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5 Tools Every Growth Hacker Should Use

5 Tools Every Growth Hacker Should Use

Want smart growth hacking tools that actually make your job easier?

Don’t waste your time on sites that haven’t been updated in years or programs that cost more than they deliver.

Here are 5 tried-and-true tools to take your marketing strategy to the next level.

  1. Pave AI

Make data-driven decisions to increase your ROI with Pave AI.

Pave AI turns your Google Analytics data into usable insights, showing you which strategies are working for you and which aren’t. Their algorithms look at over 16 millions possible combinations across every marketing channel to find the most relevant insights.

Your report is personalized to your goals, whether you’re aiming for more eyes on your blog or more sales on your e-commerce site.

It takes seconds to set up and will completely change how you approach your website’s metrics.

2. Never Bounce

The worst part about sending email blasts?

Finding out that most of them never reached their target.

Never Bounce makes sure that your email campaigns actually go to their intended recipients by verifying the email addresses beforehand. You can upload your entire mailing list and Never Bounce will give you a clean list of active email addresses.

Their dashboard shows you which addresses are safe to send to and which are a definite no-go, checking each address up to 75 times to make sure no duds fall through the cracks. Results are broken into 5 simple categories, with over 25 advanced metrics behind them to ensure your email gets as many eyes on it as possible.

If they don’t get your bounce rate below 3%, they’ll refund you the difference.

3. Whatruns

Whatruns has one job: telling you what technology any website uses.

That’s anything from how they track their visitors to their WordPress plugins to the CDN they’re hosted on.

You can even set notifications for a website, so you’ll always know when they add something new or drop an old feature.

Best part?

You aren’t dropping thousands of dollars on this Chrome extension.

It’s totally free.

Seriously. All of your competitor’s tricks of the trade can be right at your fingertips for nothing. You can’t tell me this one isn’t worth a try.

4. Botletter

If you’ve shifted from email to Facebook Messenger, then Botletter should be at the top of your list. They boast a super easy setup process: connect to your company’s Facebook page, set your greeting message, and you’re golden. You can then schedule more messages to go out on whatever timeframe you want.

Don’t worry — going through Botletter won’t make your content look canned. Their customizable template allows you to add in whatever you’d like to catch your readers’ eyes. You can even filter your subscribers out by everything from subscription date to gender, so your messages can be tailored to your audience.

And when all is said and done, they’ll show you the numbers for every Messenger campaign — click-through rate, open rate, even the details per subscriber.

They say their open rate averages at 80% — for numbers like that, Botletter is worth giving a go.

5. Dareboost

A good website is more than just good copy.

It has to run well, too.

Dareboost provides a full breakdown of your website’s performance, showing you both where you’re weakest and what you can do to improve. It’ll also constantly monitor your website for loading time and quality issues, so you can rest easy knowing your website is running at its prime.

And if you want, you can even compare your website to your competitor’s to make sure that your load times aren’t driving customers to their site, not yours.

They’ll give you your first report for free, so you can take a peek at how your website is doing to try it out.

Takeaways

While these tools can totally revolutionize how you run your business, don’t get bogged down with apps and metrics you don’t need. Take advantage of those free trials to make sure these tools can actually become part of your work flow and not just another subscription to pay for.

Pick the tools you need and let them do the grunt work, so you can focus on the parts of your job that can’t be automated.

Why Hummingbirds Would Make Killer Entrepreneurs

Why Hummingbirds Would Make Killer Entrepreneurs

I almost collided with a hummingbird on my morning jog.

I froze in my tracks, the pointy beak inches from my eyeballs. The bird’s body floated perfectly still, while its wings flapped a hundred times per second. We made eye contact for just a split second before it fluttered away.

I had a realization that I knew everyone would call crazy:

Hummingbirds and entrepreneurs aren’t so different.

From their relentless speed to their lean build, they could probably teach all CEOs and business leaders a thing or two about running a company.

Here are some lessons I learned about entrepreneurship from hummingbirds:

Fly hard and focus

Hummingbirds can flap their wings up to 200 times per second. This intense effort allows them to hover in mid-air as no other bird can and achieve speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.

While it looks like all the effort is in the wings, they are engaging every single muscle in their body to maintain their flight. Their speed and agility are supported by a solid, unwavering core.

What everyone can see — your marketing, your client-facing work — doesn’t exist in a vacuum. To juggle all of the incredible external work, you have to maintain a strong internal vision. Know your goals and pursue them relentlessly. Don’t let yourself chase every glittery thing you stumble upon.

The work you do is only as good as the foundation you rest it upon.

