In our last posts, we shared how we got featured on Google Chrome store and how we launched on Product Hunt. Today, I want to share how we built our most recent feature, and it’s not what you may think. Today we release our growth hack and we want to tell you all.   

Get creative with your Growth Hacks

We all know how powerful growth hacks can be. They’ve taken over mainstream marketing and, in many cases, have replaced more traditional marketing channels. Growth hacks have grown exponentially in recent years and the internet has brought the emergence of software products that, different from physical goods, can be used themselves to scale a business.

Some products have been made famous by their growth hack cases and have been inspiring many other internet-based businesses to come up with unique, creative and cheaper ideas to grow their users and scale their business. You may have heard of:

Dropbox giving free cloud storage in exchange for referrals or integrations.

Airbnb integrating their platform with the infamous Craigslist, allowing it’s users to easily reach lots of people.

Paypal offering monetary rewards to each new customer and the person who referred that new customer.

These growth hacks are similar and different at the same time. Although each goal is the same (to exponentially grow their users), their way of doing it was built around each unique business model.

Airbnb took the unique opportunity of a more well-established tool to integrate its users, that not necessarily would have been possible in other cases.

The same for Dropbox that used its unique storage scalability to allow users to boost the company growth in several ways.

PayPal found and scaled their lowest CAC by incentivizing users monetarily.

Sounds easy? We thought so too until we started building our own growth hack. We knew that the above growth hacks were successful because they introduced deep-engrained growth hacks, were well-timed and were unique at the time. Nowadays, companies have some successes with growth hacks such as referral programs and integrations but it’s a lot harder to leverage the social currency from users when they have a sense of ‘been there, done that’.

Everyone’s now trying to leverage their users with copycat models so how do you stand out from the crowd? Here’s what we did. 

How we built our Growth Hack

Today, we’re proud to launch our 100% homemade Growth Hack. It was designed over months to make sure we could build a growth hack that was deeply ingrained in our features and provided genuine value to our users.

Let me explain all 🙂 

For those who don’t know Drag, we are a productivity tool that transforms your Inbox into Trello-like lists.

Here’s our step-by-step on how Drag’s Growth Hack works. 

1. Growth Hack inside users workspace.
Users are given a colored-card inside their inbox. It replicates the look and feel of a typical Drag style email. It’s intuitive and feels like a task that needs action.

2. Users are given a unique task
The card asks you to do something for Drag. In exchange, you get Drag Pro, for free, for an amount of time. The amount of time depends on the task you’re doing.

3. Users complete tasks
Users complete tasks to get unlimited access to features. Sometimes, we need to approve and so we’ve built an entire approval dashboard to manage Growth Hack approvals.

4. New Growth Hacks appear when old ones finish
When users Drag Pro (for free) expires, new cards appear and the cycle starts all over again. In each cycle, a card with different task and color is displayed.

Ok, but what type of tasks are we talking about?
Each proposed task indirectly brings us massive growth for Drag (brand) and active users, from liking our Facebook page to posting an article about Drag. We’ve tried to be smart to ensure we’re presenting the most lucrative Growth Hack actions. Let’s take a detailed look.

What makes Drag’s Growth Hack successful?

Stage 1: Design phase
When we started brainstorming ideas for growth hacks, we have, top of mind, some things that we consider crucial for our Growth Hack to succeed. Our final cards were the result of ensuring we deliver these:

Many growth hacks (our old ones included) are too hidden and unnoticed by users. We needed our cards to be ‘in your face’. A bold statement that we can give Drag Pro in exchange for helping us. We didn’t want to intrude on the experience of Drag but need it to stand out so we used a different style of coloring. In summary, you won’t miss it 😉

At the same time, we needed to be careful not to intrude too much on users’ workflow. So, a card with a 1-click intuitive “close” was acceptable for users, if they didn’t want to get involved in our Growth Hack tasks.

We wanted an exciting Growth Hack, that would psychologically satisfy users. The idea of having dynamic cards, randomly appearing on your board, with tasks and rewards is fun. Nobody knows when a task will appear.

Sense of urgency
Urgency brought by the countdown in each card is also key to increase engagement. Our tasks are like Pokemon: when they appear, you need to catch them as fast as you can 🙂

Strategic timing
Many growth hacks are thrown in users’ faces as soon as they download the software. Common sense indicates that people won’t be willing to invite friends or do any other task to help a tool that they barely know. Drag recently introduced a 14-day trial, and the Growth Hack started immediately after to keep the momentum of users. If performing all the tasks proposed in the growth hack, users might extend their “trial periods” from 14 days to up to 75 days. The difference is that the first 14 days are free. The other ones require a small hand from users. After the 75 days period, Growth Hack cards stop appearing and users need to decide between purchasing Drag Pro or being downgraded.

Stage 2: Planning phase
Let’s have a look at our original spec. doc. Not the most organized, but did the job 🙂

Tasks selection and scheduling
We designed a detailed schedule for all the cards in the Growth Hack: which card would appear each time, when, bringing which task, for how many days of Drag Pro free, etc. We planned everything carefully.

Communication and approval processes
The next step was to create the approval process. We always start things semi-manually to avoid over-developing on a process only to find out it needs to be done differently. It’s hard to balance a perfect build with a lightweight, minimum viable product.

Our Approval tool is simple and does the job (at it’s early stage).

Create a trackable link for each of the tasks. This helps us to understand which task is engaged with most, and which delivers the highest return for us. It’s then about adjusting our Growth Hack schedule so it’s optimized.

What were the results?

Well, this morning we woke up with this.

(It goes on!)

We’re excited to see the impact of our first Growth Hack with users. Here’s a few things we’re working on also:

  • The most adopted task(s)
  • Length of engagement of users (when users give up on growth hack)
  • Growth on installs resulted by Growth Hack
  • Increase in conversions brought by the Growth Hack

What’s the conclusion of our Growth Hack?

This Growth Hack has started amazingly for us. The important thing is that this Growth Hack works for Drag. You need to consider what your social currency is for your business, how you can exchange this social currency and what for. Here are our main learnings:

  • Make your Growth Hack as visible as possible, without being intrusive to your users’ workflow
  • Gamify your growth hack: make it dynamic, interactive, fun and, of course, rewarding
  • Design every single detail in advance. Many growth hacks are expensive to develop and you don’t want to find a planning mistake in the middle of the chaos
  • Analyze when it’s best to introduce your Growth Hack. Keep in mind that the more people know your product, higher the chances of engagement
  • Find the balance between what needs to be automated and what can be done manually (to begin with) to expedite things
  • ALWAYS tag a trackable link to measure granular performances!

We will love to write another article in a few months when we have these numbers in place, keep an eye on our Blog 🙂

We hope our fundamental pieces shared here will be helpful for other tools in the future that. Next step: plan the next growth hack!

What you’ll learn inside Drag

Starting now, we’re aiming to share what our plans are, how we’re doing and what lessons we’re learning along the way.

You’ll get:

  • Just like this article, you’ll get real-time updates on what’s happening, what’s working and how it feels in a startup.
  • Quick videos explaining quick wins and how to grow your business
  • Live Instagram updates. Real-time stories of what’s happening

What now?

This is our attempt at sharing everything. It’s as simple as that You don’t have to be a customer to follow us.