The term growth hacking was coined by Sean Ellis in 2010, so it’s relatively new.
Ellis is a serial entrepreneur and startup advisor who helped diverse B2B and B2C businesses accelerate their growth.
But he had struggled to define exactly what it was he did for these companies – there wasn’t an existing title to encapsulate his practices.
Ellis’ strategies involved a few different emphases than traditional corporate marketing at scale, which is often constrained by pre-allocated budgets, expenses, and roles.
As a result, he developed the term growth hacking.
However, it’s not so much a job or a set list of tasks as it is a mindset – anyone can be a growth hacker if their ultimate focus is on growth.
🔑 Key Insight: Growth hackers rely on creative and innovative methods to grow their companies or personal brands at an exponential rate without relying on large corporate budgets – which makes it perfect for baseball and softball solopreneurs and small businesses to employ.
It involves risk-taking, testing, and always being open to new possibilities.
To give you a better perspective on growth hacking in practice, consider first that it doesn’t necessarily have to take place online.
In fact, when introducing the concept, marketers such as Neil Patel, often utilize McDonald’s in the 1950s as an example of offline growth hacking.
The small burger company at the time saw an innovative opportunity to expand by placing their restaurants right next to interstate exits.
The interstate was still a new piece of infrastructure at this point in American history and McDonald’s took a successful gamble by piggybacking off its potential popularity.
The takeaway with this McDonald’s example is an important one worth repeating – growth hacking is more about mindset than about specific strategies.
But looking at previous examples and deducing common methods for growth hacking can certainly help.
In the rest of this guide, we’ll cover what you need to do to hack your baseball or softball business’ growth and suggest specific growth hacking strategies unique to our industry that you might consider trying.
If you don’t have an idea for a product you can sell, start by creating free content.
Promote your free content on social media to see what your community likes or dislikes.
It’s much easier to build an engaged audience who trusts you first and then sell a product or service to them than trying to develop a new product and audience from scratch at the same time.
Once you have a great product, you need to focus even more on your audience.
These steps above are intentionally generic – because they apply to literally every type of product or service imaginable – so let’s go a bit more fine-grained.
#Applying this Product Development Framework to a Familiar Example: Creating Better Private Lesson Offerings
Just as examples, we’ll show you how some of these product steps work for private coaches selling in-person and online lesson services.
Let’s say you’re developing a hitting program for your lesson students.
Maybe your first version of the program has session one featuring a long and detailed assessment of the hitter’s physical mobility and existing mechanics.
Then, only in the second session together do you introduce the first step or two of a posture progression or just specific drills to begin correcting what you’ve assessed in your day one session, while also giving the young hitter some mobility exercises to do for homework between lessons.
Without writing an entire hypothetical program, let’s say that as the hitter’s structural integrity and mechanics become more efficient over time, you then introduce more mental or strategic approaches to hitting – while maintaining the previous progress and squashing any new bad habits they might pick up between lessons.
Rinse and repeat.
For professional instructors, this all likely sounds like a pretty familiar and logical framework for working with students and ensuring meaningful progress – and it is.
But this service is still your product after all, and all products require continual refinement based on client and parent feedback, paid validation, and student retention, AKA how long they stay with you as their coach.
For example, you might experiment by spending only a small part of the first hitting lesson with a new client on assessment.
And instead spend the rest of that first time correcting the biggest impediment to them squaring up a ball mechanically – while also building up their confidence with heavy positive feedback.
Maybe this order of operation gives new students a quick win and booster shot of self-belief for their upcoming weekend games. And you can always complete your thorough physical assessment in session two together.
Maybe you’ll discover that giving ballplayers a small quick win increases their overall motivation, receptiveness, and retention for the rest of your future weekly sessions together – leading to a better student-teacher working relationship and more financial stability for your coaching business.
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Before you create any new product, you should first find the specific people your product is going to be made for. This is your target audience.
A target audience is made up of three things: demographics, psychographics, and behaviors.
Demographics are made up of things like age, gender, income, education, and location.
Psychographics are psychological characteristics and traits such as the customer’s values, hopes, goals, interests, and lifestyle.
And behaviors, of course, are what people actually do, like buy your product or service – or not.
Putting all of these things together is how you create what some marketers call a persona and what we call here a target audience.
In business, generalization is your enemy.
You should set out to solve a specific problem, and only those who need a solution to that problem at a precise moment in their lives will be genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
Here’s a made up, but concrete, example from our industry to illustrate these points:
If you were to develop a new line of sweat-resistant headbands for athletes, and you marketed it toward everyone who plays any sport or does physical activity, you’ll have a lot of trouble getting it off the ground.
You can’t win a war by fighting on thousands of fronts – you’ll run out of resources quickly and be stretched too thin to make any progress on any of them.
