Learn from growth hacking success stories – This is how I growth hacked multiple startups generating millions of visitors and converting millions of dollars in revenue for dozens of startups.
Right, so you’ve all heard about me. So, I started my first business when I was just 15 and I came up with this idea of a social media app and I didn’t know anything about business. So, what I had to do is to raise a little bit of money from an investor an angel or something like that so I can go to an app development company and build an app.
So, I actually got in touch with the co-founder of MYOB, which I didn’t know MYOB was that big and he actually decided to invest in the business. That was just three years ago so I was 15 I just turned 18 last week. So, I started building the business and then at the age of 16 I was reading and I was going to all those conferences about marketing and about building a business, a successful business.
I actually got in touch with the co-founder of HashChing, so, it’s a Sydney based startup. What they do is, they connect Australian consumers with brokers instead of going through the bank. So, I called Mandeep, the CEO of HashChing and I said, “Let me help you out I don’t want any money, I think I can add value and help you growth hack your business.” So, we did all those tactics and all those growth hacks for the 10 weeks period and we actually got one of the best growth hacking running.
It was a parody. So, back then, it was December 2015 when the Big Short movie came out and they spent about 20-25 million dollars on advertising. So, what we tried to do is we tried to leverage all the money they spent to really come to HashChing. So, we created an Australian version parody which was really bad but it was funny. Within the first 24 hours we got 50,000 hits which directed viewers to obviously HashChing and then we generated 70 million dollars of applications. We then converted ten percent, which was seven million dollars back then.
At the age of 17 I started working for a few startups in Sydney. CapitalPitch Investable, some startups from San Francisco, actually, Lavish Life. So, [inaudible 00:02:05] employer of Evernote left Evernote and she founded her own startup which I helped to scale as well and launch properly in San Francisco. A few in Las Vegas, ROCeteer. A few in New York City and since then we got contacted by Forbes, by Inked Magazine, by Australian Financial Review, by 9News. You just write the story of how I started Die Young and helped scaled businesses.
So, that’s just a little bit about me, I just turned 18 last week. But, yeah, I think the most important metric that’d been for me in the past three years was Customer Acquisition Cost to Lifetime Value. And, I can’t stress how important that was enough for us because by measuring how important Lifetime Value of each customer, then you know how much to spend while acquiring those users. And, most businesses actually get that wrong because they take the first initial value that they pay you and then that’s how they calculate the ratio but they don’t calculate the referrals that happened and also the word of mouth that happens and also the second-order values that they keep ordering from you if they are happy with your product.
So, I think growth hacking is coming up with hundreds of ideas and executing all of them and testing which works and which doesn’t. So, many founders I’ve been working with before, they come with one a week and then most of them really fail. And then, they just stop with growth hacking because it doesn’t work, but I think its about coming up with about hundreds and hundreds of ideas every single week, executing them and testing them. You know, if something works, put your time and put your money into it before, going lean before just spending everything on one hack. So, that’s been really important as well.
I think, customer success is very important as well as part of your growth hacking because it’s your most repeatable growth driver. We actually tested it, that 70 percent … 80 percent of our SAS companies revenues actually generated from word of mouth. So if you create the best for the customer and he’s gonna refer you to other people. For my service, for example, every single client I’ve helped probably know four to five clients. So by using customer success you can actually scale it with such a low customer acquisition cost and really high lifetime value.
The customer success is just all about making your customer the happiest customer so that can involve Christmas cards, and you know building the best experience for customers. Actually Evernote did the same thing when I heard there was a client that was really upset with the product, and they called him, and they just try to help him on the same time to actually track if a flower delivery business delivered flowers to the client’s house and as soon as the guy was knocking on the door, the guy opened and saw flowers coming from Evernote. So it was just amazing customer success that helped the business grow to over 200 million users.
So and also lifetime value will shoot up when you have good customer success. Why? Simply because if they’re happy with you they’re gonna spend more money with you and expand your services and will obliviously bring their friends and family to using you. Many start-ups don’t actually hire customer success reps just because they think it’s cost-centric but it’s really not. It’s revenue-driven. If you actually test it for a few months the cost is only ten percent of what they can generate you in about six to ten months, so it’s really important as well.
