What is Growth Hacking?

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The Age of Innovation is here to stay, along with all its buzzwords, one of them being ‘Growth Hacking’. Simply put, ‘Growth Hacking’ is an umbrella term for the various strategies that encompass growth in a business. Simple enough, right? Well, there’s obviously more to it than just that, or there wouldn’t be experts in the field. Still seem a little vague?

A Little More About Growth Hacking

It’s important to note that Growth Hacking is an adaptive way to grow your business. A key goal of Growth Hacking is to acquire more customers, using low-cost strategies. Essentially, as a Growth Hacker your job would be to grow your company’s customer base, with as small a budget as possible.

Source: Nopio

The Growth Hacker’s Mindset

If you decide your dream job is to become a Growth Hacker, it’s important to know the characteristics that would make you successful. Since this is a non-traditional, out-of-the-box concept, it’s only natural that you would need to be that kind of person to fit the role. You would need to be a creative-thinker, adaptive to change and savvy in budget planning – a multi-faceted person.

It would also help to have a background in marketing, as a key part of Growth Hacking, is, well, lead generation and client acquisition, which is an important function of marketing. In addition to being creative, you also need to be analytical and critical – after all, you would need to evaluate your strategies and adapt them as and when it’s required.

How It Works

By now, you might have heard about the Sales Funnel, the customer’s journey from awareness to eventual purchase. This is a key component of the Growth Hacking strategy, in that the essence of what you’re trying to achieve, is growing your customer base.

The Sales Funnel, especially in Growth Hacking, begins with Awareness, generating more traffic to one’s site. From here, the goal is to turn those site visitors into users or customers. Finally, retaining those customers for future business becomes the final step in the process.

Source: AB Tasty

Growth Hacking Strategies

Growth Hacking strategies form part of Advertising, Content Marketing and Product Marketing strategies. Content Marketing is a popular, cost-effective form of marketing, in line with Inbound Marketing concepts. Where Inbound Marketing is a deliberate approach, Growth Hacking is slightly more experimental, although both employ similar tools to achieve growth.

Growth Hacking Examples

1. Dropbox

Source: ClickUp

There was a space in time when Dropbox used a referral campaign to generate new business. Remember that? That was a great example of Growth Hacking. It was a simple, cost-effective campaign that offered 250mb of extra storage space for every friend one referred. They grew from 100 000 users in 2008 to 4 million users in the beginning of 2010.

2. Airbnb

Source: Skift

Airbnb is now a global entity. It’s crazy to think they started as a group of broke guys in San Francisco that let strangers pay to stay in their place when hotels in the area were sold out. Something that started as a crazy idea, has led to one of the most disruptive business models in our decade.

They went through conventional marketing tactics, like attending industry events and appealing to early adopters. But it was actually the simplest hack that improved and grew their business – photography.

By improving the quality of the photos on their site, they were able to grow their business. Interestingly, now, hosts with professional photos of their accommodation, earn 40% more than those who don’t.

3. YouTube

Source: Marketing Land

The Internet has evolved so much over time and Youtube has become one of the biggest inventions relating to it. Previously, uploading video content to the internet was a tedious task – having to convert file formats that would be compatible to the web.

Youtube created a platform that allows users to upload and embed content straight away, simplifying a process, making uploading and watching content accessible and easy. This in itself was a Growth Hack; by simplifying a process, one can grow a market.

4. Electric Surfboard Company

Source: Tech The Lead

The founder of an electric surfboard company used a very clever little growth hack to drive awareness about his brand and consequently increase sales. As electric surfboards are big ticket items he chose a few upmarket beach locations in California and Florida where he got friendly with the lifeguards. Once he had built a rapport with these lifeguards he gave them each an electric surfboard to use both in their spare time but also whilst on duty. You can read more about electric surfboards on Beginner Surf Gear.

This achieved two things. Firstly, it created brand awareness because the lifeguards are positioned in prominent and visible positions on a beach, and are viewed by most beachgoers with a level degree of reverence. Secondly, whenever there was a rescue to be made the lifeguards would use the electric surfboard wherever possible which added an additional level of credibility to the brand. Needless to say, at the end of the first summer season the sales of his electric surfboard company had soared by over 280%.

Summary

Disruption. Another buzzword that flies around these days. It’s also a great way to describe what Growth Hacking is. In a world where the financial resources available to a company can determine their success, Growth Hacking provides a silver lining in a possibly dark cloud. Growing a business, whether a start-up or a large corporate is possible without seven figure budgets.

With creativity, critical and analytical thinking and collaboration between marketing, product and engineering teams, growth can be achieved. Whether it’s a disruptive campaign idea or a simple change like improving the quality of how you present your business, Growth Hacking is a broad topic, determined by a business, their specific problems and goals.

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