12 Essential Growth Hacking Ideas For Non-Growth Hackers (A Step-By-Step Guide)
Bonus Material: Free Conversion Rate Optimization Checklist
Bonus Material: Free Conversion Rate Optimization Checklist
What would 220% more sales do for your business?
Or conversion rates of 70% or more?
I’m going to wager a bet that it would help you make thousands (maybe even tens of thousands) of dollars more in your business every year.
Good news: you don’t have to be a programmer, or a pro marketer, or even a rookie marketer to get results like these.
You just need these 12 little-known growth hacks that can help you understand your audience better, collect more emails, get more shares, and conquer the world - or at least your corner of the internet.
These tricks have helped customers increase their conversions up to 200% almost overnight.
Oh, and we’re giving away our website review checklist. We’ve increased some of our customer’s conversions by 200% or more with this checklist we use internally.
The Hack: Finding out where your readers are dropping off in your content so you can get your calls to action in front of them before they leave.
That’s the average amount of your readers who will finish your content and get to the bottom of the page.
If you have a call to action for a content upgrade at the bottom of your page, 80% of your visitors aren’t even seeing it.
With this hack, we’ll show you how to at least double the amount of people seeing your CTA.
By finding out the average readthrough rate of your article, and then getting your calls to action in front of your readers before they leave.
Get more people to see your offers to convert more.
If you even had a high conversion rate -- let’s say 20% -- and only 100 people per month were seeing your CTAs, you’d only convert 20 people.
But if 200, or 500 people were seeing your CTAs? Hi, new subscribers!
To do so, you need to know what your average readthrough rate of your content is.
Step 1: Enable Content Analytics in Sumo:
Enable Auto Record to automatically record Content Analytics on all of your pages and content:
Step 2: Run the recording for at least a few hundred visitors to your content pages. After a few hundred visitors, check the Average Read on your content:
Step 3: Under Forms > List Builder, create a Scroll Box for your content upgrade or email ask.
Step 4: Under Visibility, set the Trigger percent to 5% below your average read:
If your average read is 45%, set it at 40%. If it’s 25%, set it at 20%.
Step 5: Press save and reach 80% more people!
The Hack: Running a dedicated pop-up for desktop AND mobile to see what platform converts better.
Since 2008, mobile usage per day has exploded. We’re now spending more time on our phones than our computers.
But what happens if mobile isn’t converting well for you?
It might seem crazy, seeing as every marketing article drools over mobile usage rates. But even though mobile is trouncing desktop in usage, guess who has the last laugh:
Traditional devices (laptops, desktops) more than triple their conversion rates over smartphones.
So the revolution isn’t fully upon us yet. But here’s the interesting bit to note: The stats are for ecommerce sites.
When it comes to conversion rates for opt-ins, the numbers vary from site to site. I’ve seen sites with huge mobile conversions and low desktop conversions (and vice versa).
Which brings me to my big question:
Do you know if mobile is converting better for your site?
I bet you don’t. That’s why this hack is vital for any smart marketer who really wants to know the impact mobile has on their site.
This is simply an A/B test -- we’re testing one device versus another.
Step 1: What you need to do is set up two different campaigns. Let’s use a List Builder pop-up as an example.
Your first campaign will be your desktop version of the pop-up. Title your campaign accordingly so you aren’t confused later on:
Step 2: Go right into Visibility, scroll to Display Rules, set the pop-up for the page you want to display it on, and under Devices, set “Desktop”:
This setup accomplishes two things. First, your pop-up will only show on the page you designate.
Second, your pop-up will only show to people on desktops/laptops. This option is the most important rule for our hack. Without it, your pop-up will show to anyone on any device.
Step 3: Once you create your pop-up for this campaign, click “Save” (always click Save), and create a new campaign.
This new campaign is for your mobile visitors. Name it what you named the previous campaign, except substitute “Desktop Version” for “Mobile Version.”
