Unscalable Growth Hacks For Startups - Aaron Ginn

growth hacker (noun) - one whose passion and focus is pushing a metric through use of a testable and scalable methodology. - Aaron Ginn, What is a growth hacker?

Sometimes in our quest to do more with less, we end up doing more of the things that matter the least, and less of the things that matter the most.

Don't disregard ways of growing your business that aren't scalable. Many great businesses have been built by doing things that don't scale.

Study these real-world success stories and think up your own unscalable growth hacks.

7 unscalable growth hacks:

  1. Offer concierge onboarding. The drip email service customer.io for example set up a drip campaign for their free trial sign ups. They found that it almost doubled their conversion from free trial to paying user.
  2. Free design services. When customer T-shirt ecommerce store Teespring started out, they overserviced their customers, going as far as not only manufacturing and fulfilling custom T-shirts, but even designing them for free.
  3. Call your new signups. It doesn't need to be a slick sales call - just a short conversation is already ten times more impactful than just an email. [link to the first lesson]
  4. Visit your customers. If you're a B2B startup, go to their offices and see how they're using your product, speak with them and learn about their situation.
  5. Have everyone on your team do support. The insights from dealing with frustrated or confused users will help improve your product and onboarding experience, and it will keep everyone focused on the highest priorities (making your users more successful).
  6. Send handwritten notes to your customers. Not “printed handwritten”. Not handwritten by a company that handwrites notes for other companies. But actually have members of your team write a few notes to their customers and send it to them.
  7. Go to where your users are. AirBnB famously flew to New York early in their company's history, because that was where most of their users were. They spend time with their users and stayed in their “air bed and breakfasts”. Could they have just called their users or sent them a survey? Yes, but it would have led to different, less valuable insights. The founders saying doing these unscalable things was crucial for their success.

Before you embark on your next growth hack, ask yourself: is this really something worth scaling in the first place?

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