You’re probably wondering why you should learn about growth hacking at all. But I’m going to tell you why:
because it’s the future of marketing.
It’s a way to get ahead in an environment where there is no such thing as too much competition and no barrier to entry for new customers.
As marketers ourselves, we know how hard it can be to stand out from the crowd these days when so many companies are fighting for attention.
That’s why you’re here because you want to grow your business and make a positive impact on your customers.
This definitive guide to growth hacking will provide you with insights on the basic ideas, hacking tips, and how you can get started to give your company a competitive edge in today’s market climate.
Table of contents:
What is growth hacking? What is the difference between Growth hacking versus Content Marketing? How does a growth hacker work? What are the skills and mindset of a growth hacker? Which technical skills should a growth hacker have? What is a North Star metric? What is KPI? How to start growth hacking? Growth hacking: The Pirate Funnel Growth hacking: The ICE Model Growth hacks and tactics for start-ups? What are the growth hacking strategies? What are the examples of growth hacking?
What is Growth Hacking?
Growth hacking is a modern way of approaching marketing that has developed out of the need for better, faster, cheaper ways to grow businesses worldwide. It helps marketers gain more customers and increases revenue.
What is the difference between Growth Hacking versus Traditional Marketing?
Growth hacking has become more important than ever before due to the rapidly increasing costs of traditional marketing.
There are 3 differences between marketing versus growth hacking:
A growth hacker uses the entire Pirate Funnel, including Retention and Referral, where most marketers use Awareness and Acquisition only. A growth hacker focuses on growth opportunities and small experiments, while marketers focus on managing their brand. Growth hacking emphasizes metrics that reflect growth and user engagement, which is not the case for most traditional marketing.
How does a growth hacker work?
“So, how does growth hacking work?”
Most marketers are aware that they need to incorporate elements of inbound marketing into their campaigns if they hope to be successful. However, many can’t seem to integrate them into their marketing strategies fully.
This is where growth hacking comes in.
Growth hackers leverage their technical knowledge to improve a product’s functionality, user interface, and overall design – so that people find the product easier to use and more valuable.
Growth hackers are not content marketers; they’re marketing influencers and strategists who align with product managers to create hypergrowth with users.
It means thinking from a customer’s perspective, asking why they would use your product instead of your competitor.
What are the skills and mindset of a growth hacker?
The growth hacker mindset and skills are essential to improve your product and grow your business in new and exciting ways.
Growth hacking can be broken down into a set of skills and mindsets, which are as follows:
Ability to find new avenues for growth by conducting experiments with the product or service. Understanding customer needs and how to design an effective experience that satisfies those needs. Knowing when experimentation has failed, and disaster is inevitable. Executing a growth hacking strategy requires being proactive and resourceful during times of need; this requires having an optimistic mindset. Growth hacking takes time, so it’s important to be patient and consistent throughout the entire process. A growth hacker should know how to read and analyze data to make informed decisions.
Which technical skills should a growth hacker have?
Note: If you want to become a growth hacker, do not be discouraged if you do not have all the technical skills needed.
Many tech companies like Silicon Valley hire developers with similar (but slightly less) skills than growth hackers and train them on their own to grow the business.
What is a North Star metric?
There is one metric that will affect all other metrics: the North Star Metric. This metric will be the focal point of your campaign and will serve as the measuring stick for success.
Examples of the North Star Metric are:
Daily Active Users (DAU) Monthly Active Users (MAU) Number of emails sent
To discover your organization’s North Star Metric, you’ll need to do two things:
Identify your organization’s biggest opportunity for growth. For example, the area of your business where you can see the most massive potential impact on both revenue and retention/engagement. Determine what metric is most indicative of this opportunity that tells you when you’re on the right path.
It is important to keep in mind that most organizations will never nail their North Star Metric on the first try.
This is why iteration and testing of ideas with a small set of customers or even one customer (a single-sided test) before launching a full campaign based on those ideas is necessary.
