Using growth hack approach in development

We are developing complex web-services and mobile apps for many years now and studied many directions and specializations. Working with data and complex algorithms, developing projects with complex logic, — all these expertises led us to one simple thought that every project needs to start with strategy planning.

Creating a strategy for long-term business or product development is more than a marketing plan and competitive analysis. This is also a search for unusual solutions and innovations together with strict focus on business goals of every project.

Around this idea we formed our current self-presentation, so simple and complex at the same time.

We create complex web-services and mobile apps, use growth hack approach and develop projects with all our hearts.

What growth hacking is exactly

Growth Hacking, if not dwelling into details, can be understood as a hack to increase demand (for product, service, etc.). Starting 2010 and later this term is mentioned more and more. We are living in times when start-ups and new businesses appear every day and people begin the constant search for unusual promoting ideas. Start-ups are using this hack more often and it’s believed that there is little of traditional marketing left in growth hacking. However, this trend can be used by any type of business.

That is why we cannot be limited just by regular planning, the strategic plan needs to be wider. Growth hacking may and must be used in every development project that expected to work stable and for a long period of time.

‘The world became multipolar. By linking the existing systems together, we create the systems of new order. If you are trying to create phones, forget about planning. While you’ll be writing plan, technologies will change dozens of time. In new reality you need to go further by trying and making mistakes method’. - Nordstrom Kjell, Swedish professor and author of the book ‘Funky business’.

If you’re interested not just in a random hype, but in a constant leads, clients and installs generations, than you also need to try growth hacking.

Together with the definition mentioned above, growth hacking can also mean new trend in modern marketing that responds to growth, promotion and expansion of company with unusual solutions and innovations (life-hacks). In other words, every expansion path that goes out of the boundaries and stimulates product demand is growth hacking.

Some may compare this trend with partisan marketing because its’ many features combine free or low-cost practices as sharing the information or reviews on blogs. Still, the definition of growth hacking is wider and features mentioned above are just the small parts of it.

Growth hacking in development

When we are talking about using growth hack approach in development we are talking about working on regular tests and experiments with the all modern technologies usage. All ideas are not just simply put in a plan, but also tested regularly. We are constantly monitoring the target audience beforehand and during the development, later on we are looking on how people use the product or service and change some features if needed.

The most important thing is to test ideas right after its’ implementation. In such case the things that are not working will be moved to trash sooner and will free space for new things that will work. Growth hacking approach reminds constantly about need to grow. As a company, we also shift our goal from just reminding to offering an innovative tool that will make your project profitable and well-known.

Working on this approach starts right after client comes to us and we begin to develop an app or web-service. It’s silly to use your budgets simply on dummy traffic of installs from audience that is not a target one, especially when your idea is not demanded. That is why we are making detailed analysis of market, competitors, industry and target audience right from the start. Idea is the wannabe nowadays, and you must offer something unique to the sophisticated user to become successful.

We are not talking about artificial methods to increase the demand and interest, it’s more about creating a complex strategy for future service right from the project design stage. Constant experimenting, optimizing your conversions on different stages, analysis of all the metrics gathered, monitoring target audience and their needs, creating convenient and simple product, — all these features and much more are just a base point of growth hack approach in development.

Growth hacking principles

The main difference of growth hacking from traditional marketing lays in systematic engineered approach. This is a promoting of your product through the modern technologies game, which needs you to know much not only about marketing, but about technical staff also.

As we told before, such approach consists not only of long-term strategic planning, but of constant experiments and its analysis also. To get the huge increase of demand you need more than a good app, advertising and partner network. You’ll need a unique sort of telepathy applied to get into the mind of the client and make him hooked on a new product with its originality and novelty.

Here is the main trick — every project needs to be taken differently. Every time you need to find a new zest, the final flourish. It’s pointless to share some common hacks here. Every project needs the new life-hack. Still, there is a database of common principles and expertises of growth hack approach.

For example, split-testing can be one of such principles, because it helps to compare two ideas and find the optimal solution. One more principle is monitoring the active users and loyal clients to find out what exactly captivates them in your product and, later on, to develop new features to the current build.

On the whole, using growth hack approach is aimed on creating the most demanded product for quickly increasing of your users and finding out the new ones. The work is done in a way for users to know and remember about your company, while monitor your activities and offers daily.

Growth hacking techniques in development

Nowadays there are many growth hacking techniques available in various industries. Here are just some of them that we use in our development processes:

1. Using current audience to find a new one

Your audience must work for you. You, on the other hand, don’t need to work for your audience all the time, otherwise you’ll be grounded under the pile of tasks for every user separately, but will gain no profit from it. It’s wise to always think about ways to make your audience work for you instead of just thinking about how to help your client. In our Sportlife app for fitness club chain we developed a mechanism to share your statistics and progress into the social networks. Such activity makes users to recommend our app for their friends by themselves.

2. Easy registration with social networks integration and other features

In internet there is one common unspoken rule — the faster and more convenient — the better, the more chances that your service will be the winner and chosen one. That is why the long registration forms are tend to instinct. Right now most of the services offer quick registration through social networks. Another handy option that is suitable for mobile apps is registration with phone number and verification with code via sms. We used this technique more than several times. For example, in ZakaZaka app for food delivery for your home, with just one simple phone number put you can begin using all features of personal account.

3. Experimenting with actions, original phrases and landing pages

People love originality and we need to use it in promotions everywhere: in text, forms and designs. On our social project ‘Marathon of Health’ that promoted Seven Suns real estate Development, we realized this hack to its fullest. All three month of the marathon were covered in unique actions, tests and tasks. Complex logic of the site was fully integrated with points calculation system. In personal account user could look into his personal and others activities and rate it. What’s even more important is that unusual task leads to unusual answers and, later on, to new ideas that we are constantly integrated into the working project.

4. Developing simple and handy interface that users with no tech background will understand

While using growth hack approach it’s common to simplify interfaces consciously. It should take no longer than several seconds for user to think what to do next, — or he may close or even uninstall the app. Everything should be intuitively understandable, even when person takes smartphone into his hands for the first time (we need to take into account even so rare cases). During development of the iGooods app for food delivery from stores user-friendly interface with clever user scenarios became our solution. Every chain of user actions leads to new actions instead of a dead end with the only option available — go to the main screen and start over again.

5. Partisan marketing with native advertising

This technique isn’t new, but it still work well when combined with content-marketing. Hidden native ads and putting links to your company’ profile or services in useful materials work better than regular advertisement. In such case we are not making users look at our offers against their will, but give an option that they may want to use if it will be useful for them. Another cool thing to mention is that banner blindness that is common among users across the internet can do nothing for such ads.

There are dozens of examples of such marketing approach. In our MTC Nonstop app, for example, we just told a story about new 3G internet advantages and gave the opportunity to switch to the new tariff to use all the modern features of the app that needed faster connection.

Working on long-term perspective

In the end, for successful project in a long-term using growth hack approach can become the great qualified investment.

It’s not enough just to find an original idea and make it grow quickly, even if it’s all that matters in the beginning of the project. Without constant inspiration and adding new features even the most grandiose start can lead to the grandiose failure only.

Development based on growth hack approach isn’t just a search for new tendencies and innovations, it’s a creation of truly qualified product with expansion mechanism put inside of it right from the beginning.