How to Build Your Business Fast with Growth Hacking
- What's growth hacking?
- How is growth hacking different from traditional marketing?
- How can I find my growth hack?
Even if you're new to growth hacking, you probably already have a hunch about what it is. Or more specifically, what it does.
Growth hacking is all about - you guessed it - growth. It's a marketing style where every tactic is geared toward rapidly building a business.
You've probably seen a growth hack (or even been influenced by one) without knowing it. In fact, you may have used a growth hack in your own marketing without realizing you were doing it. Ready to see if you can spot one?
Is this a growth hack?
- An email provider company, Free2Email, places a download link for their app at the bottom of every email their customers send. (Yes)
- Free2Email's automatic email signature is their growth hack. It gives people already using their email service an easy way to tell friends about it. This essentially turns their current customers into their advertisers and recruiters.
Growth hacking started as a love child between developers and marketers.
These were people who wanted to promote their startups quickly but didn't have a large advertising budget or any traditional training.
Today, it's something that can be used by anyone. Though it helps for you (or someone on your team) to have technical expertise, growth hacking is really about having the right mindset.
This isn't about a structured set of rules and steps. Instead, you need to think about growth all the time... preferably as soon as your business idea comes down from Idea Heaven.
That way, you can find low-cost loopholes that can help you get more customers -fast. Let's check out which tactics growth hackers use and which ones traditional marketers rely on.
- Commercials and Print Ads
- Media Planning
- Press Releases
- Data Analytics
- Blogs, Content Marketing
- Platform APIs
- Search Engine Marketing
- Referral platform
The traditional marketing tactics often require a larger ad budget and planning. The growth hacking tactics are low-cost and usually fairly flexible.
A lot of well-known companies used growth hacking back in their not-so-well-known days, and not all of them relied on heavy technical expertise.
For example, the creators of email organizer Mailbox App made a public waiting list for their product, which soon had over 1 million people on it.
And in 2012, online marketplace Etsy added "Pin It" buttons to its site so people could easily share Etsy items on Pinterest. This helped Etsy sellers promote their shops and Pinterest users realize each item was for sale.
The Etsy story shows how growth hacking isn't passive: You need to find and join the communities your customers are in. Let's take a closer look at how Etsy did this.
Etsy noticed that many of their members were active Pinterest users, and would pin items they found on Etsy to their Pinterest boards.
This inspired them to add the "Pin It" button, helping people share items on Pinterest with just one click. It also helped Etsy's sellers, as each pin or post would include the seller's name and a link to purchase the item on Etsy.
As more shoppers and sellers pinned items found on Etsy, the marketplace became a top source of pins on Pinterest - which introduced new people to Etsy every day.
Etsy encouraged the Pinterest cross-pollination further by giving their sellers tips and tricks on how they could use the social network to promote their shops and showcase their items for sale.
They also started a curated "Guest Pinner" series on their own Pinterest page, featuring sellers, influencers, and brands. This kept Etsy's audience engaged and raised interest in the platform.
Growth hacking is all about finding opportunities to tell your customers about your business. Let's make a list of some of the growth hacks that might be right for you.
- Add a referral code to emails that gives customers discounts for referrals.
- Email purchase receipts with links to your social profiles or newsletter.
- Create rewards to get your customers to sign up for your email list.
- Give customers a discount if they share your business on social media
- Engage with competitors’ followers who you want as customers
- Add a share button by your products or quotable parts of your blog posts.
- Offer a valuable branded service to attendees (ex: free shuttles)
- Live blog the event for people who couldn’t attend
- Partner with an industry expert and host a meet and greet at the event.
References: Google Webmasters, Think With Google, Google Primer