But if instead you targeted competitive travelball and collegiate female softball players between the ages of 15-25 with all of your headband marketing and brand efforts, your product might have greater chances of succeeding.
It would have an even better chance if you spent significant time talking to such players and their parents before even designing the product in the first place, but more on this in just a bit.
Now that you’re homing in on your target audience, you’d want to narrow further from describing a general group to funneling all your creativity and resources toward a single detailed persona.
Try to describe this persona as a real person living in the world:
🥎 Madison is a 17-year-old fastpitch player who spends every weekend playing travel softball.
She’s signed to play D2 college ball and lives in the midwest.
Madison splits her time between training intensively, keeping her grades up, watching her two younger siblings, and following softball influencers on Instagram and TikTok for motivation and entertainment.
Her favorite TV show is the Netflix series “Never Have I Ever.”
She wears mostly athletic-styled gear – because it’s so comfortable and shows she's a serious athlete – even when she’s not training or competing.
That’s the kind of detailed profile you’d want to begin selling your sweat-resistant headbands to.
Before they’re adopted by the general public, every new product or service must pass through the first 15 percent of interested people, a principle known as the law of diffusion of innovation.
The people who will make your product successful in its early stages are niche customers. Often called your “early adopters” in the tech space.
In our fictitious example, only if Madison and those very similar to her love your headbands, will you ever have a chance to delight the larger softball community of ballplayers aged 4-25 and their parents.
And if they begin adopting your stylish headbands at every turn, then you might have the resources and public interest needed to find breakout appeal within other female or male sporting markets. This is how empires begin.
Now here’s a real world example for you.
Franklin Sports has mostly always marketed their batting gloves toward baseball players.
They were successful in promoting their product to their initial target audience. Only after they were firmly established with this customer base did they decide to start targeting softball players more actively as well.
A while back, Franklin announced Janie Reed, member of Team USA, as their first-ever softball brand ambassador to help inspire this new target audience.
Even if you validate your product and pinpoint your target audience, it can still be difficult to tell a good idea from a bad one.
But this is where the startup metrics of the growth hacking funnel come in.
#The Growth Hacking Funnel for Baseball and Softball Coaches
The idea of startup metrics was first proffered by Dave McClure, former marketing director at PayPal, the payment software juggernaut.
He introduced the AARRR funnel, which stands for:
Thanks to the acronym, it’s also referred to as pirate metrics – as in “Arrr, ye yellow-bellied landlovers.”
AARRR has become a pivotal principle of growth hacking.
Acquisition is arguably the most important and foundational step in the AARRR funnel. So our guide will spend the most time and spill the most ink here.
At this stage, the focus is on growing your customer base by attracting attention and introducing new people to your product.
Whether through traditional marketing methods like print advertising, or social media campaigns, or more novel approaches like speaking at events or networking with fellow industry leaders, it is essential that you do everything possible to get your name out there and attract attention to your baseball or softball personal brand or business.
After all, without acquisition, none of the other metrics in the AARRR funnel will even matter.
When it comes to acquiring this recognition, there are three types of growth you can go for:
We are about to go deep into each type of acquisition growth below.
But if you’re curious to learn even more, these three growth engines were developed by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup.
Viral growth happens through mostly softer online referrals or shares.
This entails people spreading the word about your services, product, or brand to their friends, family, or colleagues.
But here, we don’t mean in the more formal parent-to-parent referral sense that drives many new clients for baseball or softball instructors.
Bear with us to the end of this section, and we promise to deliver great ways that all types of baseball or softball coaches can set up a viral growth engine to their product or service offerings.
First though, to help you start to think more like a growth hacker, here are two examples from the world of software:
Embeds – YouTube makes its videos exceptionally easy to embed on other websites. This encourages brands and companies to prefer using videos from the platform over their competitors, like Vimeo, and helps YouTube gain exposure.
If you can make an embeddable product, you expand your reach every time another user embeds it on their site.
Integrations – Integrating your product with existing brands, like how music streaming service Spotify integrated with Facebook in its beginnings, is also a way to get great exposure.
These days, when most people are evaluating a new product to purchase, they want to know where else they can use it.
Can they use it with their other apps? With Facebook? Email? This type of product decision will contribute significantly to your viral growth strategy.
Okay, let’s now bring it back to our industry.
Can your new hitting gadget communicate with or positively supplement an industry leader?
Like, for example, an api that connects your VR vision training headset with Blast Motion’s swing metric stats, in some way?
Another viral growth strategy option is to make a simple experience website or useful online tool that people in the baseball or softball community will love.
Ideally this experience or tool should be at least tangentially-related to what your main product offering is.
Look for something that will garner continued use over time – along with collecting email subscribers who can drive future growth.
If you can come up with a useful and free online tool or service, like a softball wristband sign generator or JustBats' bat size recommender featured below, you’re half way to creating a viral mini-product to help your main personal brand, service, or product eventually flourish.
