You did research and identified a real customer. You iterated a couple of times on your product or service. You did an official launch and are getting quite some satisfied customers. You are sure that you have reached product-market-fit.
First off, congratulations for reaching this glorious moment. Most startup teams don't even reach this point so this means you are doing great. But what about growth? How can you grow the company? How can you go from 1 to 100 and so on...
This article contains:
- How to "do" growth
- Growth stuff you can do RIGHT NOW
- The best growth story in Fintech
1. How do I "do" growth??
a. Do not reinvent the wheel (seriously..)
I'll give you some high-level guidelines, that we use at 0smosis, to keep in mind when steering your startup towards growth. But first let's start off with a simple question:
Do you know what the most successful startups in your industry are exactly doing (product-wise, marketing channels, pricing, go-to-market, partnerships,...) ?
The reason I am asking this question is related to modeling, a concept that Tony Robbins introduced quite some time ago. It basically means that if you can find what worked for someone who HAS what you want and who THINKS like you want to think, then you can compress 10 years of learning into 1 single year.
You can simply apply this concept by listening to competitors podcasts, by reading their blog posts, by checking out interviews and so. If you do this for your top 3 competitors and do an in-depth analysis, you will be able to see common points which you can implement yourself. This way you avoid a lot of trial-and-error and you will be able to hack your growth in a shorter period of time.
b. Don't look at your customers, look at their friends...
It's in every book about startups. It's explained during podcast about startups success and hammered upon in accelerator programs. But still a lot of startups fail to interact with their customer base and create a real relationship with them.
There are famous examples of startups that sent out hand-written thank you notes to their first customers. Which is indeed a great idea! What also works is a "tit-for-tat" strategy. Basically, it means that customers will get your product or service for free in return for feedback. #win-win
For SAAS startups, one of the best approaches to interact with customers and to get their feedback is through SLACK. By giving customers access to their Slack channels (even sometimes "confidential" private channels) multiple startups were able to create an "ultra-direct" manner of interaction. This led to instant feedback, real-time backlog prioritisation and so on.
“Most companies rely on email or chat for support — but it turns out that’s a surprisingly high friction method of support for business customers today. Forcing customers through a formal contact form or into a long email thread creates a barrier between you, and makes it difficult to respond quickly to high priority issues.” – BubbleIQ
2. Growth stuff you can do RIGHT NOW
Doing a long-term, in-depth analysis of your competitors or building a world-class community with your customers is not something you can do overnight. However, here are some simple things you can start doing right now:
- Content Release Time: When you write a blog post, make sure to launch it at the right time. Studies have shown that in Western Europe 2.00AM works best.
- Site Speed: Make sure your website's speed is optimized. I’ve even seen tests where a delay of 500ms reduced in a drop in conversions by 10%.
- Social proof: when you reached product-market-fit and you already have some customers, make sure to leverage them. Add testimonials of these customers onto your landing page to create trust.
- Viral loops: setting up referral campaigns is easier than ever. There are a lot of tools that allow you to set up an effective referral campaign in a couple of hours.
3. What's the best growth story in Fintech?
To close off this article, I'll give you a brief introduction of my favourite Fintech growth story. It is about Mint.com.
Mint.com, a fintech startup that helps customers with their personal finances, officially launched in September 2007. In November 2009, it was bought for $170 million. At the time, Mint had over 1 million users and was adding a few thousand new users every day.
Why did Mint become such a great success?
- Let customers build the product: The founding team took 4 months to do customer research, to interview people with prototypes, to ask people about certain wording on landing pages and so on. This ultimately led them to the sweet spot.
- Don't build a better product, build a superior one: There were already quite some personal finance management (PFM) tools out there. So Mint did research towards the weaknesses of these products and did it better. For example: opening up an account was difficult with competitors, so Mint.com made it a simple 2-step process. Another example is "spending categorisation". Clients didn't like that 50% of the spending was not categorised automatically with competitors. So Mint.com build another algorithm that resulted in 90% successful categorisation (more info).
- Hack the internet: Mint.com "hacked the internet" using growth. Everywhere you could see relevant content about personal finance that was written by Mint.com. Digg, Reddit, Mint's own blog, dozens of PFM blogs, and so on. Mint even sponsored a lot of small PFM blogs in order to generate additional traffic.
If you want to read more about this great story check out Neil Patel's blog post.
So now what?
- If you learned anything that you're going to use: LET ME KNOW
- If you think something important is missing: LET ME KNOW
- If you just want to have a cup of coffee and a quick chat: LET ME KNOW
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