Have you been wondering what digital growth hacking is and how - exactly - you can incorporate it into your e-commerce business?
Digital growth hacking has been a buzzword circulating around the e-commerce industry for a few years now. With digital sales becoming an increasingly crowded space, growth hacking could make the difference between you and your competitors.
It’s a powerful opportunity to grow any business at an exponential rate that you should be incorporated into your business strategy immediately.
So, what is digital growth hacking? And what are some ways that you can utilize growth hacking strategies to increase your online sales?
In this article, we’ll explore the definition of digital growth hacking and how it’s different from digital marketing.
We’ll also share six digital growth hacks and strategies that’ll help you improve your metrics and drive sales.
What is digital growth hacking?
On the surface, growth hacking may seem very similar to digital marketing. However, while the two are linked, they’re actually quite different from one another.
The key difference is in the approach and the mindset.
Digital marketing involves executing a series of targeted and well-crafted campaigns to increase your brand presence in the e-commerce space.
However, growth hacking involves digging deeply into the two or three key strategies that will significantly increase the growth of your business. This model is often used by start-up companies.
It's about the philosophy behind exponential growth rather than incremental optimization that sets growth hacking apart from your everyday digital marketing.
Growth hacking also involves more than just marketing and sales. It also involves the growth of other departments within the company, such as product development or engineering.
The growth targets set are often specific yet achievable to reach a particular goal. For example, a growth hacker might set a goal of increasing CTRs (click-through rates) from email campaigns by 50%.
6 Digital Growth Hacks to Increase Your Sales
Growth hacks should be part of any company’s sales strategy. But, before this happens, growth hacking has to become part of the company's culture.
Organizations of any size, whether B2B or B2C, can implement these six growth hacks as part of a successful growth strategy.
But the organization has to be prepared to focus on the select few KPIs that can drive true and significant growth.
The challenge with this, for many organizations, is the "Yes, but..." attitude.
The "Yes, but..." attitude is a common failure in many organizations to embrace the philosophy of digital growth hacking.
Growth Hacker: "We need to spend the next 6 months laser focused on increasing website conversion rates!"
Company: "Yes, but... we also need to update the FAQ page, because it hasn't been updated in a few months."
The company isn't necessarily wrong. The FAQ page probably does need to be updated. But is updating the FAQs going to contribute to exponential business growth?
Although that's just one random example, any digital growth hacker who has worked in a larger organization has probably heard dozens, if not hundreds, of these "Yes, but..." statements.
To be effective at growth hacking, you need to focus your time, attention, and energies on the key areas of potential growth. Some metrics around measuring the success of digital growth hacking efforts include things such as:
- Conversion rates;
- Levels of customer engagement;
- Average Order Value; and
- Customer retention.
After all, when you boil it all down, in the e-commerce ecosystem there are only 3 key areas that drive revenue growth:
- How many people visit your site;
- How many of them end up buying; and
- How much they spend.
Everything else in your digital growth hacking strategy should support one of those 3 critical areas.
If you're looking for some inspiration or ideas for specific digital growth hacks that you can try for your business, here are some things you can consider adding to your digital growth plans.
Prioritize video for higher CTRs
One of the best digital growth hacks for getting your content and ads noticed is through video.
No matter which social media feed you’re scrolling through, videos tend to catch your attention much more than photos or text only.
It’s also proven to boost CTRs, whether on social media or in email campaigns. CTRs from videos are twice the amount of text-only or photo content.
However, most email campaign software does not support embedded video. Instead, you can try:
- Using gifs;
- Creating an A/B test for video campaigns for different buyer personas (if A/B testing is available on your email marketing platform); or
- Link to the video through an image.
When using videos for social media ads, they should be short and sweet (5 to 10 seconds long). This is to avoid losing your audience and missing your CTA (call to action). Therefore, your videos should be clear from the very first frame what product you’re selling or what message you’re trying to deliver.
Exceptions can be made, of course, for extremely engaging videos. The now-infamous Dollar Shave Club video was just over 1 1/2 minutes but became a viral success that propelled the company into the E-commerce Hall of Fame.
Finally, adding subtitles to your videos is extremely important. The vast majority of users view videos in their feed with no sound. If you have limited resources to create subtitles, you can use a service like Rev.com, who charge around $1.25 USD per minute.
Tip: To increase engagement with the content on your business’ social media feeds, videos should be uploaded natively to the platform and not just shared from YouTube.
Increase CTRs by hacking your email marketing
Just like with adding video to email marketing campaigns, there are multiple hacks for email that can drive your business’s growth.
One of the first places to start is with sender names and subject lines.
- Sender name: [Name] from [Your Company] is a great format to use.
- Subject line: Choose subject lines that will trigger curiosity, but don’t forget to test the look and feel on mobile.
These hacks can increase email open rates significantly.
Once a customer has opened your email, you might think a beautifully designed HTML template would drive CTRs. However, the opposite is often true: having simple, plain-text and personalized content can significantly increase CTRs compared to emails with complex HTML-designs.
