Sean Ellis coined the term “growth hacker” in 2010. In the blog post, he defined a growth hacker as “a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.”
You see, growth hacking isn’t about traditional marketing mediums like television or newspaper advertising. And these days, it isn’t even about social media activity or email. It’s about finding unique ways to quickly grow and launch something, particularly startups, in ways that can be measured and tested and iterated.
Granted, some of the best growth hacking techniques over the past decade have been programmatic, and that might not apply to you. Most of us can’t be like Hotmail and include a link to create your own free email account within every outgoing message. But there are a number of tricks and techniques you can consider!
The Campaign Planner that I sell is a complete guide to putting together your own launch campaign, based on years off experience crafting 6-figure sales and launches. But those campaigns are centered around more “traditional” methods of promoting your launch:
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Paid Advertising
What if you don’t have a budget for paid ads, or what if you want to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of your launch.
What if, simply, you want the BEST LAUNCH EVER?
Yes, by all means, start with a strong campaign plan. But then start to add these growth hacking techniques!
01. Email Signature
It is estimated that the average person sends about 40 emails per day. You can take a quick glance into your own Sent folder to see how you stack up to that figure.
Let’s assume for a moment that you’re in line with that stat, and that you’re going to run your launch campaign for 2 weeks. That’s 560 email messages that you’re likely going to send out. 560 potential customers, not counting any instances of forwards.
Therefore, it makes complete sense to include a call to action within your email signature! Hopefully you already have a nice, professional email signature so just head over to your email client settings (i.e. Gmail) and edit your existing signature to add a line about your launch.
In fact, if you’re using a Teaser Campaign like I outline in the planner, you can link to the teaser landing page as soon as it’s up, before your launch even starts!
02. Custom Profile Image / Frame
This one’s a bit technical, but if you have a decent sized following already, and particularly if you are launching or promoting an event, this is SO worth it.
Create a custom frame that your fans can use for their social profile images!
Mostly commonly seen with Snapchat and Facebook, it’s a great way for your fans to show their excitement for your launch, and of course build additional buzz and interest.
You can find instructions for a custom Facebook Profile Frame here. The good news is that all you really need is Canva and a bit of creativity to make a PNG graphic with a transparent background.
03. Facebook Cover Photo With Click Here Button
Both your Facebook profile and Page have cover photos which you can create in Canva or Easil and then upload. And you should definitely create a custom cover photo specific to your launch.
But! Once you’ve uploaded that image, you can go back and edit it to include a detailed description and link to your launch. Anyone who clicks on that image (or sees the status update of you uploading it in their feed) will see your text and link.
Which means if you design your cover photo to include a “Click Here” for more information button, you’ll encourage your Page visitors to click the image and reveal your secret text!
04. Facebook CTA Button
Every Facebook Page includes the option of setting up a “CTA Button” – a button that appears to the right and below your cover photo. Current options include:
- Book with you
- Contact you
- Learn more
- Shop now
- Download App
- Join Community
You can choose to use the Learn or Shop buttons and set up a link accordingly. Not only will your Page visitors have an easy way to get where you want them to go, Facebook will even give you statistics on the number of Page visitors and button clicks, which means you can calculate a conversion rate and test changing the button or perhaps even changing the Cover Photo to direct attention to the button.
05. Pinned Tweet
Doubtless Twitter is part of your campaign plan. I’m sure you’re ready to tweet links to your sale, testimonials from fans, and shares of your key blog posts and articles. But what about folks who head directly to your profile?
Definitely upload a custom cover photo, but also make sure that you pin one of your most important campaign tweets. This will keep it at the top of your timeline, making it the first tweet profile visitors see!
When you share that tweet, just click on the tweet’s more menu and click on Pin To Profile. It will replace whatever tweet you might have pinned previously – but don’t worry, you can always find that older tweet and re-pin it after your launch if you want to!
06. Pinned Facebook Post To Page
By the same token, you can pin a Facebook post to the top of your Page feed! Just as with Twitter, this is a great way to make sure that new Page visitors see the good stuff as soon as they get there.
Keep in mind that if your launch campaign is going to last more than a day or two, it’s likely that you’ll share some non-launch related posts. A pinned post ensures that your launch info doesn’t get buried!
07. Facebook Live Video repurposed To YouTube, SlideShare, Podcast (and more)
With the reach and effectiveness of Facebook Live Video to impact your audience, there’s little doubt you should utilize the medium for creating buzz around your launch.
But what else can you do with your Facebook Live after the event is done?
08. Employ Pop-Ups Strategically
You might find pop-ups to be annoying. Heck, some of your readers and prospects might as well. But despite the negative sentiment, pop-ups work.