The next step would be to find a low-cost developer on a site like Fiverr or UpWork, who can build the tool as you have imagined it for a couple hundred bucks – making sure to have email collection baked into the page or tool.
The last step would be to do a bit of outreach and promotion to tell influential people in our space and potential users about your new totally free tool or experience, and voila, you have a potential viral growth engine.
These are great strategies for a software engineer or an overall tech-oriented coach.
But what version of this makes sense for most baseball or softball coaches or brands – you may be screaming at us this very moment?
Before we give you our in-depth answers to this important question, let’s first cover what likely sprang to mind initially when we mentioned “viral” marketing.
Contests or giveaways are probably the quickest and easiest way to reach your audience, reward them for engaging, and be discovered by a whole new pool of like minded potential clients or customers.
These contests and giveaways can, of course, be conducted on any social media platform.
But the most popular place to reach ballplayers and their parents at the same time, as of this guide’s writing, is Instagram.
So, in true growth hacking fashion, we’ll focus our limited time and attention there.
Instagram accounts that hold a giveaway get a fast 70% followingincrease.
This is mostly because the requirements to enter said giveaways usually require people to follow and tag @ mentioning, which forces the Instagram platform’s algorithm to take notice and heighten your visibility.
We know you’re probably asking something along the lines of “That’s great to know, but what am I going to give away?”
Please stick with us to the end of this section and we promise to give you a few solid ideas.
But first, here’s the 10 quick and dirty rules and best practices for running contests:
Rule number one, make sure you don’t get in trouble with Instagram.
It is the umpire supreme and you don’t want to get on its bad side over easily avoidable rule infractions.
You must use this release verbiage, or something very similar, somewhere on all of your contest posts:
You can find the full terms for Instagram contests here.
Let’s officially get our terms straight – your audience will thank you for it.
🎁 Sweepstakes or giveaways indicate a random winner and also that something will be given away.
⚖️ Contest insinuates that some sort of judging and skills are involved.
For example, if you run a contest and ask people to “Post a video of yourself doing a few minutes of tee-work to Instagram and I’ll pick my favorite swing as the winner,” that indicates some sort of judging is going into that determination.
You’d want to make it clear that you’re running a contest in such a case.
You’ll want to decide how people will be able to participate in your viral contest or giveaway.
The easiest type of Instagram contest to run is where you have two to three simple criteria for entry such as “Follow this account, like this post, and tag a friend below.”
This type of contest is super-easy for people to enter and for you to manage.
The advantage of simple contests is they’re great for both your growth and your exposure.
When you ask your existing Instagram followers to “tag a friend below,” that friend will receive a notification. If that person wants to join the contest, they have to follow your account, like the content, and tag somebody else.
So you’re essentially creating a positive feedback loop that grows your account and spreads your brand.
Before you launch your Instagram contest or giveaway, make sure you have personal time or some assistance secured to properly monitor the event’s posts, comments, and questions to ensure things are going smoothly.
When the contest or giveaway closes and it’s time to notify the winner, reach out to the winner privately first.
Send them a DM on Instagram, let them know they’ve won, and make sure they accept the prize.
Also, find out if they mind you sharing that they have won publicly. Only then should you share a public post announcing the winner or just to clearly inform your audience that the contest or giveaway is over.
As you start to run more Instagram contests or giveaways, catalog all of their Instagram Insights analytics to look for patterns and ways to improve the performance of your future promotions.
Look for things like:
-Note how many likes and comments your post generated.
-Look at when you posted it and how long the contest ran. Was it 3 days, 7 days, and so on?
-Consider whether the time of year had an impact on the success of the contest.
-What was your prize’s value? Did that have an impact?
Once you’ve run three to five contests or giveaways, you’ll start to notice what resonates best with your audience on Instagram.
But what exactly will you be giving away for free, again?
If you are an expert baseball or softball instructor, you’ve spent a lifetime cultivating very valuable skills that ballplayers and their parents want access to.
Of course, we are talking about doing free lesson giveaways or contests.
But no professional coach really wants to limit their social media and overall coaching business growth to a single geographic location.
And giving away local in-person lessons can be a very tall ask, that will require a lot out of you both physically and financially – gas, cage or field fees, throwing bp, etc.
But, luckily, offering free online lessons solves all of these obvious problems.
SeamsUp, for example, gives all coaches free player lessons for them to run such contests and giveaways each month.
But whether you use the free SeamsUp coaching platform yet or not, offering online lessons in contests or giveaways is an awesome way to go viral in a meaningful way on Instagram.
Hopefully, by now, you’re really thinking like a marketer and realize that by giving away lessons, you are also advertising that you give private instruction in the first place.
And, if the parent and player winners don’t mind, you and they can share footage of the awesome free lesson for social proof on your account – which will almost inevitably lead to paid online and in-person lessons for you down the road.
