Growth hacking continues to rise in popularity. It’s like every entrepreneur out there is either doing it or paying someone to do it.

It is a fairly simple concept: it’s the idea that every strategy, idea, project, or tactic you develop and implement at your business should be centered around one thing – driving growth. Which makes sense; growth ultimately equates to one thing: boosting profits.

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Although growth hacking used to be something reserved for product teams and savvy marketers, it’s rapidly being adopted and used by other types of businesses, such as small brick-and-mortar shops, big corporations, and, you guessed it, e-commerce businesses.

As a new e-commerce store, growth hacking is your one-way ticket to profitability. Because let’s face it, there are a hundred e-commerce stores springing up every day. And if you’re going to break through the noise and build a customer base for yourself, growth hacking is for you.

The whole point of growth hacking is to develop and run lean tests, campaigns, and programs that can help you better identify viable strategies, channels, and focus areas that you can use to scale your business.

Here are 10 growth hacking tips for new e-commerce stores:

1. Guest Post on Relevant Sites

Blogging on your own website is a great way to build and nurture relationships with potential customers, but in order to drive more traffic and connect with more people who would be interested in buying your products, you need to reach new audiences and attract new customers. One of the best ways to do it is by offering to guest post on another blog that you know has a similar audience as your own.

Make a list of potential blogs that you would be interested in guest posting on. The blogs you choose should relate to or align with your product and business in some way.

Reach out to the managers of a few of the blogs and see if you can secure a guest post. Don’t make your blog post promotional. Just offer value, and the rest will work itself out.

Make sure to link back to your blogs and website in your guest post, and set up tracking so you can identify whether the people who came to your site from the guest post ended up converting.

2. A/B Test Your Product Page

Running A/B tests is probably one of the more common growth hacks that companies use to drive more conversions on their website. In e-commerce, you can test all sorts of things in order to drive sales.

For this tactic, you’ll want to focus on your product pages specifically. What you’re trying to do is make small changes to the look and feel of your page in order to influence more sales.

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To run A/B tests on your product pages, you can use tools like Optimizely or VWO. To drive more sales, try testing one of the following ideas:

  • Bigger product photos vs. smaller product photos
  • Include a trust badge vs. don’t include a trust badge
  • Add limited supply information vs. don’t include limited supply information

3. Order Confirmation Share Request

In e-commerce, your job isn’t done once you make the initial sale. In fact, it’s only just beginning. Once you get someone to convert and make a purchase on your website, it’s up to you whether you want to use them as a viable tool to connect with more prospective customers or let them fade into memory.

One of the easiest ways to get your customers to spread the word about your business is by including a message on their order confirmation page or email that encourages them to share the news about their purchase on Facebook or Twitter.

One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to do this is by using a tool like Click to Tweet to build a pre-written message that new customers can share with their followers. An example of a message might look something like this:

I just bought my brand new kicks from @Superstores! Can’t wait to have it delivered. Get yours! [link to shop]

If you want to go the extra mile, build a custom landing page specifically for this campaign—include a special offer on the landing page and link to it in the pre-written Twitter update you ask your new customer to share.

4. Ask for real world Social Engagement

Another great way to spark social engagement and spread the word about your business is to include an actual printed card in the order package that you fulfill and send to your customers.

If your customers are excited at the moment when they order from your shop, they’re even more excited when the package they’ve been waiting for arrives at their doorstep! It’s the perfect moment to encourage them to snap a photo and tag your business on Facebook or Twitter.

Design a creative flyer to include in your shipment packages. If you want to go above and beyond with this one, tell your customers that they will be rewarded with a coupon or free gift for sharing their social media update.

Remember: the goal here is to help your customers become your salespeople. If customers do share social media updates mentioning your company, make sure to respond to them authentically—your future customers are watching!

5. Use Personalized Homepages

This requires a bit more work on the development/integration side of things, but the rewards can be massive. Here’s the idea: you customize the look and feel of your homepage for returning visitors. The goal here is to present potential customers with a personalized landing page that caters to them as an individual.

For example, if you know they looked at a particular product but did not buy that product, you could customize their experience the next time they land on your website to specifically promote or remind them about the product they were the last reviewing in your shop.

The best way to get started with this tactic is to decide what you want to personalize on your e-commerce website. Once you’ve educated yourself a bit more on website personalization, decide what you want to focus on for your own site. Then use a tool like Evergage or Bunting to build out your personalization campaigns.

6. Try Referral Programs

I don’t know any e-commerce store that doesn’t have a referral program. That’s because it works. One of the best and easiest ways to drive customer growth and sales at your e-commerce business is by launching a referral program that rewards customers for sending new business your way.

In addition to being a great tactic for connecting with new prospective customers, it’s also a great way to get your current customers to buy again using the rewards they receive from referring people to you.

7. Create  Product Bundles

This tactic focuses on encouraging customers to purchase related products or bundle multiple items from your store that pair well together. In the e-commerce world, these are also known as Add-Ons, Cross-Sells, and Up-Sells.

