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I'm sure I speak for most of the people reading this when I say I would feel very disappointed if I could no longer use GH.com ;)

It's become a great community and I'd love to hear the story (from a growth perspective) of how it got to where it is, and any insights you discovered along the way.

Lastly, if you could start it again, what would you do differently?

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    about 3 years ago #

    Thanks for the question Ryan. The short answer is that we launched it because I wished something like it existed. I wanted a place to connect with other people that shared my passion. I also wanted a place where I could go for ideas of growth levers to test.

    @dylan did a great job building the original site. Then @everette @morgan and I worked really hard to keep the conversation going. We submitted most of the early content and spent weekends and holidays keeping the conversation going. It helped that I had a decent Twitter following to draw other people into the early conversations. It also helped that we attracted a few super engaged people in the early days like @nichole @anujadhiya and @benhoffman.

    @everette has also spent a lot of time building up the Twitter following for the GH account. We ran an early survey that suggested most visitors were very active discussing marketing on Twitter, so this seemed like a good channel for us to work.

    Finally, we also created some original content with our growth case studies that serve the broader goal of providing inspiration/ideas for building massively scalable growth engine.

    Fact is, we're only getting started with it. We just raised some more venture capital to staff up the engineering team and build out more features to improve collaboration and idea sharing within the community. First 8 months have been exciting, but the next chapter excites me even more.

    Not sure i'd do anything differently at this point.

    • AA

      Anuj Adhiya

      about 3 years ago #

      Thanks for the shout out @sean :)
      There was a similar question a while back that I think adds a little more flavor to the story as well: http://growthhackers.com/questions/ask-gh-how-do-you-start-and-grow-a-niche-community-like-gh/

    • WL

      Will Lam

      about 3 years ago #

      That's a really fascinating answer, Sean! So correct me if I'm wrong, you raised VC specifically for GH.com? GH reminds me of what Hubspot is doing via their Labs team with initiatives such as Inbound and other products they're rolling out.

      For some reason, I thought it was an extension of the Qualaroo brand and not it's own entity.

      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        about 3 years ago #

        Yes @will_lam GrowthHackers is owned by Qualaroo, but we've invested relatively little into the community beyond the time of the team mentioned above. We raised some more venture capital via Qualaroo primarily to invest more into the GrowthHackers community.

        • AJ

          Aaron Johnson

          about 3 years ago #

          Lurker here, saw this and decided to sign up to ask - what new things do you have planned?

          • SE

            Sean Ellis

            about 3 years ago #

            Would love @dylan to chime in on this one... I'm really excited about functionality that would allow members to help each other improve marketing performance. Everything from landing page and onboarding test ideas to feedback on marketing plans. That obviously would require some level of private sharing. Ultimately I think we all benefit from a second set of trusted eyes to inspire better approaches. And of course helping others is a great way to learn what works.

          • DL

            Dylan La Com

            about 3 years ago #

            @imaaronjohnson at this point the roadmap is pretty open. We have a good overall view of how and why people use the site and we've got some interesting data to work with. And from what we've gathered from this data, and other feedback, we've got some high-level ideas for where we see the product in the next 6 months or year. @sean mentioned one of these ideas.

            At the end of the day, we exist to help push the entire growth community forward. In the next 6 months, you'll see a bunch of smaller improvements in the product (improved profiles, easier registration for example), and some bigger ideas being tested (ie Hack of the Month).

            Of course we're always re-evaluating these things as the community evolves. Any ideas you have, please share! You can submit them here: Feature Suggestions. And we're adding a couple wolves to our wolf pack (hiring engineers) right now so you should see the pace of product development speed up! :)

          • JS

            Jordan Skole

            about 3 years ago #

            I'm curious as well. I know that I have it on my personal roadmap to build out a version of the site in angular instead of wp. @sean I'd love to know if there is anyway Ambassador can lend a formal hand.

    • GG

      garysvpa garysvpa

      about 3 years ago #

      Thanks for sharing @sean

  • ET

    Everette Taylor

    about 3 years ago #

    Our biggest growth driver is the community itself, this is a completely biased statement but I say this all the time - "we have the best community on the internet."

    Quality submitted content and great discussions (experts + curious hungry minds). One thing that can't be understated is user experience on the site (shoutout to @dylan ) , when people hit the site - the UI is clean and simple, there's various ways to consume content (articles, videos, slides), and a major effort on our part to make everyone who submits content for the first time feel welcomed. Also creating a great value proposition curating the best content of the week in our weekly email has really driven growth and helped with retention.

    Twitter is not just a way to reach new users in our target audience, but a great way to distribute content (original content & submitted content) as well as interact with our current audience and future audience. Also a great tool for retention.

    A few other things to point out, being able to use Qualaroo especially in the early days to figure out how and why our users were using the site helped us provide a better experience for our users and also improve retention. For example, directing new users to our "Must Read" section.

    This may be pretty obvious but having @sean as the face of the site was invaluable. His credibility and success in the industry is what initially brought users to the site. And having someone like @morgan who's one of the best in the business, giving great insight in discussions, writing amazing growth studies, and offering creative ideas has been invaluable as well.

    Lastly, we're always testing new things! We succeed, we fail, but no matter what we're always tapping into our creative juices to find new ways to make the community better and grow. I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot but that's my answer. And no, there's nothing I would do differently. Its been one hell of a ride.

  • ND

    Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré

    about 3 years ago #

    I recall that the first time I posted here, @sean pointed out that what I was sharing wasn't really on topic, so I was super intimidated to post anything and didn't again for several weeks. haha

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      about 3 years ago #

      Sorry about that @nichole . Setting the tone for the "right type of content" early on was essential for keep the scope around ways to drive customer growth. Since then, you've turned into one of the MVPs of content submissions :)

  • RG

    Ryan Gum

    about 3 years ago #

    Looping you guys in @sean @morgan @nichole @dylan @everette

  • DL

    Dylan La Com

    about 3 years ago #

    @sean and @everette summed it up nicely. I will add that the community likely already existed in some form, we just gave them a place to hang out and nerd out :) A lot of the work we've done since then has been focused on either 1) expanding the community and bringing in new perspectives and voices or 2) providing more value to existing members through projects such as job listings and Hack of the Month.

    Some of the most fascinating insights for me have come from our efforts to optimize the organization and accessibility of the content, for example, changes to the Trending page algorithm, and choosing the links in the sidebar. It's made a big impact.

    One challenge for me working on the product has been balancing time spent working on administrative tools with work on features/products related to growth. Both are important, and it's a balancing act, but you gotta pay attention to both. There will aways be a certain amount of manual content management that is needed to keep the quality high. Building the tools to automate as much of this as possible frees up time to work on new features. That's probably pretty intuitive, but for me it's been a great learning experience :)

    Let me know if you have any questions @ryangum!

  • JR

    Justynn Royal

    about 3 years ago #

    Awesome community of success driven marketers and coders/testers. Very thankful for this community and for Sean and his interpretations of what Growth Hacking was. In 2009/2010 I was an EVP who mainly focuses on marketing and I was calling what I was doing "Digital Guerilla Marketing" lol

  • VP

    Vladimir Prudnikov

    about 3 years ago #

    I love the design and usability of this website. Is it really Wordpress under the hood?

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