Do you have a growth plan in place for 2016?

Ready or not, here comes a new year of intensity, excitement, competition, and, hopefully, growth.

But how are you going to grow?

With the waning power of SEO, the competition of content marketing, and the noise of social media, how are you going to stand out?

Growth hacking.

Growth hacking is a mindset more than it is a set of tactics and strategy. Through growth hacking, entrepreneurs, business owners, and marketers can rise above the noise, expand beyond their dreams, and blow the competition out of the water.

Here are seven must-try growth hacks for 2016.

1. Webinars

Hosting a free webinar is a killer growth hack technique that shows no sign of slowing down.

A webinar is an online presentation, usually live, given by an expert on a relevant topic.

When a user attends a webinar, they are serious about the topic. The engagement statistics are shocking. Attendees will stay tuned in for an average of 54 minutes. Attendees participate in polls, use group chat, participate in Q&A, and, best of all, they convert.

I've been using webinars with jaw-dropping success. Here are some power hacks that I've discovered while using webinars:

  • Increasing urgency through limited-time sign-ups or capped registration is a great way to drive up attendance.
  • Hosting a webinar on a relevant topic is the best way to get users interested.
  • Don't go halfway. Give attendees your absolute best content.

Webinars don't cost much to produce. If you try one new marketing method in 2016, I recommend that it be webinars.

2. Facebook groups

People love to be involved in exclusive groups. Groups can be a source of inspiration, accountability, friendship, motivation, and learning.

With Facebook's declining organic reach, many smart growth hackers have turned to Facebook groups as their number one method of engaging users.

Facebook groups have built-in reach since most users will receive notifications whenever someone posts in the group. These groups aren't designed for marketing per se, so there's much more engagement and activity.

Eventually, these groups become red hot marketing funnels. Though they take time to grow and some effort to sustain, they pay back in spades.

3. Forced virality

Forced virality might sound like a Blockbuster vampire movie, but it's actually an ingenious growth hack technique. I'm surprised that more people aren't doing it.

Here is how it works. In order for users to get access to a product or service, they must invite a certain number of additional users.

One video game marketer tried this technique, and this is what happened:

I made a game that at a certain point you had to invite another person in order to progress...it worked incredibly well and it didn't piss as many people off as I thought it would. At that middle point in the game, most users were happy to spread the word. 10,000+ users in 2 days.

I implemented forced virality on some of my free SaaS products, and saw astronomical results.

4. Retargeting

There's nothing new about retargeting, but there are still many businesses that haven't yet embraced it. According to some estimates, only 20% of online marketers have budgeted for retargeting.

Consider the numbers. The click-through rate for retargeted ads is ten times higher than traditional display ads, and retargeted users are 70% more likely to convert. When used in combination with prospecting, retargeting can lead to 147% higher conversion rates.

With these kinds of numbers, retargeting becomes a no-brainer. For your audience that is in the middle of your marketing funnel, retargeting is an invaluable way of exploding your revenue.

5. Popups

Go beyond the I-want-your-email-address popup. Did you know that popups can be used for surveys, cart reminders, upsells, cross-sells, social sharing, and free downloads?

The fact is, popups work. If you avoid using popups for fear of annoying someone, you're losing potential sales.

6. Free training

Online training is hot. In 2015, the online learning industry was said to reach $107 billion.

Clearly, there's a huge market opportunity for online training. But what if this training were free? High-quality online training is hard to come by. If it's available, surely customers will be willing to jump on it.

And that's where you have your opportunity. By producing a top-tier online course on a valuable subject, you can generate massive interest in your product or service.

7. Free SaaS

Do you use any free SaaS? If you're like most online users, you probably do.

Whether it's a free trial or a scaled-back version, many businesses provide free software to create and sustain interest in a paid product.

Popular examples of this are Moz's Open Site Explorer, Buzzsumo's content analyzer, and Hubspot's marketing grader.

Each of these tools is valuable in its own right, but they also reward the business with qualified leads and massive mailing list growth.

Developing a high-quality SaaS takes time and money, but the marketing investment is well worth it.

Conclusion

None of these growth hacks is new. None of them is particularly ingenious or avant garde.

But all of them work.

I know they work, because I've used them and helped other businesses use them, too.

If they didn't work, I wouldn't share them with you.

Now, it's up to you. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Give these growth hacks a try, and you'll experience success like never before.

Which of these growth hacks will you try in 2016?

Published on: Feb 11, 2016