And, once you get around the 5k to 30k follower range on social, you can reach out to different baseball and softball products – like hitting or pitching gadgets or software tools – and inquire about any opportunities they offer for people of influence.
With the not-so-secret-anymore power of super-micro influencer marketing these days, such bands may even reach out to you way sooner than the 5k followers milestone.
Then, you can do these giveaways or contests some more.
But this time, you’d be able to offer products that you didn’t pay for while simultaneously growing your Instagram audience.
You can even create more valuable bundles with a free lesson and a free gadget or other tool.
Okay, that was a crazy-long detour on viral growth.
Let’s return now with our second acquisition stage growth engine for acquiring recognition called “sticky.”
Sticky growth refers to acquiring customers who will stick around.
Many new apps and companies will acquire customers who use their product once and never again after that.
Similarly, many personal coaching brands on social media acquire followers who will check out their profile once and then never actively engage with it again, or eventually just unfollow.
The same can be said of private lesson coaches who work with a new student once or twice, before losing them forever.
That’s not a sustainable growth strategy, so you need something that “sticks” instead.
Sticky growth acquisition works especially great for certain types of businesses:
Network marketplaces like Facebook or Uber, where the more people who are connected, the more valuable the product is.
Any models where customers keep paying over and over, like Amazon or subscription-based services like Netflix. The longer a customer stays with your business, the more value they get, and the harder it is to leave.
In a sticky growth model, you have to consider a few factors to accurately measure growth.
You can’t rely on the total number of customers you have due to what’s called churn rate – which is the fraction of customers who do not remain engaged in your product or service over time.
You might be gaining new customers all the time, but if you’re losing more of them than you’re gaining, you aren’t growing.
You’re refilling a leaky bucket.
To keep customers engaged and make the most of the sticky growth model, you should focus on continually making your product or service better for your existing customers.
You should also send customers reminders about special promotions or new additions to your product. Sending customers reminders or incentives to return also propels sticky growth.
Private baseball and softball instructors have long employed some version of stickiness in their in-person lessons and can now do the same for their online clients.
Offering 5 or 10 lesson packages for in-person clients at a small discount is an obvious way of retaining customers for longer then they might have stayed otherwise.
Similarly, some online lesson platforms like SeamsUp allow you to offer all sorts of monthly lesson subscriptions that help acquired clients continue to get value from your knowledge on a longer term basis with just the click of a button.
Traditionally paid growth was more for companies that aren’t naturally inclined to viral or sticky growth. This used to especially include companies outside of the tech niche who sold hard goods and services.
This will be by far the most common growth engine for many baseball and softball brands that sell physical gadgets or gear.
If they’re smart companies, much of that will be in the form of influencer seeding coupled with social proof ads – but we’ll cover what this means in detail a bit later on.
Anyway, almost everyone who can afford it across markets and business types is giving paid acquisition a shot these days.
But there’s a fairly steep learning curve for mastering paid growth, which is why people can spend an entire career specializing exclusively in something like Facebook ads.
And many private instructors honestly don’t need to go this route, in our opinion.
But, depending on your goals and how quickly you want to attain them, the mechanics of paid marketing is still worth going over briefly here.
Investing in paid growth – like Facebook or Google ads – requires comparing two key numbers: the customer’s lifetime value and the customer’s acquisition cost.
The lifetime value, which is abbreviated LTV, is the value of each customer over a given period of time.
You then set that number against what it costs to acquire a single customer, which is known as CAC.
Once you do that, you can see how much you can afford to invest in paid advertising.
To take a simple example, let’s say that you are a private baseball hitting instructor – you very well might be.
And say the following is true:
Your lessons are $40 per half-hour, the majority of your clients work with you once a week, and they stick with you as their instructor for one year on average.
The average LTV of your clients is roughly: $1,920
Now, let’s say that you run a Facebook ad for your hitting lesson services with the call to action to “Call Now.”
And, lastly, say that you put $200 into this ad campaign, letting it run for two weeks.
Both during and at the end of this Facebook ad campaign, Facebook will tell you exactly how much you’ve spent on average within their bidding network to get one potential client to take that “Call Now” action that you desire.
Facebook calls this “Cost per Link Click.”
This is useful to be sure, but not the full story of your paid campaign.
To be accurate, you’d need to somehow know exactly how many of the calls that you have received for lessons came from your Facebook ad.
One easy way for coaches to do this would be to create and use a free Google Voice phone number on that Facebook ad that's different from your normal cell phone number.
You would then need to write down how many of those Google Voice calls actually ended up with you doing a $40 private lesson.
How many parents actually pay $40 for your service equals your lesson revenue.
If you want to use your normal cell number and get the same accuracy, you would need to ask everyone that calls you about lessons, during the time of the Facebook ad’s campaign run, how they heard of you or if they saw an ad for you on Facebook – and keep track of exactly how many people say they saw your Facebook ad and called you.