They’re extremely effective at capturing the attention and interest (and email addresses) of your site visitors.
I use Wishpond to create pop-up and landing page campaigns because it then ties seamlessly into my email management solution. And it all works beautifully. Here are the different pop-ups you should consider:
Welcome Mat – this is typically a fullscreen invitation that greets new site visitors with an offer of interest. Since it’s presented to every new site visitor upon entrance, Welcome Mats are ideally suited for free offers or announcements, but not sales messages, and will be your most effective lead generation offer.
Opt-In Bar – this is a bar that appears across the top or bottom of your site, and is typically used to offer a digital download, but it can also serve as a call to action, even with a countdown. This is a great place to announce your launch and let folks know how much time they have left.
Scroll Box – this pop-up appears once a reader has scrolled through a certain percentage of your page, meaning they’ve read for a bit, and might be interested in a special offer from you.
Exit Intent – this captures the readers attention as they’re getting ready to leave your site, and is the perfect opportunity to make sure they’re aware of your launch or related special offer.
Keep in mind how visitors are coming into your site – the content that they’re reading. Is it top of funnel or bottom of funnel? If it’s mostly top of funnel, deploy your pop-ups with free related offers so that you can capture visitor email addresses and then use subsequent emails and landing pages to funnel them into a purchase. Whereas bottom of funnel visitors should see relevant offers.
With Wishpond, you can tailor your pop-up campaigns differently depending on the URL, giving you the flexibility to assemble powerful campaigns.
09. Sidebar Graphic
Does your blog have a Sidebar like mine? That space to the left or right (or both) of your main column of content? While I’m not a fan of filling that space with all the things (don’t distract from your main content and CTA!), there’s definitely an opportunity there to talk about your launch in a meaningful way.
In my sidebar currently, for instance, you’ll find my author bio (which some will put below the post content), some of my best articles called out, and then a call to action to join my mastermind community, the 360 Marketing Squad. During a key launch, I might replace that block with one devoted to whatever it is I want to highlight and promote.
Every site design is a bit different, but typically you’d use a square graphic here and link it to a page that provides more information and next steps. If there’s no sale involved in your launch, perhaps just a free opt-in, I would include the opt-in form here to reduce clicks and increase conversion.
10. Footer Graphic
Similar to the sidebar graphic, a footer graphic simply appears lower down in your site. Again, every site design is somewhat different but most can put something below the end of their content, if not in the actual footer area.
On this site, Blogging Brute, for instance, below every post is a Comments area for readers to share their questions or feedback. Below that you can easily see where my footer begins due to the change in section background, and that footer contains links to recent posts as well as lead generating opt-ins. When I use a “footer graphic” (and I regularly do over at The Social Media Hat where I don’t employ a sidebar), I usually place it just after the comments section.
Note that for both the sidebar graphic and footer graphic, I usually only advocate placing them on Post content – blog posts and articles. I would think carefully before placing that kind of graphic and callout on Pages. The Pages of your site are typically used to inform people about you and your business, or perhaps a product or offer, and you’re usually going to want that visitor’s attention to be 100% focused on the content of that page.
Which is why Landing Pages are so important to deploy, particularly during a campaign.
Landing Pages usually remove sidebars and other distractions. You may note that all my product pages, like the Campaign Planner, have no sidebar at all and if I really wanted to get serious about conversions, I’d remove some of the other potential distractions as well, particularly in the footer.
11. Update LinkedIn profile
Going back to Social Media for a moment, let’s consider LinkedIn. Of course you’ll share links to your launch information and assets to your LinkedIn feed, but there’s a fun fact about LinkedIn that not everyone takes advantage of.
When you update your profile information in a meaningful way, LinkedIn lets your followers know!
Now, not every change will be shared with your audience. If you, for instance, add your launch or campaign as a new work experience (assuming that makes sense), it will be shared. New skills or a new headline will not.
12. Update Social Bios
Similarly, take the time to look at your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube profiles. They all have areas where you can talk a bit about yourself, both personal and brand accounts. Consider whether any of those can and should be updated to reflect your latest venture!
For example, it’s not uncommon for speakers at upcoming prestigious events to include that event hashtag in their username or Bio, particularly on Twitter. You can use the same technique to bring added visibility to your launch campaign.
13. Instagram Live
Facebook Live gets most of the world’s attention due to Facebook’s prominence, but it’s far from the only platform on which you can broadcast.
You can just as easily stream live video to your Instagram channel which, if you have a larger, more engaged audience there, might actually be more effective!
