The “Low-Hanging Fruit” of Startup Growth

Yellow-Plums 600 x 450 px

In a recent post, Neil Patel covers a topic that is fitting for those using content marketing to grow their startup, the Low-Hanging fruit of “growth hacking”… for more on that term, you can see past articles here (the Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking), and here (the Rise of the Content Hacker).

Keep in mind that in general these are tactics, which may or may not fit well into the process with which you approach your marketing or other company process (Sales, Acquisition, Design, or Biz Dev).

To see more on process vs. tactics, check out this guide to Building an effective Content Marketing Plan.

In this post, I’m going to go with my Top 15 low hanging fruit of growth hacking.

1. FAQ Page –  “for the long tail”: Andrew Dumont

  • Keyword Research:
  • Primary, Secondary, and “long-tail” keywords:

2. “Manual Outreach to your First Customers” -Andrew Dumont

First, you should set up a process for Customer Relationship Management. Personally, I use Zoho for my CRM, but if you use something else that’s nbd. (Here’s a list of the best)

3. Partners: (Andrew Dumont, Neil Patel, and Startup Owner’s Manual)

“Provide a way of getting partners to distribute your product at little to no cost in return for you providing benefits to them. Moz does this with their incubator outreach program in which they give incubators’ companies 90 free days of the product instead of the standard 30. This has resulted in tens of thousands of new free trials (with credit card registered) at almost no cost. And surprisingly it has even converted better than their typical free trials that they get through other channels.” –Andrew Dumont

Link Building is also a key part of building partners and guiding SEO. See more here.

4. HARO (Help a Reporter Out) —-

This is an interesting program, but I’ve never used it personally. What I will say is that the first thing to talk about is Creating press kit. One of the key’s to “growth hacking” is being prepared with a strong framework for your brand and message, and having a solid press kit is a good way to take a huge load off of your shoulders when the time comes to share that message with the public.

    To start, think about your company’s ability to prepare a Press Release.

This should take about 2-4 hours for one or two people, but it can be done in less than 20 minutes where there is a process in place.

(See here for more about creating a plan for media relations)

     Be prepared for when they reach out to you.  For more, how to handle press requests.

     Don’t oversell it! 

The more you can do to provide a reporter with great content to write about, including graphics, raw data (& analysis), anything that backs up your words, the better. You don’t want to tell them exactly what to say, but make their job as easy as possible.

     If they don’t reach out to you, think about when it is okay to start reaching out to reporters… and follow these guidelines when you’re ready to take that step.

5. Social Prospecting (Andrew Dumont)

This is part of a larger social media process, but the key to “social prospecting” is to provide real answers that are valuable to the people asking questions. If you’re curious about tactics to find users who are asking questions related to your topic/keywords, see more here.

6. Video Syndications

From Andrew Dumont on

“Get your content on sites that will push it out to their user base for free. A great example is online education. For example you can create a course on Udemy around the service that your company provides. Just make sure it’s truly a great course and not just a marketing pitch.”

Rand Fishkin talks about the idea of using Wistia to get analytics and improve your messaging… check that video out here.

7. Commenting (Andrew Dumont – “Comment Marketing”)

From Kenontek – “make helpful comments, not ones that just link back to your site.”

8. In-app Sharing could be considered part of Viral Loops – which Andrew Dumont includes as Long Term (#15), but I’m just going to talk about sharing in more general terms.

Integration (APIs) for Biz Dev

Double Loop Referrals – for more about virality, see this post regarding startup metrics.

9. Influencer Programs

This is something that can be a hugely valuable “growth hack”…but don’t take it lightly…if you’re still in the early stages, haven’t found product market fit, or are still in product development, it might not be a great idea to reach out to an influencer unless you already have a relationship.

Reach out to friends, followers, and early customers… the best growth hack of all is great customer service. Focus on creating relationships, and you won’t have to ask for people to share your content and become brand advocates.

The following are more focused on Neil Patel’s recent article, which can be found here.

10. Cross Promote your Twitter profiles:

“One simple strategy is to cross-promote your Twitter profile with other people within your organization. Chances are you have a personal Twitter profile and a corporate one. At least a few of your employees have Twitter profiles too.” –Neil Patel

11. Top Keywords:

[How to, List-related numbers, Free, You, Tips, Blog post, Why, Best, Tricks, Great]

Headline Formulas: 10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas That Work from copyblogger

12. Use Facebook Connect

“…if you are looking to build your list at a faster pace, use Facebook Connect. It allows users who are logged into Facebook to subscribe to your blog with a click of a button.” –Neil Patel

See here or more about Facebook Connect 

13. Share Your Content More Than Once:

This can be effective, but make sure that you follow the “etiquette” of whatever channel you are on…for example, this tactic would be better suited to Twitter than Linked In or Facebook.

14. Use a Content Calendar:

I use Google Spreadsheets to keep a collective list of past and future posts, using the paint bucket to color-code posts which have been posted, or are ready to be posted.

15. Analytics

Neil Patel’s post on the growth hacks is a bit repetitive, it breaks down the following into more detail, but I have combined several tactics (“hacks”) which all relate to one of the most important parts of content marketing (or any other department) in a startup today.

  •      “Don’t ignore the numbers” – Neil Patel
  •  “Replicate what works” – Neil Patel
  • Be Data Driven – I followed this post by Avinash Kaushik to design my system.

Neil includes a few more related to the creation of content itself— I don’t include them all here, so if you want to learn more about content marketing, visit the original article here.

If you found some value in this list, it would mean a ton to me for you to share this with your friends, colleagues, or other contacts. If not, drop me a comment and tell me why!

Educational Links:

  • And another featuring Andrew Dumont on kenontek, from 1/2/2014

3 comments on “The “Low-Hanging Fruit” of Startup Growth

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