And, again, you would want to keep track of how many of those that call you and say they heard of you via your Facebook ad actually purchase $40 lessons from you at the end of the day, because this is really what you want to optimize for – real revenue.
Now, let’s say that during the two weeks that you ran a Facebook ad, you received 8 calls to your personal cell phone that stated they heard about you on Facebook and that they came in to begin getting weekly lessons with you at $40 a pop.
If paying Facebook $200 got you 8 real-world customers paying for your lesson services, then you’re averaging $25 of customer acquisition costs for each new client you acquire – because 200 divided by 8 is 25.
If these numbers were all true, then you could really scale up how much money you’re putting into Facebook ads, because $1,920 (LTV) - $25 (CAC) = $1895 revenue for you per ad-acquired client.
This is a massive margin, but it can’t be called profit until you also subtract your expenses for driving to the lesson location, balls and gear you use and have to replace, and any cage or field fees you might pay.
But, still, these numbers would be great news for any marketer.
As we’ll soon learn below though, If you really wanted to be robust and accurate with your marketing, in the above example, you would need to keep track of exactly how long those clients that you acquired through the Facebook ad stick with you for weekly lessons.
You may find that clients won from Facebook have either statistically worse or better LTV than those clients you got from other channels – like from parent word-of-mouth or organically through your Instagram account.
This client retention information would then factor into your future calculations and strategies, of course.
Before moving on to the next phase of the growth hacking funnel, we’ll take a short detour into another popular way to do paid acquisition – influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is usually when you decide to collaborate with or advertise through another person in your industry – often one with a larger or just more engaged audience than yourself.
80% of marketers find influencers to be effective, most likely due to how much followers trust their favorite brands recommendations.
This is not necessarily a go-to strategy for private lesson coaches, but we included this very brief section to introduce the concept to other types of baseball or softball entrepreneurs who may have a physical product or other type of service to sell.
But, if one of your personal goals is to become a person of influence in our industry, then it’s still very helpful to know how companies think about it from the other side.
That said, we will reveal one way that traditional private lessons instructors can actually leverage influencers much later in this guide.
When looking to find an influencer to work with from a business or brand’s perspective, it’s crucial to be conscious of 7 key points:
Payment rates may or may not be negotiable. There's a very cool free calculator tool to give you an idea of any creator's estimated cost per post on Instagram that's based on the current average rates.
Check their comments to see how much actual engagement they get rather than focusing on how many followers they have – don’t be fooled. Luckily there's this nifty free tool that you can plug any creator's account name into to find out their engagement rate instantly.
Smaller brands should focus most of their budget on “micro-influencers” (5,000 to 25,000k followers) who are known to have a more niche fan base that a fosters more highly dedicated and responsive audience.
Okay, whether through an influencer marketing campaign or any of the other strategies we’ve gone over above, you’ve acquired a brand new customer.
It could also be someone searching for local hitting coaches on Google, finding your profile on our website and clicking one of your lesson offerings. Or it could always be a Facebook ad that directs someone to that same sales-optimized profile page.
Regardless of the contextual wrapping paper, you want to optimize this Pre-sign-up phase so it’s done as efficiently, quickly, and directly as possible by your potential customers.
See why SeamsUp's the #1 app for baseball & softball businesses
The first-time user experience is how easy or difficult it is for new users to use your product or start receiving your service.
It comprises the onboarding steps that help someone get more familiar with the product or service.
During this first-time user experience, your main goal is providing enough guidance on your offering that a client or customer will begin to see the value in it.
Examples of first-time user experiences could be:
Following your brand on social media
Subscribing to your YouTube channel
Subscribing to your website’s blog or newsletter
Saving your SeamsUp coaching profile in their player side’s favorites
Calling or emailing you to inquire about private instruction or clinics
Downloading a free baseball or softball-related template or other resource that you’ve created
The instructions you give to new users or clients will depend on the offering itself. But without a solid first-time user experience, you’ll lose customers and clients faster than you can acquire new ones.
For private instructors not using a marketplace app like ours that automates such things, this phase may mean first introducing yourself, your background, your coaching style, your prices, your weekly availability, and your expectations to potential lesson clients via phone call or email.
This stage is all about the actual purchase of your product or service.
And when it comes to the revenue stage of the funnel, your growth hacking efforts should be geared toward front-loading your cash intake.
When you first start your company or brand, cash flow will likely be a problem – it is for just about every business.
Say you offer half-hour long online live video call lessons at $20 a pop.
But you find quickly that this model isn’t sustainable, and the time or resources you invest in each new lesson eats up your revenue or leaves too much possible revenue on the table to ignore.
How can you front-load so you have enough cash flow to cover your resources and still generate profit?
You could try offering tiered solutions for your product – levels at say $20, $35, $45, and $60 that each offer a different amount of service.
