Growth hacking is a process of rapidly experimenting with and implementing marketing and promotional strategies that are solely focused on efficient and rapid business growth. The term was coined by GrowthHackers CEO and Founder Sean Ellis way back in 2010.
Growth hacking achieves results FAST, with minimal expenditure. The “hacking” part is about finding clever shortcuts that bring big results.
In other words, unlike traditional marketers who may have a broader view and be concerned about things like brand recognition or public relations, growth hackers are only interested in strategies and tactics that drive growth. If marketing tactics don’t have the potential to drive growth, then growth hackers aren’t interested.
Many companies now have teams of growth marketers, growth engineers, product managers, and other roles.
The Growth Hacking Funnel: Key Metrics to Measure
As we’ve said, growth hackers are obsessed with strategies that grow business. They typically set priorities for getting new customers and scaling the business. Then they develop, implement, and test ideas to help them achieve their goals.
A key part of planning any marketing strategy is deciding how to measure success. Many growth hackers focus on “pirate metrics”, so-called because of their initials: AARRR. Fun, right?
Effective, too. It stands for the five stages of the growth hacking funnel:
- Acquisition: getting new customers
- Activation: convincing customers to use the product
- Retention: keeping customers and reducing churn
- Revenue: making money
- Referral: getting other people to refer new customers
Before You Begin: Foundations for Success
Before you can start growth hacking your business, there are a couple of foundations you need to put in place.
Who Are Your Customers? What Do They Want?
For a start, it’s essential to look after the product-market fit. In other words, you need to have an awesome product and make sure that it meets your customer’s needs.
To do that, you’ll need to understand your customers. That means knowing:
- Their age, gender, education, and other demographic data
- Where other than your website, they go for information
- What their values are, as well as their goals, challenges, and the pain points your product can solve
(Advanced Tip: Use our Lead Hunter Tool to bypass all these steps)
Is Your Site Assisting Conversions?
The conversion-centered design is another important aspect of hacking your marketing. That means making it easy for visitors to:
- Find the information needed to take the next step in their interaction with you
- Have a chance to engage with you
- See the social proof that establishes your expertise and authority
(Advanced Tip: Use our Lead Capture Tool to bypass all these steps)
Now, let’s look at some strategies and tactics that are proven to work.
1. Use Exit Intent to Hack Your Email List Growth
Email marketing has an amazing ROI. According to email marketing research and statistics, a $1 investment will bring $44 in revenue. That’s why it’s so important for growth to build your email list.
One reason why email marketing is a great hack is that you don’t have to spend a dime to get started. As you’ll see in the section on growth hacking tools, there are tools you can use for free until you get large enough to upgrade.
But it can take a while to grow your email list.
That’s where our first growth hack comes in. You can skyrocket your email list with an exit-intent popup linked to a lead magnet. Here’s an example:
A lead magnet is an incentive that you’ll offer your visitors in exchange for sharing their contact information with you. Lead magnets are often downloadable content, such as checklists, worksheets, reports, and ebooks.
2. Offer Discounts for Social Shares
As a growth hacker, you can’t ignore the potential of the millions of social media users around the globe.
Using your own social networks to let people know about your products and services can help you get new leads and sales via word of mouth and social shares.
But while some people may respond to a simple request, most will be more interested if there’s some payoff for them. Offering a reward for social sharing can give your brand viral potential.
Groupon knows how to nail this strategy. In fact, it’s almost a “carrot and stick” approach. The carrot is a good deal and the stick? Well, those who don’t share may miss out on the deal.
3. Make Onboarding a Game
Gamifying onboarding is a great growth hacking tactic that many companies use. There are a couple of ways this can help you grow.
First, you can reward users for successfully using the product, keeping them interested and making it more likely they’ll stick around. Second, you can reward them for getting other users to sign up, which helps your business grow faster.
That’s the strategy Dropbox used, letting users unlock additional storage after completing certain milestones, such as uploading content and sharing on social media to attract new users.
4. Run a Competition
You can’t beat contests as a tool for raising awareness about your company’s products and services. It turns out that they’re seriously effective!
A contest gives you a double win. If you give an account as a prize, you get a new user, plus you get the word out to people who could become customers. You know for sure they’re interested if they’re trying to win a free account.
So, how can you implement this strategy? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Offer an account as a prize for a Twitter contest in a simple sweepstake. Ensure your contest complies with Twitter’s promotion rules.
Images work well on Facebook, so share an image relevant to your product or service, and request likes or comments in exchange for contest entries. Be sure to read Facebook’s contest promotion rules
Use Instagram for a themed content contest, linked to a hashtag, where users tag your Instagram profile.
5 Ask for feedback.
There’s no better way to figure out what’s working in your business and what’s not than by asking your customers directly. There’s always room for improvement in your business and of course improving your customer service or user experience can really boost your sales.
Kennedy Blue uses a popup on its site to ask customers for feedback.