Growth Hacking Foundational Tools

Hello and welcome to the wonderful world of digital marketing. All are welcome and anyone can become a huge success, no matter what your objectives are. But it’s a competitive space; if you want to win, you’ll need some specialized tools – and secrets.

That’s the essence of this article: to reveal secrets that top influencers, bloggers, and businesses use to grow rapidly.

Since I started three companies and a blog, the process of launching got easier every time. I discovered new tools that dramatically cut the time needed to launch. So, I’m going to share my favorite tools to reduce time and effort when launching a new business venture.

 

Before You Get Started, Create a Splash Page

You’ll need to set up a hub to which you can push your traffic. People need to have something they can easily bookmark in their minds and in their browsers. No matter what your business is, whether it’s a blog, an eCommerce store, a consultancy, an agency, or any other, you want to collect emails from the get-go.

Eventually, you’ll market to all of them via email. But for now, it’s incredibly important to just start building your email list and social following before you launch. That way, when you make your launch announcement, you’ll already have a huge audience listening, reacting, and sharing.

A few splash page sites that I’ve used and recommend are:

  • Splash That
  • Unbounce

Essentially, the goal here is to gain the emails of people interested in following your personal brand or product. So make your intention very clear on that page. Those who are interested will sign up.

Here are some examples of great splash pages:

They’re very minimal and have a clear call-to-action (CTA) and form to fill. You don’t need an eBook or an infoproduct – you just need a clear call-to-action. If you’re looking to become an influencer, you can make your CTA something like, “Get free, exclusive email marketing tips to your inbox every Friday”. If you’re launching a business, “Get early access to our product before launch, and 20% off your first order.” Incentives to build a following are hugely helpful here. 

 

Grow Your Following, Be Seen as a Leader

For my fitness app, I grew an Instagram to 8K followers before launching it into the App Store. When we made the announcement on Instagram, we got hundreds of downloads on our first day from that channel. Thanks to the pre-launch promotion, people had been eagerly awaiting the app’s release. To this day, Instagram is the most consistent source of downloads for my app, Vea Fitness.

For you, this is how you drip value to your followers and drive emotional demand. It’s also the Apple way: create excitement for months before releasing a product (for Itunes and Android).

 

Instagram

The highest engagement platform today is undoubtedly Instagram. To grow both your account and your following as soon as possible, start posting (or reposting) pictures and put your splash page link in the bio of your profile. Then, grow your following – fast.

The easiest way to grow your following is to automate your follow/unfollow and like activity. Essentially, the automation tools follow accounts you choose and unfollows those who don’t follow you back. Depending on your account’s age, health, and number of posts, you can gain anywhere from 500-1,500 new followers per month.

Make sure to do your homework, though. Select and target accounts that are very specific instead of big names like Tony Robbins or The Rock. Too many people follow them, and the audience is diluted with followers who may be irrelevant for you. A good rule of thumb: target niche accounts with 15K – 50K followers.

To make scheduling Instagram posts easier, I use Buffer. My team creates a month of content and schedules it all into Buffer a week before it goes live. Then, all you have to do is approve posts. This helps unify the brand voice across posts and saves a ton of time grabbing pics, writing captions and finding hashtags.

 

Twitter

Twitter, in my opinion, is the most underrated social media platform. I’ve had articles get 1,500 retweets in a single weekend, totally unexpectedly. Mind you, I only have ~1.8K followers. The reason is that a lot of people automate Twitter, and by using hashtags that they’re targeting, they’ll often automatically retweet your content to their followings if it’s a valuable article or post. Thanks to smart and targeted hashtags, I’ve managed to have one VC tweet my article to 48K followers. After that, said story got 1,511 retweets, and over 20,000 reads – in 4 days. Funny thing was that I was on vacation when that happened, and came home to 99+ notifications in Twitter.

I use Tweepi for following and unfollowing accounts that are relevant to my influencer categories (Fitness, Entrepreneurship, and Menswear). You still need to click “follow” and “unfollow”, but it helps you aggregate them super easily. After a few good Tweepi sessions, I gained 245 followers. Some companies are getting into the space of automating Twitter follow/unfollow and engagement fully, but I haven’t personally used any yet.

 

Get Press Quick

I’ve found the easiest way to get press is to create it. Reporters and writers are INUNDATED with requests for coverage. Even if your business is amazingly unique, it’s still hard to get them to cover you. They’d rather be doing storytelling than “profile” stories because the latter typically gets bad engagement.

