Growth hacking is a relatively new field in digital marketing focused on growth.

And it’s the reason we get to see a few new startups each year with absolutely ridiculous growth rates.

It started in relation to early-stage startups who need massive growth in a short time on small budgets but has since then also reached bigger corporate companies.

All Growth Hacking Related Posts

Check out the in-depth list of growth hacking posts.

The full list shows the various growth hacking strategies to help your online marketing company grow fast in March 2020.

A prime example of rediculous growth rates is Facebook. Check out the numbers below showing new start-ups year on year.

facebook historical user count graph

Growth hacking is still relatively new but it seems that every new startup now is looking for growth hackers, and with statistics like above, it’s clear why.

Definition of Growth hacking

The goal of growth hacking strategies is generally to acquire as many users or customers as possible while spending as little as possible. A growth hacking team is made up of marketers, developers, engineers and product managers that specifically focus on building and engaging the user base of a business.

Sean Ellis the original growth hacker, accelerated growth for many companies over time but every time he moved onto new ventures he struggled to find a replacement, so created a role specifically for growth hacking, with a specific mindset for this niche.

Overview

Think about a product which is scaleable. Take Deliveroo for example, The don’t actually own a restaurant or supply food, they just provide the service (the app) which, making it possible for consumers to access millions of food companies. And naturally, word of mouth spreads with recommendations, which then pretty much markets itself.

 

Let’s explain this in further detail with a step by step guide…

Step 1 – Create a product people actually want

We’ve all seen mediocre products being sold as some stage simply because they’ve been marketed enough. But this can have a detrimental effect on fans already bought into similar products.

This strategy today is much harder if your product is disliked the world will know about it immediately and your business can end before it’s even started.

So what’s the solution to ensuring this doesn’t happen to you? It’s really simple.. get feedback!

Getting your product out there as quickly as possible and asking for feedback is key if you are to improve on a regular basis. Start by asking and answering questions and do this immediately, do not hide your product away, feedback is a gift!

Check out Instagram

Realising that their most-used feature of an app they already launched was ‘images’. They then took the main features from every photo-sharing app and designed something that everyone already wanted. This is a perfect example of a company who listened and executed feedback with immediate effect.

instagramgrowth

Validate your idea – 

You can ask people to pay for it.. this way if your friends are willing to chip in then you know there is a demand for your product and also you won’t waste your own money doing it.

Can’t decide on an idea? Why not put out free content?

Social media is one of the greatest ways to get free feedback, so why not use these platforms to share and engage with your audience to understand what peoples vibes are.

Sharing free content in exchange for peoples email addresses is a great way to build up an initial following.

Step 2 – Know your audience

To reach your audience and scale quickly you must understand who your target audience is because by targeting ‘everyone’ you will not win. Not everyone will want/need your product.

Who will get the maximum benefit from your product? with this, you should be as detailed and as specific as possible.

Check out this startup metrics –

  1. Acquisition: How you get people to know you by name.
  2. Activation: How to give users a happy first experience.
  3. Retention: How you keep them coming back for more.
  4. Revenue: How you monetize them.
  5. Referral: How you get them to tell other people.

Step 3 – Acquisition

Check out these engines taken from the book The Lean Startup

  • Viral – you grow primarily through other people referring you to their friends, family, colleagues.
  • Sticky – you create an irresistible experience that keeps people around as long as possible paying more and more.
  • Paid – you spend £50 to acquire a customer who will eventually be worth £500 for your business.

All three engines work but depending on your business will depend on which will be the most effective for you.

Step 4 – Activation

If people are going to sign up and leave or be inactive then this does not class as good conversion. You need people to buy in, stick around and be active. Sign-ups are a good start but sometimes removing a simple opt-in page can have a huge increase on conversions.

Check out these three distinct phases below to a successful acquisition –

  • Pre sign up: This includes all of the stuff that someone experiences before they are opt-in.
  • First user experience: These are the guided onboarding steps that help someone to see the value of your product.
  • Post Sign up: This is all the stuff that comes after to make sure they don’t have buyers remorse.

Step 5 – Retention

It’s a pretty clear message and its the same across the board for all businesses.. repeat customers are more likely to convert, purchase and spend more money.

Far too many companies spend the majority of their budget on a new acquisition. This is simply no longer effective as customers now shop around from channel to Chanel before giving your site any attention.

Facebook Ads recently announced a native integration with Mailchimp. This means you can publish ads based on your email campaigns directly from inside their app. but even better you can create custom audiences from your Mailchimp lists, too.

image 6

Step 6 – Revenue

It’s imperative to have a team and infrastructure that will one day be capable of processing millions of orders, especially when you require heavy investment to scale.

The main key to success is the Mindset! Although certain skills are required, you need to constantly be forward-thinking with new ideas, test, measure and repeat until you hit a point of diminishing returns.

 

Step 7 – Referrals

Most companies now use NPS Net Promoter Score because its the quickest way to predict referrals.

All you need to do is ask people one simple question to measure your product. i.e. How likely are you to recommend our product/ service to a friend or family member?

NPS Definition copy 04 copy

Step 8 – Improve your product continuously

Its only natural to want to see new updates/features etc when you follow/invested in a company. The bigger the gap between you and your competitors the better, which is only going to be achievable with improvements. The user engagement is a huge part of your success… NEVER STOP IMPROVING!

 

What Does The “Hacker” in Growth Hacker Mean?

The word hacker has a few different definitions and connotations that inform the meaning of growth hackers.

Ingenious Hacker

Hacker refers to someone who is clever, original, or inventive. They will use whatever is at their disposal to create a solution that might have been overlooked by others. A “life hacker” would be an example of this use of the term.

This same attitude is found in growth hackers because they are forced to be ingenious if they are going to achieve growth.

Paths to growth are not usually obvious and it takes extreme creativity to find them.

Software Hacker

Hacker is sometimes used to refer to a software engineer, and while a growth hacker may or may not be a programmer, they use technology-based solutions to achieve many of their goals.

Growth hackers will use the software, databases, APIs, and related tools to grow a startup.

If a growth hacker is also a programmer they can sometimes make progress more efficiently, but this isn’t required. However, a growth hacker must understand technology very deeply to be successful.

If a growth hacker isn’t a programmer they will still have to understand programming enough to coordinate others who do write code. Remember, products are now technology-based, and mastering the technology will be essential for growth.

Illegal Hacker

Hacker is also used to describe someone who gains unauthorized access to a system. They break into something without permission.

A growth hacker will not hack in the illegal sense of the word, but they will push the boundaries of what is expected or generally advised.

A popular idea within computer hacking is “zero-day exploits”, which are security holes that create instant vulnerabilities once they are known. There are zero days between the knowledge of the security hole and the exploitation of the security hole.

Likewise, a growth hacker will take advantage of similar kinds of exploits. When a new social platform releases an API a growth hacker might use it to gain users before the API is “fixed” to close the hole they used.

Growth hackers are on the lookout for system weaknesses which will allow growth.

Summary

Growth hacking is an interesting trend that gives us glimpses into the future of internet-based companies.

As this new world of growth, hacking comes to prominence, and jobs begin to open up, individuals who are enticed by the possibility will wonder if they have what it takes to be a growth hacker.

There has never been a better time to become a growth hacker because we are living in the digital era and March 2020 is when you should be expanding your digital marketing knowledge.

James Dooley

About James Dooley

Digital Nomad who loves travelling the world networking while working on my laptop. Life is a perception of your own reality. You have no excuses and should be making memories every single day #LearnSomethingNew #Develop #Synergy #Network

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