Growth hacking case studies: Beat high churn rate and maintain consistent growth

In our last blog post on growth hacking, we showed that relentless experimentation and data-based decisions are key components to growing your business. Here, we feature four case studies of formerly small businesses that used growth hacking to overcome common revenue and growth challenges.

1. Groove

The Challenge: High churn rate

The Results: Reduced churn rate by 71%

Groove offers simple help desk software for businesses at $15 per user. Growth was decent, but the company’s churn rate (the percentage of people leaving a subscription-based business) of 4.5% made its business model unsustainable.

The company realized that there was no other company sharing real numbers and stumbling blocks to growing a successful SaaS company. It decided to be the first. The company reworked its content marketing strategy, molding it to ensure that whatever content it put out could actually help its customers.

Source: Groove

They asked their core customers what information they needed, and used that information to blog answers to questions. Also, they selectively emailed influencers and asked to share certain pieces of content with them. Once Groove decided to put itself out there and share its experiences as a case study, its user base exploded.

The decision to be totally transparent led to reviews, interviews, and guest blogging opportunities. This contributed to email subscriber and user base growth. As a result, the business exploded. Its 2016 revenue was reported as $5.2 million per month. In 2018, it is on its way to a goal of $10 million per month.

2. Popcorn Metrics

The Challenge: High churn rate

The Results: Grew its business by 367%

To address its high churn rate, software company Popcorn Metrics implemented personalized onboarding measures, including:

  • 1-on-1 assistance
  • Tweaking code
  • Spending hours on Skype
  • Videos
  • Tutorials

Patrick McKenzie says:

“40-60% of users who sign up for a free trial of your software or SaaS application will use it once and never come back.”

By doing everything to help new customers understand and use its product, Popcorn Metrics grew its business a whopping 367% in just 12 weeks.

3. PicMonkey

The Challenge: Maintaining consistent growth

The Results: Growth up 40% year over year

PicMonkey is an online picture editing service. Founded in 2012, it provides full design and photo editing workflow, including saving, sharing to social accounts like Facebook and Twitter, and access to Hub. By offering a portion of the service for free, its users quickly understood the value they could get by buying the product.

Today, PicMonkey reportedly has hundreds of thousands of paying customers.

4. Buzzfeed

The Challenge: Understanding social media and evolving with the market

The Results: Revenue of $167 million, with 1,700 employees

Source: Buzzfeed

In 2006, Buzzfeed started out as a side project by one of its co-founders, who worked at Huffington Post. To spur growth, it tweaked its strategy and started to publish interesting content, including social and entertainment news.

One of the first pieces of content that went viral was a girl standing outside a burning house. The look on the girl’s face caught the interest of social media users, who then spent days sharing the story.

Buzzfeed has continually tweaked its content, evolving as the Internet has evolved. The team understands what makes people share content and what influences sharing. By 2015, the company had about 1,700 employees and a reported revenue of $167 million.

Growth levers

Competition is everywhere and customers have a host of choices.  Serial entrepreneur and growth hacker Neil Patel sums it up this way:

“Great products and services certainly help sell themselves, but you need to set that growth plan in motion. Recruit customer evangelists. Partner with like-minded companies. Create content with wild abandon. Set yourself apart with world-class customer support. With so many simple ways to launch growth, there has never been a more exciting time to see what your brand can really do.”

22-year veteran of strategy: brand, business, organizational, communications. Certified in project management and regulatory compliance. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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