8. Use Urgency

Another great way to drive prospective customers to finish through to the end of the buying cycle is by adding urgency statements to your product pages. Urgency statements could relate to the amount of inventory remaining for a particular product, the time left on a specific deal that you’re running, or temporary free shipping.

To launch a lean version of this tactic, you can use Optimizely to change the wording that displays on your product pages, in your emails, or within social media updates on Facebook and Twitter. Examples of urgency keywords you can use include: Hurry, Act now, Time is running out, Limited supply, Deadline, Today only, Ends soon, etc.

9. Content Upgrade Offers

If you blog regularly on your e-commerce site, you can drive more sales and nurture more relationships by adding content upgrade offers within your blog posts. Content upgrade offers are additional value resources (like an ebook) that you can offer readers in exchange for their email address.

The goal here is to capture email addresses of prospective customers so that you can add them to your email campaigns, nurture them, and eventually convert them into customers. The content upgrade offers only work if you are actually willing to take the time to position yourself as a valuable resource to your customers (as opposed to positioning yourself as simply a business that sells products).

The easiest way to get started is to find your most popular blog post, and repurpose it into a short ebook, checklist, or worksheet. You can build your resource using your internal designer, a freelancer, or a full-service shop. In addition to building your content upgrade offer, you’ll also need to build the email drip campaign that will leave behind your offer. The first email in the drip series should contain a link to the resource the person intended to download. The following emails in the series (plan on sending 2-3 more spread out over a few weeks), can include additional value content and occasional hard-sell statements and promotions relating to your products.

10. Seasonal Campaigns

Seasonality is a big opportunity for e-commerce businesses. Holidays like Christmas and Black Friday can be gold mines, so it’s important to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities these seasons bring to your business.

To launch a seasonal campaign that drives more customers and sales, you’ll want to kick things off by thinking about the types of deals and offers you can present to your audience. Next, you’ll want to prepare your marketing materials—Facebook ads, new graphics for your homepage and product pages, email copy and graphics, social media updates, and anything else you think you’ll need.

Finally, you’ll want to put together a clear timeline for launching and managing your seasonal campaign. Give yourself at least 5 weeks of prep time leading up to the holiday or season you’d like to leverage in order to fuel growth and sales at your business.

Growth is the only essential thing you need to be a startup. Startups are created to grow fast. Everything else that happens within a startup is a derivative of growth.

Everything – ideation, product validation, product management, team building, fundraising – follows from growth. Without growth, early stage startup is just a small business losing money.

That is why founders are encouraged to focus on one metric – the one that matters. This is because, as a startup, your limited resources are a deterrent to wasting your time trying different things.

Depending on your type of business, growth will mean different things to different startups. And your one metric that matter changes over time. Getting rid of distractions enables you to focus your already limited resources – people, time, and money – on the one thing that moves the needle.

What is the one thing that signifies that your business is growing at a particular point in time?

In the beginning, growth for a lot of startups has more to do with user acquisition and engagement than revenue. The advantage of defining your growth metric is it tells you the most important thing about your startup and how should drive it.

You need to consider the followings when choosing your growth parameter.

1. Your business model

The way you monetize your product is an indication of the value that will be created by your business. It’s not always about the money, but revenue metrics provides a standard benchmark for growth metrics.

2. How you acquire your customers

The rate at which your products gets into the hands of users is a substantial measure of how scalable and successful your product can be. Inherent in the DNA of startups is the ability to build products that have the potential of being ubiquitous and viral within a short time frame.

That is why most startups are tech-enabled companies because technology enables innovation not just in the way products are made, but how they are distributed. You can measure your growth based on metrics such as unique web visits, page views, app downloads, partner signups, user signups, conversion rate, churn rate, etc.

3. The stage of your business

The stage of your company will determine what to focus on. Early stage business should be obsessed about metrics that validates their product-market fit more than mid or late stage companies.

In the beginning, your growth metric is based on time-based milestones you need to reach such as partnerships, signup at a particular time, user signup rate, number of feature releases, etc. It is important that you wrap this with specific numbers as much as possible to measure progress.

4. How you measure growth

Answering this question will help you make right decisions. Let’s assume you decide to measure your growth by the number of subscribers to your email list. First, you’ll have to optimise your product, website, app, content and every potential user interactions to grow this list.

You then measure the results of all your actions on a regular basis against this metric. You hold yourself and your team accountable with data and see whether you are making progress or not. You deep dive into all your acquisition channels to identify where you are getting the most number of subscribers. You look at the numbers every day and experiment with various tactics and tools to see how you can grow the subscription rate.

As you focus on a particular growth metric and optimise your products accordingly, magic happens. You identify particular big hairy destinations to drive your startup towards and you can measure the how and the rate at which you are getting there. And as you grow, your goal may change, and you redefine your growth metric.

You build, you measure, you learn.  And you continue the cycle until you reach your true north.