Growth hacking is the creation of innovative marketing strategies and tactics and their implementation through an ingenious use of technology and tools, without the need for a massive marketing budget. Basically, growth hacking is how marketing has been done in smart startups for the last couple of years. Let’s be honest, the tactics are not that new – the approach and the name is.
Two things need to be understood in order to appreciate how growth hacking came about.
- Startups need to grow fast at an early-stage launch phase, and many of them don’t have a marketing budget or any conventional marketing experience.
- Most startups today and in the past years (and especially successful startups) have been tech-based – think any social network, app or SaaS you use.
So think about tech entrepreneurs (most of them coders themselves) doing marketing. Voila – you get growth hacking. It’s about innovation, scalability, connectivity and content.
All companies need to grow, though, not only startups, and the best way to do it is by leveraging online channels as a global platform. Good growth hacking isn’t a fad. You can’t literally hack your way to sustainable growth, especially if you don’t have a solid business model and a good product or service. Good practitioners focus on both steady growth, utilizing some long tail tactics (coming from practices like blogging and referral programs) and rapid growth or generated interest (coming from online advertising campaigns and other tactics).
Before you implement any growth hacking tactics, here are two basic starter tips that will make your life easier.
Understand Your Customer and Your Product/Service
As much as it may sound elementary, you really need to make an effort and be sure of what you’re offering, who you are offering it to, and what gets that person ticking. You need to identify your USPs and leverage them.These are the basics in every marketing textbook for a reason.
On so many occasions, we are talking with startups not knowing who the hell they are targeting, what their USPs are and so on. It’s ok not to be 100% sure, after all, it takes time to gather data and process it, but try to focus and test. Eventually, you’ll be able to fine-tune your strategy and approach over time. If you don’t understand your customers’ needs and how those needs are formulated, don’t even start allocating too much money to you marketing budget.
For example, you have an ecommerce platform and you are selling handmade jewelry. You need to have a buyer persona profile ready before you do anything, especially if you are planning on spending money on advertising. The more you know the more targeted your campaign can be and you ROI will be much higher.
In the case of an online jewelry shop, you know your perfect buyers are mostly women above 25, located in specific cities or areas in US. If you also know they are most likely interested in theater or they are reading a specific news portal, you can place your ads on these news portals and target them by location and interest. In this same case, if you want to boost your conversion rates, play around with your landing pages include the so-called mouse-exit strategy and offer incentive for shoppers not finishing the checkout.
Brainstorm, be in shoes of your buyer and try to understand who he/she is, where to “catch” them and how not to let them go.
Understand Your Data and Analytics
Growth hacking is centered on data. It’s crucial that you understand actionable information such as key performance indicators (KPIs), all your analytics, content performance information, customer acquisition data and customer information. When you start to really understand your data, you’ll be equipped to start growth hacking.
It’s important to know that growth hacking is no magic, especially if you are an early stage startup not knowing your market well. Nothing is going to happen over night. It’s important to track everything you do so you could eventually have enough data to draw conclusions and make assumptions. So, A/B test everything, make an experiment – it’s the basics of every growth tactic and an entry point for any kind of comparable data. If you are able to isolate one variable at a time, you will know what’s working and what’s not working.
Note that none of the tricks will work if at the end of the day your product isn’t appealing or if the targeting is off. No magic is going to help you there.
Being analytical doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Create a simple dashboard; talk with your sales teams and with your customers on a regular basis. You just need a system in place. Make it simple, make it easy.
Once you’ve grown accustomed to understanding and regularly analyzing your business, your customers and your data, you can launch a bunch of experiments.
If you are however ready to launch a proper growth hacking initiative and need someone to help you with it, make sure to check out our growth hacking services or contact us for a free consultation.