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Tactical Startup Growth Hacks That Never Stop Working

Ann Smarty

Startups are without a doubt the business model of the future.

Small companies with bootstrap beginnings are popping up all over the world.

What makes them different now to how they were before is that these tiny startups are frequently becoming huge in a shockingly short amount of time.

We have always had origin stories of geniuses working in garages to make multi-billion dollar products.

But now you have single founders and small teams launching something minimalist online to meet a single need, and selling for millions within a couple short years to larger companies that make them flourish.

Related Article: Small Business Growth: How to Prepare for the Next Level

The Power Of Startups

You can thank the open attitude of millennials for the sustainability of startups in today's wide market. Even though there is greater competition, small businesses are more likely to make it. Angel funding isn't difficult to acquire if you have a decent concept worth funding. Or you can completely streamline the process by keeping overhead low.

Of course, it isn't just about the ability to create and run a startup with the permissive and understanding support of an Internet-raised audience. Growth hacks are inevitably a part of this success. These are some that you can follow to get your startup into the big leagues.

Make A Landing Page Right Away

This is very important. Landing pages are the way to early user and customer acquisition, and without one you won't get very far. That doesn't just mean a landing page for your product, but anything that you release under your brand's banner.

For example, let's say you decide you are going to improve your content strategy by releasing a free ebook for potential customers. You would create a landing page prior to the release of the book to gather early sign ups and build hype. Then release the ebook on your proper site. This can also be done when you create new features.

Landing pages are an amazing tool. Services like Launchrock will help you set up a landing page in a couple of minutes, so it won't take much time, effort or money on your part.

Embrace New Trends Even Though You Don't Get It

You know, I've seen it so many times: A business owner who never uses voice search, so he/she assumes no one does. Or a business owner who doesn't get Pinterest, so he/she just neglects it, even though this business model is perfect for visual marketing. Or a business owner who hates video streaming, so he/she will never experiment with.

I get it: It's hard to imagine someone like what you hate but face it: You may be different from your customers! Being flexible and following the trend may boost your business growth. And it may be as easy as adding a product targeting a popular demand. One of my favorite examples to illustrate what I am saying is PrintMePoster site that added the option to print your Instagram photos to see their site grow:

home page of Print Me Poster website

They already had all printing functionality, so expanding their offering to a popular product was easy and absolutely worth it.

You may like or hate Instagram, but there's no denying the fact that's a hot trend for a couple of years now!

Offer Perks For Early Adopters

You want the people who have been with you from the beginning to feel special. Showing your appreciation will gain their loyalty, which means offering them certain perks that others won't get. An early adopters program is a surefire way to build solid relationships.

If you have a free to a premium services model, a natural early adopter perk is giving full access to all premium features while on a free account. It is also an affordable way to market those features, using early adopters as evangelists.

Build Hype Through Communication

Email marketing is still the number one way of finding both leads and conversions. If you can build up a good sized email list, you have a guaranteed way of reaching your audience and generating profits. But it is also a great tool for building hype.

Going back to landing pages, you can start getting potential customers before you ever launch. But don't just take their email addresses and then do nothing with them until that launch occurs. Take a few weeks to build up the excitement, and make people eager for your product.

Set up a service like MailChimp, so you can regularly release update emails. Ask for feedback, and let people know how the launch is coming. Provide relevant industry news, or connect them to your blog. Communication once a week can have a huge impact on conversions later on.

Give More Than You Take

Nothing is worse than a business that just takes, takes, takes. Unfortunately, that is a common pitfall for startups, especially bootstraps that heavily rely on customers to move from the beginning stages of development into the viable product phase.

You should always be aiming not just to provide as much to customers as they give you, but to give more. Many things you just need to give away without asking for anything back. One great example is this collection of free guides that WHG give away completely for free, and they don't even ask to subscribe or share:

link to download Google Docs application that calculates salaries

Build A Community

A sense of community is a powerful force. Startups, in particular, are starting to foster a feeling of family with their users, in order to build customer loyalty without the resources of larger brands. You can create a core, dedicated group that will stick with you as your brand adapts, while evangelizing to other potential customers and widening your user base.

Take Pinterest. They started as a very small social network that managed to grow more rapidly than any other network on the web through fostering a feeling of community in early adopters. Clones came and went, but Pinterest is the one that stuck around. Now, you still have a core community that drives the success of the platform, even now that it seems to expand their core audience.

Related Article: Growth Hacking for Good: The Parallel Between Startups and Charities

These Growth Hacks Never Go Out Of Style

You might notice something about these growth hacks... they are just standard tips for creating a successful startup. That is the trick; "growth hack" is just a buzzword. All it means is a tactic that has been shown to promote quick and steady growth when used.

These growth tactics are tried and true methods of being successful in your goals, and growing your business. Don't be fooled by anyone who claims to have a magic bullet or special formula. The old methods are the best, and these are sure to work whether you use them today, or ten years from now.

Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
Ann Smarty Member
Ann Smarty is the social media enthusiast and active blogger writing about Internet marketing, search and social trends and productivity. Ann is the founder of, co-founder of Viral Content Buzz and Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann is also an active columnist at Search Engine Journal, Small Biz Trends, Lifehack and many others.