However, with all things marketing, it's important to balance the potential increases that the growth hack can drive with the overall brand identity. It's the only "Yes, but..." that I support when it comes to growth hacking.
Therefore, it might be worth sacrificing a bit of your click through rate to make sure that your brand is accurately represented.
Tip: If you’re not sure if the increase in CTR is worth the reduced brand presence, try running an A/B test. That way you can measure the true revenue impact of both versions and decide which is best for the company.
Another great - and easy - email hack is to take advantage of every inch of real estate in your company emails by using email signatures as a promotion opportunity. This is especially true with any customer-facing emails such as support, sales, or customer service.
However, make sure that these links are updated regularly, especially if your links have time-based promotions, or you could risk looking unprofessional.
Reduce bounce rates by decreasing page load times
If customers click on links to your site and it takes too long to load, they’ll lose patience and close the page, which could spell serious trouble for your sales.
Every additional second of load time has an impact on whether or not customers will wait. In fact, you could lose up to 40% of your visitors within three seconds if your page doesn't load. Those three seconds could equate to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, in lost in sales.
Not only this, but Google penalizes mobile sites with slow load times by pushing them down its search rankings, which will also cost you potential visitors.
Therefore, decreasing your site’s load time can increase your visitors AND increase conversion rates, which makes it a perfect digital growth hack!
If you use Google Analytics, you can find page load speeds under Behaviour > Site Speed. Ideal load times are under three seconds per page. Or, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test your website’s load time.
A perfect score of 100 is extremely challenging to achieve and not expected. A score of 80 or higher is acceptable IF you have purposefully made the decision to sacrifice a little bit of site speed in order to do a better job telling your brand story.
But the minimum you should aim for is a score of 80. This means your page load in no more than 3-4 seconds.
But how do you increase the load speed of your website? Here are some potential ways to increase your page load speeds:
- Compress photos on your site and use JPEGs over PNGs;
- Reduce page redirects;
- Avoid using overly complicated apps to perform simple tasks; and
- Optimize the code on your site to remove unnecessary characters.
If you’re using Shopify, here’s where you can find more tips for speeding up your Shopify storefront. Or you can turn to our Shopify experts who can run a site speed optimization program for you.
Use chatbots to save time and money
Chatbots can be serious growth hacks for companies with limited resources. They respond to customer inquiries at lightning speed, which can help to drive conversions.
They also help answer existing customer's support questions, giving your customer service team more time to sell.
It’s also estimated that by 2022, chatbots will lead to $8 billion in savings for e-commerce businesses.
Therefore, an important growth hack for your sales is implementing a chatbot on your site.
Several Shopify apps are available to add a chatbot to your storefront and can be customized by Marketplace Solutions.
There are also chatbot services such as Morph.ai, Botsify or ChatBot that offer customized chatbots. They also offer WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or SMS chatbots which can be quick and easy for your customers to use.
Create brand advocates
Another great growth hack that helps build customer loyalty and generate new leads is by creating brand advocates. These are your happy customers telling other customers about you. In old school marketing, this was known as “word of mouth.” But with the advent of online referral & social sharing programs, this has grown into a new and innovative way to build your customer base.
If done right, your customers themselves can become one of your best growth hackers.
By employing different customer-focused growth hacks, you'll not only grow your business, but to add value to your customer relationships.
One way to achieve this is through contests. Contests are an incredibly cheap way to collect a goldmine of customer data and leads. You could also incentivize social media shares by offering additional contest entries when followers share your contest post on their feed or tag multiple friends.
In that same vein, incentivizing customers to refer their friends to your company with discounts or credits can turn your existing customer base into a marketing machine.
For example, building a referral request into your post-sale purchase email streams is a very cost-effective way to increase your customer-to-customer referrals.
When it comes to high-value clients, you might want to consider a "hand-written" thank you letter or a thank you gift can lead to social word-of-mouth referrals, while building customer loyalty. You’d be amazed how a simple “thank you” can lead to more authentic referrals, as it shows customers how much you’d value them.
Use metrics to monitor your growth
While employing the right growth hacks is important, measuring the success of your efforts is absolutely critical.
Otherwise, you won't know which is working and which is not.
Or worst case scenario, you could end up with two conflicting results that send the wrong message.
For example, let's say that Growth Hack #1 is wildly successful and results in a revenue increase of 100%.
However, at the same time, Growth Hack #2 is a completely disaster and is reducing revenue by 50%.
You could look at the combined, top-level sales results and think "These hacks didn't work!" and turn them both off. That could cost you an easy opportunity to double your revenue by just turning off the worse of the two programs.
When establishing your growth hack plan, make sure that you understand exactly what is considered a success metric and exactly how you will measure that.
You can use these metrics to determine which growth hacking efforts are worth your time and which aren’t.
Increase Your E-commerce Sales with Digital Growth Hacks
With growth hacks for your website, social media, email campaigns and more, watch your business, sales and customer base grow significantly.
We hope these growth hacks will give you the insights you need to get started with your own growth hacking endeavours.
In the meantime, if you’d like any assistance with growth hacking your digital marketing efforts, let us know!
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