What Is Growth Hacking?
Growth hacking is a subcategory of marketing that focuses on the rapid growth of a company through cost-effective digital marketing strategies. Also called “growth marketing,” the goal of growth hacking is to attract and retain active users, sell products, and increase a company’s exposure in the marketplace.
Growth hacking earned its name because of its prevalence among startup businesses that need to grow at a fast rate with a small budget. The term “hacking” is used because the methods marketers use to fuel growth can be likened to lifestyle hacks, or tips and tricks to make life easier.
How Does Growth Hacking Fit into a Marketing Strategy?
Marketers can use growth hacking to devise different types of experiments to acquire and retain customers. Through these creative, cost-effective measures that require as few resources as possible, marketers set out to build and scale a company’s customer base and, as a result, the company’s revenue.
Growth hacking typically involves:
- A quick audit of existing marketing practices. Marketing teams should evaluate current marketing strategies to identify what’s already in place and working, and what activities are not as successful in terms of generating leads, traffic, page views, and, ultimately, sales. From there, the team can pinpoint and maximize the tactics that are already working and iterate.
- Do research. This is the fun part. Gather your team and brainstorm new ideas. Research what other marketing teams are doing in your industry to foster growth. Then, create a handful of experiments to test hypotheses.
- Run experiments & assess. Let the experiments run until you hit the defined goals, then comb through findings to determine if any of the new methods were successful.
- Iterate based on the results. After reviewing the results, see what makes sense to keep doing and pivot where methods aren’t helping. The key to growth hacking is to quickly adapt once a tactic doesn’t seem to be working, to free up resources for other ideas.
If you have recurring A/B tests set up or you perform regular experiments and testing to improve conversion rate optimization (CRO), you’re already ahead of the growth hacking game.
Who Is a Good Fit for a Growth Hacking Strategy?
Growth hacking is particularly useful for smaller companies that have limited resources and an even more limited marketing budget. With little spending to devote to marketing efforts, marketing teams can rely on hacks, or shortcuts, to build a customer base as quickly as possible and accelerate revenue generation.
Smaller teams can use growth hacking as an opportunity to think outside the box to devise methods to generate growth. Without strict guidelines or process to follow, lean teams can plug and play, see what works, and then go back to the drawing board if the experiment or ideas don’t go as planned.
What Are the Benefits of Growth Hacking?
There are plenty of benefits to growth hacking, here are a few:
- Cost-effective. It’s clear that growth hacking is one of the most cost-effective ways to build an audience. Many growth hacking methods don’t require heavy investment in expensive tools or resources to make effective change.
- Data-informed. Growth hacking can be quickly analyzed and is usually very data-driven. This makes it easy to identify where ideas are working and where changes need to be made. Data-driven strategies also make it easy to prove the value of certain tactics to leadership, if the need arises.
- Fast-moving. Implementing growth hacking strategies can happen in an instant. While testing may take a few days, marketers can apply the results of testing right away and iterate. With growth hacking, teams can build campaigns quickly and adjust the levers on the fly.
What Are Some Examples of Growth Hacking?
- Referral marketing. Encourage your existing customers to refer new customers by offering them incentives like discounts, free trials, or exclusive content.
- Viral marketing. Create shareable and entertaining content that has the potential to go viral, such as memes, videos, or infographics.
- Website testing. Experiment with different marketing strategies, messaging, and design elements to determine what works best for your audience and optimize your campaigns accordingly.
- Influencer marketing. Partner with influencers in your industry or niche to reach a wider audience and build credibility for your brand. This also applies to partners in your space or technologies that pair well with yours.
- User generated content. Leverage existing customer reviews to generate content to promote your product or brand.
- Social media marketing. Use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to reach a wider audience and build a loyal community of followers to engage with and share your message.