You Need These 10 Tools to Hack Your Startup’s Growth

When it comes to marketing, a lot of startups are caught in a kind of double bind.

They’re lean and agile, which is great for building a product. It keeps things simple.

But they also need to have the marketing reach of a bigger corporation, because even the best product is worthless without a user base.

So how does a small operation get its name out there without having much extra time to devote to marketing?

By using these ten amazing growth hacking tools.

1. SumoMe

Founder Noah Kagan crafted and perfected these tools while he was building up his subscriber base over at AppSumo, the daily-deals website for web developers. He made it to over 1,000,000 subscribers using them, so they’re definitely worth a try.

By combining all the tools you would have previously had to find separately, SumoMe’s suite lets you do everything from heat maps to polite email prompts to analytics and optimization from one centralized app.

2. Tropical.io

If you use software for marketing, sales and customer service, you’ve probably run into the frustrating situation of having too much information spread out across different platforms. Between email marketing, landing page managers, form managers, helpdesks, invoices, in-app behavior trackers and more, it’s not hard to get into data overload.

Tropical.io solves this problem by trawling all the apps you use, grabbing the important customer data, and collecting it in one interface to create a single, unified customer profile.

3. Coastics

Google Analytics is an industry standard for a reason, but it’s also got a ridiculously complicated interface that can stymie even the most experienced marketer’s attempts to understand it.

Coastics does the work of understanding Google Analytics for you, automatically generating reports and emailing them to you every morning with the metrics that you want to know about.

4. AdEspresso

Fetopolis CEO Raaj Kapur Brar spent over $600,000 on Facebook ads that he later publicly declaimed as “worthless.” Don’t be like Raaj: Facebook is a complicated advertising platform, despite its popularity, and it is very possible to waste your money if you don’t use it right.

AdEspresso is the project of what was formerly a high-end Italian web development firm: frustrated by their own experiences with Facebook advertising, they decided to create an app to simplify the process for others. By automating optimization tasks, analyzing progress towards user-indicated goals, and assisting with things like design, it will make sure that you don’t wind up throwing your money away.

5. PromoteHour

When it comes to reaching out to the press, one of the most effective tactics you can undertake is pitching yourself to the various startup communities out there.

PromoteHour automates this process by submitting your profile to fifty different startup communities, then sending you a report with information about how it performed. They also offer paid reviews, as well as Twitter marketing, on their upgraded plan.

6. Socedo

Social media is gaining in popularity as a marketing tool, but there are still some challenges facing the space: difficulty proving its profitability and a lack of time to actually do it being paramount.

Socedo lets you define your target customers by bio and common topics of conversation, then it will trawl social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to identify good potential sales leads. Once it’s made the connection, you can send personalized messages introducing yourself through your CRM of choice.

GoAnimate used Socedo’s pre-filtered leads as they boosted their email open rate 2x and improved their click-through rates by 500%.

7. Peek

Actual user testing is the best way to get feedback on how your app or website runs. Unfortunately, we don’t all live in incubators or other communities where intelligent, studied commentary is available on demand all the time, nor do we all have money to offer participants in a lab while they try out our product.

Peek, however, makes this experience possible from anywhere. Submit your product and they will give you a free, 5-minute user testing video within an hour. If you like the results, upgrade to UserTesting for testing with your target demographic, customizable tasks for users to follow and longer test length.

8. Pay with a Tweet

Viral growth is what every marketer dreams of, and referral marketing is one of the most popular ways startups try to achieve it. It’s what started propelling Dropbox to 200 million users back in 2009, and the potential upsides have only been magnified by the growth of social media.

Pay with a Tweet provides you with an automated, scalable way to run a referral campaign. By placing valuable content behind a “Tweet wall,” you force users who want it to share a link with their friends. If you pick good enough content, you could produce a viral chain of referrals.

9. Mention

When customers believe they are getting more out of a business, they give more to it.” Engagement is key to your company’s survival and thriving in 2015. One of the huge, oft-neglected areas of customer engagement is in the news aggregators that you might be reading in your spare time: Hacker News, Reddit, etc.

Mention monitors billions of sources in 40 different languages and puts you, in real-time, into conversations about you or your company or your product. It’s not just about responding to an individual who happens to be talking about you; it’s about showing the entire community around that individual that you are engaged with and care about your users.

10. Close.io

The team behind Close.io started off as Elastic Sales providing an on demand sales team for other startups. As their team of approximately six grew to handle over 200 corporate accounts, they found it necessary to constantly update the internal software they’d developed to handle the volume.

At some point, they realized that their internal toolkit was actually a lot more popular and interesting than the services they’d offered, and so the entire Elastic team switched to working on it full-time.

This is just a starting point, of course — there are plenty of other tools out there that can make a huge difference in how well you grow your business. Have a favorite? Let me know about it in the comments below!