Step 4: Go to the Display Rules again. Set it for the page you want the pop-up to appear on, only this time change the second display rule to show only on mobile:
Now, any pop-up you create under this campaign will show to mobile visitors.
Measuring the effectiveness of each device is easy when set up like this.
You simply go into each campaign and see what the conversion rate is. Traffic may differ between the two campaigns, but the conversion rate is a solid, universal way to determine what is more effective, showing you whether you need to pay more attention to optimizing for mobile.
The Hack: Save yourself massive amounts of time and headache by giving away a 5-minute eBook with your content for a 70%+ conversion rate.
Sumo-Sized Guides are the most comprehensive free resources on the internet about a particular marketing topic.
But they’re 10,000 word guides. That’s a gigantic guide.
So instead of creating a brand new content upgrade, why not put the guide in an eBook and allow the reader to download it for keeps - and for free?
Turns out this was damn effective. Get a load of this conversion rate on our Welcome Mat for the eBook:
And how about this Click Trigger:
Not only did our readers obviously really want the eBook, but it also saved us a shit-ton of time to create a whole new content upgrade for the post.
And you can do it, too :)
It’s as simple as copy, paste, format, and capture.
Step 1: Copy and paste your article into a Word Document, a Google Doc, or just use Beacon to create a free eBook from your content.
Go through the copy and remove anything that would be related to reading it on your site.
Do some formatting using your brand’s colors, and create a simple cover page (I do this all in either Beacon or Google Docs. It doesn’t have to be fancy).
Download your new eBook as a PDF to give away.
Step 2: Create your email capture and call to action.
To give the swipe file and eBook away, I created a two step opt-in with a Click Trigger at the end of the chapter links.
...for a 72% conversion rate:
Step 3: Automatically send your 5-minute eBook to your brand new subscriber with the next hack (or set up an autoresponder within your email service provider to deliver the goods).
Step 4: Pour yourself a couple fingers of whiskey because you’ve got yourself a new subscriber-generating machine.
The Hack: Avoid creating a whole new list in Aweber, Mailchimp, or Constant Contact every single time you want to offer a content upgrade.
Maybe email automation isn’t for you yet.
So everything about setting up multiple lists, creating automatic triggers to send your content, directing those people into a new upsell funnel….
It’s this easy
It’s a bit confusing. And you’d rather focus your time on other aspects of your business. But if you don’t do automated email, then how do you deliver a content upgrade to subscribers?
It’s kind of a Catch-22. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
Until now, that is.
This hack bypasses the traditional automation rules, letting you automatically deliver your content upgrade the moment your reader hits “Submit.”
The beauty of this hack is you can leverage two of the most-used file storing sites on the planet -- Dropbox and Google Drive.
Step 1: The first thing you’ll do is upload your file to your Google Drive:
Select your file -- a PDF, spreadsheet, slideshow, whatever -- and upload it to your drive.
Step 2: Grab a shareable link for your file. This link is extremely important because it’s the only way your visitors can access your file:
Very important tip: Make sure your sharing settings are set to “Anyone Can View.” Sometimes the default is set where only people from your company can view OR anyone can view but they can also edit. Both are bad situations.
So go into the sharing settings and set it correctly:
And grab that shareable link.
Pasting that link into that area means your visitors, once they opt-in, will be directed to that file you uploaded to Google Drive. That way you can bypass the email automation while still directing subscribers to your content upgrade.
Dropbox is the same as Google Drive. You can take the exact same steps above and send your subscribers to the file location.
However, Dropbox has another cool hack-within-a-hack where your subscribers will automatically download the content.
Step 1: Go into Dropbox and get the shareable link like normal, making sure the settings allow everyone with the link to view:
Step 2: Here’s where it gets interesting. Take that shareable URL and add this small bit of code to the end: dl=1.
So if your link was this:
You would change it to this:
Step 3: Take that link and pop into your email collection tool. Go into the pop-up you’re using, click the “Success” tab and paste your shareable link into the “Redirect the user to this URL” area:
Now, when people subscribe, they won’t go to the Dropbox site. The file will automatically download in their browser.
