Circles.Life managed to reach millions of people within the past one year. However, the service has never been vigorously advertised on traditional media sources. Today, Circles.Life already has 51,000 likes on its Facebook Page and yet doesn’t boast a physical store or a 24/7 customer service hotline to its clients. How on earth did Circles.Life manage to gain this amount of attention? What did they do to pose a possible threat to the three existing telcos, Singtel, Starhub and M1?
The answer: Growth hack.
Disclaimer: This is not an official representation of the methods used by Circles.Life.
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What is Growth Hacking?
In short, Growth hacking utilises a mix of both traditional and unconventional marketing strategies with one purpose in mind: Growth. Every informed decision is made solely based on the amount of growth it could potentially gain. However, this does not mean that traditional marketers are not concerned with growth. Just not to the same extent.
Traditional marketers have a broad range of skills. While they possess valuable skill sets, they are not as crucial for a startup. For example, startups do not need to use traditional marketing to establish a strategic and comprehensive marketing plan to achieve corporate objectives or manage a whole marketing team. They typically need someone to boost growth by several folds.
On the other hand, growth hackers are sought after by startups due to the contrasting difference of mainly focusing on growth. This difference gave rise to many methods, techniques and strategies that are non-existent in the traditional marketing repertoire. Do take note that Growth hackers are not better than traditional marketers. A Growth Hacker is just different that’s all.
So how did Circles.Life do it?
Some strategies were apparent while the rest are extremely subtle. You might even doubt the effectiveness of such subtle strategies. We can assure you in advance that it is effective. Now start reading closely. To entrepreneurs who are interested in building a successful startup with limited capital, use Circles.Life as an excellent case study.
Useful info: Certain growth hacks might not work for everyone. For example, while the infinite scroll function may work for Facebook, it might not perform as well for Google Search since the search engine is optimised for fast page load speeds. By introducing infinite scroll to it, Google Search may very well lose its edge over other search engines. Fortunately, Growth hackers are continuously backed by the analytics data collected. This will reveal to them whether a particular strategy is effective in increasing conversion rates. With analytics, Growth hackers will have no fear in trying something new and produce results repeatedly.
Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Instead of going to the cinemas, Singaporeans choose to watch hours of YouTube videos at home (YouTube video advertisements). Instead of reading the newspapers, Singaporeans prefer to scroll their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds on their phones (Non-intrusive native ads). And of course, instead of going down to a physical store and enquiring more about phones and contracts, search engines and websites are available to provide a pathway to digital businesses. Those who are masters of SEO will be able to leverage the power of search engines, massively increasing the exposure of their content.
These are just examples we sort of get how online infrastructure has created dozens of massive opportunities for growth. There are hundreds of other examples which are more subtle and harder to understand. These will take work to uncover, and that is where the notion of hacker comes in.
With the introduction of the Internet and Social Media platforms, the idea of distributing information and advertisements has been radically redefined. Circles.Life has foreseen that and channelled their capital into the right avenues, fully leveraging the power of social media and SEO.
The Landing Page Funnel
A funnel is done in 3 steps: get visitors, convert visitors into potential customers and retaining customers. This is indirectly linked to gaining hype and awareness so read carefully to get a good grasp of the concept. Visit the Circles.Life website and you will see only the words “Circle.Life”, not with a .com or .net. It might not seem crucial, but having the website named this way makes it easier for visitors to type it in the address bar. Let us have a look at their website here:
The effectiveness of their landing page:
• The focus is on its best contract add-on deal: 20GB for $20. This takes up most white spaces.
• Small menu bar as it is technically not the primary focus in driving conversions
• Find Out More button – the main drive in conversion rate
• A tiny help button on the bottom right of the landing page to provide fast online customer service
• Other clickbait contents that are slightly less attractive are listed below while scrolling down
Of course, the landing page can only be efficient with other growth hacks in place to raise awareness (Step 1 of a funnel).
Nowadays, many experts have stated that simplicity is key in driving conversions. By providing incredible information and ignoring all other fine print as seen in the screenshot above, conversation rate should theoretically be driven upwards (Step 2 of the funnel).
Many companies stop at step 2, leaving their funnel incomplete. Circles.Life, however, executed step 3 in an almost impeccable style. They offer free bonus data for customers who are willing to stay with them. That is something no other Telco has ever done. With these three steps combined, a perfect growth hack is born. Not only does it raise awareness and hype, Circles.Life is also able to achieve its primary objective of gaining customers.
Paid content has been a new popular choice among companies. These companies partner with news/publishing companies or even blogs; to create articles and reviews which usually put them in a positive light. It is a popular method among startups as the ads in the form of verified content can quickly boost their credibility as a service. Have a look at an example of a possibly paid review by Stuff.tv about Circles.Life:
Potential customers who are considering to switch their telco to Circles.Life will indefinitely search information about the company up on Google for more details. These “credible” reviews from high authority sites such as stuff.tv will be readily available in search results.
Unfortunately, content can also hurt the reputation of anyone or any business. Most recently, Mothership had released another article about Circles.Life. This time, the author exposed the ugly truth about its unlimited WhatsApp feature. As stated in the article, this super attractive feature comes with lots of fine prints, to the extent that there is a high possibility that the feature has been misrepresented for months.
Referrals or Free Advertising?!
Referrals system is one of the simplest yet most powerful growth hack Circles.Life has adopted.
This video summed up the creamy stuff in an ideal length of slightly over a minute. Circles.Life gives out free data which is what almost every Singaporean desires. Customers are awarded bonus data to every person he or she successfully refers to Circles.Life. On top of that, more bonus data is rewarded as part of a loyalty scheme. By feeding existing and future customers this information, the news is bound to spread like wildfire. This claim has already been proven by the thousands of Singaporeans preaching about the perks of the new Telco while offering their referral codes to be used as discount codes. It is a win-win situation for all. Well.. almost all.
Side-note: One of the most successful startups which used the same hack was Dropbox.
To sum it all up, what we discussed earlier are just a few of the strategies Circles.Life has adopted. Of course, we do see them advertising through traditional mediums such as banners on buses and MRT Stations which are probably meant for less tech savvy Singaporeans. Still think the Circles.Life hype is purely a coincidence? Think again. Share with your friends and those who are interested in being an entrepreneur now!