What is growth hacking? Wikipedia defines growth hacking as a marketing technique which aims to attract users at a relatively low cost and primarily by means of technological integration. Guru entrepreneur, Sean Ellis, coined this term in a 2010 blog where he phrased growth hacking as “a person whose true north is growth.” When put this way, what entrepreneur wouldn’t want to growth hack their business? The job for me is to figure out how to growth hack Ucraft Brew.
“…the important thing for a company that is pre startup is to really manage their future customers’ expectations and to be strategic in doing so. Nothing will be more harmful to your business than pissing off people you haven’t even made a sale to.”
There are many common strategies associated with growth hacking:
- Search engine optimization
- Viral strategies (video, meme, social media post, etc.)
- Email marketing
- Managing online communities
One I would also add is becoming an expert in your field, as it’s a great way to gain the attention of others in your value stream. This is probably the slowest method of growth hacking (which is somewhat counter intuitive to the hacking portion), but it’s something within your control and something you can start today. Writing this blog is me trying to do that.
Back to growth hacking a beer business. For starters, I think the most imperative part is to get Ucraft Brew up and running (WE’RE WORKING ON IT!). You can’t grow a customer base if you don’t have a customer, and you only get customers when you have a product. Still, just because we don’t have any customers yet, doesn’t mean we don’t have future customers.
Your future customers are an extremely important part of your business, and it’s imperative that you start cultivating them early if you really plan to launch your business. These are the early adopters – the people who are excited about your product/service and look forward to trying something new. They’re the ones who are going to determine whether your “grand opening” is a raging party, or an utter disappointment. So do the same rules of growth hacking apply to future customers? Yes and no.
Getting your name out there via social media, free news coverage, viral marketing (still thinking up a good idea for a custom beer commercial that will get a million+ views – I’m all ears to suggestions), or even a Kickstarter campaign are all great, but the important thing for a company that is pre startup is to really manage their future customers’ expectations and to be strategic in doing so. Nothing will be more harmful to your business than pissing off people you haven’t even made a sale to. For instance, if you’ve invented the latest and greatest wearable tech gadget, but you can only realistically produce a thousand units in the near future, don’t launch a campaign where you take 50,000 pre-orders and hope that you can just instantly use that money to scale out; it will just make people mad when there are six months of back orders. In this instance, consider making an event out of being someone who wants to be one of the first 1,000 pre-orders (like a video submission contest). This creative strategy not only manages customer expectations, but it creates hype among your future customers, thus creating even more future customers. DING, DING, DING, we have growth hacking, folks!
While I can’t give away all the secrets yet (yes, because I haven’t thought of them), I know one of the things Ucraft Brew will do to growth hack future customers will revolve around free beer. People love beer, they love free stuff, free beer is like the holy grail, especially when it’s free craft beer. Knowing this, our goal will be to utilize the power of free beer as a way of generating hype. We may not have ironed out all the details, but it will very likely revolve around social media.
With that said, I think it’s time to get growing, brew some beer, and work on my pitch: “Hi future customer, here’s a beer on me.”
Do you have any good growth hacking tips or idea for growth hacking a beer business? Please share in the comments below.