For clarity, let’s number our four tiers.
🚨 Important Note: These prices may be too low for many professional coaches, but they are just used to illustrate a pricing and revenue concept that can be applied in diverse situations.
We’ll illustrate this idea with SeamsUp, but the same idea can and usually should be used for any pricing of any product or service you might want to offer:
On SeamsUp, the first $20 tier could instead be your Analysis Lessons – where a parent sends you a few seconds to minutes of their athlete’s footage from a game or practice.
You use a simple analysis suite to pause, slow-mo, and draw onto a select swing or pitch from that footage while you film yourself picture-in-picture giving your analysis, technique demos, quick tips, or just some encouragement.
This first tier takes between 1-5 minutes of your time in total.
Your $35 second tier lesson could be for Full Remote Lessons.
This type can include sharing actual drills with explanations, and pro player example videos or images – taken from a pre-loaded selection within your coach’s gallery – on top of the same fully analyzed video footage that you can do with Analysis Lessons.
This second tier option also allows for you to optionally write Homework for the athlete to do between lessons – like a doctor’s prescription to get better.
This tier of lesson takes between 5-15 minutes of your time as a coach to complete – depending mostly on how well you have your Gallery pre-setup to pull drills and examples from in single tap.
Consider offering the $45 third lesson tier as a Half-Hour Live Call lesson.
These live-streamed video call appearances – like a better-quality Zoom meeting, designed with features that baseball and softball coaches would want – are the highest level of virtual client interaction possible on any platform.
But keep in mind that you’d have no more back and forths with parents negotiating their lesson day, time, or price.
Our automated system handles the client management – including sending pre-lesson reminders to you both and matching your time zones – so you can just focus on teaching the game.
Of course, such live lesson appearances should be priced appropriately to compensate for the greater time and energy it still asks of you as a coach.
Given these above hypothetical options and prices, this tier might seem like the best deal to potential clients because, for only $10 more than the Full Remote option, they get you live and almost in-person for a full ½ hour.
The final $65 lesson tier would be your 1-Hour Live Call Lesson.
Since this is the greatest amount of your time and energy, it is priced accordingly.
But, if you were thinking like a real buyer, you’d notice that this $60 price point is an over 30% discount on the $90 expectation that is created by pricing exactly half of the 1-hour live lesson’s time amount at $45 in the previous Half-Hour Live Call Lesson tier. And therein lies its power.
This is only one example of how you can focus and win on revenue with a growth-hacking mindset.
Of course, different brands require different solutions based on their situation.
But the point here is that when you think like a growth hacker, the answer isn’t always “raise your prices” anytime you’re struggling with cash flow.
It might instead mean giving clients more options to incentivize them toward the deals you want them to go for.
Consider that 41 percent of an average ecommerce store’s revenue is created by only 8 percent of its customers.
And, after just one purchase, a customer has a 27 percent chance of returning to your store.
Repeat customers are also easier to sell to and tend to spend more on average.
Think about it.
If you buy something from a brand and have a good experience, how likely are you to buy something else from them?
More likely than you are to switch to a different brand that you know nothing about, right?
So how do you retain these valuable customers?
Design all of your messaging strategies in the entire funnel with retention in mind. By strategically combining marketing tactics between online and offline touchpoints, you keep customers returning to your brand.
For in-person baseball or softball lesson coaches, this can, of course, involve being very responsive to the calls, emails, or texts of your clients.
But you need to have this same responsive mentality with all of your social media accounts as well, responding to DM’s and comments.
However, less obviously, this retention concept might mean asking your clients to send over game footage with successes. Or, with parental permission, of course, posting pictures or videos of yourself working with clients onto your social media accounts.
This tactic alone will help send your students’ parents psychological signals that you care and are invested in their ballplayer’s progress.
This can also mean asking clients’ parents to tag you on social media posts that they put up around their athlete’s triumphs on the ballfield.
These taggings will help you stay up-to-date on the client’s growth more easily, but they’ll also send signals to the parent’s followers and yours about how great a job you're doing.
All of these are not only wonderful social proof to future clients and their parents online, but they are also powerful retention strategies for keeping your current clients engaged and invested with you and your personal brand.
Let’s say you’re a baseball hitting instructor who offers both in-person and online lessons, with a sizable social media following of ballplayers and parents.
They follow you for your great hitter swing breakdowns and innovative drill progression ideas.
And, let’s also say that you asked your audience “How likely are you to recommend my Instagram account to a friend or colleague rated on a scale from 0–10?,” and you received a whopping 900 responses.
Of these 900, 350 give you a 9 or a 10 – which means they’re Promoters.
300 people gave you a 7 or 8 – which means they’re Passives.
Finally, 250 respondents gave you between 0 and 6 – meaning they’re your Detractors.
This leaves you with 39% Promoters, 33% Passives, and 28% Detractors.
