Guest author Yoav Vilner is a cofounder of Ranky.
Startups in today’s increasingly saturated market just can’t overestimate the importance of business growth. Technology is a frenzied sector, and founders who want to make an impact often need to prove that their businesses aren’t merely growing or thriving, but accelerating in hyperdrive.
Rapid growth is not easy to achieve, and these days, it usually demands unconventional, creative approaches. Dropbox veteran Sean Ellis called it “growth hacking.” He coined the term in 2010, referring to bootstrapping startups that tried all sorts of things to achieve the fast growth required for survival.
Now, five years later, we have numerous growth-hacking tools to help all kinds of entrepreneurs. I’ve been in business for more than 6 years and tried more than 100 tools, so I outlined my most effective resources based on my experience. If you’re interested in growth hacking, these are excellent places to start.
Why Growth Matters
Ideally, you want an 30% annual growth rate. Although growing that much in one year may seem extraordinary—and it is—that’s what seems to separate companies that are doing OK from those described as “hot” or having “explosive” growth.
That figure could be even more important if you hope to go public. According to a 2013 report by Institutional Venture Partners, 54 out of the 70 initial public offerings the firm tracked over three years exceeded that benchmark in their IPO year.
Either way, getting there relies on a mix of methodologies. You need creativity, as well as a certain level of critical thinking and applications. But not all strategies or tools will work for every company.
However, there are some tools that can help universally, four of which I outline below.
In order to maximize the full potential of the mobile movement, it’s essential to market effectively on these devices. But the unique makeup of mobile platforms can make it tough to retrieve information, such as analytics and attribution about mobile ad campaigns.
Fortunately, some tools do exist to gather and interpret this kind of valuable data. AppsFlyer is a world-renowned mobile measurement platform that lets all app marketers, ad agencies and brands advance their growth-hacking efforts by specifically measuring their app download campaigns.
The platform provides unbiased attribution, mobile campaign analytics, in-app user engagement, lifetime value analyses, ROI (return on investment) and retargeting.
All of these tools offer data that can help a mobile app startup’s accountability and ability to monitor successes and failures. The information can also help founders ensure applications adapt to specific markets and clients, so they can essentially expand their client base.
Find The Right Contacts
Communication and relationship management are crucial for any business, but they depend on your ability to find the right contacts to begin with. After all, you could have the best pitch in the world, but without the right ear to hear it, you’re still stranded in the same position.
Finding contact details and email addresses for key players can seem impossible sometimes, but I’ve found that the Email Hunter Chrome extension can help a great deal.
The browser add-on can call up known email addresses associated with a given domain, making it much easier to find and select the most relevant contact within a prospective client company.
Zero In On Content Marketing And SEO
If your growth strategy involves content marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) campaigns, then Buzzsumo is a must-have online tool.
Quickly and easily, the website can pinpoint which of your online content is working well, as well as identify who the major influencers are in your field. Users just type a keyword into the search bar, and Buzzsumo redirects you to all the relevant articles or blogs that are trending.
The site can be very handy for online marketers—whether you’re trying to recognize the largest influencers to help promote your content, generate new ideas for trending topics, or gain insights from your competitors.
Boost Your Online Presence
Brand visibility is a crucial part of a startup’s growth and expansion. One of the best ways to stay visible is by getting involved with existing communities, and offering support or guidance to potential customers.
Colibri allows you to find relevant articles and forums, so you can put yourself and your startup right into the online action. The site even bills its services as “Growth Hacking Tools.” They monitor sites such as Twitter, Quora, Growth Hackers.com and other bloggers in your industry, so you can respond and comment on the most relevant conversations.
In the past, marketers simply placed ads and crossed their fingers that their businesses would grow. Now it takes a deeper understanding of what works (as well as what doesn’t), smarter tools to find the right prospects and two-way conversations that shine a light on your startup.
Call it savvy marketing or growth hacking—but either way, it’s just good business that can help take you from small startup to market leader.
Lead photo by United Soybean Board; all others courtesy of respective companies