Forge a new flight path

Unlike most birds which rely on an up-and-down motion to achieve flight, hummingbirds move their wings forwards and backwards in a figure eight pattern. This is how they can hover, fly backwards, and even do somersaults — all marvels that no other bird can manage. It seems like hummingbirds took a page from the dragonfly’s book, as their flight is a unique hybrid of insect and bird mechanics.

Why the special flight style? After all, a regular up-and-down motion works for every other bird.

The ability to hover means hummingbirds can drink nectar from any plant they find, not just those close enough to a ledge they can sit on. This maximizes their odds of finding food and allows them to take advantage of more food sources than other birds.

All that to say: you can’t reach your goals if you follow the crowd.

If you want to capitalize on opportunities that others missed, you have to find new approaches. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take note of what everyone else is doing — after all, hummingbirds do fly in a way similar to bugs — but you shouldn’t do anything just because “that’s the way it’s always been done.”

Think critically. Use what works and discard the rest.

Trim the fat

Hummingbirds can’t walk — they can only land and scoot a bit in either direction. Their small feet reduce drag, optimizing their bodies for flight.

They also sport hollow bones and fused vertebrae, keeping them as light as possible without sacrificing protection.

Hummingbirds replace all that lost mass in their pecs — more than 25% of their body weight is devoted to those muscles. Why?

Those are the muscles that move their wings.

Hummingbirds have one goal: Flight. Everything about their body, from their bones to their enlarged heart, is designed with that goal in mind.

If it doesn’t help them fly, they cut it.

Set your eye on the prize. Decide what your company does well, and devote every muscle in your body to becoming the best. Don’t add in anything — services, products, team members — that doesn’t move you towards that goal.

You give what you take

Because their flight requires so much energy, hummingbirds feed five to eight times per hour and must consume over half of their body weight in sugar.

A hummingbird that isn’t constantly consuming?

Dies.

To get all of the nutrients they need, they seek out a diverse mix of food sources — everything from sweet nectar to crunchy bugs.

No, I’m not asking you to eat bugs.

As an entrepreneur, you’re only as good as the sources you’re consuming. Are you always reading about your industry and keeping up-to-date with the latest innovations? Do you turn on a motivational podcast to start your day? When you pick up a book, does it help you become a better leader?

It’s easy to fall into the trap that you always need to be creating — that any minute spent not talking to clients, leading your staff, and selling your products is a minute wasted.

But how do you plan to get those clients if you never read about what others have done?

How do you know the best way to lead your staff if you never listen to other leaders?

Can you sell your products if you don’t know the industry?

What you bring in is what you put out.

The sources you consume are the fuel that feeds your business. Never stop learning and striving to improve.

Takeaways

A huge part of entrepreneurship is looking to unconventional sources and methods to make your business grow.

The hummingbird comparison might seem silly, but the lessons you can glean from it are universal.

So the next time you’re taking a morning jog–

Keep your eyes peeled.

You might just find the greatest entrepreneur hiding right beneath your nose.

(Source: https://www.thespruce.com/fun-facts-about-hummingbirds-387106)

How to found a multimillion-dollar agency in less than a year

How to found a multimillion-dollar agency in less than a year

Step 1: Quit job

Before you put in your notice, know what you’re getting into. To build a business, you need to be prepared to put everything on the line. And don’t expect immediate success: if you don’t have a proven product or a plan, then you’re not ready to quit your job. You’ll be stuck with a half-baked idea and no money in your wallet.

While entrepreneurship is awesome, there is nothing wrong with working to pays the bills.

Step 2: Convince another fool to join you

Co-founder fit is key. Be sure to talk about core values and long-term vision from the beginning — ideally before you start your company!

If you have any doubts, trust you gut. Don’t get discouraged if you find it’s not working. Remember why you got started, and take the time to stay aligned as you continue to grow.

Thinking about going in alone? Don’t. Solopreneurs rarely succeed. When 9/10 startups fail, you don’t want to lower your odds by trying on your own.


Step 3: Rent an office you can’t afford

It might not work for you, but I liked the pressure. It forced me to make sales, which was vital in the beginning.

If you don’t want to go for an office — or think that the lack of a formal space is holding you back — remember that plenty of businesses have started in homes and dorm rooms.

Step 4: Lose all your money in the first month

You’re going to make mistakes, but don’t let that hold you back. Use your struggles as blocks to build on. Failure is the only way to learn what not to do when you’re starting out.

It all comes down to sales. If you’re bootstrapped, it’s your lifeblood. If you’re funded, you better get profitable before it dries up.

Those are the pressures that should fuel you.


