Growth Hacking 101: Your First 500,000 Users


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How to get to 500,000 users. Employ various methods from the cheap to the scalable-cost, to the expensive.

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Growth Hacking 101: Your First 500,000 Users

  1. Growth Hacking 101 Your First 500,000 Users @yongfook
  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
  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
  4. Now Buy The Book!! A handy guide of 100 online marketing tactics for your startup, ! from quick wins to complex hacks. Buy the Book Now
  5. cheap Trivia: The artist Michelangelo was famously cheap and lived in poor conditions, despite being very wealthy
  6. 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 Automatic / Template “superstar” pieces of content i.e. Infographics Editorial Ex There’s a page like this for every country on DirectRooms Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
  7. Blog • Create shareable content! • Top 10 Lists! • Interviews! • Op-Ed! • PICTURES! (e.g.! • 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
  8. 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 Ex Different graphic assets depending on entry keyword! to preserve scent: this search was for “spa coupon” Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
  9. Share & Embed 1) Create Something Worth Sharing.! 2) Empower your users to share/like/recommend content.! 3) More Users!
  10. 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
  11. 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 Ex 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 Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
  12. Viral Scumbag Mechanics?! ! In 2010 I made a game that at a certain point you ! had to invite another person in order to progress! 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.
  13. scalable Trivia: Mount Fuji in Japan is actually a volcano and has been dormant since 1708
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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,, - 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
  17. expensive Trivia: Archimedes discovered buoyancy, was one of the best mathematicians of his time and also built giant, mechanical war machines
  18. 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
  19. 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. Ex 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. Growth Hacking 101 by @yongfook
  20. Now Buy The Book!! A handy guide of 100 online marketing tactics for your startup, ! from quick wins to complex hacks. Buy the Book Now
  21. thanks! @yongfook!