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This article was published on April 22, 2017

Fundamental growth hacking for new ‘solopreneurs’

Fundamental growth hacking for new ‘solopreneurs’
Sam Hurley
Story by

Sam Hurley

Sam Hurley is a lateral-thinking digital marketer holding 6+ years’ self-expedited experience in both agency and client-side settings before Sam Hurley is a lateral-thinking digital marketer holding 6+ years’ self-expedited experience in both agency and client-side settings before launching his own digital consultancy venture: OPTIM-EYEZ. He has achieved success for both agency and client-side businesses while being ranked as the world’s #1 digital influencer by Webinale, world’s #2 most influential digital marketer by Onalytica and world’s #3 content marketing influencer by ScribbleLive.

Successful digital marketing and website optimization = more business. Yes, it’s a fact and that’s great…

But what about hacking your way to growth as a new entrepreneur working alone i.e. a ‘solopreneur’?

The phenomenon has arrived and it’s here to stay. Many of us are now cutting the costly overheads that come with operating huge offices and numerous employees. It just makes sense.

So, with limited hours (and budget) working for yourself – how do you efficiently maximize your presence and get noticed by those who matter?

Growth hacking is a turbo-charged form of marketing where you shed anything that could derail or distract. It requires an unconventional mind-set. You must focus on your market with laser-sharp precision, guiding your audience towards conversion; throwing out anything that won’t help you grow as a business or personal brand – incredibly useful when tasked with the many demands that come with being your own boss.

There’s obviously a little more involved but with a clear goal, you can start a growth hacking campaign right now.

Yes! Now.

That’s the best thing about it. I did. You can too.

Let’s look at the core principles for rapid results and the returns promised through growth hacking…

Establish yourself by publishing impressive content

The great WWW is awash with its fair share of both poor and awesome content. The very best material always wins attention – providing it’s:

  1. relevant and
  2. distributed well

As a marketer and entrepreneur, your objective is to create content that positions you firmly within the very top percentile of your niche.

What does this mean? It’s simple: your content needs to perform better than anything anybody else has written before. It must be irreplaceable, lengthy, robust, attractive and highly shareable.

You might only work on a single blog per fortnight. That’s perfectly okay. Each blog could take days to put together – even longer in some cases.

Not every piece of content will go out on your own website either. Some of it will be published on other sites too.

“But my content isn’t working!”

You can’t just toss content onto a website and expect people to read it. That’s not growth hacking.

Your content needs to drive people to a goal. Your content needs to get seen.

The ultimate goal is to build your credibility. No hard-sell needed; this will come naturally.

Your published content replaces the sales patter and the pitch. Your well-oiled, uber-efficient content production machine needs to have all the following components:

  • Impeccable, original material that holds Google search volume
  • Well-written, thought provoking commentary that exudes character
  • Deep-dives into the topics your audience cares about
  • Data to reinforce your messages
  • Promotion on relevant social channels and social groups
  • Guest posts to generate interest and backlinks

“Aren’t we over guest posting now?”

Hell no!

Guest posting is an exercise of quality over quantity. It’s an absolutely essential component in your growth hacking campaign.

Do not take this lightly. Guest posting can take you to dizzy new heights; just one great link from a key influencer or popular website will ignite rocket fuel and drive results faster than you’ve ever seen before.

You’ll also become associated with some big names…exactly what you need to grow swiftly. 

When you’re looking for a new blog to place a guest post, what are your key criteria? A site that is actively seeking guest authors is not the best choice. Instead, you need popular blogs that are publishing industry-leading content, written (or curated) by an influencer in your niche.

Ask yourself this: “Could I add value to the blog on which I want to guest post?”

If the answer is yes, they probably won’t hesitate to accept your post.

Build a web of connections

Your eventual aim is to become one of the influencers your audience admires. It’s effortless promotion: once you’re considered an influencer, people literally walk up to you and buy things. Now, that is cool!

5 ways to become an influencer:

  1. You create exceptional, regular content
  2. You distribute this content tirelessly and spend 80 percent of your time doing so (only 20 percent relative time ratio writing it)
  3. You know your niche well enough to stand on a stage and tell other people about it, or you are able to produce educational videos (or both)
  4. You build up substantial, engaged followings across at least 2 social media networks where you display your specific industry expertise
  5. You know the right people

Connections are everything.

Think about it – would you rather blow thousands on advertising – or would you like to attract custom without spending a penny?

Well, that’s what happens if you dedicate the time and effort to building a solid net of compounded relationships in your industry.

Rob knows Jim, Jim knows Sally. Sally speaks hundreds of people interested in your service because she owns her own company. They know even more people through their connections…

The possibilities are endless and it can all be achieved if you know how to speak to people the right way.

Treat everyone with respect, kindness and generosity. This ‘good karma’ will pay dividends for you later on. Don’t you dare say you haven’t got time for consideration of others!

Measure, test, repeat

You know that you need content to fuel your growth hacking project. The better the content; the more rocket fuel you light under it.

But how to understand what’s working?

Simple: you need to test and measure everything. No single page should be published without multiple ways to harvest data.

Now we come to our friend, conversion optimization:

  • Conversion optimization is all about guiding people to a defined goal
  • You need to know how to repeat success and improve on failure. The data you collect will spell it out
  • You must treat this as a never-ending process of refinement, testing and tweaking – not a one-shot deployment

Tracking tools allow you to examine visitor response in detail. You might want to start personalizing content to suit the buyer journey or sifting through granular content segments, drilling right down into the data to find golden nuggets. The information you collect from previous posts should act as a continual guide…

If something just isn’t working, don’t waste any more time. Either re-work completely or toss it and move on to the next strategy.

Try these CRO insight tools:

And of course, use Google Analytics! I shared insight into some analysis methods here.

Don’t forget to bend the rules

Growth hacking is an express route to growing a young company or personal brand. There are no set rules or pre-formed processes. Instead, you’ll leap-frog over some parts of traditional marketing and power forward with whatever helps you to grow.

If something fails – ditch, learn and reinvent.

Be prepared to invest money and experiment with everything – even if that involves risks.

That doesn’t mean growth hacking is anti-marketing. It simply provides speed and agility. That’s precisely what you need when you have a start-up to sell…

As an enthusiastic new entrepreneur, you have everything you need to begin your first growth hacking experiment. Now you must apply content, data, relationships and hardiness until you reach influencer status!


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