Growth Hacking, Retention, Acquisition, Conversion: Growthmint

Day 7: Growth Priorities

One of the hardest parts of growth is determining where your limited resources should be spent. There are so many possible pieces to creating a successful product and growth strategy that it can be hard to know where to start.

This is where prioritizing growth comes in. It’s the process of looking at a range of factors related to your product and company and determining what areas to work on for growth.

Pro Tip

This is where the importance of analytics and looking at data comes in - you will use this data to determine weaknesses for each stage of your customer relationship. Once you’ve determined the healthy and unhealthy areas, you will want to determine the highest points of leverage.

Action

Write down 10 growth tactics that can apply to your products. If you have trouble finding 10, take a look at GrowthHackers.com for inspiration. We’ll use this list for the following sections.

Determining your resources

While the impact a growth hacking tactic may have on your goals is important, you also need to consider your resources when prioritizing. Resources fall into four areas - money, time, abilities, and assets.

Many growth hacking methods won’t be a good fit with your abilities or other resources. If you can't code, you'll have to scale back growth tactics that require coding to match the engineering bandwidth you can get from your team.

Paid forms of growth hacking are out the door depending on your budget as well as popular organic methods if you don’t have much time to dedicate to growth hacking.

Time

Startups always have a much larger list of work to do than they have the time to complete. Yet time is often in higher supply than money at early stage startups.

How much time do you have for growth hacking? If you only have a few hours a week for example, that can be barely enough for one channel. Time is important because every marketing channel requires time to set up and manage.

Organic channels require a lot of time to be put in to pay off, especially when creating high quality content. Paid channels require several hours a week - they have to be set up and continually optimized.

Even working with marketing agencies or independent contractors takes time to manage.

Example

Producing new features often takes more time than setting up retention emails, and SEO often takes up more time than paid ads.

Action

Estimate the amount of time your company has for growth. Are there any tactics you don’t have time for?

Money

Money is an obvious restraint. Depending on how much you have, it allows you to pursue growth hacking with paid channels, use more powerful tools or hire for any talent and time deficiencies you have.

Do you have a monthly budget? We’re not just talking about having money to spend, but a specific monthly number. If not, your overall amount of money is easy to nail down, but be sure and plan out a monthly budget. This will discipline you to not spend too much up front and miss out on opportunities at the end of the of year.

Paid channels require a budget and there is a minimum amount of money required to experiment with each paid channel to learn what works. Having a monthly budget also forces you to plan better.

Action

Estimate the amount of money your company has for growth. Are there any tactics you can’t afford?

Talents

In sufficient amounts, both time and money can help solve the talent issue, but many startups do not have enough of either.

Certain channels require knowledge and experience to be done correctly and you may not have the time to learn these skills or the money to pay for someone who has them.

Do you have previous marketing experience with any channels? Do you have engineering or design bandwidth? If you can design well, then you should use tactics where good design ability is a strength. You don’t want a poor writer producing blog posts and other content.

Having talent in these areas will open up new opportunities for growth, so be sure to evaluate your team’s talents.

Action

Think through your strengths and those of anyone else who helps with growth. Are there any tactics that won't work with your talent constraints?

Assets

You need all the advantages you can get when it comes to working on growth and there are a lot of different assets that can give you one. What falls under assets? I count anything that can help us reach our growth goals faster than if I didn’t have the asset.

Examples:

  • Large numbers of Twitter followers or Facebook fans
  • Email lists
  • Press relationships
  • Relationships with larger partners
  • A library of existing content

Each one of these can give you a big advantage in your growth work. If there are any you’re missing, it’s never too early to start filling that hole in.

Action

Create a list of your company’s resources. Now rank your growth tactics list by how well each would be served by your resources and record the order.

Leverage

Possibly the most important growth concept is leverage or figuring out where your efforts will have the biggest impact. Your goal when you prioritize growth tactics is to maximize your leverage.

Without thinking about leverage, it’s easy to get stuck doing small tests that will never result in large gains while a test that requires twice the work, but has fives times the potential gets ignored.

Example

For example, one place to start is at the largest drop offs in your funnel. The closer to the top they are, the more people that will reach the lower steps of your funnel. Keep in mind when looking at drop off points that there are limits to how much you can increase your conversion rates.

Pro Tip

Leverage helps you decide on what core metrics to follow since it dictates the areas where your product has the best potential for growth.

Action

Look at your list of growth tactics - which tactic do you think would have the most leverage?

Healthy metrics ranges

It’s important to know where your metrics fall on the range between healthy and unhealthy. This helps prioritize one metric versus another, and lets you know when there is very little room to improve a metric.

Healthy metric ranges vary from industry to industry as well as from business to business. Over time, some of these ranges may drop, especially with acquisition channels.

The first banner ads enjoyed click through rates well above 50%. Banner ad campaigns today are considered a success if the click through rate is above 0.1%.

Also, marketplaces like Google Adwords and Facebook ads enjoy better ROI metrics when they first open up, but these metrics drop over time as competition increases.

Talk to other businesses and do research to build an idea of what falls between healthy and unhealthy for your product and market. They’re not always easy to find, but some companies do publish their results as well.

Example

Totango’s SaaS metrics report is a treasure trove of benchmarks.

Pro Tip

Set up google alerts for metrics you’re interested in. When a blog post is published where a company reveals their number for that metric, take note. Over time, you’ll spot trends and develop a better understanding of your performance relative to the market.

Action

Look through your key funnel for steps where you lose 80% or more of your potential customers and mark them.