How GrowthHackers Scaled by Asking Customers These 3 Questions

We sat down with Anuj Adhiya from GrowthHackers to deep-dive on how they use customer feedback to drive growth. Here are the incredible insights we learned...

Sean Ellis, Founder of GrowthHackers

How exactly do you take customer feedback and turn it into testable ideas that can add hundreds or even thousands of new customers quickly? We sat down with Anuj Adhiya, Director of Engagement and Analytics at GrowthHackers, to see how they do it.

In this article, Anuj shares three detailed stories of times when customer feedback led to experiments that resulted in major business decisions at GrowthHackers.

Spoiler alert – “Change the button color” wasn’t one of them 😎

In this post you’ll learn:

  • How they found the best content distribution channel for them
  • How they learned why education was the missing step to users progressing in their app
  • Why they decided to promote their book more

…all by asking simple questions to their audience.

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At the end of this post, you’ll find a list of customer feedback questions Anuj thinks more companies should be asking to unlock hidden growth opportunities in their businesses.

(Note: Like you’ll see below, customer outreach is critical to accelerating your revenue growth. If you need a simple way to ask your customers for feedback, Fieldboom can help. Try it out free here.)

Growth Hacking is a Process

Over the years, the term “growth hacking” has largely been taking out of context.

The goal of growth hacking isn’t to find one “hack” that will fundamentally change the course of your business. Growth hacking is a process that consists of surveying users, coming up with testable ideas based on user feedback and running experiments to test hypotheses.

When you find a winning experiment, you double down on it and see if it can lead to greater growth.

Asking good questions is a key part of the growth hacking process.

Below, you’ll see three examples of how the GrowthHackers team asked a question, gained feedback, turned that feedback into a testable idea and then ran an experiment to see if it yielded results.

GrowthHackers Question #1: “Where do you get your marketing info?

GrowthHackers was founded by Sean Ellis in 2013.

Early on, the team was looking to get more eyeballs on the content being posted to the community, but they didn’t know the best place to focus their marketing efforts.

Should they focus on Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? All of the above?

Unlike many early-stage companies, GrowthHackers didn’t just make a guess and move forward.

Instead, they added a question to the GrowthHackers trending page—the most popular page on the site. It simply asked:

“Where do you go to find useful marketing-related articles?”

The answer surprised them. People were getting their marketing info from Twitter more than any other source.

“It was Twitter by a mile,” Anuj told us. “That’s where they were getting their marketing content.”

Anuj referred to this type of result as a “signal”—a trend in user feedback that should be investigated further.

After learning marketers were paying attention to Twitter, the team went to work—designing experiments, learning everything they could about what worked on Twitter.

“We experimented with how often to tweet, for example,” Anuj said. “We found that for us, tweeting every 10 minutes worked really well. But when we tried every 5 minutes, people started to complain that we were all they saw in their feeds.”

To be clear, Anuj did not say “tweet every 10 minutes” is a hard and fast rule for marketers.

Instead, the point is that they asked a question, found an area of promise, then tested to see what worked best for them.

Anuj said this also helped them learn what not to focus on. All of us have limited resources, from solopreneurs doing everything themselves, to larger marketing teams with limited budgets.

So knowing where you’ll get 80/20 returns on your time investment is critical.

187,000 Twitter followers later, it’s hard to argue with the results:

GrowthHackers Twitter

The GrowthHackers team doubled down on Twitter when they discovered it was their #1 source of traffic

GrowthHackers Question #2: “Do you have a growth process?”

In July 2016, GrowthHackers released Projects, a premium project management tool for companies committed to the growth hacking model:


The home page of Projects, GrowthHacker’s SaaS offering

The team set up an onboarding funnel for new users, but even here, they didn’t approach it using the process most companies use.

With GrowthHackers, there’s no “set it and forget it.” Instead, they watched closely to see how people moved through the onboarding process.

As part of the onboarding process, the team asked this in-app question.

“Do you have a growth process?”

What they learned from this question is that users with a growth process were more likely to be successful with Projects. Those that didn’t have one, were less likely to keep using Projects.

Thus this question illuminated the fact that what was holding many users back was not an app, UI/UX, or onboarding issue, it was an education issue (education around growth hacking and experimentation, that is).

Thus the team felt that the users who responded with “no” to the above question were likely candidates for their Growth Master Training course, not the Projects app.

The online course did two things:

  • Raised prospect’s knowledge of how to manage a growth process systematically
  • Made it more likely for prospects to be successful if they tried Projects after taking the course

“We know that if you run through the course, your likelihood in appreciating what Projects does for you is much higher,” Anuj said.

