Growth hacking is a term people often mislead in meaning. While very close to marketing, growth hacking has a different ideology in mind. It is especially valuable to startups with limited budgets which want to use marketing in creative ways to get closer to their potential customers and have sustainable growth.
Growth hacking is a continuous process with an end goal. Therefore, the main focus of growth hacking is to achieve growth. To get a deeper understanding of what growth hacking is, let’s start by explaining what a growth hacker is and the skills it should possess.
A growth hacker is a combination of a coder and a marketer. Moreover, he knows how to choose the right channels but also possesses the appropriate technical and analytical skills to get there.
A growth hacker is a data-driven, creative marketer, with a rich technical vocabulary. He combines marketing tools with his technology knowledge to make decisions supported by data. Growth hackers will use software, databases, API’s, and related tools to grow a startup. A growth hacker may, or may not be a programmer, but he must have a deep understanding of technology to be successful. Growth hacking is a cross-functional role.
A hacker is someone who is more concerned with achieving an objective than following a prescribed process. In other words, hackers care more about what needs to be done than how it should get done. As a result, hackers often come up with innovative ways to get things done.
A growth hacker is a hacker whose objective is to grow the number of users for a specific product. And marketing isn’t the only way to achieve user growth. It relates to agile development and real-time bidding, also.
Growth hacking is an iterative process, which requires a lot of A/B testing, to find the right approach in a specific time. Data is collected to show the results of the experiments and those that show growth are scaled into. The ones that don’t work will be changed or dropped.
Growth hackers use A/B testing to experiment with their target audience. That’s why, before they do A/B testing, growth hackers divide users into market segments and then see what’s working for which.
Growth hacking life-cycle:
Growth hacking acknowledges six stages in the life-cycle of a customer:
Personal branding enhances growth hacking. Opinion makers are not the smartest ones in the room. They are smart, popular and people admire and appreciate them. Same with growth hacking. Great leader names enhance growth hacking.
Growth hacking is an interesting trend that gives us glimpses into the future of internet-based companies. The time has come, when there are no barriers between the product team developing the product and the marketing team acquiring users for the product. Here are some suggestions to include on your website, for better growth hacking:
- Social media icons: to connect all your Internet platforms
- Testimonials: to set a human aspect on your Internet appearance
- Brand elements: logos, slogans, company colors.
- Numbers: statistics for more accuracy.
- Home page: captivate users with your landing page.
- Call to action: to inspire desirable action for better navigation.
A few tips on how to growth hack your startup
Use Built-In Sharing
One of the most important ways to use growth hacks to grow your small startup is by incorporating sharing into its functionality. Sharing means that your content can be directly linked to on social media platforms, allowing your users to do the work of marketing for you.
When people endorse something via social media, they are recommending it to their friends, upping the chances that someone new will discover and check out your page or product. One company that implements this growth hacking strategy very successfully is Pinterest.
Pinterest allows users to find content on the site and share it with one click of a button, whether it’s to their own Pinterest page or to Facebook or Twitter. Not only does Pinterest have many ways to share built-in, it also makes sharing easy and straightforward, and people don’t have to do a lot of work to make it happen.
If you want to use sharing to growth hack, make sure you let people distribute content to their social media pages easily; the less work users have to do, the more likely they will do it and the more likely you will be able to take advantage of some free marketing.
Tap into Places Where Potential Customers Might Congregate
One of the most important ways to discover new users is by finding the right audience and where they hang out online. You don’t want to waste time marketing to people who won’t actually like whatever your company does or makes.
If you advertise in the right place, you’ll not only target the appropriate audience, but you’ll also reach the audience’s friends, who may also like your product. One example of a company employing this strategy is Airbnb, who went to Craigslist to find their first customers.
They knew people using Craigslist were looking for places to stay, so they offered a cheaper, safer and easier version of what everyone there was already looking for.Do some research about what places your target audience frequents online, then spend your time, resources and energy spreading the word there.
Since you want people to share your site, it may encourage people to share if you offer them some incentive. Or, you can give your users something nice if they do something extra for you, like a discount if they choose to e-mail friends or additional services if they post about you on a social media platform.
One good example of a company that implemented this tactic to grow successfully is Dropbox.
Under the direction of legendary growth hacker Sean Ellis, Dropbox awarded extra free storage space to any user who shared the site with friends, encouraging more people to engage with the site. Incentivizing distribution is just an extra push to get people talking about the site and, in turn, get new people discovering it.
Offer Free Products that Go Well with Paid Products
One of the best ways to convert a potential customer to a paying customer is to offer free services or products, as well as products for purchase. The products you offer should go well together, so that when people sign up or receive your free product, they’ll also want to pay for the priced product.
Moz does this well with their SEO services. You can sign up on Moz to receive a ton of free SEO tools, advice and information. However, you have to pay for their premium SEO service. The thinking behind Moz’s strategy is that people will be so impressed by the free info that they’ll be willing to pay for even better info.
Consider offering different levels on your site, the free, basic part to attract people, and then a paid version for people once they’ve already joined. The free offer is a great way to bring more people in, and the paid offer is an excellent way to bump people up to paying customers.
If you want your company to grow virally, a great way to do it is to get endorsed by someone whom the public loves and trusts. Endorsements are a paid relationship between your company and a celebrity or well-known expert who endorses your product, writes about it on a blog or social media platform, or even makes ads for it.
Celebrities and thought-leaders tend to have other important friends, so when they share and talk about your product, chances are other influential people will be attracted to it and talk about it, resulting in multiple celebrity endorsements and a huge amount of encouragement for everyday people to check out your company.
Reward Power Users
Growth hacking isn’t all about attracting users. It’s also about keeping the ones you already have. The best salespeople for a company are the people who love, support, and use it. So, if you have longtime or frequent users, reward them with deals, meetups or special offers.
Retaining your best customers is important, and the happier they remain with the site or service, the more likely they are to continue to preach its goodness to the world.