Who: Raj Singh has been a dedicated hacker in the mobile space for nearly a decade, having been the Entrepreneur In Residence at the Stanford Research Institute since 2010. He is currently the founder and CEO of Tempo AI, a mobile calendar app that is so smart it puts your brain to shame.
What: Raj walks us through some of the steps he took to make Tempo AI one of the most successful “personal assistant” apps of all time, letting us in on what he thinks are the best tactics to launch and market your mobile app.
When: If you are building a product that will be launched as a mobile app, this advice particularly applies to you at all other stages of growth. But any business owner can learn from Singh’s wisdom in the early stages, as he has managed to make Tempo AI a veritable industry game changer in just a few short months.
Why: What did I just say?! This man is a game changer!
Who: Yukai Chow is the topmost gamification expert in the world right now, and the founder and CEO of Octalysis, which is a complete gamification framework he created to facilitate human focused design.
What: Yukai talks to us about the importance of integrating gamification into any product or website because of the benefits it gives in terms of engagement with users.
When: Yukai maintains that startups should be thinking about gamification as a vehicle to motivate their users from the very beginning.
Why: This guy is NUMERO UNO when it comes to gamification, which is quickly becoming a buzzword that should be understood by every entrepreneur out there. His advice is invaluable.
Who: Kyle Wild is CEO and co-founder of Keen IO, a custom analytics platform with a fervent following in the developer community. As he puts it, “I’m a serial startup guy, lifelong programmer, and online citizen.” Wild has a wealth of expertise when it comes to product development and creative marketing tactics.
What: Wild explains his approach to creative (and economical) marketing tactics that can help get your name out there and get people interested in your business. He also describes his style as a leader of a company: who he likes to hire, how he likes to manage his team, and what works best to fuel creativity and build a positive culture.
Why: Wild is a self-described “digital native” who has both observed and participated in the changing landscape of online sharing and marketing, and now utilized this knowledge in his own company. He knows how to run an honest, lively, and compelling brand.
When: According to Wild, you should begin growth hacking through creative marketing before your product has even launched. So…now! Now!
- Give yourself (and your team) permission to go out on a limb creatively. Encourage an experimental culture that focuses not only on results, but also on new ways to achieve them.
- Instead of concentrating on a single marketing tactic, use teamwork to brainstorm and try a variety of different strategies. Bring your team together and let everyone have a voice.
- Hire based on creativity, passion, and innate understanding of the industry, and not necessarily on education or background.
Who: John Egan is a tech lead at Shopkick, an app begun in 2010 that gives rewards to consumers for visiting certain retail stores.
When: Acquiring new users and retaining old ones is something that only becomes more important as your product grows. You never want to be stagnant!
Why: Holding his position at Shopkick has given John incredible insight into the importance of growth hacking, and he has a lot to share in terms of advice for young companies on how to attract customers.
TACTICS FOR USER ACQUISITION AND RETENTION:
- Retaining the users you already have is the most important thing
- Give your users an AHA moment
- Give your users incentives to introduce their friends to you
Who: Akash Garg is the co-founder and former CTO of Hi5, one of the most popular social networking websites. His current position is director of engineering growth for Twitter…maybe you’ve heard of it? Twitter is about to go IPO, and Akash is in lockdown mode right now. Luckily, we collected these words of wisdom from him prior to this news!
What: Akash provides some insight into the best tactics for growing your user base.
Why: Users make you rich and famous, so you must attract them and multiply.
When: At any stage of your business, you should be looking to the future. You have 1000 users? You want 10,000. You have 100,000 users? You want 1 million. You have 500 million users? You want 1 billion. Akash is practiced in the art of growth hacking, and he’s shared some of his most favored tactics exclusively with you here.
1. Do not underestimate the simple power of email blasting.
2. Leverage the influence of the app store.
3. Meet a consumer demand and emphasize it.
4. As you grow your user network, continue to make your product more and more accessible.
Who: Ajay Mehta was the co-founder of FamilyLeaf, a website that allows you to network and share information privately with your family members. This interview was conducted while he was still at FamilyLeaf, but he has since moved on to join the team at Crowdtilt!
What: Ajay gives some tips on how to gain traction and publicity for your brand or business; particularly how to get mentions in popular media.
