How to be a Growth Hacker 101
Seven useful tips for the exponential growth of your startup.
Introduction to Growth Hacking
Growth hacking or growth marketing is the non-traditional approach to increase the growth rate and market adoption of your product/service. It involves experimenting with different ideas and administering or focusing on the ones that are most scalable.
Sean Ellis, the person who coined the term ‘Growth Hacking’ states, ‘A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth’. A growth hacker’s primary job entails examining how everything is going to impact the growth of a company.
Find out what it takes to be a growth hacker. Here’s your exclusive guide to growth hacking 101 :
1. Skillset Checklist
What kind of skills do you need under your sleeve to become a growth hacker? Essentially, a growth hacker is a marketer with creative ideas, analytical skills, and a bit of a coding knowledge.
Similar to a digital marketer, a growth hacker must be a pro in social networking, blog writing, content, UI/UX, viral marketing, SEO, research, and analytics.
The primary difference between growth hacking and digital marketing lays in the fact that digital marketing is focused on brand and positioning of the organization, while growth hacking involves the process of rapid prototyping and testing of different tactics/ideas.
2. Break the Rules
The secret weapon of growth hacking is plain and easy: Be a rule breaker. Kind of ad-hoc experiments with a hypothesis and great potential. Growth hacking is all about having the right mindset of growth. Sorry to tell you, but growth hacking doesn’t come with a set list of rules. The job demands you to think outside the box and unleashes your creativity. Hence, we say that growth hacking is all about one’s mindset.
3. Follow the Three Commandments
Every idea/ strategy must be driven by the three growth hacking commandments mentioned below -
1. What does your customer want?
2. Where does your customer reside?
3. What language does your customer speak?
Once you figure out these three things, you can laser focus your target. With tools like Xtensio, you can carefully figure out your potential customer persona.
Knowing exactly who your customer is the catalyst, creating personas is very important, and that will determine the fate of your efforts as a growth hacker. Persona creation is the crucial part and has to be done carefully; it is the base of your marketing efforts. Most of the startups fail these days because they fail to figure out their potential customers and simply target their marketing efforts towards the unnecessary crowd.
4. Give Attention to the AAARRR Model
The AAARRR model is a growth hacking model, can also be defined as customer behavior metric blueprint that allows you to monitor your customer journey and growth. This, in turn, enables you to optimize your company’s growth. The model is not only meant for growth hackers but can be applicable for marketers as well. Growth hackers are responsible for all these six stages in the AAARRR growth funnel. These stages include:
- Awareness — Make yourself visible. Do people know who you are? What are the different tactics you can make use of to get branding and visibility done to your organization? This will point out the positioning of your company/brand.
- Acquisition — How easily can people find you? What is the sign-in percentage? If the answer is anything else than rarely & less, then you’re doing something wrong. Experiment with different channels, tactics and analyze the results. You will figure out soon what works and what doesn’t.
- Activation — Do people have a good first experience? Did they like the offering and the UI/UX of the webpage? A/B testing, asking for feedback and creative ideas should work here. You don’t want to see a high bounce rate for your web pages.
- Retention — Do your customers come back to you after the initial experience of your product/service? If not, then you are doing something wrong with your retention channels like email, SMS, retargeting, etc. and onboarding. The product features may not be so attractive and hence less interest and fewer click-throughs.
- Revenue — Are visitors getting upgraded from free plan to the paid subscription? The more the number of users that choose to upgrade; the more revenue you make. Make sure the product has amazing value propositions, and you are conveying them properly.
- Referral — If customers like what you’re offering, they will refer you to their colleagues, friends, etc. Are they doing it? If not, why not? What lacks the motivation? The growth hackers job is to figure out the answers for all these, like an investigation. This is extremely important, as word of mouth is one of the most effective growth strategies. You might want to ask your already existing customers to refer others and talk about your product/service through some incentive programs.
5. Be Creative — Always Think ‘Growth’
To be a growth hacker, you need to be mindful, creative, and smart. It’s crucial to know some growth sauce, tools, and secrets for an exponential growth in a faster and better manner.
Here are a couple of hacks you can employ:
- Roundup article hack — You might not know what to write about, especially if you’re a newbie or a startup. There’s a simple trick: Just ask experts! Post a couple of questions on platforms such as LinkedIn, and Reddit, you can reach out to them personally also. And wait for the experts to reply. But for this to work, you need to have a strong network and connect with such people in your industry.
- Storytelling hack — Tap onto the reservoir of the power of storytelling. If you can figure out a way to create the magical portion of storytelling, you can enchant the world with your content. There’s a simple formula you can use — Use appropriate line breaks, pull in readers with an appetizing clickbait in the first 2–3 sentences, add an emotional touch, and have a strong, genuine content body.
- Infographic hack — It’s as simple as it sounds. Repurposing the content can do a lot better. Find out your top performing articles and convert them into infographics. They tend to go viral and get more shares. Use tools like Canva or Venngage to create beautiful infographics.
- Outreach hack — These days, you can find anybody’s email id through different tools like Hunter.io, Snovio, etc. and next step is to come up with email templates and automating your reach out through YAMM.
- Social media hack — Timing is everything. Check out what’s trending and try to make use of that opportunity using the trending news, keywords in your industry. Write up an article and play around by sharing it on different social channels and communities.
- 90 seconds video hack — Videos do really well if you make use of them properly. Have an attention-grabbing intro, 90 secs or less duration and strong call to action (CTA) at the end. Use tools like Lumen5 to create amazing videos.
- Community engagement hack — Get active on your industry-specific communities and forums, analyze the content and type of questions people are asking, make a list of pain points, help people with your answers. If you spend some time in such communities, I am sure you will find a lot of hints on what your target market is talking about and the interest levels so you can create content on your website accordingly. Get active on Reddit (find a proper subreddit that fits what you do) and Quora.
- Guest posting hack — Find out the publications that allow guest posting in your industry, see what type of content they accept, come up with similar content, then email the editor asking if they are willing to publish your article. Make sure to keep your email crisp, clear and with bullet points why this article fits well with their readers.
Find out the publications and websites that accept guest articles with these simple searches,
“Your keyword” + Guest post
“Your keyword” + Contribute
“Your keyword” + Submit
“Your keyword” + Write for us
6. Know the Growth Tools
The main goal of a growth hacker is to lower the cost per acquisition as much as possible. Instead of using paid ads, explore the endless sea of free tools in every dimension of your job title. Buzzsumo, Hotjar, SEOprofiler, CrowdTangle, and Snip.ly, SimilarWeb, Clicktotweet, CrazyEgg, Qualaroo, Typeform, etc
7. Knowing a Programming Language is an Advantage
Like mentioned before, a good growth hacker’s advantage is knowing at least one programming language so they can automate most of the boring tasks and do some data analysis and research. Python is heavily used in such cases and is well recommended to know. This will ease the work for growth hackers and helps them with the data they want for better decision making.
Growth hacking is here to stay, and growth hackers are in major demand in today’s heavily competitive market. Startups usually have minimum funding and resources, and they all will be in need of an exponential growth that cannot be accomplished with usual online marketing strategies and hence every startup nowadays will look out for growth hackers.
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About the Author
Pavan is a growth hacker, speaker and a guest contributor to some of the top-notch publications around the world. He is also a DevOps enthusiast. He regularly blogs about growth hacking strategies on his own website Growth Hacky. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.