Step 5: Realize none of your friends care

“This time it’ll work!”

“Yeah, right,” your friends and family will say. “The last five have failed. Why is this any different?”

Set out to prove them wrong.

When all else fails, that just might keep you going.


Step 6: Get your accounts hacked by a previous coworker

Even when you try to do your best by everyone, they might not reciprocate. Former bosses, coworkers, and competitors may come after you, and you have to react cautiously without ever wavering on your core values.

You’ll be the last one standing if you do the right thing.

Keep your passwords secure and use two-factor authentication. Don’t risk it.


Step 7: Land one client that barely covers rent

Once we had enough to pay ourselves minimum wage and cover rent, we were free to blow this up as big as possible.

Eventually, something will work.

When it does, double-down hard.


Step 8: Keep paying yourself nothing

My co-founder and I were the lowest paid employees at the company for the entire first year.

We knew that money in our pockets did nothing for the company.

Don’t be greedy. Sacrificing money now will pay off later.


Step 9: Make sure to drink all the free beer in the coworking space to survive

Cowork spaces are great when you’re on a budget. Keep in mind, however, that it’s easy to lose hours of your workday to conversations with people passing by — and you don’t have time for that while you’re building your business.

Most importantly, remember: you’re paying for it. Take advantage of everything, including all the free beer you can (safely) drink.  



Step 10: Turn the client into a believer who refers two more clients

Go above and beyond from day one. Give your clients a killer experience so they’ll do your marketing for you.

Make sure you have the portfolio to back those referrals. You need real results and case studies to close the sale.



Step 11: Hire your first paid intern

For the first three months, my co-founder managed our memberships and it was on me to do the client work.

We couldn’t keep pace with the work we were getting. Finally we hired our first employee, Hendry Sukir. He helped me follow up to leads, make proposals, and close new deals in the critical early days. Now, he’s our Head of Growth Hacking at BAMF Media.

Who should you look for?

  • Recent college grads. They’re willing to hustle to prove themselves.
  • People with technical and execution experience. Especially for your first few hires, you need people who are versatile.
  • People with the founder mindset. If you want to instill growth as a value, you have to build it from the ground-up. Don’t hire anyone whose vision doesn’t match yours — build the core team from day one.

Step 12: Change everything about the business

In the first two months, our agency made no money because our first client paid us a month late.

Fortunately, we had a membership program that helped us bootstrap while we worked on finding more agency clients.

Your business is not static — especially early on. Take risks. Make changes. Find the path that fits your vision and pushes you forward.

If you’re short on money, look to unconventional ways to fill the gap. Never rule anything out just because it wasn’t in the plans.

Step 13: Something works out

Within 3 months, we had 8 clients. That’s how we knew we were onto something.

This wouldn’t be another failed start.


Step 14: Double down on it


Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Once something works out, stick to it and improve upon it.


Step 15: Profit

Striking out on your own is terrifying. No stability. No certainty. No promises.

But entrepreneurship can be the greatest experience of your life if you’re prepared to take it on.

The path isn’t easy, but to build your own legacy?

I’d say it’s worth it.

What does a growth hacking agency do?

What does a growth hacking agency do?

Ask a traditional marketer what growth hacking is.

You’ll get everything from “it’s just a Silicon Valley buzzword” to “they probably hack websites.” No surprise there: the phrase has only been around since entrepreneur Sean Ellis coined it in 2010.

But growth hacking is the future of marketing. Companies no longer want the vague notion of “brand” or the incalculable number of “impressions” a roadside billboard got them.

They want numbers. They want the tangible.

So how are growth hackers changing the game?

What is a Growth Hacker?

Let’s take it from marketer and author of Growth Hacker Marketing, Ryan Holiday:

“A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable.”

Growth hackers don’t play the guessing game of traditional marketing. We look at the metrics. We test thoroughly. We alter, add, and cut marketing tactics to maximize ROI.

We’re asking ourselves:

How can we make this product grow itself?

Growth hackers are looking at low-cost, high ROI marketing techniques.

A big problem with growth hacking, however, is that growth hacks get stale pretty quickly. I could hand you a list of the “best growth hacks” and by the time you implemented them, they’d be old news.

So the best growth hackers aren’t just able to execute the same process repeatedly.

We cultivate a mindset of growth hacking.

We’re outside-the-box thinkers. We’re risk-takers. We’re innovators.

We evaluate the audience and the product to find the most targeted way to get their attention — even if that method is incredibly non-traditional.

That might mean a poorly-filmed video filled with inside jokes (as Dropbox did) or offering to deliver barbeque food to large conferences (like Uber did).

