Consultants, marketers, and entrepreneurs call growth hacking the best way they grow a business, and some even call it ‘the future of marketing, but what does it really mean?
in this article, I’ll give a clear definition and explain what growth hacking is and how growth hacking works. Let’s get started with the definition of growth hacking
Growth hacking is a method used to enable strategies aiming at achieving significant and accelerated business growth by identifying its critical points.
These strategies include conducting experiments. The teams develop hypotheses, verify their validity, perform tests, and discover gaps or opportunities that make the business grow smarter and faster
What is a growth hacker?
Someone whose profession is growth hacking is known as a ‘growth hackers specifically, the term “growth hacker” was coined in 2010 by the entrepreneur, Sean Ellis. Viewed as the creator of growth hacking, Ellis has helped hundreds of startups thrive over the years using his growth hacking techniques. He is also the founder of Qualaroo and the current CEO of GrowthHackers
What is the difference between Growth Hacking versus Marketing?
- A growth hacker focuses on the next growth opportunities, while marketers are often already too busy with current day-to-day marketing and branding.
- A growth hacker uses the entire funnel, including Retention and Referral, where most marketers look at Awareness and Acquisition.
- A growth hacker runs small experiments; he tests which directions work best/show most potential, where a marketer often works on bigger, long-term projects.
- A growth hacker works data-driven, where that is not the case for most marketing departments.
- A growth hacker has more technical skills, such as programming, tooling and automation.
- A growth hacker is involved in the product, because, among other things, he has to pay attention to the retention of active customers.
What do you need to practice growth hacking?
We can summarize the fundamental parts of this process as follows:
- Objective: clearly define the goal of growth hacking.
- Hypothesis: develop hypotheses based on the know-how and intuition of your professionals.
- Experiments: conduct tests to prove the hypothesis’s efficiency.
- Tools: use testing, analytics, and automation tools.
a growth hacker needs to have a good understanding of:
- experiment methodology;
- technology and development;
- data analysis;
- consumer behavior.
Knowing how people think along the buying journey, how they react, and what motivates them is essential for a growth hacker. Once they understand this, the professionals use their marketing knowledge to find possible growth triggers and methodically conduct experiments to prove their hypotheses.
Why use growth hacking:
The mission of growth hacking is to make businesses scalable, repeatable, and sustainable.
The phases of growth hacking
Growth hacking is all about the process. There’s no point in starting experiments without a method and applying techniques without a purpose.
1. Product-Market Fit
Create products that people want to use: this is the basis of marketing, startups, and, of course, growth hacking.
Product-Market Fit refers to creating a product that is desired by the market and is able to satisfy its need.
To fulfill this step, it is necessary to understand people, their needs and desires, their motivations, their buying journey, etc. Then, it is possible to develop products that they want or need to use
2/Scale and dissemination
Growth hacking is a growth strategy that seeks to use as few resources as possible.
Thus, the ideal way to approach it is by getting your own consumers to become your product’s propagators — and earn some benefit for that.
Perhaps this is the most difficult stage. Not every solution can go viral, but success will always depend on the power of word of mouth What you can do is give it a “push” to make it happen.
3/Optimization and retention
Finally, you need to optimize the solution to improve usability and satisfy users. The goal now is to retain the consumers you have won to consolidate the customer base.
Key growth hacking strategies:
The application of growth hacking strategies depends on setting KPIs, which may vary from business to business. Therefore, each company must think of its particular KPIs.
But some strategies usually work for all types of companies with expressive results.
Companies such as Paypal, Dropbox, and Uber consolidated themselves through this strategy. And this is one of the leading promoting strategies in the process of growth hacking.
Referral marketing consists of turning your customers into brand advocates . Generally, the system works like this: the user indicates a person to be a client and receives a reward for this (many times, the person indicated also earns benefits).
content marketing is one of the top strategies when it comes to traffic growth. If you have a blog containing relevant posts about your area of expertise, you will undoubtedly receive more visitors in an organic and scalable way.
This is one of the primary mental triggers used in growth hacking because it can motivate people to buy the product right away. This principle is based on the idea that everything that is scarce is more valuable.
When a consumer realizes that a product is running out or is restricted to only a few people (or is led to believe this!), they want to secure theirs immediately.
Successful cases of growth hacking
Here are some examples of well-known growth hacks that have been successful in generating massive results for top tech companies:
- Hotmail – ‘Get your free email at Hotmail’ with a link to the sign-up page automatically added to users’ signatures
- LinkedIn:One of LinkedIn’s most famous growth hacking actions helped the company grow from 2 million to 200 million active users.
The change implemented for this was the possibility to create public profiles, visible to people who were not on LinkedIn.
The key was that LinkedIn fully optimized these profiles for SEO. When someone Googled someone else’s name, one of the first results that came up was their LinkedIn profile.
The same thing happened to people who searched for company names: there it was, ranked in Google.
Dropbox and their referral-program:
Dropbox was one of the first companies to use a referral program to make their customers work as acquisition channels. They offered users 250MB of extra storage space for every friend they would bring in as a new user. You could easily invite your friends via Facebook or Twitter, or import your email contacts to send them an automatic invitation.
It was a great success and Dropbox grew from 100,000 users in late 2008 to 4 million users in early 2010! At the peak, 2.8 million invitations were sent per month. Most channels can’t compete with such a viral marketing strategy
Tools to grow your business
The tools you will use depend on the experiments you will perform. Perhaps you focus on SEO and need to use keyword and competition analysis tools, such as Google Search Console, Keyword Explorer, and SEMrush.
If you focus on social media management and automation tools, such as Hootsuite may be helpful. For email marketing, triggering tools such as MailChimp or GetResponse.
Everything will depend on the type of experiment you are going to conduct. However, some tools are unavoidable: you will need testing and data analysis tools intrinsic to growth hacking.
For testing, Google offers a handy tool: Google Optimize. It allows you to optimize any HTML element on a page, such as blog posts, CTAs, landing pages, images, and forms.
Another interesting tool is Optimizely, which allows you to run more advanced experiments on websites, mobile apps, TV apps, and the Internet of Things.
The funnel stages outlined included:
- Acquisition: How you get people to know you by name.
- Activation: How to give users a happy first experience.
- Retention: How you keep them coming back for more.
- Revenue: How you monetize them.
- Referral: How you get them to tell other people.
What do you do to achieve exponential growth?
The key to growth hacking is to test, test, and keep testing! Using your research and measurement techniques, you should continually search for ways to optimise. This requires a systematic approach in which you develop hypotheses and then test them. Hypotheses need to be simple, clear, relevant to your goals and based on data. Like this:
- Because we saw [data/feedback]
- We expect that [change] will cause [impact]
- We’ll measure this using [data metric]
Now you know how growth hacking works. Remember that it is not a magic trick. A growth hacker is a curious, creative, and analytical professional who wants to find opportunities that no one has noticed before to accelerate companies’ growth.