“A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth,” Sean Ellis.
As a growth hacker, when you implement a technique or use a growth hacking tool to spearhead a plan, it must be driven by your desire for growth.
To growth your startup or software business, you need to get closer to your audience. Get into the conversation.
Be where your ideal customers are.
That’s rule #2 for surviving in any business – whether online or offline.
Through definite hacks aimed at activating growth in your SaaS business, you’ll turn site visitors into customers, and take conversions to a higher level.
In this in-depth article, you’ll learn how growth hacking emerged, and why you should get aboard and start using it.
Growth hacking is not a marketing strategy per se, but a definite and well calculated tactic for getting a sustainable result (growth). Though, it can be embedded into a strategy.
But before we talk about growth hacking basics, let’s look at the general state of business.
You’ve got to understand that starting a business is easy.
But turning that simple business idea into a solid, and income-generating system is difficult. The harsh reality is that it can be 99% hard.
Do you know the reason why 8 out of 10 businesses fail?
Don’t think that these failed businesses were based on poor ideas. Maybe you thought that the founder didn’t pay close attention to customer service. 75% of the time, they do.
However, Larry Alton has the right answer. According to Larry, most businesses fail despite how great their customer service and product are because they are not evolving.
In a nutshell: “no evolution.”
You’ve got to understand that customer trends change constantly, new technology will always spring up from somewhere, and the world demands that you step up your game.
Unfortunately, most people are left behind. They continue to see the world of business as it was in 2007 – whereas, the future of business in 2020 had already been predicted.
In other to adapt to constant changes in technology, consumer trends, platforms, and new ways of communicating with customers, you need to hacks into the mix.
What the heck is growth hacking?
Startups are the main adopters of growth hacking.
Because it takes effort, creativity and innovation to growth a startup. Sometimes, the popular marketing strategies for growing a business may not work for a startup.
That said, in the concept of user acquisition, growth hacking is basically an actionable step taken to get or acquire more users while spending less.
As an example, if you’re a growth hacker, your primary role is to substitute the traditional advertising (e.g., billboards, TV commercials) with cutting-edge marketing tactic.
This tactic is usually hinged on unconventional thinking and user psychology.
For example, if you were to spend $5,000 on a TV advertising and you hope to reach 20,000 viewers, as a growth hacker how do you spend half (about $2,500) of that amount and still reach 20k viewers or even more?
The keyword is “growth.”
Not all growth are as a result of a hack. For example, if you work hard in your business and continually create useful content, your business will grow overtime. But growth hacking produces growth quickly and you can scale it.
A growth hacker dares. They work extra hard, devising stellar techniques that will spontaneously grow their startup or their clients’.
Growth hackers can work around the system, explore new terrains and question every method to know why it worked or didn’t work.
Although growth is the keyword, growth hackers are 100% more concerned about the process of achieving growth than the growth itself. The process brings fulfillment, not the end result.
Yes, growth hacking can help you achieve temporal results too. You may view the spontaneous growth as a fluke – doesn’t matter.
Benefits of growth hacking
Growth hacking is not another buzzword. Many people might view it as one, but only serious people actually implement it. DropBox, Uber, Facebook, Airbnb, and Hotmail used it to achieve tremendous results and grow their user bases.
If you’re still skeptical about growth hacking and what it can do for your business, then I think these three benefits will inspire you.
1. Constant evolution: I did mention earlier that one of the reasons why 8 out of 10 business fail is because they’re not evolving.
The truth of the matter is that business has changed. What we used to know as business has become a personal relationship, driven by automation.
Growth hacking makes it possible for you to evolve. Because you’ll make use of modern tools, platforms, devices (e.g., mobile) to achieve sustainable growth.
No matter your business model, you should flow with the trends. If you lag behind, you’ll struggle to grow your user base, sell your product, and expand your business.
2. Data visualization: Data visualization is a concept that helps you understand the relevance of data by presenting it in a visual format.
Top business influencers like to visualize what went into the process of product creation, and the results they eventually got.
Growth hacking makes it exceptionally simple to visualize such data. Because every step of the way is documented.
At the end of the experiment, the data are laid out in a visual format with simple tools such as Pizza Pie Charts, Chartkick, and Ember Charts.
3. Automated user acquisition: If you’re still struggling to acquire users and retain them, then you’re missing out on a huge growth opportunity. Growth hacking can help.
Hotmail was one of the first startups to use growth hacking and documented their results. A brief case study:
In 1996, co-workers Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith successfully built a web-based email system (Hotmail). In the first 6 months, they had acquired their first 1 million users.
They decided to sell the software to Microsoft, and 17 months later, they had clocked 12 million users.
You can see how much result the startup achieved in a short time? That’s growth hacking at work. They achieved this result by going lean (that is, learning the ins and outs of your product) before reaching out to their target audience.
The more research you conduct about your market and audience, the better opportunities you’ll have to spoon-feed them the right content and products. That was exactly what Hotmail did. When it comes to growth hacking, “Research is Key.”
In addition to these 3 benefits of growth hacking, remember that a well executed growth hack can give you insights into your user’s needs so that you can optimize your product for them. It can strengthen your brand, too.
The biggest lesson to learn from growth hacking is that it’s never a shortcut to growing your customer base, or increasing sales.
Sure, when you achieve a significant result within a short time, you might be tempted to think that you’ve taken the easy way out.
But don’t be deceived.
As the saying goes, “shortcuts are usually the long route.”
Growth hacking requires time. A true growth hacker can spend 6 months in exclusive market research before executing one hack.
Above all, it all boils down to giving your audience what they truly want. If your ideal customers are not looking to buy a blue hat, it doesn’t matter the hype, strategy, psychological trigger you employ, they’ll NOT buy.
Is growth hacking a proven tactic for growing a business? Share your comment in the box below.