Grow fast or die slow – that is the mantra that many startup owners repeat to themselves every morning in the mirror. And for a good reason – considering nearly half of small businesses fail in the first four years, according to SmallBizTrends. But it doesn’t have to be so stressful – that is, if you’re familiar with the concept of growth hacking and growth hacking tools.
Coined in 2010 by entrepreneur Sean Ellis – aka the ‘Godfather of Growth Hacking’ – growth hacking has become a buzzword among startups. It essentially the ‘art’ of carrying out rapid experiments across marketing channels and product development with one constant and critical goal – growth. And those that are capable of achieving this growth using low-cost solutions and more unconventional marketing methods are known as ‘growth hackers’.
But to become a prided growth hacker, you’ll need to have all the necessary tools in your arsenal. In this overview, we have highlighted some of the best growth hacking tools out there that will put your startup on the path to growth and success.
We’ve broken these growth hacking tools down into six different categories:
- User Feedback & Market Insight Tools
- Traffic Growth Tools
- User Experience (UX) Tools
- Customer Acquisition Tools
- Email Marketing Tools
- Inbound Marketing Tools
Let’s get started…
User Feedback & Market Insight Tools
Understanding what your online customers want, how they interact with your brand and how they make decisions is critical information for your digital business strategy. There are various types of user feedback tools that cater to the needs of growth hackers, including feedback forms, surveys, review tools and more. There are also insights to be obtained from the perspective of an entire market, with another type of growing hacking tools known as market insight tools.
Mopinion is a user feedback tool that collects and analyses feedback in real-time. This growth hacking tool’s easy-to-use interface, you can build, design and configure feedback forms the way you like. Users can also target these feedback forms to specific groups of online visitors and gain insights into why they are not converting. Feedback can be visualised in customisable dashboards and charts for advanced analyses. To take it one step further, digital teams can share and take action on these feedback items in a timely manner with the help of smart alerts.
Qualaroo is a user feedback tool that enables users to poll visitors with short and easily accessible surveys. These surveys appear at the bottom of the screen as a widget. This growth hacking tool also includes a feature that lets you create different rules about when and where surveys are triggered, as well as which questions are asked.
3. Consumer Barometer
Consumer Barometer is a great market insight tool that shows you how people around the world use the internet. Catered mostly towards ecommerce companies, this free-to-use growth hacking tool provides users with insights into, for example, internet usage, device usage, research behaviour, purchase behaviour, etc. Users can also create charts and graphs of this data which are downloadable.
PollDaddy is another user feedback tool that allows users to create customisable polls and surveys for their websites. You can email the survey link to your audience, embed it on your website or use the PollDaddy iOS app to collect responses. All results are available in real-time.
WebEngage offers both a feedback form and survey builder to its users. With this growth hacking tool, users can set up triggers for feedback forms based on visitor click behaviour. WebEngage also sends out notifications on the website or mobile app to, for example, highlight a promotion – instead of send out a feedback request.
Kampyle is a user feedback tool with some interesting capabilities. You can use this growth hacking tool to quickly create feedback forms. When these forms are in place, you can track how your visitors experience different parts of the website. This tool also enables you to set up triggers so that the form appears in a proactive manner. You can also decide who it pops up for – for example – an x percentage of visitors or if a visitor shows exit intent.
Traffic Growth Tools
Generating traffic is critical to the growth of your company as well as for establishing a strong online presence. Traffic Growth Tools are growth hacking tools that help you get involved in online conversations, gain insight into how competitors are doing in terms of incoming traffic as well as help you identify which areas of your website should be optimised to increase traffic.
Colibri is a growth hacking tool used to collect aggregated data across multiple social media networks, online communities and forums. It helps companies monitor what people are saying about their brand and where so that they can quickly inject themselves into the conversation. They also perform on page SEO analysis to get your pages ranked higher on Google.
MixRank is a spy tool that enables companies to research their competitors and see which traffic sources, text ads and banner ads they’re using. This growth hacking tool also scans over millions of websites and mobile apps to determine which of these could be valuable customers and sends their contact details to your sales team as leads.
Created by AppSumo, Twilighter is a highlighter tool that your visitors you can use to highlight specific pieces of content on your page and share it on Twitter. The set up for this tool is just 47 seconds and all content shared on Twitter is visible immediately! An easy way of quickly growing traffic.
10. Click to Tweet
Another easy-to-use growth hacking tool used to generate traffic is Click to Tweet. This tool lets users promote their company on Twitter using just one click. How it works is you write a message that you want to share (in the box provided within the tool) and generate a custom link. This link will allow you to track all clicks, unique clicks and demographic information. You can also publish the link in blogs or on your website, within emails or in press releases.
