The term growth hacking is relatively new, but has been a traditional practice in the business world. Growth Hacking is a marketing strategy that mainly uses creativity, web analytics, and social sites to increase publicity. Mainly used for tech start-ups, it is important because this technique focuses on the most cost efficient way to market instead of paying for advertising.
Though the term may be new, big companies such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and DropBox all have used similar techniques when they started and are still using growth hacking in order to improve profits. These prime examples show just how important internet marketing can be.
WHY IT MATTERS
For tech start-up companies, growth hacking is a vital tool for success. Of course, most start-ups don’t have significant amounts of money to spend on traditional advertising in television, newspapers and radio so they make use of their marketing skills through the internet. Sean Ellis, the entrepreneur that coined the term, defines a growth hacker as:
“A person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.”
In other words, everything done by them is in attempt to increase the company’s growth. When it comes to online growth, the most common avenues of growth are those such as search engine marketing, content marketing, and social media paired with proper web analytic software. Many of these avenues can range from free to very low cost and are able to give a new company the exposure they need to reach potential customers.
Certain growth hacking techniques can be useful to nearly any company, not just tech start-ups. Businesses around the world are realizing that having a web presence has a very high ROI and with the relatively low cost of online marketing, more and more are implementing growth hacking techniques.
According to SearchEngineWatch.com, 70% of Fortune 500 companies have active Facebook accounts and 77% have active Twitter accounts. And the truth is, most big businesses have some type of involvement with social media since it helps the company reach out to a larger audience, while at the same time being able to be personable with them. In other words, they are providing customer service and marketing themselves simultaneously.
The first step is to put yourself in their shoes. Figuring out what your average customer is like helps you develop a killer marketing strategy. In order to know where best to start, create a customer persona. What is your average customer like? On which social media platforms do they hang out? What do they talk about?
Second, choose a marketing channel that you will focus 80% of your efforts. Will you be using Search Engine Marketing? Display Advertising? Social Media? Content Marketing? Maybe a mix of some of these?
The third step is obtaining the proper toolset. Like I mentioned earlier, using web analytics such as Google Analytics is extremely important for measuring your websites ROI. For social media, I suggest using tools such as Hootsuite and OKtoPost which help managing multiple social media accounts and scheduling posts. The Google Keyword Planner (which requires an Adwords account) is probably one of the most important tools in keyword research for search engine marketing.
Last, but not least create amazing content. Whether you’re on social media or trying to dominate the search engine rankings, amazing content goes a long way.
With the proper research, planning, and tools, growth hacking can be done with ease. All it takes is some creativity and high quality content. Remember, the goal with any marketing campaign (paid or not) is to create a strategy that effectively targets people that your product may appeal to which will then lead to a conversion. This conversion should translate to profit for your business.
If you‘re thinking of integrating growth hacking into your business it’s always good to make sure you know the rules of the game when it comes to online marketing. There are plenty of resources out there to help and this is just a starting point. Anyone can read material and understand it, but it takes true determination and effort to make a start-up succeed. Keep in mind 8 out of 10 small businesses fail within the first 18 months. Be the 2 out of 10 that do succeed.