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Stuart McKeown15 Early Traction Growth Hacking Strategies For Startups

Early Traction Growth Hacks

So you’ve launched your product and now it’s time to start getting customers. Hopefully by this point you already have some, from the awesome prelaunch strategy you executed.

Speaking from experience, this particular phase is often the hardest in the life of a startup. You need to move from that launch phase to building something that has a strong market demand (or product market fit).

Getting traction is easy for some, but hard for most. Getting early adopters, customers and feedback is crucial to the ongoing development of your product.

Below is an example of what’s called the Hype Cycle, a methodology created by Gartner which provides a graphical representation of the adoption of modern technologies and web applications. What this research shows is that it actually takes a really long time to build a viable and sustainable product.

The Startup Hype Cycle

So don’t think for a second that you need to get everything right now, you simply need to start adding the various building blocks that help you achieve that end goal (more on that in a second).

In this second post of our growth hacks series we’re going to look at what you need to do to start driving early traction for your business. How can you get to a sustainable point as fast as possible?

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Stuart McKeownMaking Use Of Competitions

MakeUseOf Case Study

As a publisher it can often be difficult to come up with creative strategies to drive value for advertisers. This could be in the form of sponsored posts, reviews, banners or even posts on social networks.

However, many of these strategies are often quite generic and don’t really do an advertising partnership justice.

I actually reached out to MakeUseOf many months ago, when Gleam was just starting out (they were one of my send 10 emails everyday prospects). At that time they were exclusively using PunchTab (who has since pulled their free giveaway platform from the market).

Nothing really progressed back during that early exchange, but 9 months later Jackson emailed me saying they were looking for alternatives. A trial of Gleam ensued, and almost a year later MakeUseOf are building some of the most engaging contests we’ve seen.

I’ve been continually impressed with their execution of campaigns. Not only that, I’m also impressed with the value they drive for advertisers by combining incredible editorial content with really targeted giveaways.

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Stuart McKeownFrom 0 to 110k Instagram Followers In 5 Months: The Growth Story of Foundr

Foundr Magazine

If you’re just starting out on Instagram it can be a daunting task to catch up to brands and competitors that have built a loyal following over the last 5 years.

I recently caught up with fellow Melburnian – Nathan Chan who cofounded an online magazine for entrepreneurs called Foundr.

We chatted for a few hours on various growth strategies, until a particular topic really piqued my interest.

Nathan started posting images to Instagram for Foundr Magazine on 2nd November 2014. We’re now in April 2015 and to date the account has:

  • 777 Posts (5.18 per day)
  • 1.43M Post likes (1.8k per post)
  • 61k Post comments (78 per post)
  • Averages 20k CTA clicks per month

I was seriously impressed with the amount of growth he has driven in such a short time. Not only that, but that he’s turned Instagram into one of his largest channels for driving new Foundr Magazine subscribers.

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Stuart McKeown25 Growth Hacks Using

25 Gleam Growth Hacks

One of the most common questions I get asked by prospective customers is how they can dive into our tool to start driving growth and how are other customers using the tool?

I’ve seen many creative ways that our customers have used Gleam to run engaging campaigns, so I’ve put together a list of 25 growth techniques that you can try using our app. Most take less than 15 minutes to setup and you can easily put your own spin on many of them.


Run Competitions

Our core product that is used by over 1500 brands around the globe is Competitions. It allows you to build modular competitions using different kinds of Actions, which users can complete in return for a chance to win a prize.

The fact that everything is modular gives marketers a chance to not conform to a specific way of engaging users. Even if you limit yourself to say 5 actions in a campaign, there’s still over 1.5 Million possible combinations you can setup. With that in mind, marketers often use our product to compliment the desired outcome for a specific campaign.

1. The Distribution Hack

This first growth hack is probably one of my favourites. It works extremely well for new businesses that have no foothold in the marketplace already, and works even better for established businesses (that have solid connections and partnerships).

First, you must have a product that you can giveaway. This works best if you can:

  • Giveaway your own awesome product or service
  • Partner with other vendors to giveaway your product + their products combined

Gleam is an embeddable widget, you can run it anywhere. This means you don’t necessarily have to run your campaigns on your own site.

It’s a similar concept to guest posting on blogs. When you have no audience, quite often it can make sense to partner with popular blogs to get your awesome content out to their readers – which in turn helps grow your own personal audience.

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Stuart McKeownShe Shopped Helps Partners Grow With Gleam

Lucy Cornes, She Shopped Case Study

Up until now, many of the case studies that we’ve published here have been very focused on a brands or single businesses that run their own campaigns. We also have a lot of clients that let other businesses leverage their audience and run campaigns for them.

I like to call this Distribution Hacking, or the simple art of using your own products to attract a larger audience (other than your own).

Businesses often overlook how important it is to leverage distribution of their product via partners

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