Each startup business needs growth – fast – and while traditional marketing techniques bring sustained progress in the long term, your focus is on survival in the short term. You want growth right now. That’s where “Growth Hacking” comes into the picture.
The term “Growth Hacker” was coined in 2010 by Sean Ellis, Founder of Startup Marketing, he says, “A Growth Hacker is a person whose true north is growth”. Simply, Growth Hackers exist to create the opportunities for growth.
So what exactly is Growth Hacking?
Growth Hacking is a mix of creating solutions and opportunities as well as tracking data and metrics. To be a Growth Hacker is to be constantly learning, testing, developing and creating. Using sound marketing skills backed by solid technical skills, Growth Hackers find innovative opportunities to raise a startup’s profit, profile and publicity fast.
Growth Hacking is not a replacement for marketing as there is still a time and a place for more traditional marketing methods – but is a complementary exercise, that when handled well, will provide the explosive business growth that you want. As Sean Ellis says, “A growth hacker is not a replacement for a marketer. A growth hacker is not better than marketer. A growth hacker is just different than a marketer.”
How does it work?
Dan Martell, Founder of Clarity, says, “Growth hacking is a mindset more than a toolset.”
A Growth Hacker looks at the systems in place now, and how they can be ‘hacked’ for better results. You can liken growth hacking to an experiment; lots of exploring, testing, creating and developing to get the perfect result.
Aaron Ginn, Growth Product Manager at Everlane and Co-Founder LinkInLabs, says “Growth Hackers have a hustler-like personality. It is a combination of Steve Jobs like obsession with product, Seth Godin like ability to know people, and Tim O’Reilly like belief in data.”
A Growth Hacker needs to ask the why questions. Why are our customers interested in our products or services? Why are we positioning ourselves this way in the market? How are we acquiring new customers? Why are users interacting with us on this platform? It’s curiosity that will help Growth Hackers to spot opportunities to shake up the system with a clever hack, and find new ways to grow.
Remember, no one ever said that we all have to do thing the same way, and it’s the ones who find a loophole that will dominate the market.
Startups and new businesses tend to be leaner on marketing funds which is why this creative blend of marketing was initially conceived. It promises fast growth with a minimum cost effort. However don‘t be fooled, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to achieve that growth. It is never an overnight process.
Who has used it?
Pinterest, Hotmail, Gmail, UBER, AirBNB, LinkedIn, Twitter, Mailbox, YouTube, Quora, Facebook, Buffer – just to name a few, and the list is growing. All of these companies have boosted their businesses through the impressive use of growth hacking.
Airbnb allowed client postings through clever reverse engineering to automatically be placed on Craigslist to increase their playing field. They took an existing system, applied some technical knowledge and worked out a new way to use it to their advantage. Thanks to the hack, Airbnb has grown 750% since 2009 to $450 million in funding, a $10 billion valuation, and over 600 employees.
Buffer purchased a WordPress plugin that would ultimately lead to over 800,000 downloads and 1.2 million users in just 3 years.
Uber focused on the local market to create a fast growth rate in their expansion. The business that began in 2009 as a luxury car service in San Francisco is now valued at $3.76 billion and operates in more than 35 cities worldwide
And the list goes on and on…
What kinds of techniques and tools can be used?
Fast growth is the name of the game and Growth Hackers use a number of different and complementary methods to achieve this, namely social media, web marketing, blogging, campaigns, podcasts and more. If you are not technically minded then it is worth combining your skills with someone who is, to try to understand the potential of Growth Hacking and how it can benefit your business.
Remember that Growth Hackers start by looking closely at the tools we all use every day. Take a look at the list that Neil Patel has put together. You’ll see familiar tools like MailChimp, Sniply, Unbounce, LeadPages and Buzzsumo. Ask yourself what tools you use to help build your business, and you’ll be looking at growth hacking opportunities.
How might you use it to boost your publicity and profit?
By now you should be convinced that Growth Hacking is a strategy you should be using, not just to improve your business, but to create explosive growth. You’re probably even asking yourself how to do it. Patrick Walsh, Managing Director of Growth Hunters says: “Six months ago I began using growth hacking techniques in my business. As a result my incoming inquiries have increased by 58% and revenues have shot up.”
We all want growth like that, of course, there’s no precise formula to follow. It’s a hack, after all!
But there are the 5 Fundamentals of using Growth Hacking that you can use:
- Set your goal. Know why you are taking action. What is the problem you need to solve or the specific result you want to achieve?
- Decide how you can track your results and test everything you do. What analytics can you use to measure your success? Is it in clicks, likes, sales, opt-ins or something else? Play around. Experiment with different techniques or platforms, or even the wording you use.
- Know what you and your business are good at and start there. You will get results much faster by using your existing successes and building on them, than by starting from scratch.
- Aim to go viral. This will spread the word of your business, products and services. You want your campaigns to be viral – and to do that you want to create interesting content, know what your audience are going to share, what are the best formulas for the best content in your market.
- Fine tune your performance. When you see it working, polish your strategy to even better results. Now sometimes you’ll go backwards but that’s OK. You’ve learnt what doesn’t work and now have a better sense of what will.
In this Forbes article, Mark Fidelman says;
“Growth hacking is the way of the future. Forget about traditional methods of customer acquisition. In today’s data driven world, there is no “wait and see.” There’s only “test, iterate and optimize.” After all, if you don’t build the best growth team you can, your competitor will.”
Hit play on the video above now and learn even more about how to “Growth Hack” your way to success.
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