Because the goal isn’t to “spread the word” about your product.

It’s to close the sale. Get the signup. Win the customer.

Growth hackers will latch on to any strategy, technique, or method to achieve their only goal:

Measurable growth.

So what does the Growth Hacking Agency do?

Number 1: We’re creative problem-solvers

Think of growth hacking as a method of approaching an issue.

A growth hacking agency looks at every possible medium to promote a client. Their goal is to target a very specific audience, and to do that, they’ll use any tool at their disposal.

Nothing is off-limits. Even the weirdest, most ridiculous ideas can see some killer results.

Number 2: We push for fast results

As opposed to traditional marketers, growth hackers aren’t interested in establishing a brand over a span of years.

Growth hackers are looking for measurable results in days, weeks, and months.

Remember: Growth hacking began with startups that didn’t have the money for traditional marketing. These weren’t companies that had years to wait for “brand awareness” to get them sales.

They needed customers now, and they needed them cheap.

Growth hacker strategy relies on being light on their feet — they’re ready to pivot their plan at a moment’s notice to take advantage of new opportunities or abandon campaigns that aren’t showing results.

Number 3: We’re tech-savvy

The first growth hackers were coders at heart.

Their marketing approach is data-driven and tech-driven. Growth hacking agencies market almost exclusively online, with everything from social media and SEO to videos and video game design. This online focus allows them to pull extremely precise data to guide their work.

Whether a growth hack succeeds or fails is no guessing game. They can look at the data in real time and adjust to maximize ROI.

Number 4: We create compelling content

The biggest part of growth marketing?

The content.

Whether on traditional blogs or newer mediums such as podcasts, growth hackers are heavily invested in creating content that sells.

Their work is search engine optimized, algorithmically tested, and targeted at the desired audience with unparalleled precision.

It’s the driving force of all of their campaigns.

Number 5: We boost your business

While the methods might be novel, growth hackers have the same goals as any other marketer:

Help businesses grow.

Our goal at BAMF is to connect our client with the people who would love their services. To get good products in the hands of the people who want them.

To generate leads, close sales, and build up businesses.

The Takeaways

Growth hackers aren’t just marketers with a fancy title.

We’re coders, creators, and innovators who market your business solely based on the data. No guessing games, no immeasurable ROI, no traditional marketing rulebook.

Every decision is tracked, tested, and improved upon to not just get eyes on your work, but to get conversions.

While every company requires a different set of growth hacks to maximize ROI, the goal remains the same:

Unstoppable, innovative, badass growth.

P.S. Want to see some of the best growth hacks BAMF has used to grow businesses? Download our growth hacking book here: THE BAMF BIBLE >>

People Are Staying On YouTube Longer. Here’s How To Use That To Your Advantage

People Are Staying On YouTube Longer. Here’s How To Use That To Your Advantage

Big news for marketers: people are now spending more time on YouTube watching longer videos.

This is, in short, a great thing.

Though it’s true that companies know longer videos rank better and thus put more effort into building them, and though it’s true that YouTube has algorithms which favor longer videos, the more important takeaway here has to do with users.

People want real, actually valuable content instead of useless clickbait.

That’s important knowledge for marketers to have. Here’s how you can use it your advantage.

Provide users the sort of content they expect to find.

Here’s the truth: YouTube is an educational platform.

We now know that most YouTube visitors use the site to find something specific — not necessarily to discover.

They go there for tutorials and lessons, analysis and reaction.

Most users don’t go to YouTube looking for content from creators or brands they’ve never heard of before.

To some that might seem like a bad thing, but it actually explains why people are spending longer amounts of time on the site. They don’t go looking for a cheap laugh — they go to learn. And they’ll stick around with a video for a longer time if it delivers content which educates.

The more educational your content is, the better.

For this reason, don’t be afraid to double down on making your videos informative and detailed.

That means including lots of step-by-step tutorials — content that’s actually, purposefully designed to provide users with value and help them learn.

Yes, this means investing more money and time into your content. But it’s worth it. Ditch the cheap flash for the more strategically useful.

Ultimately, that will help you cultivate a loyal audience.

Making longer educational content is also great for SEO purposes.

It’s important to include that just as blog posts of longer text rank higher on Google than pieces with less text, longer videos also outperform shorter videos.

The average length of a first page YouTube video, for example, is 14 minutes, 50 seconds.

That’s the case for a reason.

Also, consider this: YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, trailing only Google. That about tells you everything you need to know.

Tap into YouTube for the cheaper ads.

While not paramount, this is still an important factor for marketers to consider: running ads on YouTube is much cheaper than running them on Instagram or Facebook.

