Growth hacking can be incredibly satisfying when done correctly, generating leads and gaining massive amounts of exposure for your business. However, unless you’re effectively monitoring both your experiments and the process you’re using to carry them out, everything you do could be wasted. A key element could be forgotten when carrying out the experiment, and the results you gather are literally pointless if you have nothing to compare them to – there’s no way to judge how successful you were. That’s why I searched around, took some inspiration from others, and invented the method our team has been using to track our growth hacks for more than a year.
1. Take Inspiration From PILLARS
A few years ago I came across this article on Medium, detailing the “PILLARS” system for tracking growth hacks. It’s an acronym that stands for:
- Place (eg, Facebook)
- Labor (the work you put in)
- Link (the audience’s CTA)
- Spend (the resources used)
Each letter is assigned to a column in a spreadsheet, and each row down the sheet then serves as a separate experiment. However, I’m not telling you to go out, use PILLARS as your system for tracking growth hacks, and that’s your lot. I want you to take inspiration from it. PILLARS is great for tracking a couple of growth hacking experiments at a time, but it gets far too messy and convoluted to track every experiment you do over a long period of time. Instead you need to think of PILLARS as the right mindset to use when going out and tracking your growth hacks. These are the core elements you need to be paying attention to, and by which you’ll be able to judge the success of the experiment. Not only that, but keeping those seven magic letters in mind will ensure that you don’t forget to consider a key aspect: who your target audience actually is.
2. Document Everything
PILLARS gives you a great start, but it’ll do no good if you don’t actually document your process somewhere and track the results (that’s what you’re here to do, after all). So, rather than using a spreadsheet and watching it slowly mutate into an unmanageable mess, you need to decide on how you’re going to be able to document everything on a scalable platform. There’s a couple of ways you can do this. One way is to use a new Trello card for each experiment and record your PILLARS information in each card’s description. For us, it meant using our own product to create an A/B testing template that we could run over and over again. This is a great way to make sure that your processes are both trackable and scalable, but in addition to Process Street, you can use other apps. The final recommendation I have for an app to track your growth hacking processes is Airtable. Yes, I know that I said any spreadsheet would mutate horribly over time, but Airtable allows you to create smart spreadsheets with fields which you can link to each other to create dynamic records. Not only that, but you can use custom views and filters to cut down on what you see at any given time.
3. Continually Update Processes
Other than letting you repeat your growth hacking process over and over with next to no human error, documenting your processes also lets you be more productive in easily review and update them. This isn’t something you have to do every week, but if you have everything documented, then you can easily go in once a month and check for any sections that require updating. A new feature of a tool you use may have been released, a better alternative found, or any number of other events that could make your previous method obsolete. This is why it’s important to document your processes and check them regularly. If you don’t monitor the method that you’re using to carry out your growth hacks, then the experiments themselves could be made irrelevant by proxy.
4. Centralize, Centralize, Centralize
The final element to successfully monitoring your growth hacks is to centralize any and all information. This makes it incredibly easy to share information, as everyone has access to everything they need to see – a centralized company culture is an easy one to navigate. Dropbox, Google Drive, Airtable, Trello, and other tools all have ways to segment the permissions for your team, so they can see everything they need to. But it’s important to go one step further. Make sure that your entire team is using some kind of cloud storage service for their work. This way, everything they do can easily be shared with the rest of the team, and doubles up by preventing any accidental device wipes. It’s much harder to lose your work when it’s backed up to cloud storage.
What are your own methods for tracking growth hacks? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!