It saves an extra step and keeps your subscribers from searching for the download button on Dropbox.
Cross “learning email automation” off your list (for now). This hack lets you spend time on the other parts of your business you want to focus on.
The Hack: Use Heat Maps to see where your visitors are clicking - and then remove the extra calls to action to get more eyes on the effective ones.
If I had to guesstimate, I’d say that the average website we review has 15 calls to action…
And that’s just above the fold. And they’re all competing for your audience’s attention.
On my personal blog, I have nine:
That might seem like a lot, and it is. But all of my calls to action pull their weight.
How do I know?
Because I’ve seen where my visitors are clicking on my site:
This information has allowed me to increase my conversions to what I really want my visitors to do, because I’ve removed all of the options that they aren’t taking action on.
Bye-bye decision fatigue, hello conversions.
Want to know exactly what your visitors are doing on your site, so you can decrease decision fatigue and increase conversions?
Step 1: Activate Heat Maps in your Sumo dashboard. Start by recording a campaign on your homepage.
Step 2: Enable Auto Record to automatically record Heat Maps on all of the pages on your site:
After you make your homepage more effective, you’ll be able to iterate this process with the rest of the important pages on your site, too.
Step 3: Run your campaign on your homepage for at least 1000 clicks. This will help you gather enough data to discern what to remove from your homepage.
Step 4: Remove any buttons, links, menu options, social media buttons and calls to action that your visitors aren’t clicking on.
You can tell your visitors aren’t clicking on them, because they’ll either be not lit up at all (like the “Home” button on my site), or they’ll be a paler orange than the rest. That’s how heat maps work.
The Hack: Remove low social share counts to stop chasing your visitors away. They make you look like the kid sitting alone at the cafeteria.
Ever walk into a restaurant and immediately want to leave because there’s no other diners?
That’s “anti social proof,” and it’s why restaurants fill the tables at the front of the store near the windows first. #Marketing.
Anti social-proof happens when you’re displaying weak social proof - low numbers, empty comments forms, little engagement - which demonstrates that your site isn’t popular…
Discourages people from sharing, liking, or signing up.
Nobody wants to sign up for an email list or hire a contractor from website others are avoiding. So you can instantly increase your conversions by removing this anti social proof.
The most common type of anti social proof is low social sharing numbers. To get rid of this, there are two things you should do:
1.Remove Share from your homepage unless you have 500+ social shares. For social proof to work properly, it needs to boast impressive numbers (ie 500+ social shares or more). If your homepage doesn’t have at least 500+ shares, disable your sharing buttons on your homepage all together.
Open your Sumo dashboard and go into the Share app:
It’s as simple as that. Press Save and you’re done!
2. Set a share count minimum for your products and content. We take conversions seriously, so Sumo has social proof gatekeeping built right in. You can set a minimum amount of shares on your product and content pages before the share count is shown.
Content and products are more forgiving than the homepage, so you can safely set your share count minimum to 50 or 100.
Then, the Share buttons would display how many shares the content has garnered if it’s above at least that many shares.
Log into your Sumo dashboard and open Share. Go to the Settings tab, and scroll down to “Share Counts”. Set the Show Share Counts Minimum to 50 or 100, and press “Save”:
Woot! Now you’ve banished anti social proof from your website.
The Hack: Boost your social shares by finding out exactly where your audience prefers to share content and removing decision fatigue.
You’re probably scaring your audience away from sharing your content.
That’s because you’re giving them decision fatigue.
In one of the most well-known studies ever done for marketing psychology, researchers found that shoppers who were presented with 26 flavors of jam bought 1/10th of the amount of jam than those presented with 6.
When you give people too many options, they’re far less likely to act upon anything.
This hack helps you apply this knowledge to increase traffic and conversions by eliminating decision fatigue to increase the amount of social shares your content gets.
