For being such a vague term, growth hacking actually has a rather specific meaning, and it’s not exactly what most people think. We want to explore this world, particularly by giving you a small business guide to growth hacking.
This way, the benefits of growth hacking aren’t only available to fancy startups or companies with expensive development and marketing teams.
What is Growth Hacking?
Growth hacking is a process in which a series of speedy experiments are used across marketing channels and product development to find the best ways to grow a business. Of course. it also has to do with supply chain management, customer service, and just about every facet of a business.
Sounds like a growth hacker is a CEO, right? Well, that’s pretty much what Sean Ellis meant it as when he was looking for a better term for people he was hiring to replace him. The difference between a regular CEO and a growth hacker is that a growth hacker works in the digital age.
Therefore, they are more focused on finding ways to grow a business by using the actual products. A good example is Facebook. No product prior to the digital age could have grown like it did. Why? Because the product was Facebook, and the product was used as a sharing tool and the actual product that people used.
Men’s body wash, on the other hand, cannot grow on its own. Therefore, marketing campaigns are required.
In short, growth hacking requires different departments in an organization to come together to find ways to grow the business through user engagement. This often comes through rapid experimentation to find the best way to make that happen.
Recent Growth Hacking Success Stories
We already talked about Facebook, but most successful social media networks (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) gain notoriety through impressive growth hacking. The companies continue testing and trashing ideas in order to see how users respond to them. Once they find one that sticks they go with it aggressively. As you can see, much of this has little to do with marketing, and more to do with releasing a product or service and seeing how people respond to it.
Another beautiful example of growth hacking at its best is AirBnB. They started with an email campaign that reached out to people who might be interested in the service. After that, the growth hacking really began.
The company understood that Craigslist was the go-to spot for renting out a room, but they wanted to make the experience better. Therefore, they reached out to people renting their homes on Craigslist, and asked if they would like to list on AirBnB instead. After gaining a few thousand users they could then market it to the world. After that, the site went viral and now it’s an incredible success.
How a Company Can Benefit From Growth Hacking
A company most often benefits from growth hacking by testing out tactics and eliminating the ones that don’t work in one swift motion. This way, you can figure out what your customers want and then when the marketing process rolls around you already have an incredible product to sell.
The AirBnb example is a great demonstration of how growth hacking forces you to get creative. They discover alternative ways to get users, besides the traditional routes of Google Ads and email campaigns. And when they find a way that proves successful, they jump on it with everything they’ve got.
Finally, a growth hacking strategy helps small businesses by giving more freedom to employees. Yes, people are going to fail with their tests, but that only gets you closer to your final destination. Therefore, growth hacking encourages business owners to ask for suggestions from employees, even if it means that they might not eventually be used.
Where to Find a Growth Hacker
The good news about growth hacking is that anyone can do it. Every time you interview an employee they may have what it takes to explore product development, marketing, and growth possibilities in ways you’d never thought of before.
The tech industry has various job boards for locating growth hackers, and they even have communities for these specialists to congregate and bounce ideas off one another. For all the other small businesses out there, LinkedIn is your portal to identifying the people who are creative and ambitious enough for growth hacking.
How to DIY Growth Hack
There’s no secret tool that can get your growth hacking strategy off the ground. If you’re trying to complete your own growth hacking, look at the people inside your business who might be underutilized. Ask them to report to you every week with ideas for growing the customer base, even if the ideas sound a little farfetched at first.
There are a handful of tools out there that can help with various components of the growth hacking process including marketing automation tools (Wishpond), email marketing tools (MailChimp, Emma), browser plugins (SEO Quake, Ghostery) and sales funnel tools (Pipedrive, Base).
You should also keep growth hacking in mind when hiring. Draw up unique questions that weed out the less creative thinkers, and use this to your advantage.