We have all heard this “buzzword” in thousands of articles, marketing blogs, big shot editorials, YouTube videos and even books. What does it really mean to growth hack? What are the chances that a growth hacking strategy can actually succeed?
I have been in the industry now for over 15 years going on 16 in January 2019, and I have seen an evolution of trends through out my many years in marketing.
The Early Days
From the early days marketing was a mix of two main objectives, PR and low-cost high return media buying at scale. Marketing was seen as a objective to “spend” more to “gain” more with a mix of good PR with the hopes that it did not bring in any bad publicity.
The Internet changed it all, It created a level playing field that allowed both small to large companies to market, brand and scale their business at a lower cost. The only problem with this scale is throughout the years the cost and efforts of marketing online has increased based on demand and competition. Making the customer acquisition cost more costly then it was 15 years ago, this is something many smaller companies deal with in its decision of weather or not online marketing is a good investment.
It’s Gorilla Marketing all over again
This is were “growth hacking” takes its roots, it’s another form of what gorilla marketing was in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Growth hacking is essentially the “creative” abilities to optimize every aspect of a customer’s journey at a lower cost. Investing only in aspects that can help the customer make a faster purchase decision using PR, media, social media and other offline methods that power online efforts.
One of my favorite examples I like to use is that of the Zapier campaign. Zapier is a tool that help marketers, entrepreneurs’ and developers alike connect various business software to help automate tasks. The objective of Zapier was clear in helping a business automate and within this they saw in opportunity with search engine optimization to create many landing pages that showed the power of Zapier when someone searched on “how to” automate or connect certain application. For example, you want an easier method to connect your website form to Salesforce, Zapier created landing pages that showed how Zapier can help them accomplish this with just a few clicks.
Another favorite of mine is PayPal. PayPal used referral marketing and paid their users to become their private sales force. Offering $10 per sign up meant that your next purchase or money you owed a friend would be cheaper by $10 if you sent them the money via PayPal, in turn the friend would also have to sign up in order to receive the money and they would also make $10. Pretty sweet deal, although their cost per acquisition was higher and at a loss, they gained massive popularity and it became an investment towards its growth and future.
How to implement in your business
Growth hacking is a great strategy for growth, being creative is the key to its success. Weather you have a team or you’re a solopreneur you can accomplish a great growth campaign simply by thinking about the following;
1. What are some ways you can use your current customer base to acquire new customers?
2. What local, regional or national events can your company participate in that can help in branding, and press?
3. What incentives can you offer students? How about grants and scholarships? Figure out ways that you can impact your industries future growth.
4. Have data? Interesting data points can help you gain massive exposure in regional and national media.
5. Make a free tool or guide. Do you have a tool your developers can create? Can your copywriters create a detailed guide? These two strategies can massively help your brand with SEO, PR and opportunities to gain new customers. (For the Guide check out Brian Dean’s Skyscraper Technique)
6. Social Media – Social may not have direct impact on your ROI but it can help in branding your business and increasing traffic, Try creating a product feed of your blogs or how about joining relevant Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Or making your own.
7. Email still works – Email has a way to increase the potential of purchase decisions and even increase your customers lifetime value. Plan on building a stronger email list, Check out Russel Brunson on this topic.
8. How are your customers interacting within your website? Using behavior analytics applications like HotJar, or FullStory can help you gain understanding of your user’s website engagement. This can help identify many ways to get a customer closer to the purchase and remove clutter that can be causing your customers not to buy.
9. Use YouTube & Vimeo. Video is visual tool that allows you to create content that can build customer trust. Create videos that teaches, explains and answers questions your customers may have. This is a sure-fire way to gain publicity for your business at a lower cost.
10. Podcasting works – Many industries have influencers currently podcasting within your industry, Contact them and offer your expertise for their show. Smaller podcasters will jump quicker on your offer than larger audience influencers but with follow-up you can gain exposure to all of their current audience with just sharing some advice and tips.
Growth may seem like a buzz word but with the right deployment it can produce more traffic, branding and opportunity for your business. Challenge yourself to implement some of these strategies and monitor your results. You will be impressed with its outcome.