Next Step: KPI
KPIs are Key Performance Indicators that contribute to the North Star metric; you need to establish these before running your experiment.
You may choose to base your metric on revenue, the number of customers acquired, or some other reliable metric.
Some examples of KPI are:
Number of signups per month Click-through rate on your social posts Average time spent on app/site Churn rate
How to start growth hacking?
Here’s how you can get started with growth hacking for beginners.
You should have a good idea of what your customer wants.This means that you need to talk with customers, understand their needs and motivations, and iterate on the initial product or service based on customer feedback. You should have a strong marketing strategy in place.This will help determine where your initial target market falls and what types of campaigns work best for that group. You also need to make sure that your analytics software has segmentation capabilities to analyze the data by demographics and psychographic. You should create an A/B testing system.This is where you will be able to determine the best approaches for your product or service and will help you decide what works well based on statistical analysis.
PROTIP: Once the testing begins, ensure that your marketing team is equipped with a way to track performance by campaign type and see which campaigns are working best and how they can improve.
Growth hacking: The Pirate Funnel
Growth hacking includes the five stages of the customer lifecycle into a funnel called the “ Pirate Metrics or AARRR Framework,” designed to help you identify different paths that users will take when interacting with your product or service, and provides you with an easy way of increasing conversion rates while cutting overhead costs.
The questions that you need to ask yourself to grow your business.
How do users find you? How do they engage with you?
Awareness is the first step to sales. Your funnel should be set up so that the user will be aware of your product or service through advertisements and other forms of marketing, and as they progress further down the funnel, their awareness increases.
As they move deeper into the funnel and further away from being a stranger, your customers will move through different stages of awareness. By increasing your customer’s awareness of your product or service in each stage of the “awareness” funnel, you can increase sales and reach potential customers who may not have otherwise known about your business.
The purpose of your acquisition funnel is to bring in users that will engage with your product or service.
While the end goal will be reaching a sale, you need to build awareness and attract potential customers.
If you fail to understand how people find you, engage with you, and become active users, you may not acquire new users.
One of the most important aspects of your acquisition funnel is content creation and optimization. You need to generate quality content that will engage your target audience, rank well in search engines, and ultimately consistently bring in many new leads.
Activation is the stage in which a user engages with your product or service where you can turn strangers into leads and leads into customers.
As your user’s engagement with your product or service increases, they are likely to spend more time on the site and return for another visit. You want to ensure that you have provided enough value and information that a user wants to read through page after page to lead them further into the funnel and increase the likelihood of reaching the next stage. As a marketer, you need to understand whether or not the customer was satisfied with their purchase. Knowing where customers drop off during each step of the funnel will allow you to offer solutions that will keep them engaged and lure in new customers.
Getting a customer to come back to your site is one thing, but getting them to come back, again and again, is another.
Retention involves encouraging users to continue using and coming back to the product or service regularly to turn users into regular customers and increase brand loyalty. The main goal of your retention funnel should be to ensure that customers are satisfied with your product or service, have had their issues solved, and feel as if they would recommend your business to others. While it is essential to keep your users coming back for more, many businesses do not want their user base growing exponentially. The more customers you have, the larger payroll and other expenditures can be. To prevent this from happening, you should aim to keep your retention rate steady to maintain profitability.
At the end of the day, revenue is what it is all about. You want to generate sales and make sure that your customers are happy with their purchases.
Revenue is the stage of your funnel and directly involves converting users into paying customers. The goal of your revenue funnel is to turn casual customers or leads into real paying consumers. While it is important for businesses to be able to earn money, you should also make sure that each user is getting great value from their purchase. Without repeat customers, your business will not be able to grow.
A referral is when a user takes the initiative to share their experience with your business by referring you to others.
