The term growth hacking, invented by start-up marketing expert Sean Ellis, has been catapulted to popularity since it was featured on his pioneering article in 2010. Its impact was so big that hundreds of ‘growth hackers’ have been hired since the launch of the article and there now is a yearly growth hacking conference in the US. It is one of the marketing industry’s favourite buzzwords, but what exactly is growth hacking and how can you use it to your benefit?
What is growth hacking?
Start-up firms traditionally hire marketing experts, who are expected to help the company grow using innovative marketing techniques. However, someone with a marketing degree is not necessarily an expert in growing companies or the realm of digital marketing. Invoking and experimenting with growth also requires a tremendous amount of effort and dedication, leaving no time for regular marketing tasks. This is especially true in the technology industry, which make up the bulk of start-ups. Extensive knowledge about digital marketing, coding and analytics is required to effectively explore, monitor and invoke growth.
A growth hacker is someone hired with the sole purpose of nurturing growth. Every decision this person makes is with the purpose of bringing about growth. There should be no distractions in place, such as regular marketing tasks which are typically done because they’ve always been done. Growth hackers rapidly conduct experiments to find out which growth strategy works best. Progress is constantly measured and proved using tangible data derived from analytics.
Growth hacking is especially popular with start-ups and entrepreneurs as they don’t have the resources to implement a big marketing campaign, or the luxury of time to wait for the day the secret to growth has finally been discovered. Successful companies like Twitter and Airbnb were once start-ups too, and part of their huge growth and rise in popularity can be attributed to the use of growth hacking techniques, which you can find out more about here. Although it is most often used by start-ups, any company seeking rapid growth can benefit from growth hacking.
Why practice growth hacking?
Growth hackers are primarily concerned with a company’s websites, as this is the main or often the only touch point with potential customers. The idea is to grow a company by improving the customer conversion rate. This means drawing more visitors to your website, who can eventually convert into active members. Conversion can be measured by various metrics, such as a member registration, a purchase, a newsletter sign-up or the submission of user-generation content. This will lead to user retention, which eventually leads to user referral and an increase in revenue. In other words: growth!
Do you have what it takes to be a growth hacker?
If growing a company was easy, everyone would be a successful entrepreneur today. Growth is elusive and timeless – every business wants to keep developing, no matter how old or young.
In order to grow, you need to experiment. Growth hackers must be creative, and possess the ability to twist and turn the current state of affairs to test how various changes influence business. They spend a lot of time brainstorming and hypothesizing. Also, growth hackers should be patient and able to learn from their mistakes. Experiments will have to be tweaked and refined until a working method has been discovered – a lengthy progress with no clear end in sight.
In order to detect changes and to measure success or failure you need tangible data. Growth hacking requires knowledge of analytics, including A/B testing, and the ability to see patterns and opportunity using logical thinking. Basic coding knowledge can be useful to successfully communicate with web developers.
As you can see, growth hacking requires a vast and specific skill set. However, with patience and dedication you too can learn to be an effective growth hacker.
How to practice growth hacking: 7 simple steps
These simple steps will help you get started with growth hacking.
- Establish a solid tool set
Find the analytics that work for you. Access to comprehensive data is a must in growth hacking.
- Start with gathering data
Do a thorough audit and identify your current strengths and weaknesses. Spot recurring trends. Record the status quo in a report.
- Know who your customers are
Understand your target market. How do they find you? What channels do they use?
- Experiment & Test
Experiment with content, user-interface, marketing channels: anything that influences customer interaction. Use data to support your findings. What makes users spend more time on your website? Do they come back? Do they convert?
- Optimize, optimize, optimize
Tweak your experiments, building on strengths and removing weaknesses as you learn from mistakes.
- Implement Change & Monitor
Implement the most successful experiments and continue to monitor results: by now you should start to see growth!
There are many ways to practice growth hacking using a variety of different tools and methods, including using social influencers and leveraging your business network. We hope you feel inspired to begin experimenting an optimizing to find the strategies that work best for your company.
Disclaimer: This article was first posted on https://www.compassoffices.com/en/about-us/blogs/growth-hacking-your-business/