By definition, growth hacking is a process used by entrepreneurs and business owners. It involves experimenting quickly with various marketing techniques and the development of products in order to find the most effective ways for their business to grow.
Because growth hacking typically involves using lowcost marketing methods such as social media and viral marketing rather than the more traditional and costly methods of television and radio, you will typically see “growth hackers” in the startup phase of a company when money may be tight and the marketing dollars have to stretch as far as possible.
Keep in mind, however, that although growth hacking may offer customer or client acquisition at lower costs, that shouldn't be its only purpose. As Mason Pelt pointed out: “The goal of any marketing should be longterm sustainable growth, not just short-term gain.
Growth hacking is about optimization as well as lead generation. Imagine your business is a bucket and your leads are water. You don't want to pour water into a leaky bucket;it's a waste of money. That’s why a true growth hacker would care about customer retention.”
To be a successful growth hacker, you will need to focus on a variety of marketing such as effective content and marketing copy, SEO strategies and email marketing all of which have a common purpose of rapidly growing and retaining your customer or client base.
While the term “growth hacker” is a fancy description for “marketer” and their job descriptions are indeed similar, growth hackers definitely have their own challenges and tools when it comes to performing their job successfully. Let's take a look at some of those tools here:
#1 Content Marketing
An easy one sure, but one that must be used consistently and constantly. Growth hackers use this method by using blog posts, article marketing, infographics and even videos to create and boost brand awareness as well as increasing traffic to their sites. They then work their magic to turn “tire kickers” aka visitors into customers or clients.
In order to turn those visitors not just into customers but returning customers, they need to be engaged and encouraged to spend more time and money and email marketing is just the tool for a growth hacker to make that happen.
#3 Sales teams and call centers
This is where a creative and successful growth hacker comes into play. Developing a sales team and having a call center can be costly. However, in the method of growth hacking where the object is “cheap” for lack of a better term outsourcing labor that costs little to nothing such as interns or virtual assistants from the Philippines is a great way to help support this effort, especially in the beginning stages of business.
#4 Paying for customers
Even though money is typically tight for a startup, there is still room to use “paid acquisition” methods to gain customers or clients: Facebook Ads, Google Adwords and search engine marketing are all valuable to even the greenest growth.
Affiliate Marketing and even providing some type of incentive to a third party who then in turn promote your product or service for you (for a cut of the revenue) are excellent ways to inexpensively acquire those all important visitors and will keep them coming back.
For growth hacking to work, you have to keep in mind that it is absolutely impossible to build a good and successful business with a bad product or service. When you offer a strong product or service that fits into your target market, growth is inevitable.
Once you have your product to market for, it's time to plan your work and work your plan. There is more to successful growth hacking than just tracking the number of hits or views your site is getting. You will also want to keep track of how many visitors are clicking through and ultimately signing up for whatever you're offering.
Review the tools we've outlined above and know what method or methods you will be focusing your efforts on. This decision will be based on what kind of company you have and what products or services you are planning to showcase.
Last but not least, test, test, test! This is the part of the process that will require the most stamina on your part as it requires a nearly never-ending supply of ideas. Keep a constantly running and updating list so you are less likely to run out of ideas, leaving your efforts dead in the water.
You don't have to have an end-all, beat-all plan set in stone but it is important that you do have one. Think of it as your roadmap, without which you're never going to make it to joke final destination. When you have your plan in place, keep it nearby for easy reference, continuously evaluate and make changes big or small as necessary and you just might be amazed at your growth and progress.
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