Wednesday, February 21News That Matters

Growth Hacking as a Marketing Tool

Put on that ski mask and get behind a proxy because today we are talking about hackers (No, not the 90’s flick that touched the hearts of compuanarchists and cyberpunks everywhere).

Growth hacking is becoming a more integral part of business. Are you keeping with the times?

Why do you need growth hacking?

Sometimes having a great product or service is not enough to grow a company. You’re a smaller business, swarmed in the stampede of like-organizations. What makes you stand out from the herd? We take all the help we can get to achieve growth, and that’s where the growth hacker comes into practice.

What is growth hacking?

Imagine a funnel. You pour something in, and the funnel brings it closer and closer together until it is all deposited in an exact desired location. Now imagine the funnel is the internet and the mystery liquid is the mass of potential consumers browsing the web. This is the base concept, and there are a few ways to direct the flow:

Using your product to sell itself through promotions or the usage of the product. Think about offering a trial or promotional period. What about a giveaway? Do you have any incentives for upgrading a user account?

Using movement channels to get the attention and business of web users. This includes using other products as channels for information distribution. To do this requires understanding what products are in your realm, how they function, and how they could function if adapted. Having said this, it is also worth mentioning that some channels may not be thrilled about being hijacked, which may limit the life-span of your new-found growth hacking style.

Using analytics tools to assess the degree of success in a growth hacking venture. This allows you to focus your technique and repeat your success or avoid failure in the future.

Setting a realistic goal for your growth (i.e., 20% more product sold in next period) will help you solidify and achieve your desires. Writing your goals down is generally a great life practice too!

Push V. Pull

Pull tactics draw customers in so that they find you. If search engines are the modern highways, SEO is the equivalent of billboard advertising. Doing pretty much any collaborative venture (Blogs, Podcasts, Facebook Live) with a similar agency helps build reputability and increases your exposure. Podcasting, blogging, releasing eGuides and whitepapers, creating infographics, hosting webinars and conferences, and using social media are all easy pull mechanisms. Think about hosting contests, creating or adapting an existing app, or using deal sites like Honey and Groupon as tools.

Push methods are more aggressive and typically involve advertising – usually preceding a video or article that the user wishes to view. Someone wants to do a search? Force them to see your ad. Someone wants to watch a video? Force them to see your ad. Someone has to sneeze? Force them to see your ad. Okay, that last one is a little much, but you get the idea.

There are innumerable ways to achieve growth, but it’s up to you to find the one that works for your product. Keep in mind that understanding the service which you’re using better helps you exploit it.

If you’re having trouble being creative, here are a few examples of growth hacking that have worked for others.

What kind of person does this?

The main objective of someone who is using growth hacking as a strategy is growth.

But wait, isn’t that the purpose of marketing?

Well, yes. And no. Marketing is the process of selling a product or brand and ensuring customer satisfaction. This oftentimes involves growth, but it’s more of a side-product and not the singular focus. Growth hacking is the process of creating growth without reference to the classical marketing playbook. Marketeers are more prone to becoming growth hackers, but not all growth hackers are marketeers.

Growth hacking likely involves coding or other API experience; this does not mean that you need to be a tech monkey, but it might be helpful to have one on your team to actualize your vision.

If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.

I know this seems like a bit much, but if there is one takeaway from this lesson it’s this:
Growth hacking isn’t going to look or act the same for everyone. It is up to you to find what works.

Want more from me? Check out my blogs on password strength and SEO. Read some banter on my Twitter page & shoot me a follow on LinkedIn.