Also, the lead generation machine, so that’s obviously what growth hacking is about, and what it is it’s about building channels which can build you a repeatable lead generation machine. For example Facebook or for example a tactic that we use of a LinkedIn. But the most important thing here is not just focusing on one channel and relying all on one channel because then you’ll be soft. Otherwise, just you know follow it, check a few channels and do a lead generation machine based on a few channels so you can put in your marketing in a few places for reliance and repeatable growth.
I think it’s been really important for us because we build lead generation machine that took us six months to build. So it takes a long time and it’s a lot of testing and a lot of variation and all that stuff but once you get it, even when you sleep you get leads right. I’ll give you an example for lead generation machine. If you build, for example, a landing page and you offer a content piece like a white paper or something that is relevant to your product then again you can use Facebook and Twitter and obviously Buffer. I know it’s tough to generate user traffic and then conversion. And then you can optimize the landing page to increase the conversions and stuff like that.
So for us, for example, for HashChing we launched a video and then the influencer is contacting us who wanted to post a page five dollars per post and that’s how we got 500k or 52k or 500k hits within the first 16 or 20 hours. And then we took it down because the banks were in it. Obviously that just got us like so much applications I’m wanting to service so that I could really scale the product and they’re doing really well now.
So yeah I mean, you have to focus on a few channels. It is okay if each channel is different conversions and different funnels, it is okay. Just focus on a few channels and make sure they’re the best for your product and always test. Everything is measurable, everything is testable. You can always increase your conversion rate on everything you do and by doing that you can actually increase obviously your revenue and your customer base.
The most important thing that I actually saw founders do in the past few months of working with hundreds of people and actually thousands of companies reaching or was that people underestimate the lifetime value of the customer. I think that like I said ten minutes ago is that lifetime value’s not just what they spend with you on the day zero. Because if you make the best experience for them and you expand your product, they’re going to spend more money with you. It is actually tested that if you create a good customer success that they’re likely to spend 2x with you in the period of six to 12 months and actually gonna bring you about three to four to five actually clients that will actually want to pay for your service. We’ve tested it. That’s how important customer success is.
A way to actually measure your lifetime values by looking at the past six to 12 months as really looking at the second-order the values how much they spend with you over the 12 months period, how much friends they actually bring that converted, that actually paying you. By doing that you can actually see your lifetime value of one customer. Then you actually know how much to spend because if you think your lifetime value is 100 bucks you don’t want to spend more than 80 bucks on customer acquisition costs right? But if you actually test it again with second-order values and referral and maybe it can be $250 lifetime value and then you can spend a lot more and generate more leads. So it’s really important to actually find your lifetime value that is accurate. We’re using second-order values, referrals, how many clients actually bring friends and family to use your product too.
And then churn. Churn is a big one with growth hacking as well. So churn rate, you always want it – you always want to minimize your churn rate, your customer churn rate but you want to maximize your revenue net churn rate. Basically what it is, is your net negative churn rate is the revenue that you get from new customers will basically pay off the customers who leave you, but more. So you want to have a negative number, you want it as low as you can. But customer success you will basically spend and bid the second-order values with current customers so you can reduce the ratio of customer acquisition cost to lifetime value. So typically the start-ups we’ve been working with the best churn rate that we’ve seen and the benchmark that we try to target is about 15 percent annually. So that’s about two percent to a little over two percent a month and that’s a good churn rate to target.
And about negative churn rate, you want to have minus negative five percent so basically that means that every time you have a new client or every time you have a new customer you want to make sure that your revenue is growing and not going down because companies already leave you when they churn. You want to think that’s really important. So how can you actually reduce your churn rate? We’ve actually tested a lot of things and the solution that we came up with is build automated mechanisms to see when they’re about to churn. So we sat down and we said, “How can we actually know when someone is about to churn?” So we looked at invoices, if they were late due to frustration, if they gave us bad feedback on servers that we send out, Net Promoter Score, which is really important for growth hacking. There was also not full engagement with your product.
So obviously you can test the conversions and how many times they come using your product. So it’s just using all those mechanisms that will alert you before they are about to churn. And it’s much easier to fix a customer that is about to churn then after they actually send you a cancellation letter. So it’s been really important for us and I mean it reduces our churn by about three percent each month once we did it. So that’s about 36 annually churn rate. That’s really important as well so building mechanisms and alerts that will alert you before someone is about to churn and then fixing them. So calling them up, trying to build a product that suits them and trying to fix the situation they were in. Maybe they’ve done the wrong thing maybe you have but that’s customer success and by implementing such mechanisms you obviously reduce churn drastically.
