First, I want to say that all of what I am telling you here are things I have personally executed with success. So I am not advising you based on a theorist, this is part of my roll up my sleeves proven systems to create customers, influencers and champions a like for your new startup or small business.

So many times have I seen a new app or software start up present their pitch at popular venues like 1 Million Cups and heard why they have a great go-to-market plan. Yet, hours later as I look under the hood I realize this start up created zero visibility, really anywhere.  You have to ask yourself, why?  Are they a “We build, They Come” start up.  Life may end up to be pretty lonely for a start up who follows this trend or even worst disappointing to their angel investor.

The whole notion of growth hacking seems to lead to two obvious connotations, growth and hacking, one being more correct than the other.  If you are not familiar with this, I will turn you to our common friends at Wikipedia.

Wikipedia defines growth hacking as “a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure.”

So if you are a new app or software start up get your big chief pencil out and take notes.  This strategy may just make or break you with your success.  If you are a start up and not in the tech biz, some of these hack strategies are still great for you in creating brand awareness and the start to building your online community.

I created this deck to help you find different areas for modern day business marketing where you can employ growth hacking tactics. Little tricks of automation or hackery that help you squeeze more out of your customer or community acquisition strategy.

  • reddit (Free)
    The front page of the internet? They named it this for a reason.  The millions and millions of hits a day are so ridiculous, I wont even mention the number. Get on the reddit, and begin to communicate with people who have an interest in your industry. This will serve two purposes, brand awareness and, if you do this correctly, the reddit tribe may even be able to give you some insight about your product or app.  If you are new to reddit it can be a bit overwhelming and maybe even complicated to learn. Instead of followers as Twitter has, reddit users accumulate karma points. So even if you don’t plan on using reddit right away, I recommend that you join in a begin to establish at least a base of karma points.
  • Guest Blogging Outreach (Recommendation)
    In a nutshell, create an outreach program to target websites in your niche that rarely take on guest contributors. If your content is good, it won’t be hard to find a home for it. Run search queries will seek out light footprints of guest bloggers by finding authors that were introduced as a guest blogger on a website, suing this as an example keyword “guest post by” Social media loves this technique for growing your tribe, when you are a writer and pushing out decent amounts of quality content, you should be getting hundreds of Twitter shares, Facebook Followers, etc…..
  • Klout (Free)
    Measure your success along with way with all of these hacks.  If you do well, you should see a measurable improvement from Klout. Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”.
  • BufferApp (Free & Paid Versions)
    Becoming familiar with BuffApp is a must for any Entrepreneur who uses social media. Buffer makes it super easy to share any page you’re reading, sharing posts for you through the day at the best times. If you are using Twitter, read their blog on how to create a killer bio, a great read.
  • Facebook Lookalike Audience (Recommendation)
    What exactly is a Facebook Lookalike Audience? Lookalike audiences allow advertisers to target more people who look like their established customers. When you use Custom Audiences, you can choose to create a lookalike audience that targets people who are similar to your Custom Audience list.  Let’s say you have an email marketing database over 5,000 contacts and are in the heating and cooling industry. You can upload this onto Facebook’s advertising platform and target the EXACT demographic similar to your existing customers! Lookalike audiences can take 1-6 hours to be fully populated once created.
  • PitchPigeon.com (Free)
    That’s why Pitchpigeon delivers your pitch to the world’s best-known tech blogs and tech journalists — and gives you the tools to monitor your progess.
  • Randos on Facebook. (Recommendation)
    Search for “randos at a [company],” on your Facebook account and you’ll find people who work at a prospective customer’s company who aren’t your friends to connect with and start building a relationship with. While you can do this on other social networks like Linkedin, give it a try on Facebook, don’t do a friend request, send them a direct message and you might just find this to be a highly effective strategy.
  • Trello (Free for basic plan; $5 per month, per user for paid plans)
    Trello’s project management interface takes a simple approach.  Consisting of project “boards” and drag-and-drop tasks, it’s a great system for users who prefer a more visual approach to project and task management.
  • Qualaroo (Pricing: $63-$499 per month)
    Qualaroo is an analytics platform that helps you determine what your customers are looking for and what’s preventing them from achieving it.
  • Snip.ly (Free for basic plan; $16-$85 per month for paid plans)
    Sharing viral content with your social followers builds your authority, but risks driving your traffic away to external sites.  Recapture these users with Snip.ly, which allows you to embed a call to action of your own into any content piece you share.
  • BuzzSumo (Free for basic plans; $99-$499 per month for paid accounts)
    Coming up with ideas for your content marketing campaigns can be time-consuming.  One easy way to hack the process is to see what your competitors are doing and then do it better than them – and an easy way to find these ideas is with BuzzSumo.
  • KingSumo (Lifetime plan available for $99; Queen plan available for $499 per year)
    Headlines matter, but testing different variations used to require complicated A/B tests or the use of plugins that interfered with SEO by creating multiple title tags.  KingSumo changes all that by allowing WordPress users to submit multiple headlines with each new blog post and automatically test each alternative to find the best performing variation.
  • Heyo (Pricing: $25 per month and up)
    When you post content on Facebook on average 16% of your fans see your content.  So if you are promoting an offer or a deal you need to find other ways of promoting your content. Heyo helps you easily create Facebook contests, sweepstakes & mobile-optimized landing pages to help you get more fans, leads and sales.
  • FiveSecondTest (Free for community plans; $20-$200 for paid plans)
    Effective growth hackers make changes fast, and FiveSecondTest can help speed this progress along.  This is one of my favorite hacks for those who do A/B testing. Upload a landing page design, mockup or wireframe, and service users will view it for five seconds and record their impressions of the most prominent design features.  You might be surprised to find that the elements you thought were most prominent go virtually unnoticed by users!
  • LikeAlyzer (Free)
    Facebook Insights is an analytics tool provided within Facebook. While it is very comprehensive it is also very confusing. LikeAlyzer is a much simpler tool that provides you with a score out of 100 for your page with recommendations on how to improve it.
  • ManageFlitter  (Pricing: $12-$49 per month) – Editor Recommended
    If you want to grow your following on Twitter you can follow many people and some will follow you back.  But that is not particularly useful to you.  What is more useful is targeting the right people to follow and building a network of people that are relevant to your business.
  • Nimble (Free Plan; $15/ Month for paid plans) – Editor Recommended
    A great solution to offer small businesses the best features of high-end CRM systems combined with the power of social media. Developed by my friend Jon Ferrara, founder of Goldmine.  This is a must for all small businesses as for you CRM needs; however, look under the hood and you will find some great social media tools. I read my daily engagement Opportunities which pairs up those who are engaging you on your social media channels, their Klout Scores and what they are influential about.
  • JustReachOut – (Pricing: $45/mth)
    Forget PR Firms, reach out and pitch …building relationships with journalists. Find relevant reporters in your industry who are covering topics that you can comment on and strike up a conversation about. The tool lets me reach other to these reporters daily and identify who they are and build lasting relationships with them.
  • colibri.io – (Small Plans for Startups $45/mth; $995/ Month for Agency plans)
    A set of growth hacking tools that utilizes Social Media, Social Signals, Digital Media and SEO, giving you insight into how to get more traffic and customers from search engines. It lets you track various keywords across 150+ local Google, Bing and Yandex search engines in the cloud. Colibri uses graphs, and charts to show you what keywords your website is ranking for, and also how well your competition is doing for the same keywords.

I have given you 20 solid tactics and hacks for you to use in getting your start up noticed and relevant. If you learned at least one growth hacking strategy from this blog, show your love and tweet this article to your followers and leave a comment.