Further testing led to the realization that this question needed to be asked much earlier to be able to segment higher quality leads (and subsequent messaging).

This is why the “Request a Free Trial” form for Projects now includes two customer feedback questions that help the company determine if someone should be given a demo or not:

Request Access to Projects   GrowthHackers

The two critical customer feedback questions GrowthHackers uses to score their leads

The full form at the link above is intimidating, to say the least:

full form

The (deliberately) long trial form for GrowthHacker’s Project tool

Note that the screenshot above is not the end of the form. The button at the bottom says “Next: Create Team Objective”.

Compared to the countless SaaS A/B tests you read about in blog posts on reducing form fields to try to increase free trial or demo signups, this form looks like GrowthHackers is intentionally going in the opposite direction and trying to reduce signups.

Well, in a way, they are.

And the question above was a key reason why they could do this with confidence.

If you didn’t know that users who have read their book “Hacking Growth” and/or have a growth process are far more likely to be successful with Projects (and become a long term paying customer), there’s no way you would have the confidence to deploy such an intimidating onboarding form.

But the GrowthHackers team did know, all because of the simple customer feedback questions they asked their users.

GrowthHackers Question #3: “How did you hear about us?”

Analytics is a fantastic tool and core to any growth hacking strategy. But analytics can’t tell you everything.

For example, analytics can tell you the source of traffic when it comes from people clicking on links. But what if your traffic is coming from somewhere else? Somewhere that doesn’t show up in analytics?

When people signed up for a demo of Projects, they started asking this question:

“How did you hear about us?”

Some of the answers were predictable — Twitter. Organic search. Mentions in articles. These sources, of course, can be seen in analytics. But surprisingly, way more people than they predicted replied and said, “from the book.”

The “book,” was Hacking Growth, which Sean coauthored with fellow growth hacker Morgan Brown.

Hacking Growth  How Today s Fastest Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success  Sean Ellis  Morgan Brown  9780451497215  Amazon com  Books

Sean’s book creates huge awareness for GrowthHackers

It was a piece of the funnel they didn’t know was working as well as it was.

“So now we have a lot more focus on promoting the book,” Anuj said. “Because we know it’s part of the flywheel that drives qualified leads to projects.”

Again, this is also why the “Request For Trial” form for Projects also includes a question asking if they’ve read this book.

Customer Feedback Drives Growth

The stories above show how GrowthHackers made three key growth decisions based on user and customer feedback.

If they didn’t take this simple approach:

  1. They wouldn’t have known which channel to double down on for distribution without asking.
  2. They would not have known that more education or a course would help users progress farther down their app without asking
  3. They would not have known to promote their book more without asking.

So this led us to ask: When should YOU ask YOUR users and customers questions?

You should do it the moment after your they sign up for your service—either on a landing page or in an email. Don’t worry about annoying people. You won’t.

“Right after signup is the time when people are most excited to use your product,” Anuj said. “It’s actually the moment when people are most likely to help you.”

What questions should you ask your customers?

That depends on your product and what you want to know. But you should always be asking something. In addition to the three customer feedback questions above, here are some of Anuj’s suggestions…

1. What would you use if you didn’t use our product?

In the mind of your prospects, what are the alternatives to signing up with you? Is your primary competitor another company like yours? Or is it actually Microsoft Excel or sticky notes on your prospect’s desk? Asking this question might give you the answer.

2. Why did you sign up?

Don’t assume you know why people signed up. They may have signed up simply because their friend told them about it. Or because you have an obscure integration that makes you the only option. Knowing the why will help you identify audiences to target for future marketing.

3. Why did you buy from us?

Was it features? A recommendation from a friend? From a demo they saw at a conference. Look for trends. If you find one that seems to be working, investigate further.

4. Why did you decide to check us out in the first place?

This question will help you understand how people are becoming aware of your product or service. It will tell you where your message is breaking through.

5. What problem are you trying to solve?

Don’t assume you know. You may assume businesses would buy your product to solve their lead generation problems find instead that the people signing up are actually individuals seeking to further their career.

6. What have you tried before?

This question will help you understand how people perceive your product as different than other solutions on the market. It may also reveal new insights about the weaknesses of your competition, which you can then build into your marketing.

(Note: Like you saw above, customer outreach is critical to accelerating your revenue growth. If you need a simple way to ask your customers for feedback, Fieldboom can help. Try it out free here.)

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Nathan has been writing professionally for over a decade and has extensive experience creating content online. He’s also a former journalist.