When you first hear the term “growth hacking”, it sounds a little odd. Almost like you’re setting up the scene for a new late-night science fiction flick. But growth hacking is a critical way that you can build your business’s digital presence.
The term was first used back in 2010 by GrowthHackers CEO and founder Sean Ellis. Since then, it has evolved into a term for all the strategies that are used to focus on intense growth. Perhaps most appealing of all for many businesses is that growth hacking is a strategy suitable for restrained or minimal budgets.
Growth Hacking and Start-Ups
One type of business that often benefits from growth hacking are start-ups. Fresh to the game and typically working with fewer resources and smaller budgets than more established companies, start-ups can gain a lot from growth hacking.
In fact, growth hacking can sometimes be the determining factor for whether a start-up company survives through its earliest, riskiest phases of development.
Through this business development strategy, a start-up company can see an expanded customer base, higher demands, and overall increased profits in a short amount of time. This helps them boost their user count and get their new brand or product out on the market for consumers to see. Effective growth hacking can give a start-up the edge they need to last in the market and stand out from competitors.
The Benefits of Hiring Professional Growth Hacker
A growth hacker also referred to as a growth marketer, is someone who uses low-cost and creative marketing techniques to help a business attract new customers and keep those customers. If you are a business owner interested in growth hacking, it is possible to implement many of the strategies yourself with the right research and planning.
However, there are considerable benefits to hiring a professional through a digital marketing or growth hacking agency.
A professional marketer, especially one established with an agency, will possess the training and expertise to make the project effective. You can give them an idea of your goals and needs, and they can do heavy planning.
A good growth hacker will help you recognize ways to acquire customers, set growth goals and milestones, and establish tools for measuring success. Growth hackers fine-tune their strategies by continuously analyzing your business to see what’s working and what isn’t.
One popular strategy of growth hacking is product marketing. This technique involves finding ways to make your product stand out by building your user base and making the product more alluring. Product marketing is especially usefully for growth hacking because it often focuses on short-term growth and seasonal efforts.
One example is giving incentives when someone refers to another person to your site or product. Another option is using an invite-only sign-up system. This makes access to your product feel more selective. You can also implement a kind of rewards system to make the process more interactive and enjoyable for users. Other strategies include affiliate marketing, email lists, and more.
Content marketing is a useful, low-cost tool, especially if one of your main goals is simply to get the information out there about your company and product. Blogging is one great tactic for this.
Blogging is helpful because, in today’s age of diverse internet content, you can find blogs about almost any topic, written by a wide variety of people. No matter what type of product or service you are selling, chances are you can integrate it into a blog.
You can create a blog of your own and use it to share content that others will want to read and share. You can also turn to guest bloggers that mention your company or product in their blog posts.
Other popular forms for content marketing include email marketing, utilizing social media, podcasting, and more. For social media, you might also benefit from special social media management platforms. Hootsuite is one such popular platform for organizing an effective social media presence.
Another useful strategy for growth hacking is traditional advertising. Advertising is an important element of any business. Traditional forms of advertising include creating targeted ads and running those ads through various mass media channels such as the internet, television, newspapers, magazines, and more. If you can dedicate a suitable advertising budget for your company, it will often be worth the cost.
Recent Growth Hacking Efforts
Although growth hacking is happening with businesses all across the world, there are specific examples in recent years that have stuck out.
Airbnb, the global lodging company started back in 2008, is one example. They had an effective growth hacking strategy that they implemented involving Craigslist. The plan utilized simple bot technology and other technologies to integrate Craigslist into their already existing platform.
They did this in order to tap into a specific segment of their target market. They wanted to catch the attention of the people who go to Craigslist for things like rooms for rent.
The Earliest Growth Hack
One of the earliest observed growth hacks was back in 1996. Since the internet was still in its infancy, digital marketing was also minimal. But Hotmail effectively utilized growth hacking through their email service. In July of 1996, Hotmail was first created by Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia.
After its launch, the company had a steady growth of users, but the two wanted to increase their user count even more.
They came up with the idea of a small sentence attached at the bottom of emails sent by Hotmail accounts. It said “PS: I love you. Get your free e-mail at Hotmail”. If users clicked on the link, they were redirected to a Hotmail registration page and given instructions on how to set up their free account. The technique proved to be extremely successful for the company.
As you move forward in your own growth hacking, remember to find the tactics that work for you and your business. No two businesses are the same when it comes to their marketing needs!
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.