Now I’m gonna share two to three growth hacks that we actually ran that were doing phenomenally well for the clients I’ve been working with and starts I’ve been working with including HashChing. So the first one is SlideShare. What we are trying to do as growth hackers is we’re trying to leverage channels that are already doing really well and trying to bring them to our platform just like we did for the viral video on YouTube. That how we used all the marketing spent on marketing the Big Short digital movie to bring them to HashChing. Again it’s in the same industry so online deals same [inaudible 00:13:06] so it was all relevant stuff.
So the first one is SlideShare, so create a white paper or an e-book, something that is relevant for your product. That’s actually gonna get huge traffic if you do it right. So build an e-book or white paper that is relevant but you want to sell the [inaudible 00:13:08] you don’t want to sell your product you don’t want to even mention your product. You just want to give it value. So if you’re a supplement business then you want to create an e-book on how to put you mindset on working out. So build the white paper where you solve pain for your clients and then out it on SlideShare. Now get friends and family, refresh get fake reviews maybe a 100 to 250 in the first day.
Now what SlideShare do is they actually have SlideShare editor which will see what articles what slides are picking up if you get one to 150 a day then they go, “Okay that’s a good one for the business category. We’re gonna put it on the homepage.” We’ve done this and we’ve gotten about 20,000 hits within like the first few days. And how we try to leverage it is on the last page after adding all this value in solving pain, we create a call to action we’re directing them to our website. So again not selling, we didn’t say, “Come by,” we said, “If you want any more click on this link.”We get about two to three percent conversion rate from coming to visit SlideShare, coming to the last page of the SlideShare and clicking.
Three percent of 20,000, that’s a big number that came in the first few days. No marketing budget, nothing. That got us conversions into leads then we noted them and we sold them. So maybe we spend ten dollars and getting five editors to make a really nice presentation or you can do it yourself. And then after that we create a few thousand dollars worth of leads. So that’s number one.
Second thing is StumbleUpon. Again it’s all about content marketing so you want to create blog posts that really convert and really go viral. So crate a blog post again solving some customer pain and then putting it on StumbleUpon. So what StumbleUpon does is it shows visitors articles that they might be interested in. So the more stumbles you get, in other words shares, the more people are going to see it. Again we get friends and family or other people we’ve worked with we put on an IMO signature some like call to actions which is maybe 20 dollars worth of Facebook marketing so we can get a little bit of clicks to come and share this stumble. And then we got about 120 stumbles within the first hours which again 120 stumbles – every single stumble gets about 1,000 views. So yeah we go about 15 – few thousand visits on our blog posts. And again its not fake people it’s actually people who are interested in the industries. Because StumbleUpon only shows you blogs relevant to what you’re interested in.
So again that got us an okay amount of conversion rate to actually become leads. And then we nurture those leads to actually convert them again. So what we believe in as growth hackers and about clients is never sell right away. There’s a framework that basically says, when people don’t know you they’re never just gonna buy from you and then you really have to educate them, solve their pain before they actually come throughout the funnel and then push them throughout becoming to love you and to use your product because you help them with blog posts, with e-books, with testimonials, with trials, and all that stuff.
Growth hacking is really, for us, building a marketing funnel that starts with your traffic sources which again that’s a lead generation machine, which has to be for a few relying channels and not just one. Doing that and always optimizing the conversion rate on every single step of the funnel because again every single conversion even if it’s a half a percent or two percent overall can actually lead to more leads and more moneys coming in the door. And then after that, the second step of the funnel is really lead magnet. So how to actually convert those visitors that come from StumbleUpon, from SlideShare, how to actually convert them. So you know we do swipe file and blogs where we try to convert [inaudible 00:17:30] into getting an additional blog post or additional value.
What swipe file is, if you go to a blog post now and then there’s no way they’re taking you to the next blog right? So all they do is “Sign up to this newsletter”, that’s what they say. That gets about 0.05 percent conversion rate. That about 1,000 people that come to the website, there’s barely any people that will put their email address. So what we’ve done is, well we’re doing all these blog posts that are actually adding value to our people, how can we actually leverage that and get those visitor to become leads then we can nurture them with more blog posts and more e-books. And then again we’re pushing them throughout the funnel to actually becoming you know engaged with the product, rather us than competitors, and then buy from us.