If you have a blog on your website, post articles there: the SEO benefits are huge. If not, the best way I’ve found to access thousands of readers on-demand is to contribute articles to established platforms and publications. I write for 5 publications myself, usually contributing one article per month to each one.

I typically try to find connections by seeking out writers or editors, finding mutual connections (on Facebook or LinkedIn), and asking for an intro to write for them. Other times, I’ll just cold email target publications. Here’s my template for pitching them:

“Hi _____,

I’ve been a follower of your work for years and commend you for the _______ brand you’ve built. I’m a fellow writer, hustler, and founder of two companies (kjgrowth.com and veafitness.com). I write regularly to share my entrepreneurial experience on Foundr Magazine, Influencive, PRsuit, Mindbodygreen, Thrive Global, and more.

Anyhow, I was wondering if you’d be interested in me contributing an article about _____________ to your blog?

Let me know!

Jonathan”

Once you are able to contribute, start sharing your experience as an entrepreneur. People will not only trust you more but be eager to hear and read more from you. In your author profile on the publication, leave a link to your splash page.

 

Hack Your Email List and Outreach

There are two core uses for email: cold outreach and lead nurturing/sales development.

 

Cold Outreach

My favorite new tool for growing my email list is Hunter.io. Hunter scans the website you’re on, grabs all email addresses that are available, and crosschecks them with countless sites across the web. Since I’ve started using it, it has saved me incredible amounts of time. Now, I have my intern going from site to site, grabbing emails, and creating lists.

I caught up with Justin Lafazan, founder at Next Gen Summit and fellow content creator, and discussed this approach. He said some of the most beneficial and influential people he’s met have all come through cold outreach using Hunter. He starts by providing value through content, similar to me, and then works on building the relationship from that.

As for me, once I have a list, I’ll create a semi-personalized email to them:

“Hi ____, after reviewing your social media accounts, you’ve been selected as a potential influencer for Vea Fitness. We’d like to feature you on our Instagram profile of over 20K followers. If you’d like to take us up on this offer, we’ll just need: 1) high quality fitness photo 2) your favorite workout and cheat meal and 3) download the Vea Fitness app and screenshot your profile.”

We get 10%-15% response rate for the above template. Even if you only have 2K followers, this play can still be strong. It gets us a download, a bunch of free content to put into our Buffer cue, and engages people in a personal way.

 

List Building

Remember, your splash page is the hub for all your inbound marketing tactics. Link all your marketing back to a single, focused page and have a clear email opt-in in the first fold. With all that in place, you’ll soon begin grabbing emails and creating passionate followers awaiting your next announcement.

Mailchimp

I recommend Mailchimp for aggregating emails, managing lists, and distributing communications. They have countless integrations and make automation super easy. You can segment emails by when they were created, where the user is located, and more. That makes it easy to send emails like “thank you for sticking with me for over 2 years, here’s a special deal for you.”

You can create a 5 part drip email that activates when someone opts in. For me, I typically like to structure the content like a marketing funnel.

Email 1 – Intro to me (awareness)

Email 2 – What I do (interest)

Email 3 – How I do it (consideration)

Email 4 – Why you need it / call-to-action (purchase)

Email 5 – Buy now (purchase)

This is a great starting point for people looking to build sales funnels as well. You only have to build a drip email once, and then it automatically engages and sells for you indefinitely – which is much less time-consuming than manually writing a new email every week – plus, you reach every single email sign up, new and old.

Beyond a drip email campaign, you may want to send a weekly newsletter with tips and tricks exclusively for your email readers. Then tease those concepts in social media posts, and get even more sign ups.

 

In Closing

There are countless tools for growth-hacking, but I find that it’s always better to start small, make measurable progress, then expand your efforts.

All the tools I’ve mentioned are marketer-friendly and non-technical. This means that you can roll any of them out in a short amount of time and only $10 to $50 in your bank account.

If you’d like to learn more about what we do and how we do it, feel free to tweet me at @tcgstyle or email us via our website, K&J Growth Hackers. We’re always happy to share information, just like we have in this post.

Happy Hustling! – JMOpinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Jonathan Maxim
Jonathan Maxim is an app designer, digital marketer and thought leader in the fitness and technology realms. After leaving his job at a Fortune 50 company, he merged his management experience with his passion for technology and innovation to create Apps that encourage fitness and wellness. Educated at San Diego State University first in Graphic Design and User Interface, he went on to gain his Masters of Business from SDSU as well. Currently he serves as founder and CEO of Vea Fitness, an app that rewards you for working out with monetary incentives.