11. Pay with a Tweet
Pay with a Tweet is a tool that is also geared towards content and/or product promotion via social media. How this growth hacking tool works is visitors can only access your content or product once they’ve tweeted or posted something about it, hence the name Pay with a Tweet. You can invite visitors to pay with their posts via Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Xing and Vkontakte. The Pay with a Tweet campaign can also be customised to your brand.
User Experience (UX) Tools
Hotjar is a growth hacking tool that combines multiple usability tools in one. Users can visualise visitor behaviour using click, move and scroll heatmaps. You can also collect visitor recordings (tracking sessions on the page) and carry out feedback polls.
For event-tracking purposes, another growth hacker tool to choose from is Clicky. With this growth hacking tool, users can register and report ‘on-site’ activities, including page views and downloads – all in real-time. This is a good tool for beginners, especially as the dashboard is very user-friendly.
14. Crazy Egg
Similar to Hotjar, Crazy Egg offers multiple types of heatmaps that shed some light on visitor behaviour, include where they click, how far they scroll, what they’re looking at on any give page, etc. Additionally, users can view traffic segments and how the behaviour of these segments differ from one another. This growth hacking tool is also very easy to implement.
Mouseflow offers a slightly different solution from these tools. This growth hacking tool tracks clicks, mouse movement, scrolls and forms via session replay. It also provides heatmaps that show where visitors are interacting with your site. Using their dashboard, growth hackers can analyse key journeys and processes and build reports.
Clicktale is another tool that analyses visitor behaviour. This website analytics software will show users the drop off rate per input field in the form, page errors per page, the number of clicks per pageview, how far down a visitor has scrolled, etc. What’s great about this growth hacking tool is that all data can be linked to a testing tool, e.g. Visual Website Optimizer (next on our list).
17. Visual Website Optimizer (VWO)
Visual Website Optimizer, or VWO, is a popular and easy-to-use A/B testing tool. This particular growth hacking tool allows users to compare different versions of their websites and/or landing pages. VWO also includes a flexible multivariate testing software and tools similar to that of Crazy Egg, including heatmaps, behavioural targeting and usability testing.
A great tool for developers and designers, UsabilityHub performs simple usability tests – including the five second test, click test, question test, navigation test and preference test. These can all be carried out by testers who are registered on UsabilityHub (must be 18+).
Customer Acquisition Tools
Customer Acquisition Tools are growth hacking tools that help your business improve in various areas such as content visibility and optimisation (SEO efforts), Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), and lead generation. Many of these are geared towards both marketing and sales teams.
If you work with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox and want to improve SEO efforts, MozBar might be a good growth hacking tool for you. A product of Moz, this toolbar uses multiple SEO metrics and allows users to track statistics of customised searches. You can also see the exact ranking of certain keywords and phrases. This tool can be used for both your own page, your competitors or any other page on the web for that matter.
LeadCrunch is a lead gathering tool that uses artificial intelligence to analyse customer data. This growth hacking tool reveals which customers or companies are likely to buy from you. It works in two steps, SurfaceMatch (the system matches your current customers with lookalikes) and DeepMatch (takes these leads and prioritises them). As a result, your sales team is provided with a list of high-quality prospects.
21. Hello Bar
Hello Bar is a wordpress plugin (and growth hacking tool) that enables its users to place a call-to-action (CTA) button on their website. To start out, you must log in on their site via a Google account. Then you will select a goal: promote a sale/discount, talk to your visitors, grow your mailing list, or get Facebook likes. Once you’ve chosen a goal you can customise your bar and CTA with your own text and color and decide which pages it should be displayed on. All clicks on the header bar can then be tracked.
22. Bounce Exchange
Bounce Exchange is a growth hacking tool that provides behavioural automation technology. The tool promises a lower bounce rate and increased time on site. So how do they do this? Via a patented exit intent technology that tracks how and when users leave your website. Bounce Exchange offers an overlay solution that aims to motivate them to stay on your site and convert.
Unbounce is a tool that enables its users to build landing pages and carry out A/B testing themselves, without the support of a technical team. Additionally, with ‘Convertables, users can trigger overlays on webpages that are targeted to particular visitors with a call-to-action (CTA).
Email Marketing Tools
Don’t be fooled by its nickname, ‘the grandparent of social media marketing’. Email Marketing Tools can be very effective growth hacking tools. These tools have stood the test of time and are a great way of targeting existing and potential customers with relevant content and news.