Instead of presenting your visitors with a million options to share your content:
Thereby ensuring they’ll share on none of the platforms, increase your shares substantially by only displaying the social platforms your target audience actually uses, like James Clear does:
And don’t worry. You don’t have to guess which social networks to show. There’s a hack for that!
The trick here is to only display the social networks that your target audience actually uses on your Share bar. So you need to know what those social networks are, right?
Step 1: Think of a popular blog or website in your niche that reaches your target audience. For example, let’s say you have a parenting blog and identified Scary Mommy.
Step 2: Take it to BuzzSumo or EpicBeat to type in the URL of the popular site to bring up the most popular content and the share counts on each of the top 5 social networks:
Step 3: Identify the top 2-3 social networks your target audience is sharing content on. In our example, it appears that Scary Mommy’s audience is sharing mainly on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest based on the numbers.
Step 4: Take that intel back to your Sumo dashboard, open Share, and go to Settings. Drag only the 2-3 most popular networks you just identified to Selected Services:
Step 5: Press Save and profit.
The Hack: Use scarcity to push the “on the fence” customers right over the fence - into your waiting arms (or at least, into cart fulfillment).
You’re up at 2:30 AM hanging out in front of the tube in your Snuggie and find yourself captivated by an infomercial.
“That egg slicer sure would make your life easier…”
Just when you think you can hold off from rifling through your wallet for your credit card at least until the morning, they slap you with a deadline.
It’s only the low, low price of $24.99 for another 9 minutes and 46 seconds.
The infomercial company put the fear of scarcity in you.
Scarcity works. In one test, an eCommerce company tested a free shipping offer with a countdown timer to demonstrate scarcity, against the same product without scarcity:[*]
Unsurprisingly, the offer that triggered scarcity boosted sales by 226%.
Scarcity works for all of your offers - including your opt-in offers, content upgrades, and discounts.
It’s also dead simple to trigger, and I’m about to show you how to use it not only to increase your sales and decrease cart abandonment, but also collect mad emails in the process.
Let’s say your visitor is on your site looking at products in your eCommerce store. And you don’t want them to just put a few items in their cart and then leave.
Offer shipping, a discount, or a freebie as a limited time offer just before they abandon their cart.
Step 1: Identify a limited time offer you could provide to your audience that would push customers who are “on the fence” to act. Don’t go overboard - free shipping or 10% off is often enough to push the needle, especially when paired with scarcity.
Step 2: Open List Builder in your Sumo dashboard, and create a new Form.
Step 3: Design your pop-up with a countdown timer to trigger scarcity:
Set the countdown time to be 15 minutes or less. Any longer and the customer is more likely to think they will come back in a few minutes and then forget, leaving forever.
Step 4: Put the discount code for free shipping in your success pop-up:
So when they enter their email address, they are redirected to the success pop-up for their discount code.
Step 5: Set the display rules to only show the pop-up in the Shopping Cart. When this is set up, the pop-up will show immediately on your shopping cart page:
Press “Save”, Toggle the campaign on, and you’ve got yourself a sales getting, emailing scoring, scarcity driven machine.
The Hack: Increase your traffic by asking your visitors to share your content - in a way that makes it far more difficult for them to say no to.
The easiest way to drive more traffic to your website is to increase the amount of social shares your content gets.
The best way to increase your social shares - and therefore your traffic - is by isolating your call to action.
What’s going to be more effective for getting you to share content? This:
Trick question. You’d definitely be more likely to act on the second one, because it isolates the call to action.
Your shares are almost guaranteed to increase if you take this approach, raking in the traffic.
Step 1: Use the instructions I gave you in Hack #3 to identify the top social network your audience spends time on.
Step 2: Create a pop-up or Welcome Mat for your call to action. Under Templates, select Call to Action:
Step 3: Go to the content you’re setting this up for, and click the link for the social platform from your Share buttons. Copy and paste the link of the window that appears, and paste it into the Call to Action URL field in your pop-up design:
Step 4: Set the Display Rules under Visibility so the pop-up only shows on the content you’re working with:
Step 5: Press Make Live and watch the shares roll in.
