Being traditional with the marketing plans and efforts is fair. Most of the business do that as it's a kind of proven and failsafe approach. But, the growth? Admittedly, like a mediocre endeavour, the growth will be slogged as its rusty. It's a curse for the commoners. Yes. Let's face it. You are not the ‘special few’ who showed their innovative edge, have broken the old school marketing rules and chiselled new ways. These ‘special few’ didn't fear failure, and they tried different ways to penetrate into the market.
Yes. I'm talking about pioneering. I'm talking about growth hacking. From adding the secondary CTA to your ‘thankyou’ page to going viral on the web, growth hacking encases them all.
Typically, growth hacking is all about rapid strategic experimentations to find new ways to reach and engage users for achieving larger sales volumes, higher market share and the overall growth of a business in a long run.
Have you heard the phrase ‘corporate accelerator’ or ‘seed accelerator’? Further, are you familiar with the phrase ‘business incubator’? They are not just polysyllabic jargons. I bet most of the ‘modern us’ are known to it. Yes. They fund budding startups and businesses who have the potential, the edge, to grow in the future.
Awesome products need innovative marketing policies, and growth hacking is the bridge that integrates these two. Statistically, Sean Ellis was the first person to coin the term ‘growth hacking’ back in 2010 when he was brainstorming new marketing approaches at Qualaroo.
Yes, the growth hacking existed way before that, but without a name. Dialogtech has created a beautifully deep infographic to portray the evaluation of the growth hackers in the last 100 years. So, growth hacking can be a buzzword to the marketers still date, but the innovative marketing techniques were there long before Sean Ellis.
Let's dig a bit deep.
1. Growth hacking = experimentation = new strategies/techniques
Today, growth hacking and Startup ecosystem have cemented themselves into a single entity. A startup without an in-house growth hacker is rare today. The reason is rapid growth at the initial setup stage. They need jumpstarts and this is true for the both types of startup- funded or bootstrapped.
Now, startups like Acquire and others have an edge of being the ‘unique’ in the market as most of them come up with one-of-its-kind services or solutions. Likewise, Tagove has developed a series of live chat tools to redefine the modern live-communication standards and they needed fresh strategies to venture into the market. They leveraged ProductHunt growth hacking techniques to get the maximum exposure and an incoming stream of qualified leads.
How did ProductHunt that for Tagove? The reason behind the app virility is?
Here are the strategies:
1. Find the right hunter - Find the right product. Showcase the same on their front-page. The result is immediate exposure and a steep rise in the user base. Here’s a nice article from the Erik Torenberg, Founding team member of the ProductHunt on the qualities to be the ‘right hunter’ and get showcased on ProductHunt.
2. Shoot an email to all. That includes your customers, family, friends and everyone.
3. Choose a perfect time to post no social platforms, Q&A forums and on other networks
- Usage of proper images, screenshots and explanatory videos to let users know what you are up to.
Sawaram Suthar, Tagove Marketing Head, says that “We have received 1300+ visitors in a single day and almost 100+ sign up in a day after we got featured on the ProductHunt front-page.” This is one example, you will find tons of similar success stories on the web regarding the growth hacking.
2. Growth hacking is for market evolution
Global market evolution isn't a thing that can be defined in a line or two. Still, the only constant factor regarding this is- it's changing. With each passing day, the global market is experiencing new user trends, innovative solutions, unique product series and the known or the unknown rest.
So, the evolution, the change never stopped, and it will never stop. If you dream to push your business at the cutting edge of this change, you will have to change your marketing approaches for blending in these changes. Growth hacking is the weapon you need to outsmart these challenges. Here is one of the best articles on growth hacking techniques from Quicksprout.
The YouTube Story:
Notably, YouTube is the second largest company after Google and YouTube didn't achieve it overnight. Admittedly, to the most of the growth hackers ‘the YouTube success story’ has been one of their learning points.
So, what YouTube did to become the largest online video content sharing platform?
One of them is the ‘embrace user-generated content approach’. How?
Here are the strategic experimentations:
- The famous embed button which let users copy the embedding code of a YouTube video and add the same on their websites. Video content marketers grabbed the opportunity and uploaded tons of their video contents in the hope of them getting shared and embedded.
- Initially, YouTube launched contests and giveaways to motivate users to upload videos.
- ‘Comments’ section of YouTube is one of the biggest successes. User's comments ignited a series of open arguments regarding uploaded videos. It made users to comeback on a particular video page in a recurring manner.
- YouTube Partnership Program enabled users to monetize their video contents and shared the revenues with them.
- The subscribe button enabled users to sign up for their favourite YouTube channels and automatically have their newly uploaded videos within their feeds.
So, these are the growth hacking techniques YouTube applied over the time to yield the benefits of the evolving global market and become the global platform for the video contents.
3. Growth hacking targets proper exposure
Let’s not dive into the concept. Personally, I like to put up real-life examples and I bet, that define any concept in the best way.
Let’s start with the Dropbox. Most of the grey hairs in the marketing brands Dropbox as one of the pioneers of growth hacking. So, how Dropbox managed to yield colossal product exposure and made it look like almost an overnight success?
What Dropbox achieved in 4 years:
- Its revenue reached $116 million at 2012 and $250 million at 2014.
- Achieved $10 billion market valuation
- 200 million users and counting
- Installed on 250 million devices and counting
What they did?
- Social media giveaway - they encouraged users with the free cloud storage for liking them on the social media platforms.
- Refer a friend - They offered 500MB storage for free if you refer Dropbox to your friend and he signs up. Moreover, this referral was a brilliant technique as users automatically trust referrals from their friends or family members. Only this referral technique yielded 60% instant increase in their signups.
- The 2 minute explainer video with a Spartan homepage.
- Easy installation on the user’s devices and a web browser free sign-in technique.
Now, these strategies were not even close to the existing traditional marketing approaches. And, these growth hacking techniques were new to the web back then. As an obvious result, Dropbox grew to a cloud giant.
The LinkedIn Story:
There is another growth hacking success stories that made great companies greater. Here’s another example that made LinkedIn the first name in the ‘social media for professional’ niche. Before LinkedIn, it was troublesome for the search engines like Google to find the right pages that fish out the ‘real you’ when you Google your name.
LinkedIn solved the problem. It made the life easier for the search engines to find a particular person who was not the topshot but countable in some ways. Yes. LinkedIn changed the rules and it went from having 2 million users to 200 million within a blade of time.
Netcraft says that, the World Wide Web housed around 4 billion websites on August, 2016 where there were only 10 thousand websites on the web back in August, 1995. Now, it's a colossal growth. Millions of businesses are walking into the web. Statistically, all of them are hungry to grab their share of the market. And, eventually, most of them are not going to earn the 'successful’ badge.
Growth hacking is the edge your business needs today for earning that ‘watershed’ moment for your business. It's agile. It's risky. That's why, it brings in monumental growth.
What's your take?
Sawaram Suthar is head of marketing at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.