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Growth Hacking 101: Your First 500,000 Users

Growth Hacking 101: Your First 500,000 Users

Customer acquisition tactics ranging from the cheap to the expensive, in other to get to half a million users. Focus is on users with a calculable ARPU e.g. e-commerce, gaming, SaaS startups.

yongfook

May 03, 2012
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  1. Growth Hacking 101
    Your First 500,000 Users
    @yongfook
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  2. Disclaimer!
    Based on first hand experience growing
    a user-base of 500,000 (1.5 years) at previous company
    and doing customer acquisition consulting
    Focus is on users with an explicit ARPU!
    e.g. SaaS, E-commerce, Gaming...
    Zero-revenue services may not be applicable
    YMMV etc.
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  3. Background
    Director
    #2 Luxury Flash-Sales Site in Japan
    US$XX million per year sales
    Joined at 0, left at ~500,000
    I lived in Japan for about 10 years before moving to Singapore
    Above company is still going strong and has expanded into China
    I’m founder of 2 SaaS startups (one active, one not)
    a user-generated content recipe site (acquired)
    and a quirky viral game
    Currently working on another e-commerce site targeting South East Asia
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  4. cheap
    Trivia: The artist Michelangelo was
    famously cheap and lived in poor
    conditions, despite being very wealthy
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  5. Organic Search
    • Always be creating searchable
    content
    • Mix of template / basic editorial
    • Have clear CTAs on your public
    content
    • sitemap.xml
    • Previous company = all brands we sold
    had a permanent public page (50%
    algorithmic and 50% editorial), we
    ranked on Google 1st page for some of
    the lesser-known brands. Long Tail.
    • Hackers! implement your content
    generation strategy early on so you can
    set and somewhat forget.
    • Spend some time making a few
    “superstar” pieces of content i.e.
    Infographics
    Editorial
    Automatic / Template
    There’s a page like this for every country on DirectRooms
    Ex
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  6. Blog
    • Create shareable content
    • Top 10 Lists
    • Interviews
    • Op-Ed
    • PICTURES! (e.g. Boston.com)
    • Create fans who will turn into influencers
    and evangelists for you.
    • Back-links are goood
    • Become recognized as an authority in
    your vertical / niche
    • Don’t write shitty filler posts - the point of
    the blog is to create an audience, not
    just to add content to the site (see
    previous slide for that)
    Mr Porter
    Excellent, authoritative and shareable blog content.
    Their business is e-commerce.
    Ex
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  7. Landing Page
    • Hackers! test like crazy.
    • Don’t fuck around testing your design
    too much. Test your incentive / value
    proposition and CTA.
    • Preserve Scent
    • Get Their Email Address (it’s really all
    you actually need)
    • Completing the process is the only way
    to leave the landing page.
    Groupon
    Different graphic assets depending on entry keyword
    to preserve scent: this search was for “spa coupon”
    Ex
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  8. Share &
    Embed
    1) Create Something Worth Sharing.
    2) Empower your users to share/like/recommend content.
    3) More Users!
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  9. Massive APIs
    • Connect with Facebook / Twitter
    • Reduce friction to entry / sharing
    • Hackers! Retrofit other large markets to
    work with your site in a way beneficial to
    users.
    • AirBNB / Craigslist
    • Don’t forget language APIs - you too can
    be Big In Japan
    Air BNB
    Famously created a “Post to Craigslist” feature
    despite there not being an official API, in order to
    gain initial traction
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
    Ex
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  10. Social Campaign
    • “Retweet this to Win!”
    • Is this really social? No.
    • Can’t do it more than once. Boy Who
    Cried Wolf syndrome.
    • Hackers! There’s A Better Way
    • Leverage vanity and curiosity
    • Give User A some dynamic content
    specific to them (e.g. a horoscope)
    and encourage User A to tweet it.
    • User B learns about your company
    via learning something funny about
    User A (their friend).
    • Alternatively
    • Create content that is innately
    shareable e.g. Will It Blend
    • Hook into a recent event / topic
    Klout
    Some (most?) of Klout’s growth is driven through
    leveraging user vanity and curiosity:
    1) Vanity of users sharing their high score
    2) Curiosity of user’s friends to find out their own score
    Ex
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  11. Viral Scumbag Mechanics?
    In 2010 I made a game that at a certain point you
    had to invite another person in order to progress
    ...it worked incredibly well and it didn’t piss
    as many people off as I thought it would.
    At that middle point in the game, most users were
    happy to spread the word. 10,000+ users in 2 days.
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  12. scalable
    Trivia: Mount Fuji in Japan is actually a
    volcano and has been dormant since 1708
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  13. Influencers
    Recruited over 30 trend-setting (non-celebrity) bloggers
    and incentivised blog coverage via VIP events and coupons
    Hackers! Sweeten the relationship with widgets for their blogs
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  14. Member Get Member
    • “Refer a friend and get a $25 coupon!”
    • Japanese users seemed less
    motivated to refer for cash
    • Test the incentive, for example “Refer
    5 friends and get free shipping for 3
    months!”
    • Some incentives work better at
    different stages of the customer
    journey e.g. a newly-activated user / a
    long-term user
    • Hackers! Remember to test the crap
    out of the HTML email design /
    message itself. Make it beautiful and
    personal.
    Gilt
    All group-buying and private e-commerce sites
    have an MGM mechanic. It’s a scalable way of
    acquiring pre-qualified users - costs will rise
    linearly with new users acquired
    Ex
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  15. Paid Search
    • A reliable portion of our monthly
    growth came from paid search
    • You need an adwords virtuoso if you
    want to do well in paid search
    • Doubly so for competitive spaces like
    travel / hotels
    • Not super-viable for startups without
    much funding: it takes time, it’s
    expensive and needs to be constantly
    tweaked.
    • Really handy for ad-hoc testing
    though.
    “Singapore Hotels”
    A search for “Singapore Hotels” on Google shows
    many companies with deep pockets: Agoda,
    booking.com, expedia.com - startups trying to
    compete head to head with these companies in Paid
    Search will simply run out of cash
    Ex
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  16. expensive
    Trivia: Archimedes discovered buoyancy, was one of the best
    mathematicians of his time and also built giant, mechanical war machines
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  17. Celebrity Blog
    • Bit of a gamble but can be highly
    effective at getting users
    • Depends on the size of the blog
    ecosystem but in Japan: 10,000++
    new users from a single post
    • User quality varies
    • Can result in re-blogs, conversations
    • Real Example: Celebrity A (paid)
    wrote about us, then Celebrity B
    (unpaid) checked us out and wrote
    about us organically and
    enthusiastically as we were selling a
    brand that she loves. We ended up
    getting more users via Celebrity B
    than Celebrity A.
    • Best to do it in a regulated environment
    where there are guidelines.
    Ex
    Famous bloggers such as Xiaxue are no stranger to
    advertorials. Pick your audience wisely however.
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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  18. Partnerships
    • An incentivised partner sending you
    targeted prospects is supremely
    valuable
    • High quality users
    • Try to negotiate a revenue-share, but be
    prepared for other costs like a revenue
    guarantee or an up-front payment.
    • In addition to rev-share offer them
    something they can’t already get easily
    e.g. build something for them for free,
    give them data.
    • Hackers! Offer something innovative.
    We put a whole store on their site
    that earned a rev-share, that they
    never had to manage and that
    seamlessly-integrated with the rest of
    their site.
    We partnered with a popular fashion destination and
    got banner space, a dedicated page (we put an
    inline-frame store on it), EDMs and more.
    Ex
    Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
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  19. thanks!
    @yongfook
    http://yongfook.com
    Thursday, May 3, 12

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