Growth hacking is on every marketer’s lips and many specialists claim to be “growth hackers.” However, sometimes their perceptions don’t match with the reality and they simply confuse growth marketing with traditional marketing.
Another group of people may think that growth hacking is growing with only light resources involved, with a very limited or no budget. That’s necessary but not enough to call it growth marketing.
The great thing about growth hacking is that any company, even serious businesses such as B2B appointment setting services, can benefit from it. But to implement it correctly, you first need to understand it correctly.
Growth hacking: 3 definitions to make it clear
Growth hacking is a process that tries to find cost-effective, unconventional, and faster ways to grow a business.
In a traditional marketing world, a marketer would get acquainted with the product, launch online or offline ads, and try to do things like minimizing CPA, CPC, maximizing CTR, etc.
Growth hackers would skip this strategy and try to find a more innovative approach to the process.
According to Growth Tribe, “growth marketing is data-driven full-funnel marketing based on rapid experimentation”.
Data-driven means that you don’t rely on instinct and guesses, your actions are based on testing and analytics.
Full-funnel means that growth hacking covers all stages of the buyer’s journey, from awareness to referral.
And rapid experimentation means that you continue testing and testing until you find what is effective for your business. You aren’t determined to implement a strategy that doesn’t bring any result.
According to CloudWays, “growth hacking is an experiment-driven technique to determine the most effective ways of growing a business. The process involves a mix of marketing, development, design, engineering, data, and analytics.”
Pay attention to “growing a business”. Here the word growth is used in the most real sense. Growing a business means growing its revenue first of all. And that’s what growth hacking is aiming for.
An average marketer will be interested in growing traffic, leads, conversion rate, etc. But what growth hackers care about is acquiring, retaining, and up-selling/cross-selling customers and ensuring revenue.
Clowdways also mentions that non-marketers – developers, designers, engineers can and should be involved in the process. That’s another sign that a growth hacker’s job isn’t limited to driving traffic or publishing a blog post. It implies a deep knowledge of product, customer, and competition, innovative mindset, etc.
Growth hacking examples
Behind many growth hacking examples, virality is lying. For example, simple social share buttons may lead to thousands of reposts and put your offer in front of thousands of new users. It’s cheap, easy to have but the results can be huge.
A similar approach would be regarded as growth hacking if social shares were bringing new sign-ups again and again and contributing to your company’s growth.
Referral programs are also a great way to growth hack. ExpressVPN’s offer is probably encouraging thousands of users to refer a friend and get a month free.
Now let’s look at examples that are real-life growth hacks and have worked for world-famous companies:
One growth hack that Twitter implemented was encouraging new users to follow a minimum of 10 people. It helped make user’s time more interesting on Twitter, keep them coming back, and increase user retention.
Buffer invested months in guest blogging and managed to grow to 70,000+ users. The growth hack accounted for 70% of their daily sign-ups.
YouTube used a growth hack that helped it become the number 2 search engine in the world. They made it extremely easy for viewers to get a code and add a Youtube video to a website, social network, etc.
Instead of running multi-thousand ads, Dropbox focused on referral marketing and offered free space both to users and their friends. It increased Dropbox sign-ups by 60%.
Whenever users were listing to Airbnb, the company allowed them to cross-list to Craigslist, with a link to Airbnb. It helped them drive quality traffic from their competitor’s website! Besides, the company sent emails to Craigslist users announcing how easy it was to post on both platforms very easily. You might consider these tactics spammy or unethical, but they are among the factors that helped Airbnb turn from a startup into a multi-billion company.
Michael Meyer is a member of the editorial team at Leads At Scale. His main areas of expertise include business growth, inbound, and outbound marketing & sales. He is a walking wanderer and a travel enthusiast.