Today I want to tell you a story about Growth Hacking
If you want to create a product—it doesn't matter whether you are creating a platform to sell some baubles or launch a training course. Never start off by making a foolish plunge into the project, as this is likely to get you failed. The reason for this is that you have no way of knowing:
1) If anyone is going to buy your product;
2) If you have the charisma to just put something on Facebook and make that thing sellable;
3) If spending a lot of time making the product will but make very little money.
MVP for Product Marketing Fit
It is better for you to create a Landing Page first. Do some mini promotions to see if there is any interest out there. When writing your landing page, you can also take the opportunity to work out the core values of the thing that you are going to sell.
If you can't even make a proper Landing Page, it is probably best if you throw in the towel at this point. You are just not suited to selling things. However good your product, if you can't make the selling process work, you are just wasting your time.
After that, you can decide your next step based on the feedback you have received from your Landing Page. This can be done via CTA (call to action), email collection or even pre-payment, depending on the nature of your business. Sometimes, collecting via email is not equal to someone is willing to pay you. You should note this.
On the Landing Page you can put up Qualaroo to ask some hypothetical questions to draw out answers, or you can put up Olark to make users feel at ease about asking questions. In short, you should do your best to make users willing to give you feedback. This is the Art of Asking. If you don't ask, you won't know what other people want to buy. And you must make it comfortable for other people to ask.
The next step is creating MVP based on feedbacks. Remember, it is OK just doing MVP; you won't have time to do too many other things. At this stage, you shouldn't think too much about having too many functions to pitch in front of VC . Creating too much functions is downright useless. VC only cares about your traction, which is your income, registration number, monthly activity rate, growth rate ... etc. If you don't grow, nothing matters.
You just don't need to do everything at once, otherwise you will spend up your money so quickly. I suggest 3 to 5 MVP functions are good enough. If you have too many functions, you don't know which is most important features you need to improve.
After Product Marketing Fit: Growth
After PMF. Or what ever, you should just put up some analysis tools and testing funnels. It is enough that you have one or two funnel indicators. Then, set the conversion rate of the funnels and use them to improve UX. This may also be a good time to introduce A/B Testing. I suggest you do A/B Testing for landing, copy-writing, buttons, shopping carts, etc. UI does not have to be beautiful but need to be useful. Without Conversion Rate, design is useless.
Another thing is to smooth out the Onboarding Process. Your initial users are people who "really like to use your product", so they are passionate about your product and would find a way to make it work. But other people --they are just not as passionate, and so you will need to fine-tune your product until even grandma know how to use it.
Once you have smoothed out Onboarding, you should look to referral. Referral is the key to organic growth. A good product is loved by everyone, but people must be able to share it easily and remember to share it. Offer people a reward for sharing.
This depends on the nature of your business. A business is basically about selling things. Making money from the outset is unlikely to happen unless your product favours pre-empting Users, in which case, you should put your focus on pre-emption. You can receive money strategically: set different price ranges again and again to test out the actual fixed price.
Don't forget that Activation Rate comes first in importance; then followed by Retention, and then, Referral. Don't foolishly rush into acquisition; acquisition takes a lot of money. If your funnel keeps leaking , you are as good as throwing money into a fire pit.
No matter what improvement you do, you must first tie in Funnel. Use the funnel to test assumptions, establish an infrastructure, and use the infrastructure as a basis to put several ideas to A/B Testing. (But if your product is too common, copying best practices may directly lift your conversion rate several percent points).
After that, you should make it a priority to instill the concept of Growth in the mind of every member of your team, and make them willing to work for this. Otherwise, if one member of your staff is confused about the situation, just wants to act like a bureaucrat or yells clean code every day, then you are in trouble.
There are many books and articles you can read. Look for Landing Page, Copywriting, A/B Testing, Customer Development, Metrics Driven, Onboarding, Referral, Conversion.
Don't just search with the keyword "Growth Hack"; it will just get you much confused.