So what we did is, as you start reading the blog post on this, for example, line ten we create like a small box where it says, “If you like this article,” – for example if it was a article about putting your mindset into working out, then if you started reading you go to line number ten and said, “If you’re interested in a free workout session with one of our managers please sign up here.” And then it’s a clickable call to action which then if you click on it, a pop-up comes in where you an convert and become a lead by putting your email address or your mobile number. And then what we’re doing is we’re not just putting content out and producing it which takes hours we’re actually converting some into leads. And if they’re reading about mindset again about the business, the workout business, if they’re reading about mindset and wanting session and all that stuff those are really hot leads.
So when we’re getting them into [inaudible 00:19:14] for example, then we have all those leads where we can nurture them and send an automated email funnel where we send them again new blog posts and new white papers or maybe deals, or maybe testimonials and then on day nine we’re sending an email to sell something. So what we did, as an example, the way we did it is we got all those emails coming from blog posts like about thousands of them coming in, in just a few weeks time and we do nothing right.
It was from going from five subscribers a week to actually doing that. And every time we got new in one list on MailChimp, there’s thousands of them. Then we send them email on day three, day five, day seven, and then on day nine we actually sold. Right so on day three we send another e-book, day five we send them like a whitepaper, day seven we send them like a free 50 dollar card or something like that, again relevant to the product you’re selling, and on day nine we say that, “We hope you like the content. We’re actually building this product if you’re interested, come by.” And they actually come and buy from you if you helped them before. Tested, you already know what you guys are doing now but if you build that funnel with an automated email funnel, then you’ll see how the conversions actually jump and ramp up.
Obviously all the big brands in the world like Airbnb and Dropbox are actually doing it right now because if you search for tell blogs then you land on their Airbnb blog page. Again that’s getting awareness for Airbnb and then that’s getting traction. People renting houses from Airbnb or people listing houses. So it’s basically been that it’s educating everyone before you sell and then you nurture them again with it, constant emailing them but not just selling. There’s all those spam emails are common, they try to sell you but you never buy. But it’s about educating, it’s about showing videos, it’s about explaining, and then you sell. The conversion just ramps up. We’ve done the conversion went up to like 20 percent, so it’s been really important as well.
And then the last thing was always testing everything on landing pages you’ve build. Like firstly, if you’re offering a content piece or if you offer video, or a blog post always have a separated dedicated landing page for it because landing page converts a lot better than normal website. If you tested it then on the home page there’s two percent conversion rate to actually become a lead where on the landing page the conversion rate is about 20 to 60 percent. So for every hundred people come to your website to get something on your home page – if you send them to your home page then you’re getting two subscribers, but on the landing page you’re getting 20 to 60 right. And if your running an email campaign or Facebook ads, you don’t want to spend that much money on just getting them and losing them when they come to the website.
So always building the landing pages, you can even build it with Instapage, you can build it with Leadpages, all those really great tools where you can do them within 20 to 30 minutes a landing page. They charge you 30 bucks a month. You can always add variations, a/b testing and then see what converts the most. Again it’s about always testing everything. So I’ll give you an example of what we tested. So we had a landing page where someone can download an e-book, that was for another client a few weeks ago. And we had like an image, we had a landing page where people could download e-books. And then we had a seven percent conversion rate, which sucks by the way. Then we said, “Okay how can we increase the conversion rate to about 20 percent?” And then we thought, “Okay well people like data, people like numbers, people like scientific proof.” So we added like a small graph on the side with like a scientific proof, like a small graph. Conversion rate went to 27 percent. So 20 percent extra conversion rate, extra 100 people coming then you converted 20 more people.
It’s just really important testing everything. Everything is testable in growth hacking. It’s not traditional marketing. You’re not spending hundreds to thousands of dollars into marketing. Everything 20 dollars, hack right? That why we call it. So I mean its been very important to do that as a growth hacker and again we don’t like traditional marketing where we spend thousands into ads and then if something doesn’t work out, totally stuffed. So with growth hacking we come with hundreds of them every single week. And we test tens of them, maybe 40, 50 every week and see which works the best. And by seeing what works the best, if StumbleUpon actually works the best, we can put more time and money into it, maybe we do 50 dollar ad marketing. Just fifty dollars so you can get the stumbles and get this thing going and then make it viral.
So it’s all those smart tactics that we’ve been doing and that’s what I’ve been doing until now so I just turn 18 last week. And yeah so that’s what I do yeah thank you all for having me. Thank you, thank you and it’s been really great to speak here today.