The Hack: Take advantage of the “foot in the door” technique to not only ask your visitors to subscribe to your email list, but get them to request it.
Menus get a lot of the action on a homepage. They’re always there, they’re above the fold, and they are the primary way that users can navigate a website.
Everything should help you achieve your website’s main goal, including your site’s menu. And if your goal is to build your email list, you’re in luck. This hack has helped me achieve 19.29% a conversion rate in the short period of time I had it up:
So what’s the hack?
To include a two step opt-in in your menu, so that when your visitor clicks on the link, they retrieve a pop-up:
This called the “foot in the door” technique. When you can get people to comply with a smaller request (like clicking a link), they’re far more likely to comply with a larger request (entering their email address).
Pairing the attention that your menu gets, with the power of a two step opt-in like a Click Trigger is powerful stuff.
You don’t have to be a programmer or web designer to take advantage of this hack. If you use WordPress and Sumo, I got you.
Step 1: Create a Click Trigger Form in List Builder for your menu. Then, create the pop-up that you want to appear when your menu link is clicked.
Under Visibility, copy the New Inline Click Trigger Code:
Step 2: Go to your WordPress dashboard and under Appearance > Menus, find your main navigation menu. Add a Custom Link, and paste the Click Trigger Code into both the URL and Link Text fields:
Press “Add to Menu”.
When the Click Trigger is in the Menu Structure section, remove the URL field so the only populated field is the Navigation Label field:
Press “Save Menu”.
Step 3: Test the Click Trigger, and then start rolling in the conversions like Scrooge McDuck.
The Hack: Create targeted pop-ups within your existing blog posts. Links to blog posts are removed less than links to landing pages in guest posts.
If you’re blogging, guest posting is a strong way to check a lot of boxes on your “marketing to-do” list. You get backlinks, shares, relationships and email subscribers from the same type of content you’d write for your own site.
So you write a guest post, pitch it, create a landing page with a sweet content upgrade...
But then something weird happens.
Your post is published and all those links to your landing page are gone.
See ya, new email addresses. The editor removed all of your links. Womp womp.
But let me let you in on a secret. Most editors don’t remove useful link as long as you aren’t shamelessly linking to everything. That means links that lead to helpful articles stay in your guest post.
And guess what? This hack takes advantage of those links to get more emails without a call to action OR a landing page.
I’ve got my black ski mask on, because this one feels a bit sneaky (but you’ll love it).
Step 1: The first thing you need to do is know what the URL will be on your guest post. For example, let’s say you’re posting an article on Jeff Bullas’ site. Find out what that URL is ahead of time and write it down.
Step 2: Choose 1-3 of the links in your guest post that go back to articles on your site. Write those down somewhere, too.
Now, let’s make some magic. What we’re going to do is set targeted pop-ups to visitors from Jeff Bullas’ site on those 1-3 articles.
These will replace those landing page links that got cut from your guest post (and help you get more subscribers). And we’re going to build on the authority of the referring site (Jeff Bullas) with this strategy.
We’ll use a Welcome Mat for this example.
Step 3: Create a new form and go Visibility. Under the “Display Rules” section we’re going to set up a couple rules:
The first display rule is for the articles you linked to in your guest post. By pasting in the URLs of those articles into these show rules, your Welcome Mat will only show up on those specific articles.
But doing just this would show your Welcome Mat to any readers on that article. We only want to show the Welcome Mat to people visiting from your guest post.
We need to add one more rule so your Mat only shows to people coming from your guest post:
You select “On Referrer URLs”, then type in your guest post’s URL. Do this and only people from your guest post will see the Welcome Mat.
When it comes to your pop-up, you want to create it with your audience in mind. You know what site they’re coming from, so speak to that authority:
If people came from Jeff Bullas’ site and saw this pop-up, they’d be more likely to opt-in.
That’s because I know what site they came from, which means they’re fans of Jeff. You can play off the same authority in your pop-up, too.
