Join Brad Batesole for an in-depth discussion in this video Square, part of Marketing Foundations: Growth Hacking.
- Square was founded in 2009 as a way to disrupt the credit card payment industry. At the time, credit card processing was expensive. It required cumbersome hardware, and the monthly fees and high minimums meant that small businesses struggled to make it work. But since their launch, Square has skyrocketed to a valuation of at least three billion dollars. And this wasn't luck. They leveraged growth hacking and a strong attention to their product. Now it all started when Jim McKelvey, the co-founder of Square, was in an art fair, and he couldn't sell a piece of his art because he couldn't accept credit cards.
He then realized he wasn't alone. Small businesses nationwide were stuck accepting cash or a check, leaving their competitors to scoop up the plastic-carrying customer. As it turns out though, his idea violated the major credit card companies' rules. At the time, they didn't allow payment aggregators, which basically meant that people couldn't process credit cards without having their own formal merchant accounts. Now, Square could've stopped there, but the idea was just too good, so they recruited investors to push through the barriers.
The product, which you can see here on the screen, was designed to be its own marketing device, a square card reader that was plugged directly into your iPhone. It was novel, it was eloquent, and people would recognize it every time a merchant used it. They designed it to be immediately identifiable. It could have been a small black card reader with a long cord, just like all the other card readers in the market. But instead, they designed it to be minimal, sleek and recognizable. Now the goodwill approach of making credit cards approachable with low fees, free hardware and no monthly charges is what really fueled their growth.
It was a perfect product-market fit. Now I'm going to tab over to a Square account that I set up just to show you how they're continuing to leverage growth opportunities. So, right away, as a new Square customer, you can see that they've given me some steps on how I can get started. They know that getting me to start taking payments means that I will likely be retained, and therefore the value of my business goes up tremendously. So they're doing everything in their power to make sure that as a new customer, I know how to get started.
Now, one other thing that I think is great, is if I click on my profile icon in the upper right-hand corner, you can see some other growth opportunities. They're offering me the ability to get another free card reader, but I can also get a sticker sheet, and that sticker sheet is a way that I can promote Square and also let my customers know I can accept credit cards. And they even have supplemental products such as an iPad dock to create a point of sale system. By making the integration seamless and inexpensive, it's hard to pass up. And because the reader is free and shipped right away without any obligation, there's zero risk as a merchant.
Why wouldn't you get the hardware, at least as a backup in case you did find yourself wanting to accept credit cards? Finally, they've integrated the incentivization method that we've seen before. Right here I have the option to get free processing, and if I click on that, you can see that I can process a thousand dollars free for each friend I refer to Square. That's an incredible value. All I have to do is share this link, and when a friend successfully activates their Square account, I'll get free processing on a thousand dollars' worth of sales.
That's free money simply by advocating something that you probably already love. Square excelled at building something simple and they focused intently on making it absolutely incredible and for them, it paid off big time.
The course concludes with growth-hacking case studies, highlighting the growth-hacking techniques that helped propel such companies as Airbnb, Uber, and Tinder to explosive growth.
- What is growth hacking?
- Understanding the funnel
- Setting up tracking and analytics
- Leveraging customers and existing users
- Testing ideas
- Generating an audience
- Creating an incentive strategy
- Real-world examples of successful growth hacking