If you’re an entrepreneur growing your first startup, then you’re no stranger to the term ‘growth hacking’. In fact, as a concept, growth hacking gets thrown around a lot, to the point where it can get really confusing. For many getting into the startup ecosystem, it can be confusing trying to figure out what exactly growth hacking means, and what exactly it entails. Sure there are tons of books you can read (like the ones we’ve linked to at the end of this article), but if you want a basic understanding of what growth hacking is and how you can use its principles to augment your company’s development, then keep reading.
What is ‘growth hacking’?
Quite simply, growth hacking refers to strategies that are focused completely on growth. The main idea behind growth hacking, especially for startups, is to achieve a massive amount of growth in the least amount of time while maintaining a tight budget. Essentially, you are looking at all those big-time marketing ideals that require you to spend money to make money, breaking it down, and hacking the system so you get the same output for less.
The goal that you need to keep in mind while using growth hacking to grow your startup, is to acquire as many users, customers, or clients as possible while spending the least possible amount on the entire exercise. Want a free bit of trivia? The term “growth hacking” was coined by Sean Ellis, founder and CEO of GrowthHackers, in 2010.
Growth hacking strategies that you should consider
Depending on how you’re looking to grow, growth hacking falls into three major categories, content marketing, product marketing, and advertising. As a startup, you can employ one, two, or all three of these disciplines depending on your product, and how you’re looking to acquire clientele. Don’t forget, the idea here is to use simple, yet powerful techniques that cost as close to nothing as possible, to achieve results. With advertising being pretty straightforward, let’s break down content and product marketing.
Content Marketing: If you’re looking to get your product out there to a sizeable audience, rich content is a great way to do that. You can create content in the form of blogs, e-papers, or social media content. Once that is done, you can share that content through your website, on podcasts, through webinars, or through forums like Quora and Reddit. If you want, you can get evangelists involved to talk about your product in their circles. They could be influencers or guest bloggers, or winners of online contests that you hold on your Instagram or Facebook account. Remember, you also have the old school methods of email blasts, newsletters, and good old’ SEO at your disposal as well.
Product Marketing: In product marketing, you want to make your product look and feel appealing, thereby building your user base. A great example of product marketing is OnePlus’ early marketing promotion for the OnePlus One – an invite system that meant only a select few got a chance to buy the product. Post that, those who bought the device could invite others – and it went on. This created an unprecedented demand for a brand new product, all because OnePlus tapped into the tech enthusiast’s Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). Additionally, once your product is out there, you can offer incentives on referrals, encourage affiliate marketing, or offer rewards for just using the product.
Are you ready to be a growth hacker?
You may have realised by now that a lot of the ideas and strategies that are involved in growth hacking come from thinking outside the box – as cliche as that may sound. The reality of the situation is that as a startup, funds are limited and overheads are a lot. So putting your money in the right place means getting crafty. If you want to learn more about growth hacking and how it can upscale your startup, consider reading the following. You can thank us later.
- Explosive Growth, by Cliff Lerner
- Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising by Ryan Holiday
- The Growth Hacker’s Guide to the Galaxy: 100 Proven Growth Hacks for the Digital Marketer by Mark Hayes
- Disruptive Marketing: What Growth Hackers, Data Punks, and Other Hybrid Thinkers Can Teach Us About Navigating the New Normal by Geoffrey Colon
- Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown