Growth Hacks: This is How You Should Kick-Off a New Growth Hacking Project

Growth Hacks: This is How You Should Kick-Off a New Growth Hacking Project

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This is How You Should Kick-Off a New Growth Hacking Project

A chapter from ‘Growing Happy Clients

Congrats! A new growth hacking client! 🥳

The moment has arrived; you have a new client. You feel a nervous excitement rushing through you, a new playground to explore and enjoy but also a new challenge. Unless you’ve sold the project yourself and not within an agency, you usually have no idea what to expect.

It’s like a first date 😏

You’re conscious of everything you say or do, even in the contact before the first meeting and at the same time, you’re hyperalert of what they say or do. So how should you approach it all? How do you kick off the project? We believe that covering the following will help you get off to a good start and prepare for the actual date:

  1. Setting the scene
  2. Understanding their growth
  3. Getting ready to go

In this scenario, your first date is your official kickoff. We will walk through each of these moments in turn.

Let’s talk you through this Kick-Off

(In the end, we’ll make this conversation yours)

The first crucial part is setting the stage to give them an idea of what they can expect from you. One way to do this is to ask for a quick 30-minute call to walk through the first steps, starting with the process:

“Hi Rachel, I just wanted to call to walk you through the next couple of weeks, so you know what to expect.”

This shows you are there to lead them through the process with confidence. Also, it allows you to immediately avoid misalignment in expectations, walk the contact person through your way of working and the high-level planning for the coming weeks. From there on, you can start planning in the first meetings:

“I would also like to plan the kickoff and a few other meetings if that’s ok? There we will go through the desired goal of the project in more depth. As well as the current challenges and way of working.”

You want to find the balance between leading them and giving them plenty of room for their questions and input. Ask them questions such as:

“Are there any topics you’d like to put on the agenda of the kickoff?”

“Is there any other data or information you feel is important for me to have access to before we start?”

“Do you have any other questions?”

If they aren’t sure, then encourage them to send it over later:

“No worries, if you think of anything, feel free to email it to me later. I will be sending you an email anyway to summarise what we discussed and what the first steps are.”

Don’t see the above as a script to follow but rather an example. Find the right way of phrasing and walking through the process that suits you.

You want to try to plan in:

  1. The kickoff
  2. The North Star Metric session (more on this in a later chapter)
  3. When sprint/planning meetings will take place
  4. Any other meetings you would like to have, e.g. meeting key stakeholders or maybe an informal one-on-one with your contact person

Do this as soon as possible; the last thing you want is that the project is off to a slow start because everyone is too busy to meet. It’s useful to agree on a set time for your sprint/planning meetings.

Also ask them how they prefer to communicate, e.g. do they prefer calling or emailing? Do they want a standard weekly one-on-one call next to the full team meetings? Ideally, you also want to agree on the main communication channels and where you will store documents. Will you use your communication channels or theirs? In which drive will files be kept? These sound like minor areas but are crucial to aligning and avoiding the project getting messy.

This should help to clarify the general way of working, when key meetings are and what they can expect. Then you can move on to questions around understanding their growth and getting them ready to go.

Understand their growth

In the beginning, you must try to understand the company and their growth as much as possible. Thus, your conversation continues:

“I also have a few high-level questions that I wanted to talk through with you now. These are to try and understand what data you already have. That way, we can ensure we hit the ground running and start faster.”

There is specific information that you need to know if the company already has; these include:

  1. Who is their target audience?
  2. What research have they already done around this?
  3. Is there any other data that would be good to look at
  4. Have they got an overview of the current customer journey?
  5. Which tools do they use?

We highly recommend asking them to send over the research they already have on their target audience. Requesting this has double benefits. Not only do you get insights, but you can also immediately gage their current maturity. Seeing how up to date this is and how it is structured can tell you a lot. Clients who say:

“Oh we have these personas we made two years ago, but we don’t use them”

… are not really actively using customer research 😅 A lack of up to date user research will make getting new data crucial in the beginning. You may choose to cover some of these questions again in the kickoff with the various stakeholders present as discrepancies in answers tell you a lot too.

Next to that, you want to understand their growth:

  1. Do they have an outline of their current growth strategy?
  2. What have they already tried?
  3. What is stopping their growth at the moment?
  4. What’s their biggest bottleneck?
  5. Where do they feel there are potential improvements?

What big things, product, or marketing related, are on the agenda that might have a significant impact on the project?

You will need to dive deeper into the data for this and discuss it extensively in the actual kickoff. Asking such questions is mainly to become aware of anything that can give you hints of where to place focus. We usually like to request this via the phone rather than email after talking a little bit. Some clients might get defensive or insecure if they don’t have this, so doing this via a phone call allows you to comfort them if need be:

“No worries, I just wanted to check in case. We can also walk through what you are focusing on right now in the kickoff.”

Now that you have a better idea of what is in place and the general direction of the project, it is time to get practical.

Getting ready to go

The one thing that is always underestimated is getting access to tooling seeing as each tool has a different way of giving access. Even within the Google tool suite, there are differences — why Google, why? 💁

Add the fact that each client has a different set of rules or setup about providing access, and this part is always fun. Yes, that was maybe a bit too sarcastic. Don’t be surprised if they aren’t sure who is Admin or how giving access works that is all a part of it. You need to make sure that you calculate enough time to sort this out before the kickoff. Again, there are two essential benefits here.

