You’re an entrepreneur and you’ve come up with the next best product, you’re sure of it. You’ve read all you can find on digital marketing and now you’re only a wait away from going viral. So you wait, you wait and you wait… suddenly you realise that sure more people are visiting your webpages but that anticipated surge of interest hasn’t made your way and let’s be honest, it isn’t going to. 68% of entrepreneurs expect business growth far beyond their competitors whilst only 5% believe their chances of success to be worse – naturally an ambitious lot. Pride and ownership cloud judgement far too easily and in business this is often an unforgivable mistake.
In the past I have stressed how valuable Growth Hacking can be for startups, how it’s a shortcut to growth and is quite possibly the next best thing in digital marketing. However before rushing into an investment in the area, you must make sure you’re ready to do so. The success of hacking relies upon employing it at the right stage in your business’ development, so I guess the next question will be: what stage am I talking about? Here are a series of guidelines that should give you more of an idea.
- Know your product and your market. Be aware of your competitors and their strategies. No entrepreneur wants to introduce a niche product only to realise that in fact it has been around for the past decade. Your confidence should eliminate any chance you have overlooked a major fault in the idea. More importantly do people like the product? I was reading an article sharing tips for startups when I came across this line: ‘don’t spend a penny on marketing unless you can keep the few customers you can get for free.’ Even the best of marketers can’t sell the worst of products. To summarise and perhaps to state the obvious, if you don’t know what you’re selling don’t try to market it.
- Target Audience. Without knowing who you’re appealing to you won’t know where to find them. Subsequently when it comes to advertising, it will be difficult to answer how, where and what to advertise. Attempting to attract the wrong audience is a waste of valuable time and resources.
- When your growth has plateaued. You’ve established something with potential, it was growing steadily but now all signs of this have slowed. For me as a marathon runner I guess you’ve completed a fair proportion of the race but now you’ve hit the so called wall, this may be a sign to start growth hacking and knock it down.
- Be realistic about where you want the business to go and plan how to get there. You need to know how growth hacking will help you along this journey. But don’t become too narrow-minded, know when to change this strategy and be confident enough to do so. Startups that pivot earn over twice as much as those who don’t and experience 3 times as much growth.
So let’s not get carried away and rush into growth hacking, start slow and the process will accelerate from there. In order to make use of your meagre resources as a start-up know as much as you can about your product, your strategy and your audience. Although we could be talking 6-9 months, this will just make the process more effective and will hopefully guarantee you are ready and I guess…. Steady before you grow.