While YouTube advertisers pay per ad view of their ad, the average cost-per-view is between $0.10 to $0.30.

That makes YouTube a remarkably affordable vehicle for boosting your web presence.

All in all, video is going to just keep growing, so marketers need to get onboard and learn to create videos which customers connect with emotionally.

Yes, advertising on YouTube is cheap. Yes, high-quality YouTube videos boast immense SEO value. But more importantly than that, video is simply a rapidly expanding medium. YouTube is the preferred home of literally billions of creators and fans across the world. In fact, creators (whom you might be able to work with) blow up more regularly on YouTube than they do on other platforms, like Instagram.

This is a trend that won’t fade any time soon. The potential to monetize via YouTube is unmatched. Marketers would be foolish to ignore it much longer.

The key for marketers in succeeding on YouTube, ultimately, is to pay attention to how users most enjoy utilizing the platform.

That starts with understanding why, exactly, people are spending more time on YouTube — and then giving them the sort of content they’re clamoring for.

3 Ways To Build A Community On LinkedIn

3 Ways To Build A Community On LinkedIn

Community is something all thought leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs need to be investing in. Without community, you’re an island — isolated in your effort to build wealth and influence.

That fact has been pretty well established by this point. What’s less well-known is the fact that there are many resources you can utilize in building a community.

One of the most important? LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a powerful mechanism for community growth because it helps you foster an intellectual authority presence. Readers look naturally at LinkedIn community leaders as power players — people who know what they’re talking about and have earned a certain respect.

LinkedIn can also:

  • Connect you with new contacts who might add value to your career by way of mentorship or support.
  • Help you remain relevant.
  • Solidify your intellectual presence in your industry or niche.

All of these things are critical. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly clear — at least to folks new to the platform — how exactly to use LinkedIn to accomplish any of this.

LinkedIn groups, for example, are effectively useless.

You’re better off directing your connections to a Facebook group if you want to utilize the more private group structure for communication and content sharing. That’s how bad LinkedIn’s version of groups are — yet they’re what we gravitate to first when we think of building community.

No, the best ways to build community on LinkedIn are not exactly intuitive. So here are the most valuable strategies you should focus on instead.

1) Using status updates as a way to connect your followers.

Most of us think of LinkedIn status updates as purely a means of engaging connections with content — which they are. But they can also be used to encourage action among your followers.

In fact, that should be your eminent goal. Your followers should be commenting on your posts, sharing them, and discussing within them how genuinely they relate to what you’re saying. That’s why updates which ask a simple question — “Hey everyone, how do you motivate yourself on Monday? Tag someone you know who always comes ready to bring it at the beginning of the week” — work really well.

Consider how you operate inside of groups on Facebook. How you engage with other members inside the group, asking for advice and communicating with folks directly.

Do that in your status updates on LinkedIn, and you’ll generate the sort of energy and engagement around both your content and your presence that will elevate your reputation in the eyes of community members.

2) Keeping a very curated list of who you connect with.

This second piece may seem surprising: most people on LinkedIn think of their connections as a list strictly to be grown as opposed to curated.

The amount of connections you have is evidence of your influence — right?

Wrong. It’s a mistake to try and connect with as many people as possible. Instead, be purposeful with the people you forge online relationships with. Only seek out new connections whom you can learn from, or whom you think might benefit from the content you have to share — people whom you think might be interested in your clear, specific value-add.

Sure, operating in this way might lose you followers. But it will  gain you customers and colleagues.

3) Creating a LinkedIn messaging pod where people can connect directly and privately to strategize.

LinkedIn messaging or engagement pods are groups you create on Slack or Facebook consisting of LinkedIn contacts. You can use them to give your posts or articles an immediate boost.

Here’s what you do: Immediately after publishing something new on LinkedIn, share it in your messaging pod, and ask everyone to go engage with it or share it.

This is a remarkably effective way to bolster your posts and updates to ensure they don’t fade to irrelevance, getting buried beneath everyone else’s articles. But it only works if your group is purposeful about what folks are allowed to share. In the various pods that I run with my teams and clients at BAMF, we impose strict barriers to entry to ensure all the content we promote is something we’re comfortable co-signing.

It helps, to this end — do you notice a theme here? — to focus eminently on adding value.

Always, always, always — in your pods, through your status updates, in engaging with your connections — seek to provide unique value.

That’s what will cement your reputation as someone people need to know on LinkedIn — which will, of course, help you build a more formidable community.

And that, for most of us, is the ultimate goal of using LinkedIn, right?

If it’s not yet… well, consider this your call to action.