Subtract 28 from 39 and you get 11. This is your Net Promoter Score: 11
Of course, most baseball and softball instructors live on traditional parent-to-parent word-of-mouth referrals, but the ideas above can be used to take your coaching business to the next level.
And gathering NPS data can be particularly valuable if you have a physical product or just want to get valuable feedback from your current following or audience online.
#Continuously Improve Your Baseball or Softball Business, Coach
An essential part of growth hacking for any brand is continuous improvements to your product. Marketers call this concept iteration.
Hence the second question, "What can I do better?", in the NPS section above.
You should never stop trying to improve your clients' or customers' experience. Growth hacking isn't about reaching one goal and then stopping. Don’t halt the grind.
Your business must keep moving and stay unafraid to try new ideas that may benefit your clients or customers.
Once your brand or company gets much larger, your focus won't even be on acquiring new customers as much.
Instead, your energy and resources should mostly go toward improving your product for the existing customers, AKA retention.
Again, your existing customers are always going to be more profitable than new ones.
Just take a look at what any currently successful brand's website looked like years ago. You can do this by using the Wayback Machine, by the way.
Or check out the very first month of posts on a currently huge influencer's Instagram account – assuming they haven't deleted them.
You're likely going to see a ton of iteration and evolution.
You should consistently be asking yourself, "How can I improve my social media content or service or product offerings this week?"
It might be with better audio or camera equipment that helps your social content or online lesson quality stand out.
It might be learning how to do beautiful graphics on Canva to up your Instagram Stories game or break up a stagnant Feed posts strategy.
It might be getting some brand new baseball pearls to use for your in-person hitting lessons.
Whatever the improvement, you have to keep adapting, adjusting, and upgrading all the time to win. Period.
In introducing the growth hacking funnel, we cited plenty of tactics and strategies brands might employ. But we thought you might like a simple list that you can refer back to anytime with those aforementioned growth ideas – and some brand new ones.
So, let’s go.
#9 Killer Growth Hacking Strategies and Tactics for Baseball and Softball Businesses to Try
Below are nine specific tactics and strategies that other brands across industries have used to grow quickly and at low costs.
Again, some of these tips have been touched on above, but the devil’s in the details.
We’ve discussed how onboarding for your product is crucial for keeping new customers engaged.
Of course, this might be more obvious if you are selling baseball or softball software or hard products – like a new hitting gadget.
But there are still initial touchpoints between yourself and your clients when you’re a professional instructor.
We’ve gone over a few ideas for instructors already, but the possibilities are endless.
Suppose you played at the minor or major league level, for example, and have a bunch of cards of yourself lying around somewhere.
In that case, a tactic that works great to help establish a relationship – and your authority on the topic at hand – is to give all new clients a baseball card of yours.
Your ballplayer will treasure it, and this small gift can help their overall experience and eventual retention with you.
If you don’t have this ballplaying background, a similar idea after your first lesson with a new client involves thinking about who their swing or their other attributes remind you of.
Then, before or after your second lesson together, you give your new client a baseball card with that pro who they remind you of. This shows that you care and are invested in their potential and success while also being inspiring for their future growth.
The time it takes you to think about this and pull a card from your collection or get one from a local shop will be well worth it to have an ecstatic long-term client and parent singing your praises in the dugout and stands.
Small gestures like this help you radically stand out and win over local coaches with otherwise similar credentials and knowledge.
Hopefully, even if you can’t or don’t want to employ the exact tactics described above, these examples trigger ideas of how you might creatively add value to your initial interactions with clients or customers.
#2. Give Discounts for Social Shares and Referrals
We briefly discussed the importance of referrals in the AARRR funnel already.
Referrals are what will keep your business going after all, so don’t neglect them.
And offering discounts in exchange for referrals is a great way to leverage this growth hacking tactic.
Basically the idea is to encourage users to share reviews of your private lessons or any product that you put out on their most engaged social media profile, then reward them with lesson or product discounts – or some type of exclusive access.
For in-person lesson instructors, setting up a referral system is even easier.
Tell all of your existing clients that if they refer someone to you and that referred person mentions their name and actually meets with you to complete and pay for a private lesson, then you’ll give both the person who did the referring and the person being referred an enticing discount – like 50% off their next lessons.
Of course, you can set up the who and how things are discounted however you like, above is just an example.
Some in-person private coaches even give a free lesson – maybe just having the parent cover the cage fee if they’re using a training facility – for each new referral that actually ends up purchasing instruction with them.
Just like everything we’ve talked about, it’s worth experimenting with these referral discounts until you find the perfect setup for your situation.
Just be sure that you don’t ignore their immense power to grow your business.
You can reach one thousand people with a social media ad for only $2.50.
Compared to other forms of traditional advertising, like direct mail at $57 or broadcast TV at $28, social ads can be a worthwhile investment.