Why: PR is an essential part of business growth because it’s the main avenue through which consumers learn about your product.
When: If your business is in the initial stages where you’re dealing with your first thousand users, you have to start thinking about PR hacking and how you’re going to grow. These tips are for you!
Who: Will Bunker is a co-founder of one-and-only.com, the most popular dating website of the ’90s that was eventually sold and rebranded. You know it today as match.com. He is currently an active angel investor and forming a growth seed fund to fund early stage startups.
What: Bunker provides advice on how to optimize your capital to retain the most revenue and operate within your means.
Why: Too many startups make the fatal mistake of overextending their advertising and not being cautious enough with their capital. Don’t be one of them!
When: If you’re struggling to strategize your marketing and budget, then this advice is for you.
1. Have a system of tracking your ROI (Return of Investment) and pay religious attention to it.
2. When it comes to advertising, look to sites that the marketplace hasn’t caught on to yet.
3. For many viral products, getting to a critical mass is key.
4. Having your product be enhanced by sharing is the best way to go viral.
5. When it comes to your marketing strategy, do not extend beyond your means.
Who: Rohit Vashisht is the co-founder and CEO of Sverve, and website that connects female social media influencers with relevant businesses to create social media marketing. He has been an entrepreneur for over a decade, and acted as the co-founder of three software start-ups before Sverve.
What: Rohit describes the process of founding Sverve and finding initial bloggers to work with.
Why: Sverve is a great example of a company that saw a need in the marketplace and decided to fill it, so any entrepreneur could take a page out of their book.
Growth Help Tactics
- If you are consistently facing a problem in your current work environment, chances are other people are as well. Consider making a product that solves the problem.
- Sometimes spending money on a well-placed advertisement can lead to a huge return on that investment through word of mouth marketing.
- Constantly evolve your user acquisition plan as you continue to grow.
- Know your ultimate goal as a company.
Who: Sean Ellis is the founder and CEO of Qualaroo, a company that helps to monitor visitor behavior on your website then provides insight into how to use that information to develop your marketing strategy. Ellis has a history of success behind him, having worked at companies such as Dropbox and been an advisor to Songkick, WordPress, and EventBrite, to name a few. As if he needs another feather in his proverbial start-up cap, he is also the proud creator of one of Silicon Valley’s current buzzwords: growth hacking.
What: Sean shares some of his experience working with various companies to accelerate their growth and implement solid marketing strategies, and provides insight into how you can utilize your metrics to make smart decisions about your business.
Why: Because Sean Ellis essentially invented growth hacking, THAT’S WHY. Listen to him.
When: This advice doesn’t target any phase of growth specifically, but it can be particularly helpful to those just starting out who have no idea where to begin when it comes to exposure.
Tips for Growth Help
1. Have a widget such as “powered by” or “add this to your website” and make sure it’s being coded by the websites with whom you have a relationship.
2. If you have a user-to-user program, make sure that there is an incentive for both the inviter and the invitee when a user asks a friend to join.
3. It’s safer and more sustainable to slowly build up your exposure than to come in with a bang at a huge launch event, or something similar.
4. Focusing on metrics is extremely important when it comes to knowing your user.
5. Continue to evolve your product so that it becomes more and more valuable.
Who: Sean Wycliffe is the co-founder and CEO of Dealflicks, an app and website that provides deals for movie tickets. Dealflicks had an 88% average month-to-month growth rate in sales in March, April, May, June, and July of this year.
What: Sean walks us through the process of starting, promoting, and growing Dealflicks to its current position as one of the go-to services for movie tickets.
Why: He founded this company right after he graduated college, so he knows the ropes of truly building a business from the ground up.
Tips for Growth Help:
1. If there is a service that you wish existed based around something you’re passionate about, don’t whine about it, start it!
2. Face to face contact is underrated in this digital age, but very important when it comes to building trusting relationships.
3. Think outside the box and use all the resources available to you.
4. Press is important. Keep track of publications that profile businesses similar to yours, and reach out to them.
5. If you’re going mobile, make sure you create an all-star app. Being featured on the app store can be monumental.
6. Find clever ways to partner with like-minded brands that are beneficial to both of you.