MailChimp is a well-known email marketing tool that enables you to target customers based on preferences, behaviour and previous sales. You can trigger a series of emails with just a single API request. This growth hacking tool also includes merge tags, an email creator, autoresponders, segmenting and simple analytics.
25. List Builder
Another tool built by AppSumo, List Builder is a growth hacking tool that helps you build up your mailing lists. It captures (engaged) visitors right before they are about to leave with pops that are triggered by clicks and timers. It is a very easy tool to use as it has a drag-and-drop functionality and features that can be customised to your brand.
A cloud-based email platform, SendGrid is a tool built to serve developers. It is known as the world’s largest Email Infrastructure as a Service provider. Users can quickly send out emails such as shipping notifications, email newsletters, sign-up confirmations, etc. Businesses can also track email opens unsubscribes, bounces and spam reports without the use of code. This growth hacking tool also provides templates, scheduling and A/B testing. Email analytics can be viewed in real-time.
AWeber is another popular email marketing tool with a number of great features. Using a drag and drop editor, users can easily create automated emails and make use of their high-quality autoresponder capabilities. Users can also create subscription forms and place them on the website, blog or Facebook page. Within this growth hacking tool, you can pull up charts showing how many contacts opened emails or clicked on links within your message.
Customer.io is an email marketing tool that can be used by various different roles within your business including marketers, product managers and of course, growth hackers. Users of this growth hacking tool can send targeted emails to your visitors on your website or to mobile app users depending on their activity. You are notified when they have read your email and/or if they click on one of the links. It also includes A/B Testing capabilities.
With Vero, users can track and store customer data and events in real-time. Using this information, you can create segments without having to do any coding and send out automated emails. For example, users who have just abandoned the shopping cart can be targeted with an email just hours or days later. In terms of deployment, Vero can be integrated with an email delivery provider, such as Sendgrid or Mailgun.
The last (but not least!) in our list of email marketing tools is Campaign Monitor. A very popular email marketing solution, Campaign Monitor provide its users with an easy-to-use drag and drop email builder as well as a drag and drop segmenting tool (to create different campaigns with different contacts). Using their email template, users can customise emails to fit their brand. This growth hacking tool also offers A/B testing to optimise test subject lines, sender details and email designs.
Inbound Marketing Tools
And finally, we have Inbound Marketing Tools. Considered to be one of the most effective marketing approaches today, Inbound Marketing is focused on bringing in new customers using relevant content and interactions. It is not a fight for attention but rather a way of building up trust with potential customers and introducing new solutions to their problems. Let’s take a look at the growth hacking tools in this area.
Inbound marketing and sales software, HubSpot is pretty well-known among marketers and growth hackers. This growth hacking tool is considered an all-in-one software that helps create a web presence, convert leads and keep track of marketing campaigns. HubSpot can carry out, track and measure blogging activities, email marketing and social media marketing, as well as help you create landing pages. In terms of content, HubSpot offers a content management system that guides you in updating and optimising your content as well as adjusting it for mobile.
Buffer is an internet-based app that helps companies manage their social media content. Rather than having to log into all of your accounts separately (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+), Buffer lets you create posts that are sent directly to these accounts or scheduled for a particular time and day. When sharing, this growth hacking tool also suggests texts to go with your link. You can consult the app’s analytics for advice on whether the scheduling for the post is effective, as well.
Inbound is a community-based news platform that offers a variety of marketing-related articles and industry news. With this growth hacking tool, user can create their own feed of discussions, expert blogs and other marketing content. Users can also participate in discussions within the community. Popular topics include: Strategy, Content, SEO, Branding, Social Analytics, Blogging, Mobile and much more.
Geared towards content marketers, BuzzSumo is a social media analytics and curation tool. Users can analyse best performing content in just about every market niche providing you with an understanding of which kinds of content and topics are popular among your readers.
Outbrain is a content discovery platform (one of the world’s largest) that can help your business increase traffic to its blog, various articles, or any online content you want shared. However, no advertisements. Users can set up a budget and pay for visits received until the daily budget is reached. This growth hacking tool also provides advanced testing and conversion tools for optimisation purposes.
Choosing the right Growth Hacking Tool for your business
In the realm of growth hacking, it’s important not to limit yourself to just one area of growth. Many of these tools can be used together and often complement one another. If your thinking about working with these tools or already have them implemented, it might be wise to start with user feedback. For startups in all phases, user feedback is a great way of obtaining deeper insights into why your visitors behave the way they do. It also covers a critical blindspot for a lot of marketers.
I hope this overview has provided you with some encouragement and inspiration in choosing a suitable Growth Hacking tool(s).
Am I missing any good tools? Please feel free to add suggestions or comments below!
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