising if you are not looking into A/B testing for growth hacking. A/B testing is a popular new method of comparing two designs of the same page to see which converts better. It is a cheaper way of testing what works, thus the best way to find the best growth hacking method.
Some of the things you can A/B test in eCommerce can be:
- Product Images: Customers love looking at product images because that’s the only description of the product they can see. 67% customers think that detailed and clear images have a larger impact on their minds than a written description.
- Recommendations: If you have placed ‘recommended’ products on your landing pages, test the efficiency of those recommendations. See if the customers are clicking on them or not. Many sellers don’t know about the impact a recommended item can have. In fact, 43% retailers only know if a customer has clicked on an upsell.
- Page Layout: This is an important one. The layout of your page can have all the impact on how a customer recognizes your business. Skype did an A/B test on their page layout and found out that one of those pages had a 5% increase in downloads.
- Call-To-Actions: Test the specific call-to-actions (CTA’s) and also test how they appear on the page. Unbounce.com tested a simple CTA, where they changed ‘start your free trial’ to ‘start my free trial’, and saw a massive change with 90% click through rate. It is essential to test each and every CTA.
- Prices: Test whether the price $10 does better or $9.99. Also, test how the price is displayed on a page. A study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found out that including commas and cents in a price can totally change the way your clients look at the products. Prices that end in 9, perform typically better than all other price designs.
6. Use the offline world
Even though the whole idea of an eCommerce business exists and thrives in the online world, you should remember that your target audience lives in an offline world. Conversions happen online, but an average customer would love it if you show them how you make your products offline. Tell them your brand story, which should be so unique that it attracts a set of curious people who want to know more about what you sell.
The internet is where your customers will spend their money, but in the offline world, look for opportunities to attract potential customers. Set up stalls at events where your target audience goes, or create an event yourself! Spend a little on souvenirs carrying your brand logo and offer them to people. Be a little creative, this way you will get big results while spending little money.
Publicize your event as much as you can. Write press releases and send them to media. Share and reshare the date online. Communication is the key here. You can even look into broadcasting an offline event through live streaming, to make it more appealing. The options are endless if you know exactly what you want to tell your target audience.
7. Always look at the metrics
If you are a new business and don’t have a lot of data at your fingertips, then it is time for an analytics set up. Tag all the elements of the site that you want to test. Tag the most important events and acquisition channels. In the early phases of the eCommerce journey, it is important to gather as much data as possible. The data will become the foundation for everything that happens afterward. The foundation of growth hacking is learning.
8. Segmentation of customers
Customer segmentation tactics require some high-tech programs, which come at a high price. However, the end result of customer segmentation can make those investments seem worthwhile.
The best trick is to gather customer data and perform an act of ‘1 to 1 marketing’. Create segmented messages tailored specifically for a set of customers. When the customer receives a message that speaks to them, they will most likely respond to that message. The fields of segmentation can be the products purchased by a customer, categories of interest, frequency of purchases and channel of purchase.
In eCommerce, you are dealing with a highly skilled marketplace. You need to stand out in the crowd. The strategies mentioned above will definitely help you attain a larger audience and more sales. Every business model is different, so you need to understand your business model first, to be able to implement a game plan.