Growth hacking as a concept has really picked up over the last few years. There is a school of thought that is quick to call it a buzz word, while startups and other thought leaders, are calling it the next big thing. In the simplest sense, growth hacking is a ‘mindset first, technique second’ approach that uses analytical thinking, creativity and metrics to increase revenue and gain traction for your business. It’s a way of testing everything and then implementing methods to scale.
Over the past few years, there have been a lot of growth-hacking tools created for startups, by startups, to help understand their users better and get more customers. These tools helps you track user behaviour across mediums and within your platform, in order to help you decide your next steps.
So, let’s jump into a few tools that startups as well as larger enterprises can start using, if their aim is to be data-driven and scaling their venture.
- Google Analytics: If you aren’t using this tool yet, install it. Google Analytics is used by over 18 million businesses across the world and the best part is, it’s free.
It helps you track:
- Demographic information like age, gender, interests and location of user
- User behaviour on the site i.e., number of new and returning visitors, exit rates, time spent on the site, pages visited and pages from where they exit the site.
- Performance of different marketing channels and the ones that are bringing in most traffic
- Traffic from different devices: desktop, iPhone, iPad, Android
- Goals like items purchased, sign-ups, demos and the number of visitors who finally completed these goals.
How to implement GA? Documentation here.
- Mixpanel: Mixpanel is an advanced analytical tool that helps you track individual user behaviour and the actions they’re taking on the platform. If you want to know who did what on your platform, use Mixpanel. Some of its other features are funnel analysis, individual action analysis, cohort analysis, send notifications and A/B testing. This is free for the first 1,000 users or the first 25,000 data points you capture.
- Inspectlet: Inspectlet is one of the more advanced tools that provides information on how individual users use your site. It literally records videos of your users as they use your site, allowing you to see everything they do. Mouse movements, scrolls, clicks, and key-presses. Creepy, right? They also provide eye tracking and click heat maps that show what your visitors are clicking on. If you’re using only one website, it’s free for the first 100 recordings.
- Peek: Ever wished to know exactly what people were thinking when they first saw your site? Check out peek.usertesting.com. You can send them your website URL and within hours, you will have a real person, record a five-minute video of a real person, using your site or app. Oh yes, it’s free as well.
- Google Keyword Planner: Google Keyword Planner is a great tool for figuring out what keywords to use for your search engine marketing campaigns, your content marketing initiatives and while looking to optimise your site. You can type a certain set of keywords within the planner and it gives you historical statistics, how a list of keywords might perform and the bids being placed on those keywords. Create an adwords account and start using keyword planner. It’s free.
- Outbrain: Has it ever happened that you were reading some content online and at the bottom of the article, it has a section called ‘Sponsored Stories’? If you’re looking to amplify content and want to appear in the Wall Streets and CNNs of the world, use Outbrain. You can place a bid on your ad and then you get charged based on someone clicking on the ad.
- Sumo.Me: With over 3,50,000 websites being powered by this tool, Sumo.Me is helping freelancers, early-stage startups and large companies get more traffic to their website. It has sharing widgets, analytics widgets, overlays that appear on exit and other tools that can all help you get traction. They’ve a list of 20 tools that can be used for free while advanced features can be unlocked by paying.
- Visual Website Optimizer (VWO): Before we get into the details of VWO, it’s important to talk about an important concept, called A/B testing. A/B testing is a process of comparing two versions of the website that are essentially identical, except for one variation that might affect a user’s behaviour. The original version is called the CONTROL while the page that is being changed is called the VARIANT. If you want to run an A/B test and see what actually affects conversions, use VWO.