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What Is Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking is a marketing strategy that involves product development paths, as well as rapid experimentation across a wide range of channels. Its primary purpose is determining what is the best and most effective method of scaling and growing a business.

There are certain differences between traditional marketing and growth hacking and they range from the goals, the profitability, and the results. On top of that, growth hacking is flexible and it doesn’t always involve the same growth hacking techniques. 

In this post, we’ll look at what growth hacking marketing is, what growth hacking techniques are more commonly utilized and how you can make the most of this strategy. 

What does a growth hacker do?

Now that we got the growth hacking definition out of the way, you might wonder just what a growth hacker does to take business profitability to a whole new level. 

In essence, a growth hacker has to find the best and lowest cost strategy that’s creative and that provides results for the type of business they’re hired. Growth hackers can be called growth marketers, but their skills and techniques usually go beyond the typical limits of marketing.

For example, what a growth hacker might do is to constantly develop and polish strategies so as to quickly and efficiently grow a business. 

Naturally, some of these strategies are going to be hypothesized, but since growth hacking involves a lot of testing, there are lots of things being done and analyzed constantly. 

Once the right marketing channel or technique is identified, it will remain in the marketing plan, all the while being analyzed and compared with other methods. In a nutshell, a great growth hacker sets priorities, measures success, and identifies the best channels in terms of customer acquisition. 

How does growth hacking work?

The best growth hacking strategy varies a lot from one business to the next. There is a well-known ‘pirate funnel’, designed by Dave McClure, which is a kind of recipe for startup growth and success. 

In most cases, though, and since we’re also trying to avoid overly complicated terminology, what growth hacking does is to get more traffic and visitors, turn the latter into users, and then retain them as repeat (and hopefully satisfied) customers. 

Growth hacking for small business

A product or service is always at the core of all growth hacking strategies. Once you’ve created this, you should determine whether and how your potential customers (also known as buyer personas) are supposed to use it, why they might need or desire it, and why they might want to spend their hard-earned cash on it. 

These are questions that every business owner has to ask themselves, no matter if they’re interested in using growth hacking or not. 

Test out your service or product on a regular basis so as to see what can be improved. If you can’t seem to find out on your own, there is always the option of you doing some A/B testing, which will basically consist of you giving your product for free to some users who are willing to provide you with valuable feedback. 

Here are some examples of growth hacks that you can use if you have a startup or any kind of small business, for that matter. 

  • Online reviews
  • Using CTAs on your social media channels
  • Focusing on content marketing
  • Organizing giveaways or giving out freebies in exchange for feedback
  • Constantly retargeting your customers
  • Offer discounts
  • Use mobile optimization to your advantage
  • Never stop experimenting

Growth hacking strategies

Since this is a rather general term, there is no wrong and right way of creating a strategy for each and every business. That’s why in the section below, we’ll showcase just a few growth hacking tactics that everyone can use with as little expense as possible. 

  • Email marketing

Building an email list is a great idea, and we have tackled this topic in another article on why email marketing is important. The most important thing to keep in mind is that through email marketing, you can receive direct feedback straight from the horse’s mouth, so right from your users. 

Moreover, creating an email list is an effective way of interacting with your customers, particularly with those that you want to retain for the future. 

  • Blogging

Blogging is an effective growth hacking strategy, and it often calls for minimal time-based and financial resources. If you have an employee in-house that can tackle the task of putting out two blog posts about your business every week, don’t hesitate to do it. 

High-quality content can help you rank better, but it can also turn your readers into fans. 

  • Offering your products for free

We’ve already mentioned how important product or service reviews can be, especially for a small business. 

You can supply a lot of value to your potential clients by sending out an amazing monthly newsletter, by letting them try out something for free or by giving them an ebook. 

When it comes to offering your users free things, the sky’s the limit in terms of creativity, so you should definitely make the most of it. No matter how much people might have had it with newsletters, they still like free stuff. 

Here are other things you can do as part of a growth hacking strategy.

  • Join groups or forums in your niche
  • Get a blogger to review your product for free
  • Start a podcast
  • Use influencer marketing
  • Run a giveaway
  • Use SEO to make sure that your site’s ranking properly

Hire a social media manager to keep track of what people are saying about your business or services

Examples of businesses that have used growth hacking in the past

Growth hacking has proved to be extremely useful and successful for some well-known companies, many of which don’t have to come up with new and low-cost ways of marketing themselves right now. Here are a few examples:

  • Airbnb
  • Uber
  • Dropbox
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Hotmail
  • Netflix

As you can see, even though growth hacking is a somewhat novel marketing tactic, it gets people to talk about a service or a product. So, why not give it a go yourself?

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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