One of the things that I do is growth hacking for solopreneurs. Growth hacking is an overused phrase. To me it has a great resonance. I live on the very edge of one of the largest untouched jungles in SE Asia. Seen from a distance it can look beautiful and your path can seem clear. It’s not that easy. Pretty soon you have no contact with the outside world, visibility reduces and it is quite simply trackless.
My parang (the Malay word for a machete) is a vital tool and I use it to help make and find my way through the dense vegetation. In the same way I help my clients find their way through the dense and confusing marketing options that are available for them and craft a strategy that lifts them up into the sunlight.
I’m feeling rather poetic today!
Growth Hacking for Solopreneurs – The Process
Like most good things it’s pretty simple. The following are the key stages in growth hacking for solopreneurs
- Understanding the business model and the value proposition
- Considering the ideal customer
- Thinking about the many marketing channels available and brainstorming ideas for each of them
- The prioritising and taking the best ideas to run simple low cost experiments
The first stage is simple. I need to know and understand your business. Many of my customers have weak target customers. They may say small businesses or women. These are huge audiences with lots of distinct segments within them. Trying to market to them en masse means that your bland boring message disappears and gets lost.
So often one of the first tasks is to figure out who the ideal customer really is. Sometimes this means deep dives into Facebook or Google Analytics trying to put a personas together. Other times it is reading amazon reviews or listening to you talk about your first or second customers. Whichever it is I then create beautiful detailed profiles of ideal customers which we then use as the baseline of the marketing experience. These ideal customers are detailed enough that they almost seem real. I can tell you what Emilia’s handbag looks like, or what type of glasses Virgine D wears – even though I have never thought about that before – that’s because they are real people who you want to sell your goods or services to. (They are both favourite persona’s I’ve done for customers)
Once we know who we are selling to we then start looking for them. I have a list of 19 generic marketing channels – ways of reaching customers. We quickly think about how easy it is to reach the customer using that channel and how to do it. There are lots of millennials on the internet and because every marketer and her pet cockatoo are chasing them the obvious ways are expensive. That’s cool if you have unlimited resources and nerves of steel. Really it is. The only problem is that Google and Facebook will get rich on your money.
There’s a better way though. That’s to look for trails that lead us easily through the undergrowth and avoid consumer’s resistance and price wars with other marketers. Some of the approach is based on systematic processes, parts on stealing other good ideas that have not been worked out and some is based on imagination and daydreaming. Whichever part comes to the fore it is all aimed at finding some way that will effectively allow you to acquire customers at a much lower cost than through frontal assault.
Unfortunately it’s not that easy. We don’t know whether the approach will work, nor do we really know whether consumers will love your product or service and how we deliver it.
So we never use big fancy marketing campaigns. These take lots of time and money and if it goes wrong you haven’t got very far. A far better approach is to do lots of small experiments to test and learn. How can we spend $100 on a SEO experiment that will make a big impact? We think about it and have a hypothesis. Then we spend the $100 and see what happens. It’s ll data driven and if we see no results we’re a bit disappointed but the world hasn’t ended. On the other hand….
If it’s good we don’t celebrate too much. We go back and spend $500 to see if we can reinforce the success and do it on a larger scale. When that works. We spend $2000, or $5000 confident now that the approach will bring you customers and sell your products.
Why does it Work?
Small cheap steps that you repeat until we find something that works. Its systematic, effective and far far less risky than amost any other approach
That’s the story of how I do growth hacking for solopreneurs
Why am I good at it. I’d like to say it’s because I’m good at hacking through jungles. It’s probably because I have run so many small scale frugal campaigns over the years for tiny struggling startups. That’s given me a wealth of experience. When you combine this with super curiosity and a love of awesome stories you often get results.
If this sounds like it would help you – send me a mail – [email protected]