Definition of Growth Hacking
The most simple definition for growth hacking is the practice of finding ways how to achieve ridiculous growth rates and increase customer base through inexpensive and innovative means.
It is all about thinking up strategies of how to get clients to your website. This sounds simple enough, but the question remains: How is this different from normal marketing and how does it work?
The concept might be a bit difficult to understand at first, which is why we are going to break it down here.
Before we get into more detail about this concept however, it is important to keep in mind the following points:
- The term ‘Growth Hacking’ is only 7 years old
- It was coined by Sean Ellis in 2010, when trying to come up with a new job description.
- Growth hacking is different from marketing: a growth hacker does not care about budgets, expenses, conversions like normal marketers
- It uses analytical, inexpensive, creative and innovative ways to increase growth
- Growth hacking can be done by anyone, as long as the main focus is growth
Qualities of a Growth Hacker
Simply put, a growth hacker:
- Is a creative, open-minded person who is focused on growth and addicted to his metrics;
- Works in small iterations, repeats what gives him positive results, while at the same time constantly pivots and looks for new ways to improve his metrics;
- Only cares about growth and will act in accordance to what will bring him the best results. As Sean Ellis himself puts it, a growth hacker is “a person whose true north is growth”;
- Operates in different areas in the field of online marketing, including social media, SEO, content marketing, and email marketing;
- Observes his customers and demographics to understand what his next strategy should be.
Growth Hacking and Startup Culture
You might have heard this concept mentioned in relation to the ‘startup culture’.
This is because this method is very often used by new companies that want to boost their growth asap at little cost.
Although growth hacking can be used by any company, it is mostly used by startup companies for the reason that they usually do not have big marketing budgets.
In fact, growth hacking is the primary reason why we see a lot of startup companies that get a lot of growth in a short amount of time.
Dropbox, for example, was one of Sean Ellis’ startup projects that achieved accelerated growth through growth hacking.
Implementing Growth Hacking
Growth hacking is all about scalability. You have to create a product that is scalable, predictable and repeatable.
Learning how to implement growth hacking is not as much as adhering to step-by-step instructions, but it is rather understanding what the thinking process needs to be.
The reason for this is very simple: every company is different and requires a different approach.
However, the aim for any company looking to implement growth hacking is always to reach as many customers as possible and to prompt them to try its product, without spending a fortune.
This can be done in different ways but before promoting your product, first you have to make sure that you are providing a good product.
Once you have a good product, then you can move on to inviting people to try it out and give feedback.
This always involves some creativity on the part of the growth hacker – remember we said that his job is to think outside of the box.
The Thought Process behind Growth Hacking
Neil Patel gives the example of growth hacking done “offline” to illustrate the kind of thought process that goes behind growth hacking.
He shows how companies can be wise about reaching a large audience by using McDonald’s use of billboards at every interstate highway exit in 1950.
The idea here is to show that the people behind the operations saw the potential of interstate highways as being great locations to reach customers in large quantities – and the best part of all this is that it didn’t cost them a pretty penny.
Dropbox – The Classic Example of Growth Hacking
Take file hosting services that provide cloud storage such as Dropbox.
Instead of spending a ridiculous amount of money on advertising, they came up with the idea of offering extra storage space to users who refer the service to their friends.
As one can imagine, their referrals skyrocketed, with them hardly breaking a sweat.
Moreover, they invest in server space according to their client’s exigencies, ensuring that no unnecessary costs are incurred, providing disk space at a monthly or annual fee.
Another great example of growth hacking is Uber. This taxi service relies completely on its users and their personal cars.
Regular people pick up others at a location and drop them at another, and the payment is channelled through the app.
Guidelines for Growth Hacking
Although as we said before, every company is different, there are important guidelines that every company should follow:
Come up with a good product
Regardless of the amount of growth hacking and advertising you do, if the product is not good, it will all be in vain.
A couple of bad reviews can cause serious impact on your campaign.
Choose your audience
Do not try to target everyone. Identify the type of audience that would most benefit of your product and focus on reaching out to them.
Put your product out there and get feedback
Do not sit around waiting for the opportune time to introduce your product to the market or wait until it is perfect. It will never be perfect – it will always need changing and updating.
And the best way to modify and improve your product is by understand what people like/dislike about it and what they want.
You’d be surprised how the improvements that can be made to the product would not have occurred to you had you not received feedback from your potential customers.
Moreover, constantly updating your product to meet customer satisfaction increases trust and reliability, while simultaneously gaining exposure.
With every update made, you get more and more exposure.
Get visitors to your website on different platforms
Reach your audiences by:
1. Sharing your product and inviting people to like it on social media platforms such as facebook, instagram and twitter;
2. Uploading videos on youtube and share them on social media;
3. Implementing SEO strategies when building your website and generating content.
All these options not only bring great results, but more importantly, they do not require a hefty budget to do so.
Observe your customers
This is extremely important to understand what patterns your users follow so that you are able to make improvements according to those patterns.The aim is not just for the users to sign up/download or try your product. Ultimately what is really important is long-term engagement.
If users stop engaging with your service, it shows that they are not finding it useful or interesting. Conversion optimization is a crucial aspect of growth hacking that needs to be constant.
Do not forget to be innovative. Do not be scared to experiment and see what works best for you.
This is what we do here at ANCHOVY.
If you would like to enquire more about growth hacking or require help with implementing such strategies, do not hesitate to get in touch with us 🙂