HelloExperts – Meet Gino, Growth Hacker @ Helloprint

Gino is 28 years old, lives in Utrecht and joined the Helloprint team in September 2018. A few years ago he built a platform with one of his friends in their free time to tackle food waste at households. In six months time, they reached 350 users that performed a total of 550 food exchanges and then they ran out of money to ‘market’ it themselves. Back then he was confronted with his lack of knowledge on marketing and growth hacking, but he also knew that building stuff would be his future. (P.S. He was a LEGO kid.)

That’s when he started gathering knowledge, working for free at an eCommerce company to leverage ‘some’ experience to get his first real job in growth hacking and later joining Helloprint. 

What is Growth Hacking?

Growth Hacking is an iterative process in which you use experimentation to validate hypotheses that will help you understand what your customers need, faster than your competitors. 

Experimentation is what helps you grow faster than your competitors because beginning a project is relatively easy, but it’s way more difficult to actually keep the growth pace. If the focus is on speed instead of perfection, you will enable yourself and your team to learn more at a faster pace. Growth hacking is also a mindset. You will always challenge the status quo, the metrics at hand and the way things are done. 

A failed experiment is a good thing, in a way that it taught you something about your users. And you just proved to yourself and your team that you can deliver, which is an achievement of its own.

How do we benefit from experimenting at Helloprint?

At Helloprint we sell the most diverse group of products against the best prices in every market. It’s our mission to help you order print with us in the easiest way as possible.

We use experiments to learn how we can impact behaviour on a user level. How we can make it easier for you to decide what is it you want to buy. Does it make sense to recommend our top performing products to you while you are in your cart? Or should we make it easier to sign up, login or checkout?

The goal is to improve your customer journey and make it easier to order print with us. One experiment at a time.

Do you need to learn code to become a Growth Hacker?

Starting out with growth hacking is not dependent on your coding knowledge. It’s mostly about your ability to spot opportunities and being able to interpret data. If you have those two, you can either use the visual interface from free tools like Google Optimize or you ask a developer to help you out. However, it could definitely be beneficial to learn how to code or to at least understand the basics of code.

What size of company needs a Growth Hacker?

It’s not a matter of size, it’s a matter of product/market fit. The main goal of a growth hacker is to learn what your customers need, faster than your competition.

Product/market fit is the moment in which your customers realize they need your product/service, when they choose you over a competitor. If you haven’t reached that moment yet, then it will be very costly to grow your business and improve your metrics. You can reach this point by listening carefully to your customers, offering a solution to their problems and by measuring it using a product/market fit survey.

That being said, if you are both a bit stubborn and curious you can use growth hacking techniques to grow towards product/market fit. Use common knowledge to come up with nifty ways to introduce people to your product and come up with experiments to improve the numbers. Then, use these insights to improve your product. 

What’s your most successful experiment?

When analysing our data we’ve learned that a majority of our customers order one product at a time. A while ago, one of our team members came up with an experiment idea to promote recommended products in the cart of our customers. That experiment was a big success and it got me thinking of the following:

Although most customers buy one product at a time, we were able to influence their buying behaviour by showing them more products from within their cart. How our product detail pages used to work is that adding a product to your cart would also redirect you to the cart page.

Our hypothesis was that by solely notifying our customers that we added the product to their cart instead of redirecting them to their cart would keep them in shop mode. This experiment caused a conversion rate uplift of 3.02% with a bayesian significance level of 92.2%. Based on this result we are pretty sure that not sending our customers directly to the cart but helping them stay in shop mode is a better solution.

Growth hacking is also really about learning from failed experiments too right? What’s your most disappointing fail, but biggest learning?

That’s true, if you look into the number of experiments we ran in the first six months of 2019 you can see that almost 60% of the experiments was either a failure or had an inconclusive result.

Experiment success rate 

My most disappointing fail was also my first experiment of the year. Our sign up form is quite extensive. We used to have thirteen fields excluding the consent and newsletter checkboxes for you to fill.

My UX heart was crying every time I came across the signup page and so I set up an experiment to minimize the amount of fields and decrease it to a total of nine fields. I also pre-filled the email field whenever we had it available. The experiment had a negative impact on transactions and most important on the number of sign ups (jaw-dropping..)!

So stubborn and curious as I am, I did the experiment again. I ran it again on more shops to gather more data and this time I also took out distractions such as our footer that was filled with hyperlinks. Guess what.. It had also a negative impact on both transactions and signups.

Based on this we’ve learned that by making it easier to sign up from our side we were unable to influence behavior in a positive way.

Where should you start with your own experiments?

Try to analyze your customers behavior with the help of Google Analytics. Try to understand why customers behave the way they do.

Set out a plan, a mission to improve one metric (e.g.conversion rate). Collect all the leading indicators, meaning the metrics that could influence this conversion rate. 

Now brainstorm on experiment ideas that can influence the leading indicators. If you can improve the leading indicators, chances are that as a result your conversion rate will improve over time as well.

What would be your top growth tip to yourself when you were just starting out?

See it through, don’t look for shortcuts, there are none. Don’t get stuck in reading books, case studies and blogs, but get hands-on as soon as possible.

Focus on the ‘low hanging fruit’ experiments to begin with. The ones that are almost certainly going to be a winner. This will not only help you with your self-confidence, but it also spreads the word internally that testing is the way to go!