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  • SethBerman (@sbermo)

    It’s clear that NFC readers can’t tell the difference between a credit card and Apple Pay. Really interesting that Apple seems to have used a scrappy growth hack to drive adoption of Apple Pay.

  • Ramin Assemi (@ramin)

    “that initial success for your customer is actually the point where becoming a paying customer is the next most logical step. So you’ll get that “they convert to a paying customer” outcome you want, by focusing on the outcome they want.” +++

  • Roland Ligtenberg (@rolandal)

    Hey @ross – thanks for your feedback!

    We definitely realize that some of these tactics don’t scale (all though the seasonal offerings are quite easy to scale and very effective).

    The learning we got from direct customer feedback has helped us shape the product into what it is today, and it’s easy for startups to forget how important it is to have a personal relationship with your first 1,000 customers.

    It’s humbling walking around in yellow tights all around town delivering hundreds of trees ;-)

  • Omri Yacubovich (@omrich)

    Here’s an example for reciprocity at its best – I’ve just signed up yesterday for a free trial at @sniply with a basic account, today I received an email saying that they upgraded me to the Pro plan including unlimited access to many of their premium features.

  • Hannah Wright (@thehannahwright)

    Good stuff, as always!

  • RossSimmonds (@ross)

    This is great! A lot of these tactics are going to be challenging at scale but in the early days of growth – Meeting with your customers and doing the grunt work can be a huge differentiator. No startup entrepreneur or founder should feel as if they’re too important to do the work that isn’t pretty. It’s this early stage hustle that often differentiates the companies who survive and vanish.

  • Scott Miller (@sbmiller5)

    “What data do you need to increase your understanding of our customers and what can I do to help you get that data?”

    A recent study by Oracle showed 88% of marketing departments feel they don’t have the data they need. As a CEO my first job is to make sure my team has what they need. Oracle study discussed here:

  • RossSimmonds (@ross)

    This is awesome. The Traction Book is a great resource for any entrepreneur or marketer working in today’s world of noise.

    Their strategy surrounding podcasts is very interesting. I know when Zero to One was launched, I started to hear and see Peter Thiel on every and any podcast or blog post remotely related to technology. This is definitely a tactic that most mainstream marketers often overlook but one that can be used effectively when you have the right story-audience fit. Great recap – Bookmarking this for later!

  • Jonathan Placa (@jplaca)

    All of the tips given here boil down to one thing: Trust.

    Users will make a high-value investment provided that they trust your business. The article describes the value of testimonials, trust-worthy words (“no obligation”, “risk free”), and provides transparency into Customer Support channels.

    Great read.

  • Steven Fitzsimmons (@fitzrocks)

    Depending on the company’s situation, the best value for your time is going to be with ASO at first. Why? Well, because it’s free and can help drive lots of downloads. This is big when CPI is getting higher and higher. App Store Optimization is still pretty new and can be confusing for some. There’s also some misleading and incorrect information out there regarding ASO (even from some high profile, “Internet famous” startup marketers that basically don’t know what the hell they’re talking about when it comes to ASO…names shall not be named here). To add to the confusion, Apple gives almost no information about the App Store & the search/ranking algorithm they use….most of what we know has been figured out as we go along. I’ll give you the quick and dirty overview of what you need to know and actionable stuff on what you can do right now.
    ASO can be broken down into two categories:
    1. Discovery/app presence
    2. Conversion

    Discovery/app presence:

    This is mostly about how well your app ranks and it’s discoverability on the app store (whether you search for something like “fitness tracker”, or you’re just browsing thru the list of top Health & Fitness apps). This part you’re mainly concentrating on your keywords, your app title, and your app publisher name.

    Keywords: you only have 100 characters so use it ALL up and don’t waste it (GOOD: “fitness,health,tracker,run,walk” BAD: “fitness, health, tracker, run, walk”). You want to pick keywords that ideally you’ll be able to rank in the top 10(ish) for – don’t expect users to go past 10 or 20 on the list for a term they searched. There are some tools out there for keyword research (Sensor Tower, Appannie, Searchman, MobiledevHQ, etc.) that all estimate metrics behind keywords. You want to choose keywords by the following order: 1. relevancy (high…duh – you don’t want to rank for a keyword that has nothing to do with your app), 2. traffic (high), and 3. competition (low). Also this is not set-and-forget…you should constantly be tracking your keywords and how your app is ranking for each individual ones. Also you should be tracking your competitors in the same manner.

    Title: Take a look at apps on the app store. You’ll see that many of them actually have keywords in the title. This is because Apple’s search algorithm on the app store places more weight on keywords in your title than in the metadata keyword field. Don’t make it too spammy and stuff the thing with keywords so it’s overflowing, or your app will be rejected. Aim for 2-3 keywords, and have the title make sense. Omvana saw a 10X increase in downloads when they changed their title from “Omvana” to “Omvana – Meditate, Relax, Sleep, Nap Better with Thousands of Binaural Sounds”. Guess what? Nobody was discovering an app called Omvana, because nobody was searching for that. Other title tips: The first 32 characters of your title will show on the app store. Don’t reuse keywords in both your title and the metadata keyword field – for example, Omvana would not use the words meditate, relax, sleep blah blah blah in their keyword field…use 100 characters of something else. Again, don’t waste it.

    Publisher name: Apple’s algorithm also takes this into account, but this is likely unchangeable for you at this point.

    Reviews: Don’t screw this up. The app store’s algorithm seems to reward apps that have high reviews and punish those apps that have low reviews (Facebook Messenger is obviously the exception to this rule currently). This ALSO can affect conversion (it’s simple: people are more inclined to download a 5-star app than a 2-star app). In short, create a good product and don’t push a shitty update. Ask for reviews in your app. Get in touch with people that left bad reviews and try to fix things (search for them on social media, works ~50% of the time).


    Now this is where you can really do some experimenting because what works for app A might not work for app B. Conversion includes things like: app icon, screenshots (now video), and description. None of these change your discoverability during search or you rankings, but they are things that people use when deciding to install your app after discovering.

    Icon: If you have a shitty icon, people are going to think you have a shitty app. Subconsciously we all do this. Look professional, not like a 12 built the app (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

    Screenshots: Experiment. Experiment. Experiment. Small changes can have huge impact. You should have some type of marketing copy for your screenshots. Adding in social proof like a review quote, or “As seen in New York Times, Forbes, etc (Lyft actually currently does this with their app), changing the colors, changing the copy, etc. are all good experiments to run. Don’t think of these strictly as screenshots, think of them as a marketing graphic to draw people into your app. Another tip: for the new app store on iOS8, portrait screenshots are better than horizontal screenshots. You can 2 viewable portrait screenshots, whereas just one with a landscape screenshot.

    Description: the app store algorithm doesn’t take this copy into account during search & rankings, but it is important to grab attention. The first 2-3 lines are the most important, because that’s what is displayed.

    Watch for changes in the app store algorithm too. Apple has recently been moving more and more to trying to show quality apps first. Things like engagement are now starting to come into play with an app’s rankings. Keep this in the very back of your mind for your other UA campaigns – you don’t want people to install your app, use it for 30 seconds, and then never use it again. I suppose if you just paid for that install, you wouldn’t want that anyways HA.

    Also be strategic about things if you do any paid acquisition with FB ads or anything like that, frame things in bursts. This is typical, and done so your app shoots up the rankings (hopefully) and gets organically discovered by other people (hopefully), compounding the results of your paid UA.

    There are obviously other things you can do, especially with paid UA, press, etc., but ASO is definitely the right place to start.

    If you have any other questions, shoot me a note on twitter @fitzrocks