The first reason is to get the hassle out of the way. The kickoff is a party, a celebration of your new collaboration. You want to get going and started, not do the equivalent of a boring background checklist on the first date. By having the access understood and sorted beforehand, it will be far easier to make the first steps after the kickoff. The client can then see that you are starting to make progress. Not only that, if there are issues with giving access (Facebook, it’s almost always Facebook!), you can double-check that. You can reserve a bit of time at the end of the kickoff and help them figure out what is going on.

The second reason is to get a sneak preview of the setup and what is happening. Just like the customer research, it gives you clues as to the current status. Whilst you can’t pull everything out without more context, it can give you the chance to do a quick check. Having a look into the tools will help you to know how much the focus on hygiene factors vs growth is. You might notice that nothing is measured or that they did not set up conversion tracking correctly. That suggests that you will need to focus more on solving that in the beginning.

The easiest thing to do is to have a standard email with explanations of how to provide access to all the tools. Consider this when writing out that email the first time, so that you can save it to reuse it in the future. Then you (or together with your team) can always copy and paste this template rather than explain it again each time.

Next to that, it can be handy to ask them to already think about a few key concepts that are often tough to answer on the spot. These are concepts such as the North Star Metric and Lifetime Value. We have listed the ones we find crucial below. We have also added some guiding questions per area to help them understand the concept. Feel free to utilise our list or adjust accordingly to your client.

An example email, which you can send before your kick-off

[I/We] would like to discuss a few areas in the kickoff as well as the following meetings. The following questions will help [me/us] to better understand [Company Name] and focus my/our actions accordingly. [I/We] don’t expect you to send back a full answer to every question straight away, but if you could send over what you already have (or start thinking about the following concepts) we can discuss it further in the upcoming meetings:

1. North Star Metric (NSM). What is the high-level goal we are striving to attain? What purpose guides every action? Ideally not in terms of revenue but rather something that reflects value for you and your end customers. If you are struggling to determine this, no worries, we will have a session to discuss it. In the meantime, an excellent guiding question is: What is the reason the company was started?

2. The One Metric that Matters (OMTM). What is the shorter-term goal we would like to achieve together in the coming 2–4 months? What is the biggest bottleneck(s) to solve?

3. Lifetime Value. What is the average value of a customer across their whole lifetime? Do you work with an overall average or different ones per customer segments?

4. Cost of Acquisition. What is the average cost of acquiring a new customer? Do you use an overall average or different ones per customer segments? Does the current cost match what you would like to strive for?

5. AAARRR. AAARRR stands for the various phases of the funnel: Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue. For each stage could you explain: what this stage looks like, how you measure it and where possible, the drop off rate.

Just see which parts you are already able to send over and if you have any questions, feel free to email me. The rest we can discuss or look into in the coming weeks.

The above is one part of your first email. Your email following up on all of the above should cover:

  1. The agenda for the kickoff (asking if they have anything to add).
  2. Key dates of various meetings.
  3. The agreed way of working.
  4. Data you would like them to send over, e.g. previous research.
  5. Which tools you would like access to and how to provide access.
  6. Starting questions for them to think about.

For your convenience, we have added a full template email to Of course, it will vary a bit per engagement, but having such a template can save you time and hassle in the beginning. Remember this is just before your first date and first impressions count!

Time for Action 🚀 – Stop binging Medium & Take 15 min for yourself

Now it’s time to take what you have learnt and put it to action. Do this even if you don’t have a new client starting soon, just take some time to do the following:

1. Make a list of everything you would need before starting.

What things would you like to know in the beginning, but might not be easy to answer on the spot? What do you need during the process to do your job? Preparing this will help you look more organised, speed up your process throughout and will give you a lot more confidence in your way of working.

2. Set up an outline for the first call.

You don’t want to script out that entire first call but take some time to consider what you would like to discuss in such a call. What is the goal of the call? What questions would you like to ask?

3. Set up an outline for the first email.

Write an outline for the first email, including the six areas we mentioned above. You will, of course, customise this email a bit per client but that way you’ll have an outline ready to send. Feel free to use our template to get you started.

Even if you already have these set up or your agency does, review the processes, stay critical, the best processes are updated regularly.

Now it’s time to kick things off with the kickoff.

To sum it up:

That first contact gives you the first opportunity to start strong. Do this by walking your client through the process, communicating clearly and beginning to get everything in place for growth. The kickoff is much smoother when you don’t have to worry about the nitty-gritty details like getting access to tools.

But that’s not all…

Are you just getting started in Growth Hacking?

Then these two resources can definitely help you to…

  • Get more structure in your work
  • Be prepared for unforeseen situations, and
  • Master all the soft skills that you’ll need
Growth Hacking Book — Growing Happy Clients
Available on Amazon from $9,99

Growing Happy Clients (here)

For Growth Consultants, working at an agency or as a freelancer, the book ‘Growing Happy Clients’ can walk you through all the steps you need to follow during a client project.

This article above is actually one of 34 chapters from that book.

The book is based on the combined 10 years of experience in working with the fastest growing scale-ups and the biggest Fortune 500 corporates.

Or if you’re just getting started as a Growth Hacker, you’ll definitely love….

Full Beginners Course to Growth Hacking (here)

at the GrowthHackers University

In this course, you’ll learn everything you need to get started as a growth hacker, who is wanted by startups and scaleups, because you will have the mindset, the toolset and the knowledge that they are looking for.

This course is straight-to-the-point and will help get you ready in days, instead of a course that takes you weeks. You will go through 300+ minutes and 40+ lessons about the basics of growth hacking.

Feel free to reach out or ask your questions below! We’ll make sure to keep our notifications on and respond ASAP. 👋

This is How You Should Kick-Off a New Growth Hacking Project was originally published in Growth Hackers on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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