You can quickly launch a Live video right from within the Instagram app on your mobile device. I do recommend putting your phone on a stand or tripod rather than hold it so that you keep the video feed absolutely still. If you have something tangible you can show related to your launch, then that’s a great basis for your show. If not, you can use the platform to announce your launch, talk about what you’re working on, or even just field questions! Instagram will who you comments and reactions from viewers right on the screen so you can see what folks are saying and respond.
More comfortable filming from desktop? There’s an app for that! Check out this tutorial on how to use Loola for Instagram Live.
14. YouTube Live
YouTube also has a live streaming option you can use! You can go Live natively there from mobile or desktop, or use a service like Ecamm Live for a more branded experience, or even restream.io which lets you simulcast to Facebook and YouTube.
15. Crossposting Facebook Live With Partners
Speaking of Live video, have you ever crossposted your videos?
Crossposting is a cool feature Facebook released in 2018 that allows Pages to give each other permission to share video content that the other Page uploaded. You can also use that permission to post and even livestream the same video feed.
Which means if you can find one or two other Pages to partner with, you can livestream to each other’s Pages at the same time.
Remember, every time you broadcast a new live video, Facebook will notify your audience that you are live and build viewership for you. So if a friend just shares your live broadcast to their Page or profile, that’s nice, but it won’t have the same impact as crossposting.
Another cool aspect of crossposting is that once the broadcast is finished, you’ll see the combined reach and engagement metrics for that video. Note though that comments on crossposted streams will not be seen within your Facebook Live or whatever app you’re using to broadcast, so it’s helpful to have those other Page broadcasts pulled up on another device just to monitor for important questions while you’re Live.
16. Guest Blogging
Do you have friends or colleagues who have their own blogs? Ask if you can write for them!
When my friend Ian Cleary had a launch of his own, I invited him to write for my blog and promote himself! It was a great piece of content that my audience appreciated, and it helped Ian at the same time.
Because most publishers plan their content schedule well in advance, this is not a technique that you can utilize in the midst of your launch. You’ll need to plan this well in advance. Just be up front with your friend or contact about what you’re hoping to accomplish, and when, so that they can determine if they can help you or not.
17. Podcast Guest Appearances
Another way to leverage other people’s audiences is to be a guest on podcasts.
As a guest, the interviewer will bring you on, ask you questions, and give you a chance to talk about your launch!
Just make sure that you reach out well in advance of your launch so you can schedule the recording and release right. Most podcasts are pre-recorded, edited, and then published later. You might have to schedule the recording before your launch. Just as with guest blogging, simply be transparent with the show host about what you’re promoting and when your launch is, giving them every opportunity to be accommodating.
18. Facebook Live Guest Appearances
Unlike podcasts, Facebook Live Shows are broadcast live, so you can schedule those appearances during your launch!
For instance, during the launch of my planner, I scheduled a Facebook Live with Kelly Noble Mirabella for her Facebook Group. I gave a presentation on blogging and then Kelly invited me to talk about my planner.
A webinar is much like a Facebook Live – you can even run it like a show and do an interview, or give a presentation. The difference is that to watch, viewers need to register in advance.
Webinars are a great way to entice your target audience with a topic you can teach on, and one that would lead naturally into the purchase of your product.
And if you aren’t comfortable on camera, webinars can be a great alternative to live broadcasts. You can build a great-looking slide deck and use that for the visual broadcast with your just your voice on audio. No camera needed!
20. Guest On Webinars
Similarly, you might partner with a colleague or another brand and be a guest expert on their webinar!
What you’ll be looking for is someone who already regularly offers webinars as part of their own marketing program and offer to give them a free educational presentation that will help their audience.
If you want to give your audience an incentive to spread the word about your launch, and attract others, run a contest!
When I Iaunched the Blogging Brute site in November, I ran a contest to encourage people to sign up and share the news. I used Wishpond to host the contest and provide the mechanisms (like earning points for tweeting).
22. Insert Links Into Past Posts
Finally, make sure that you leverage your existing blog posts and articles and FAQs and other content.
I often look for opportunities to add links in context. Meaning, if I mention something like, say, using themes in content, I might link to my article on Star Wars thematic development. And you can do the same with your launch.
Or, just insert a Related line, like this:
The key to ALL of these growth hacks and techniques is this:
You have to start with a plan. If you don’t have a plan and you don’t prepare for your launch campaign in advance, you will spend your launch scrambling just to get blog posts and emails written.
What if, instead, you had all of that planned and taken care of beforehand? Then you could take the time to implement some of these other tactics.
Which means, you need a Campaign Planner!