The goal of referral marketing is to encourage existing customers or supporters to recommend your business to their friends or followers. By doing so, you can build a more extensive user base and reach an entirely new audience. The way that referral marketing works is simple – by giving you positive feedback about the services you provide, your customers are essentially giving you a free advertisement. As more people hear about your service, it increases the chances of you making sales. As you can see, each stage of this pirate funnel is essential in reaching the next level of success. However, as your business grows, it may take too much effort to manage all aspects of your operation by yourself. This is when you will want to bring on a dedicated marketing team. At this point, you no longer need to wear all of the hats but rather delegate responsibilities.
Growth hacking: The ICE Model
The ICE Model is necessary to “growth hacker” or “data-driven” marketer to achieve your business’s marketing goals and objectives.
What is an Impact, Ease, and Confidence?
It is the net benefit to your business users (business outcomes), or the impact can also be thought of as the power and importance. The value here would be who/what are you trying to help and why?
It is how easy it is to ship the feature/ product. How much effort does it take to accomplish what you are trying to do?
It is a measurement of your ability to deliver on your promise/vision. This metric depends heavily on how well you understand the problem and your solution for that problem.
As a start-up, using the ICE model is relatively straightforward. However, as the company grows and new products are launched, ICE becomes increasingly challenging to use because of the volume and complexity of features that need to be evaluated.
The model can grind to a halt as each feature needs time-consuming research to be rated by all three metrics.
Growth hacks and tactics for start-ups?
Growth hacking is usually done by using various tactics that involve hacking into specific channels and making it more efficient to go farther or find ways to utilize these channels even if they are not traditionally used for such things.
Growth hacking can also be done by utilizing social media, upselling, and retention.
These three methods are all dependent on each other to work properly. Upselling may lead to the retention of customers and vice versa. Also, growth hacking with social media will help to increase sales and profitability as well.
Growth hacking is a technique of achieving rapid growth by seizing inefficiencies.
The growth hacker’s framework begins with the customer.
To create a sustainable form of growth, the growth hacker must focus their efforts on meeting and exceeding their customers’ needs.
The framework then proceeds through channels, conversion, and customer success to become one with its desired outcome: high user engagement.
What are the growth hacking strategies?
The most effective growth hacking strategies are the ones that focus on how users perceive a company. As a growth hacker, you should spot opportunities to change how you communicate with your customers.
The tips below are some practical examples of actionable growth hacking strategies you can use.
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that requires content to promote and sell a product or service. It utilizes social media, blogging, videos, pictures, reviews, and more to reach an audience and entice them to purchase a particular item.
53% of businesses rely on content marketing as a branding strategy.
This type of marketing strategy has many benefits, such as lower cost than traditional ads, more trust from customers, and better conversion rates for businesses.
Blogging is the process of creating web content through blog posts that appear in reverse chronological order on a blog.
Blogging aims to provide your readers with quality information about your business, product, service, or niche.
As of 2019, a survey of bloggers found that 32% of respondents always checked the analytics of their blog posts. (Statista, 2020)
To become a successful blogger, you need to be consistent with your posts and unique in what you’re posting by providing valuable information that will help solve a problem for your audience.
Remember, there’s no point in blogging if you aren’t providing any value to your readers.
Creating social media content
Creating social media content is important for any marketer because it’s one of the fastest ways to grow your brand with little to no budget.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter lead the pack as the most common social media platforms used by marketers. (HubSpot, 2020)
Social media also can communicate with a large number of people at once. You first need to figure out your target audience and what channels they are most likely on.
Once you know that, you can start using those channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to reach them by creating quality content that will resonate with them.
The best podcasts come up with a clear message and stick to it. They contain good audio quality and are written well and succinctly.
Your podcast needs to give the listener a reason to subscribe and listen again by providing valuable information or entertainment.
Email marketing is a way for businesses to communicate their products and services through electronic mail (email).
Message Personalization is the number one tactic used by email marketers to improve performance. (HubSpot, 2020)
This type of marketing works to build lasting relationships between recipients and brands that they like or support.
This practice aims to build your subscriber’s trust by providing them with value through the content you’re sharing, such as blog posts, videos, and more.
