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It’s no secret that the digital landscape is competitive. So competitive, in fact, that the rules of engagement for a digital marketer are constantly being rewritten. We are often asked by our clients about “growth hacking”, and have found that there are some broad misconceptions about the topic. In this blog, we’ll focus on defining the term and process of growth hacking, and highlight a few strategies that you can implement when marketing your business.
Think of Hacking as a Skill, Not a Tool
In short, growth hacking is a set of steps whereby a marketer utilizes outside-the-box strategies to obtain maximal users with minimal spend. Growth hacking is the convergence of traditional marketing techniques, digital strategy, and computer programming where the primary goal is achieving exponential growth. According to Huffpost, “growth hacking threw out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable. While traditional marketing chases vague notions like “branding” and “mind share,” growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth — and when they do it right, those users beget more users, who beget more users.”
Growth hackers deal in a wide range of areas including SEO, content marketing, social media, and email marketing, and typically work with limited budgets that preempt them from utilizing more traditional (and expensive) advertising methods such as print advertising, direct marketing, etc. Growth hackers push the boundaries with unconventional acquisition strategies, and continuously test and experiment with their results; they do not fit into the standard confines of an internet marketer, and are not afraid to stray outside of rules of the system – hence the term “hacking”.
Make Your Hacks Work For You
Early stage startups tend to be the main proponents of the growth hacking strategies, as they typically have limited budgets to work with. In the startup environment, many growth hackers build innovative and inventive marketing ideas into their products or services in the development stage, and utilize hacks in the launch process to help generate explosive growth.
One great way that a pre-launch business can maximize its initial user base is to create hacks that build a hearty pre-launch list. Gleam notes that there are a number of great things that you can do with a list of people who are already interested in your product or service prior to launch, and creating impactful and effective offers can build your momentum before you even get out of the gate.
Consider creating an advertising campaign to highlight the features of your product or service prior to launch, and allow interested users the option to opt-in for pre-launch special offers, extras, or prizes. This hack will alleviate the strain of building the initial momentum, and drive more recurring revenue upfront.
Additionally, once you’ve begun to build a solid list, you can create a campaign to get these users to share and refer friends, and incentivize them with goods or discounts if they mention you in their blogs or social media. The goal with this hack is to generate buzz and momentum as quickly as possible, and there’s an endless variety of ways to add value for customers in this stage.
Creative Content Hacks
Marketers everywhere understand the value of utilizing collateral in exchange for gaining customer information. Typical marketing protocol involves using landing pages with e-book or webinar offers to garner email addresses and build lists. However, an interesting growth hacking twist to this approach involves requiring users to share your content on social platforms in order to access it. If you have a piece of high quality content that has proven to be popular and frequently read/viewed, Search Engine Journal recommends requiring people to first share it (with the help of services like “Pay With a Tweet”) to be able to gain access. Quality content can go viral if your tweet ends up on the right social page, and you can benefit from new followers (and potential customers) if you approach this correctly.
Additionally, hacks can be used to craft a top-notch sign-up process for your customers. If someone signs up for your blog or newsletter, for instance, direct them to a great “Thank You” page that displays your app, product, or service with high-quality photos highlighting the benefits. To take this a step further, include an offer on your thank you page that customers can redeem by referring new users, or a contest using the same protocol. The options here are endless.
No One Hack Will Work Everywhere
One key to remember about growth hacking is that techniques are often highly specific to each particular business or offering, and results cannot always be replicated. Applikeable mentions that some tactics are general enough that they can be applied to almost every business model, from startups to corporations; however, “sort of good” results are not your goal, so be sure to specifically tailor your strategy to your business’ specific needs to obtain the big results that you are looking for.
Moreover, be creative in your approach to growth hacks. The goal is to incentivize people to want to share and talk about your product or service, so think from the perspective of a customer and remember to always add value.
If you have questions about growth hacking or would like us to assess your current strategies and tactical approach from a marketing, advertising, or communications perspective, be sure to reach out to our team here.
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