7 must-know growth hacking tips from Justin Wu of Vytmn

by Garrett Reim
March 9, 2015
Justin Wu is a growth engineer and founder of Vytmn & Sidevision. Part Internet marketer, part data scientist, and part software engineer Wu combines several layers of expertise to help companies grow revenue and increase new users. Wu has an Information Architecture degree from the University of Washington and was also formerly a resident growth hacker for the accelerator Start Engine. Below are Wu’s growth hacking tips:

1. Defining the growth hacker.  

The term ‘Growth Hacker’ is a buzzword of sorts.  When you ask someone what is ‘growth hacking’ the answers may vary.  People from all different types of backgrounds are hailing themselves as one.  So what is it really?   
Before growth hacking it really was just called Internet Marketing.  Early non-technical marketers would utilize software & tool to drive growth to businesses on the web; Software Engineers, Developers or Hackers typically created those tools for them.  The marriage and intersection of technology & marketing became Growth Hacking.  Growth Hacking is the combination of Marketing, Data, and Software Engineering.  Because it is multi-discipline, so the more you know about programming, marketing and data analysis the better rounded you will be.  

2. Growth vs growth hacks.  

Growth Hacks’ are strategy and tactics. ‘Growth’ is a process.   You’ll often hear about other Growth Hackers who “Grew their revenue from $0-100k in a month” or “How this startup grew from 250 to 5,000 users in 24 hours with this simple growth hack”.  It is because of these headlines that people think growth hacking is some magic you can apply to your startup and expect explosive growth.  
No.  It’s really more about the process and mindset.  There is no magic bullet.  Tactics are great but aren’t sustainable, their effects will always tail off. A process is sustainable and continuous – as long as you are committed to it.’  While explosions in signs ups are great, a consistent flow of growth is even better.   

3. Product market fit before growth. 

If your product has no market fit or is poorly made it doesn’t matter how many different growth hacks you deploy - the results will more than likely fail.  Users & customers are looking for products and services that provide value and have a great experience.  There have been many companies that rush to grow while their product not being ready. This will result in failed campaigns.  
It is hard to attract customers with a product that is incomplete.  Even if you acquire the audience, it will be a challenge to retain them with bugs or errors.  Apps will receive negative reviews, your initial customer base will have a have a bad taste in their mouths and you will put an obstacle that will hinder your future growth.   I often tell companies whose product isn’t complete yet to hold on growth strategies until they are ready for it.   

4. Look to your competitors & related businesses.  

Chances are that your competitors or other businesses in your space have spent the money and time to figure out their growth plan.  Find out what channels they are using with great effect and also take a look at what they are missing.  This will give you a great template to start your growth plan.  A great tool to help keep with this is RivalIQ

5.  Pay attention to any and every single type of channel, platform or device as an avenue for growth.  

Always keep an open mind and take a look at any and every channel as an avenue for growth.  Most people will discount a platform because they don’t ‘understand’ it or they don’t like it.  Just because you think Snapchat is for kids or sexting doesn’t make it a useless platform for growth.  If there are users then there is a potential captive audience.  Every platform has its own strengths.  The question is whether or not those users are your ideal audience to target.

6. Constant experimentation    

Growth Hacking is all about constant experimentations.  Many of those tests will fail.  Just because an experiment failed, doesn’t mean the platform is bad for growth, it could mean that your experiment or test sucked.  Always ask yourself whether or not the tests you conduct was sufficient enough to provide you the data you need to make judgment.  The more tests you run the more data you will get on what campaign works and what doesn’t.  All you need is one test to work really well then you can dial it in to scale growth.     

7.  Collaborate with other growth hackers.  

The growth hacking community is exploding and there are many new ideas, technologies and channels to explore.  The best way to become a better growth hacker is to always constantly learn.  Check out sites such as growthhackers.com.  
Get more growth hacking tips from Justin Wu at General Assembly on March 9th, from 7:00pm-9:00pm: Growth Hacking, A Chat with Justin Wu: LA Builder Series

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