Social advertising seems relatively easy to set up and track as well. For example, on Instagram, you can promote any post you make in just a few taps.
You choose your target audience, your budget, and the duration of the ad, then submit it for approval. Once it’s greenlighted, you can track how it’s performing.
But despite this ostensibly simple process, don’t think you can promote just any post and expect success.
Your post should be like any other ad – have a specific goal, target audience, killer copywriting, and engaging visuals.
This’ll be the last time we repeat this, but before spending a dime on social media ads, baseball and softball entrepreneurs need to put in quite a few weeks or months learning all there is about Facebook ads.
Facebook owns Instagram, so to run ads on Instagram properly and take advantage of their full suite of optimizations you’ll need to do it through using Facebook Ads Manager.
If you don’t have the interest or time to learn paid social media ad marketing, but still insist on giving it a go, then please strongly consider hiring a specialist on Upwork or MarketerHire to help you out.
Two marketing concepts that apply to growth hacking are urgency and FOMO, which stands for “fear of missing out”.
While using psychological techniques to play on people’s anxieties is not ethical in marketing or anywhere else, there are responsible ways to employ urgency and FOMO.
You can create simple urgency, for example, by setting a date on your Instagram contest or giving holiday discounts for your online or in-person lesson packages.
If your private instruction – or any product might you offer – will truly be a net positive in the lives of the ballplayers or parents who acquire it, then helping them make a decision to purchase it now isn’t a bad thing at all.
You can’t expect exponential growth if you don’t keep an eye on your competitors.
One of the first things you should do as you’re developing your brand and offerings is basic competitor research.
You should know the landscape of similar private lesson coaches, products, or personal brand offerings to help ensure that what you’re putting out is unique or value-packed enough to stand out from the crowd.
You’ll want to ask yourself:
Who are the brands similar to yours?
What value are they offering to customers?
And how can you improve upon that value even more?
But it’s really not enough to just know who your competitors are.
Deconstruct and analyze the successful social media posts and paid ads of competitors. And keep up with their partnerships and what’s happening around their brand overall, so you know exactly what’s possible for yours.
But, like almost everything, moderation is key here.
Competitor analysis can go from savvy to sabotaging, if you focus too much time on others to the detriment and possible paralysis of your own efforts.
#6. Partner with Bloggers or Other People of Influence
You can also spread your growth rapidly and at a low cost by teaming up with bloggers and other influencers in your niche.
If you have a physical product, this strategy is especially a cinch.
Just reach out to bloggers or other people of influence in our industry and ask if you can send them a free sample of your product with no strings attached.
To be clear, “No strings attached” means that you don’t even have to ask them to do a post or write a review on your product.
But a significant percentage of them will make such product posts anyway because of the rule of reciprocity.
Then all you have to do is thank them and ask if you can repost or make an ad from what they have already posted publicly.
This is a much smaller ask than acquiring and paying for a sponsored post through the normal outreach way. And you got it all just for the manufacturing cost of one of your products – which is likely significantly cheaper.
If you want to dig deeper, this method we’re describing is called “product seeding.” And it’s taken direct-to-consumer ecommerce marketing by storm in recent years.
But how do you find bloggers and people of influence to review your products or services?
A simple Google search can show you which blogs do reviews of products like yours. But if you want to take this research to another level, then a tool called SparkToro is definitely worth checking out.
If you offer private lesson services, you can easily find parent blogs and parent influencers to offer free online lessons – or, if they’re local to you, in-person ones – for their child in exchange for an honest review that’ll help kickstart your coaching business.
After finding a particular blogger or influencer, you can evaluate just how influential they really are with a tool like Klear, or any of its free competitors.
You can also search their blog’s URL on Buzzsumo to see how often their content is shared – which will indicate both their reach and how engaged their audience is.
When you find a few bloggers or parent influencers who seem like a good fit, reach out via email or DM and see what you can work out.
In addition to asking bloggers and influencers for reviews, you can also ask to write free guest posts on their blogs.
Guest posting connects you to bloggers in your niche and increases the number of relevant backlinks to your website or to your SeamsUp profile page.
Relevant backlinks like this help your site or profile rank higher in Google searches, which is a great thing.
On a larger scale from some of our private coaching examples, Baseball bat and training products manufacturer Axe Bat combined two strategies: influencer marketing and referral discounts.
They sponsored an episode of baseball podcast “Ahead of the Curve” with Jonathan Gelnar and gave the podcaster a personalized code to distribute to his listeners for a discount on Axe Bat products.
Growth hacking can often sound more complicated than it is.
The real secret to growth hacking is relying on ingenuity to develop creative solutions to your growth problems.
Always stay open to new possibilities and look for opportunities that aren’t readily apparent.
There are common growth hacking strategies and tactics that have worked for other baseball and softball businesses and we shared a bunch of them above, but remember to tailor your solutions to your unique brand and goals.
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