Growth Hacking In a Nutshell: How to Take the Fast Lane to Success
So you have a great idea, or you’ve just joined a team of marketers trying to get ahead in a crowded marketplace.
The truth is that unless you are an established company with a big budget and large client base, you are very likely to waste lots of time and money on marketing channels that don’t work for your products or services.
Traditional marketing still works for the big established guys, but if you are the underdog, you need to adopt new, more flexible and experimental approaches that can minimize your budget and time invested while maximizing your chance for success. That’s why growth hacking has become such a hot buzzword among digital marketers these days: it brings you the results that you can’t get with old-school methods.
What is growth hacking?
At its core, growth hacking is a method of fast and low-budget product creation that, when combined with testing and marketing experimentation, reveals the fastest and most profitable way to grow a company. Growth hacking involves testing products much before they’re fully formed. This allows companies to choose the most efficient development direction before too much time and energy is invested.
Both the product and the marketing strategies are tested every step of the way. So the product is, in a way, perfectly grown into the market allocated for it.
Do I need growth hacking?
The crazy pace of development in the digital world has made traditional marketing strategies less and less effective for low-budget, innovative and startup companies. Growth hacking is the thing for you if you’re less concerned with methodology, documentation and prescribed a course of action, and willing to cut some corners to achieve the end goal faster and better.
It usually works better in small teams of marketing entrepreneurs than in big, hierarchical and rigid organizations. There are different types of growth hackers such as content hackers and SM hackers. These are specialized jobs. However, the concept is similar: using creative strategies and testing to get maximum leverage in minimal time.
So what happens in the growth hacking process?
Growth hacking is actually a very straightforward process. You basically accelerate the development and marketing process on a limited or prototype level to see quickly whether your product is a success or failure. It gives you clarity about investing more resources in the product or moving on to other ventures.
Growth hacking is a highly diverse and flexible approach. It manifests in different ways according to the company structure, industry and product type. There are a few principles that usually apply:
- Analysis from the first moment. Start testing even from the early development stages. Doing so will help you identify problems and issues immediately as they come, before you become emotionally and financially invested in a specific solution.
- Quick response. When you realize one strategy doesn’t work, don’t get stuck with it! Adapt fast, test different media, market segments and client profiles. New technologies and marketing options pop up rapidly. Stay on top of the technology, and dare to experiment using PPC and flexible media channels, even if you have a small budget.
- Test, test, test. A/B testing should be your bread and butter. Whether it’s a landing page, an email promo or a social campaign, always test and tweak. Not only is testing likely to increase your conversion, but it’s also a great indication of what your clients really want and how they want to receive it. On a landing page, the most fundamental tests are with the headline, first paragraph copy, images and call to action. Testing for those parameters and finding the optimal approach will reveal your ideal audience persona. It can help you focus your effort and reach your marketing goals much faster.
- Make your products and campaigns scalable Don’t put all your eggs in one marketing basket. Be diverse and create small (and sometimes miniature-sized) campaigns that test different approaches and marketing channels. Structure your campaigns in a way that you can easily expand them if your low-scale experiments look promising.
- Smell the trends Modern markets are highly flexible and change quickly. A good growth hacker can read between the lines of data and feel changes as they come. Just as a good surfer doesn’t resist the waves but uses them to get ahead, a good hacker sees change as an opportunity to gain an advantage and achieve what slower, more rigid marketers can’t.
- Focus on niches More often than not, you can gain the upper hand by quickly identifying the unique client typology that is most interested in your product. Niche clients tend to appreciate that you went the extra mile to adapt to their unique needs and style. They become your loyal customers and a marketing force for reaching a wider audience. Many products and sites, such as Photoshop and Facebook, started out by targeting a very specific audience. Later on, they used this initial market penetration and reputation of their niche community to further expand and dominate the market.
Growth hacking is gaining popularity quickly. The reason for this is that in our rapidly changing market reality, outside-the-box strategies and testing often prove more effective than traditional marketing approaches. If you are running a small business, developing a new product or trying to make your way in over-competitive waters, growth hacking might be the solution for you.