Growth hacking is an umbrella term for strategies focused solely on growth. It is usually used in relation to early-stage startups who need massive growth in a short time on small budgets.
The goal of growth hacking strategies is generally to acquire as many users or customers as possible while spending as little as possible. The term “growth hacking” was coined by Sean Ellis, founder and CEO of GrowthHackers, in 2010.
What is a Growth hacking?
A growth hacker is someone who uses creative, low-cost strategies to help businesses acquire and retain customers. Sometimes growth hackers are also called growth marketers, but growth hackers are not simply marketers. Anyone involved in a product or service, including product managers and engineers, can be a growth hacker.
Growth hackers tend to be obsessive, curious and analytical:
- Growth hackers focus solely on strategies related to growing the business.
- They hypothesize, prioritize and test innovative growth strategies.
- They analyze and test to see what’s working.
The ideal growth hacker knows how to set growth priorities, identify channels for customer acquisition, measure success, and scale growth.
Growth Hacking Strategies
Most growth hacking strategies fall into three main areas:
- Content marketing
- Product Marketing
Depending on the tactics used, content marketing can be a low-cost way to get the word out about your product. Typical content marketing activities include:
- Starting a blog and creating valuable, shareable content
- Guest blogging
- Creating social media content
- Writing ebooks and white papers
- Running webinars
- Running contests and giveaways
- Getting bloggers to review your product
- Joining relevant forums, groups and sub reddits
- Influencer marketing
- Using email marketing to build a stronger connection with users
- Improving content visibility with SEO
- Getting listed in relevant marketplaces and sites, such as Product Hunt
Product marketing includes techniques for making your product more appealing, and building the user base. They include:
- Leveraging the fear of missing out (FOMO) by using an invite-only signup system
- Gamifying the user onboarding process to make it more enjoyable, and offering rewards
- Offering incentives for referrals that benefit both the referrer and the new user
- Affiliate marketing, which will also use content marketing growth tactics
Growth hackers can also use social advertising and pay per click (PPC) advertising to promote their business.
Eight steps of growth hacking marketing
- Make sure that you create a product people actually want by:
- Putting out free content in your niche and sharing it on social media
- Asking and answering questions to get good ideas
- Instantly collecting feedback on your ideas
- Validating your ideas by getting customers before fully building the solution
- Target only a small niche market and:
- Make it an exclusive experience for them
- Help them spread the word within their community
- Pick a growth model that works best for your product
- Go viral through incentivizing the sharing of your product (it should become better with more users)
- Retain users over the long haul with sticky features
- Or increase the lifetime value of each customer so you can profitably buy new customers
- Activate customers by giving them a “happy first experience”
- Streamline user flows to get people into the product quickly
- Create product tutorials to seamlessly onboard customers
- Retain users by combining messaging across channels
- Add paid remarketing campaigns to your triggered emails
- Plan them in advance to switch messaging based on whether people do or don’t stick around
- Never stop trying to front-load cash
- Big revenue increases can be as simple as getting customers to prepay
- This smoothes out cash flow problems notorious with product companies
- Focus on low hanging fruit like abandon cart emails for e-commerce to save people who might leave without buying
- Use simple metrics to predict your product’s referral potential
- Net Promoter Score predicts if people will recommend you to their friends or colleagues
- Compare that number over time or against industry benchmarks
- Viral products need a viral coefficient greater than one to grow
- Keep improving your product by:
- Constantly iterating and releasing updates
- Testing every detail
- Optimizing the onboarding process
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