Hackernoon logoMy Personal Growth Hacking Tactics for Tech Startups in 2019. by@PavanBelagatti

My Personal Growth Hacking Tactics for Tech Startups in 2019.

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@PavanBelagattiPavan Belagatti

DevOps Influencer

My Personal Growth Hacking Tactics for Tech Startups in 2019

The person you see on the stage in the above picture is me, my name is Pavan. A growth hacking enthusiast and I talk a lot about growth, startups, and DevOps. Recently, I gave a talk at one of India’s prominent institutions (IIMB) on Growth Hacking for Startups organized by NSRCEL. I would like to share a small summary of what I spoke. Let’s get going…

The startup ecosystem is evolving at a rapid pace and this has forced companies around the world to be more competitive. There is a need to stand out from the crowd, it is not just about the unique value proposition your startup has, you need strategies that scale and help your company grow exponentially. There might already be firms offering the products or services same as you but what makes you different from others?

The answer is ‘Growth Hacking’, Yes, the unique, creative and unconventional strategies that can be scalable and impact directly to the growth of the organization.

Want to be a growth hacker? Check out my article below,

Today we will see some early traction growth hacking tactics that can help your startup grow exponentially.

1. Get active in the targeted online communities or try to build your own

Leveraging the users of an already well-established community is a well-thought growth hack and a very rarely used marketing trick, we also call it community marketing. Being active in industry targeted communities/forums can help boost your brand presence. Most of the successful companies we see today did gain their initial traction by getting engaged in the targeted communities or forums. You need to be slow initially and gain some authenticity to reach a stage where people value your suggestions. Make a content plan to see what you can post on a daily basis in the form of a story that makes people to get involved with the content and react to it in one or the other form. Once you develop sufficient trust, you can always divert the community members to your desired domain.

Getting involved in community marketing can be of two types, an organic way or through the sponsored way. Organic community marketing refers you getting involved in groups that are already established and members who share a mutual affinity for a common concern. Sponsored community marketing is where it involves you, as the brand or business, creating a community where fans of your products or services can join, interact, share feedback — not only with each other but with the brand itself.

5 things to keep in mind when it comes to organic community marketing,

  1. Don’t pitch, participate first
  2. Be genuine and consistency matters
  3. Contribute like an expert to build authenticity
  4. Be friends with other active community users & influencers
  5. Be accessible whenever needed and polite

Another trick is to build your own community from the scratch to interact and engage with your own users and potential customers. The University of Michigan study discovered that customers spend 19 percent more after joining a company’s online community, another study shows that seventy-seven percent of companies believe that an online community significantly improves brand exposure, awareness, and credibility. According to Forrester Research of Customer Lifecycle Journey report, 81% of companies have a consumer community or similar support channel. The Forrester report also found that 60% of businesses own a branded online community and 15% are planning on launching one within the next year.

This is how I participate on Reddit, see below,

2. Be creative on social media channels & collaborate with influencers

Social media has evolved big time in recent years and is definitely a boon for entrepreneurs. We have seen videos and memes going viral overnight. Social channels like Instagram and LinkedIn are gaining huge popularity and they provide a number of opportunities for entrepreneurs to promote their brands in as many ways as possible. No matter which social network, consistency, and creativity can help you gain good momentum. Brands nowadays go live through their social profiles to share important information or just to get to know about their fans and sometimes they show what’s happening behind the scenes, etc. It is up to one’s potential on how well they can make use of these social channels in the modern marketing world.

Some points to be creative on social media,

  • Leverage the power of live content
  • Use the power of storytelling
  • Create more visual infographics
  • Organize a webinar with another industry expert
  • Host an AMA
  • Repurpose your evergreen content
  • Take advantage of the trending topic

Collaborating with social media influencers will help you gain word of mouth and an exponential reach. A good push from a genuine Influencer can change the whole game, but finding that genuine influencer is the key. Influencer marketing is on the rise these days, brands have found that collaborating with influencers is the easiest way to reach a number of people in a go.

These influencers are trusted by millions of buyers, and marketers are paying attention to this trend.

According to Statista, in 2017 the worldwide Instagram influencer market value was estimated to be 1.07 billion U.S. dollars and this value is projected to more than double to 2.38 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.

Image source: Statista

Shown below is the Google trend of influencer marketing on the web, as you can see, it is up and growing.

Influencer marketing trend on Google

3. Write case studies, both personal and company related

Be an open book and it is okay, have a section on your blog that is meant for transparency, show your technology stack to your customers, write down your release notes and recently added features as blog posts. Write about your milestones and what have you achieved so far and what’s the company future looks like. A case study from the founder or a co-founder creates a good impact in the community and it can easily gain trust.
Writing about personal wins and gains can do more wonders. Something like, — ‘How we gained our first 1000 customers in 30 days’, ‘how our website started receiving 5k visits per day’, ‘how we became product hunt’s top voted product/tool’, etc. Such stories create an eagerness and curiosity in the minds of the people and help you get discovered. Who knows, when shared on Hacker News or Reddit, it might go viral as well. Who doesn’t like growth or traction stories, they are all valuable and present a lot of learning to other entrepreneurs. Even if you gain a small momentum for your startup through such case studies, it’s okay, create such case studies and publicize them. Some examples are below,
Tugce Bulut, Co-founder and CEO of Streetbees writes about her scaling journey and insights in this startup story — ‘How we scaled our startup to 87 people of 20 nationalities in three years’.
Josh Pigford, founder of Baremetrics shares how they got their first 100 customers over the course of about 4 months — ‘How We Got Our First 100 Customers’. Shane Barker, a well-known digital marketing consultant wrote how he grew his website traffic from 50K to 90K in 6 Months.
And here is one more, see how Noah Kagan grew a website to 10K visitors in a month.