Improving content visibility with SEO Search engine optimization is the process of getting a website to rank higher in search engine results through proper keyword use, title tags, and meta descriptions.
About 64% of marketers actively invest time in search engine optimization (SEO). (HubSpot, 2020)
You can also include tags on your images to help your reader find them through a keyword search for photos-related topics and may even attract someone looking for a particular image but not necessarily an entire post.
It will also help your post be found in Google Images, which is a great way to find backlinks.
Running a webinar
A webinar is an online marketing strategy that’s done through videoconferencing. It allows marketers to share their knowledge with others, attract new leads, and increase brand awareness. Webinars are done online inside a presentation format where the person presenting can share slides, provide video or audio, have live polls, Q&As, and more. This strategy aims to sell a product, provide value to potential customers, generate leads, and build trust with your brand.
The purpose of advertising is to inform people about your service or products to encourage purchase or usage.
Advertising has become increasingly complex, with digital and online media being the fastest-growing part. Advertising is done through different mediums like magazines, billboards, radio, and television. The space or format that the advertising appears in can also be a factor in reaching your target audience. When selecting the best platform for your advertising campaign, you need to consider what type of ads work best on each particular medium and your budget.
Pay-per-click advertising is commonly known as PPC or pay-per-click. This method of online advertising charges you based on your advertisement’s performance when someone clicks on it.
To be successful with PPC, you need to understand how it works and your target audience’s behavior patterns when searching for information related to your products or services.
The most popular social media channels for advertising include Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.
The ads will appear on the side of the screen in a newsfeed or as part of an advertisement on a website.
Depending on what your company is offering, you can choose to segment your target audience based on location, gender, age group, behavior, and interests to reach potential customers. This is helpful because it allows companies to get in front of consumers before they buy, which increases sales and conversions.
Social media advertising will also allow you to reach a wider audience, which is important for businesses with limited marketing budgets.
What are the examples of growth hacking?
The examples below are a few of the best-known growth hacks.
It is a widely used cloud storage service that provides you with more than just space for saving your files.
It also can sync files from computer to computer and provides you with an excellent tool to share files. Dropbox has made it easy for people to work on the go by providing them with space to save their files and then access them later.
Dropbox is an excellent example of growth hacking because they could use free space on their site as a marketing strategy while encouraging users to invite others to earn more space. Dropbox was also able to take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing by having people recommend it over other
The Dropbox founders were able to achieve growth through a series of ingenious and effective hacks.
Hotmail is a free, publicly available webmail service that was released to the world in 1996.
Hotmail is one of the best examples of growth hacking because they successfully launched their service with little cost and no marketing, which gave them a significant advantage over other similar services.
They were also able to take advantage of people who wanted free email by creating an incentive for sign-ups.
Airbnb is an online short-term rental service that provides a marketplace for people to list and rent out their properties or, more accurately, their rooms.
Anyone can list their accommodations on this site as long as they access it from the country where the property exists.
Airbnb’s growth is an excellent example of growth hacking in marketing, which involves using existing customers to spread a product or service through word-of-mouth.
Airbnb grew by allowing users to rent out their extra space; this became especially useful for individuals living in cities and not utilizing all of the space in their apartments.
4.Paypal and their eBay bot
One function is an online wallet, which allows people to make purchases without using debit or credit cards; this also eliminates checks in some cases.
PayPal offers the potential to provide excellent customer service by acting as a mediator between buyers and sellers in case a dispute arises.
PayPal was able to take advantage of eBay’s existing customer base, which allowed them to get more customers while doing less advertising.
Growth hacking is a result of creativity and innovation. It involves looking at problems from different angles to find solutions that will help you grow your business, no matter what it may be.
It is a process or set of techniques for achieving sustainable and measurable organic marketing by using data-driven insights to create rapid experimentation across all aspects of your business, including customer acquisition, product development, design, and many more.
The insights provided here are just the beginning – there are many other growth hacks out there waiting for you to discover them. Who knows? You might even come up with one on your own by applying these principles.