A term coined in 2010 by Dropbox entrepreneur Sean Ellis, “growth hacking,” refers to a new way of marketing that’s popular with start ups due to its heavy emphasis on rapid growth. A growth hacker’s goal is to come up with creative, tech-savvy ways to grow a businesses’s online user base and digital presence as quickly and effectively as possible. Small to medium businesses (SMB’s) can benefit from a few good growth hacks, too.
Which “hacks” will actually work is something that varies considerably from business to business. For AirBnB, the hack that made the difference was using Craigslist to attract users and traffic. For Zynga, it was Facebook alerts and cheap online advertising. Could growth hacking help grow your small to medium business? Check out the following five tips below, and learn!
1. Do your research…
Ensure you’ve undertaken recent detailed research to be sure you are absolutely up to date with the characteristics of your current target market. Ensure you also know all products inside out. You need to be in a position to best be able to bring the two closer together to effectively maximise company growth and sales.
2. Openly encourage lots of feedback
Growth hackers benefit by staying in close contact with users or customers via social media and personal interactions. Importantly, this communication enables future efforts and tactics, which must be incredibly flexible, to be customised based on feedback. Make sure you are properly monitoring user behaviour on your website. You can then make any necessary tweaks to encourage modified customer engagement with your site that benefits your business strategy. You could also create a rewards programme, encouraging customers to give feedback in exchange for a reward, which could be anything from free promotional products to discounted memberships, products or services.
A popular way to increase growth is to incentivise your users or customers. Dropbox did this incredibly successfully, offering users free storage space in return for referrals. Could this tactic apply to your business? What could you offer your loyal customers in return for ‘shares’ or ‘likes’ for your new product or service? Rewarding customers with branded promotional products is a great idea. Everyone loves a freebie, after all! Make sure to select something that gels nicely with your brand and would appeal to your typical customer. A wide range of branded promotional products are available to order online. You could give away anything from key rings, to coffee mugs, car repair kits, stubby holders, sunscreen…the list goes on. These products, when used, also have the added benefit of further increasing exposure of your logo and brand.
4. Utilise creativity and versatility…
Finally, remember that to achieve growth hacking success, you must be prepared to be extremely versatile, quickly dropping one tactic in favour of another “hack” if results are not immediately forthcoming. Thinking outside of the box and getting creative with your strategies gives you the best chance of hitting on something that will work for your business. As Twitter product manager Paul Rosania told Mashable, the job of a growth hacker is to try “a lot of ideas, ruthlessly optimising successes and quickly discarding dead ends”.
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