Documenting a personal win/success as a blog will always help others in the community.

From a brand perspective, case studies help people understand more about your product and see how others are using your it.

4. Create interactive Videos

Content is still the king and recently video format has become a major part when it comes to creating content. It is assumed that LinkedIn is giving more importance to well-crafted videos and make them reach more people compared to the text format. 
This media (video) has already proven to be very efficient; 70% of marketers say interactive video engages audiences “well” or “very well,” and 68% of marketers believe it will continue to become a major element of modern marketing mixes.

According to Video Marketing Statistics shared by HubSpot,

  • Videos are projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
  • Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200–300%.
  • Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%.
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website, and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video.

Hubspot’s study highlights the importance of videos for marketers going forward.

Image source: stateofinbound by Hubspot

5. Get targeted traffic from guest blogging

Guest blogging is one of the tricks to cut the crowd and stand out. Guest blogging not only helps in improving the SEO and getting backlinks but also enhances the brand reputation on the web. Writing on the popular industry publications can do wonders in getting you more targeted traffic and leads.

Some tips to keep in mind when it comes to guest blogging

  • Select a topic of your passion, something that you are confident to write about and similarly a publication that closely resonates with publishing such content.
  • Know the style of content the publication encourages and read their guest blogging rules and terms.
  • Read 5 to 6 already written articles on the publication related to what you want to write (if there are any), you will get an idea of what it should look like.
  • Know the editors of the publication and try to connect with them on different social profiles, preferably on LinkedIn. This doesn’t make any impact but it is a good practice.
  • Pitch the article idea to the right editor. Make sure the pitch is crisp and to the point. It should include the title and a small description of what to expect in the article. Write it in a Doc and share the editable link with the editor in the email (or however they want) and at the end ask them if they want you to make any changes in the article content.

Sometimes it is hard to get into the authoritative and popular publications, they might ask your previously published articles. So I always recommend people who want to guest blog to write some articles on websites like Medium, it’s free and you can validate how people react to your content before going for guest blogging on such popular websites.

  • Have patience and don’t pitch the same article to another publication until you get a yes or no reply from the one you have already pitched to. Wait for a week or so depending on the popularity of the publication. The publications usually write the duration of their reply and the wait time in their instructions.

My guest blogs are below, take a look,

6. Submit your startup to free listing websites and create eye catchy brand profiles

Profile creation might look outdated but still has power when it comes to Google indexing and getting found on the web. Profile creation on different listing websites can give a good number of backlinks and this helps in the initial website traffic boost. Apart from being on different social media channels, you need to get listed on the startup listing directories.

There are startup listing websites/directories like BetaList with a community of makers and early adopters showcasing their startups and exchanging feedback. There are many other startup listing directories such as BetaPage, BetaBound, LaunchingNext, KillerStartups, etc. Also, Show HN on Ycombinator can get you good initial traction.

According to Nikolay Nikolaev, Founder of Casual.pm, their startup received about 500 emails and then 300 registrations in a couple of days after the submission to Betalist. In a nutshell, if you ask me how much traffic does being on Betali.st bring directly to your startup? Here is a Quora thread you can check out to know better about the stats.

Here Is a list of the best startup directories online,

Google My Business



Startups subreddit





7. Interview the known personalities

One easy hack you can do in the initial days to get easy traction is finding the known personalities or influencers in your industry and asking them for the interview. Get them on a Podcast or Google hangout or even a simple Skype call. You can interview one person at a time or send a list of questions to a number of experts on an email and ask them to reply back.

By doing this, you get a fresh content article with a lot of insights. Combine all the answers given by these experts and publish it as an article on your blog, we call it an expert opinion round-up blog. Promote it well and ask the people you interviewed to tweet and re-tweet, share on their social channels. Email all these experts asking them to share your round-up article.

They obviously will have a good follower base and in turn, the traffic multiplies when they share your article. A great hack isn’t it? I did it in one of my articles, ’17 Experts Share Their Secrets of Creating Killer Content’, this got me some really good traction for my website. In another tech article, I asked 15 DevOps experts about the future of CI and CD, and published it as an article on DZone, check out ’15 DevOps Expert’s Opinions on CI and CD’. Linkfluence shared social media insights blog where 10 experts share their thoughts about leveraging the social data. Similarly, Danny Goodwin, an executive editor at Search Engine Journal shares the expert opinion round-up articles, check out ’47 Experts on the Top SEO Trends That Will Matter in 2018.’

Growth mindset has become an integral part of the marketing team these days. To be in the race, entrepreneurs are required to think out of the box when it comes to promoting their startups and reach a wide audience at a faster rate. I hope these growth hacks are enough to start your growth marketing activities and get your initial users.

Let us be in touch, follow me on Instagram & Twitter


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