And that’s it! You’ve now set up an editor-proof hack that makes your guest posts 10x more valuable. You don’t have to worry about your CTA being cut because your other links will help you build a killer list.
The Hack: Setting up pop-up display rules for each of your main traffic sources will show which traffic source converts best (and you need 0 Google Analytics knowledge for this).
If you know what channels convert the best, you can double-down in those areas and cut the fat from your marketing plan.
Do you know how to set this up in Google Analytics?
I freaking don’t. It takes time, a lot of experience and patience to set up a comprehensive tracking system in Google Analytics. And that’s just for ecommerce tracking. You can track opt-ins, too. But it’s more complex when you try to track those opt-ins from a 3rd party tool -- which is how almost everyone collects emails these days.
So we’re going to show you an easy way to see how each traffic source converts. You don’t need Google Analytics know-how. You don’t need to pay someone a ridiculous amount of money.
You can do it yourself. And a couple minutes of work will give you the same results as years of Google Analytics knowledge.
Before we dive in, I’ll say this -- this might be one of my favorite starter hacks available. It takes something that was previously unavailable to everyone and makes it easily accessible.
Though, ironically, our journey starts in Google Analytics.
PUT DOWN YOUR PITCHFORKS!
What we’re looking for is easy to find. We’re just going to see what kind of traffic your site already receives.
Step 1: Pick a page you want to monitor conversion rates on. It could be your home page, a blog post, or anywhere else you’re collecting email addresses.
Then, log into your Google Analytics account and click the following things: Reporting → Behavior → All Pages:
That lets you see the traffic to any of your site’s pages. Then, filter down to the page you want to measure in the search bar. To do that, you grab everything after your main URL.
So, if you wanted to monitor your blog, and your blog’s URL was www.testsite.com/blog, you would put /blog into the search area:
Searching and clicking on the intended path will bring you to that page’s specific stats. What we’re looking for is the type of traffic that comes to that page. That means we need to filter by traffic source:
Now you can see exactly where people are coming from to get to your page.
Why do we need this? We’re going to set up list-building opportunities that only show to these specific traffic sources.
It makes sense to monitor your highest traffic sources. You don’t want to waste time monitoring conversion rates from sources that drive little traffic.
From our GIF, I’d test out Google, GrowthHackers, Facebook, Twitter and Inbound. Your own traffic sources will be different, so write those down before we go to the next step.
Got ‘em? Good. We’ll use List Builder as our example email-collector again.
Step 2: It’s time to set up two different Forms. Your first campaign will be centered around one of your traffic sources.
Then, go right into the Visibility, set the pop-up for the page you want to display it on, then add the “Show to Referring URL” rule:
The pop-up will only show to people coming to your page from the URL you type in.
Select “Containing” and type the URL of a traffic source. If I was tracking traffic from GrowthHackers, I’d select the “Containing” option and put “www.growthhackers.com” in the URL field.
Easy, right? Repeat this exact sequence for the traffic sources you want to measure.
I know I said it before, but I’ll say it again: Traffic may differ between the two campaigns, but the conversion rate is a solid, universal way to determine what is more effective.
If you use the hacks in this guide, you’ll be doing things even advanced marketers don’t know about.
These are great hacks. Tremendous hacks.
But to be honest, we haven’t given you our best ways to improve your entire site.
We review well over 100 sites each per year. We sit down and review page after page, and the advice we give helps hundreds of business owners drastically improve their sales.
Our secret? We use the same checklist every single time to evaluate websites and give pinpoint guidance.
We’ve increased some of our customer’s conversions by 200% or more with this simple website optimization checklist we use internally.
Internally is the keyword, because we’ve never released this before. It’s our secret sauce. The Rosetta Stone of optimizing websites.
Today we’re releasing that spreadsheet on this guide. It may not stay that way forever, but for now we’re letting you have this special spreadsheet.
Combine the hacks in this guide with this website optimization spreadsheet, and you’ll turn your site into a list building, revenue-generating MACHINE.