Use Growth Hacking to expand your Business!
How can growth hacking, and for that matter, a growth hacker help you in reaching your full potential? Exactly that is the question many people have, and eventhough the term Growth Hacking has been coined quite some time back in 2010, it still seems to be a practise that is only (succesfully) executed by the big and famous internet companies. So how exactly can your business benefit from the practise of Growth Hacking?
The term Growth Hacking has been introduced by Sean Ellis in his blog post 'Find a Growth Hacker for Your Startup'. Sean Ellis defined a Growth Hacker as follows: "A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth."
Sean Ellis decided to coin the term Growth Hacker when he stumbled across the problem of hiring the right man for the job. Traditionally you would search for a marketeer to market your product/startup, however for most startups it is relatively pointless to have someone focussing on sales channels or diversification strategies. What most startups are really after is someone that can grow their business as well as their userbase/customerbase.
However not everyone is in the position to hire/appoint a person to take solely focus on Growth Hacking. So let's look a some fundamental growth hacking techniques that you can put to work for your business!
In a way Growth Hacking does overlap with Search Engine Optimalization (SEO). A well know fact in SEO is that 'Content is King', and the same goes for Growth Hacking. Users crave new content of high quality. The quality of your content will carry a long way towards reaching new customers and converting visitors into customers. Make sure your website does provide new content on a regular base (e.g. Blog, news-feed, guestposting).
2. Harvesting email addresses
Social media is still a quintessential part of your marketing strategy and can really be of huge value. However, email is still the way to go. Email is still by far the biggest platform with three times as many users as all Social Media platforms combined! Additionally email campaigns are also 40% more efficient than Social Media Campaigns. Hence, keep a strong focus on harvesting your visitors email addresses and put them to work in your next campaign.
3. Customer engagement
Slowly the internet is filling up with more and more advertisements, spam emails, blinking banners etc. And with that we have slowly become immune to these kind of marketing efforts. Alas, it is still working, but most of the times it's expsensive and/or requires a lot of time to generate a decent ROI. The ways of expanding your userbase/customerbase have changed and currently rely more and more on customer engagement. Dropbox for example expanded their userbase by offering people additional storage space if they invited a friend. Klout on the other hand feeds of our human curiousity to find out our own 'Social Media Impact', that you can publish on your social media profile. In order to use this strategy, make sure that you offer something that is worth it. Your users will not share/invite/refer a friend if they get nothing in return.
4. The Hack
Eventhough it is one of the most referred to success stories of Growth Hacking it needs to be said that the way Airbnb exploited the Craiglist system is on of the best examples of how growth hacking can work for you. Initially Airbnb didn't start off with a multi-million userbase and therefore needed to get their 'product' out to a wider audience. Craiglist being around since forever and having build an immense userbase was their choice of platform. Unfortunately Craiglist did, and still does not, provide any option to easily publish your content in an automated way(API). Airbnb circumvented that problem by reverse engineering the 'post-your-ad' form and allow their users to simultaniously publish the property on the Airbnb website as well as on Craiglist. Of course this created massive traction for Airbnb and was the start of their success. Unfortunatley as with most 'exploits' Craiglist patched this exploit and it can now no longer be used. If you manage to find an 'exploit' that works for you, make sure to use it, as these a finite opportunities that can really give your campaign that last push.
The last point that is of key-importance to a successful Growth Hacking campaign is data. Understanding data is key, and just using Google Analytics won't cut it here. You will need as much data as you can get your hands on, and be able to actually understand what this data means. Try combining different platforms to get a real insight in what your customers want, what they are looking for and how they are looking for it. Below you will find the links to Buzzsumo, Kissmetrics as well as Google Analytics.
Some of the best exampled of growth hacking are those everyone is familiar with.
Quora using Data. In order for Quora to fine-tune their system they decided to observe their top-user's behavioral/usage patterns and based on these reports adjust their system to make it better and easier for everyone.
Linkedin using Content. Linkedin actually only really took off after it executed one simple growth hack. It allowed for public profiles (which brought them from 2 million to 200 million users). Currently if you type in anyone's name in Google, there is a big chance his or her Linkedin profile is the first thing you will find.
Airbnb continuing to Hack. Another growth hack implemented by Airbnb, and which exploited Craiglist, was their Craiglist spam campaign. Airbnb browsed Craiglist listing to find people that rented out their house or apartment and simply wrote all of these people an email that there is a new, great rental platform that is exactly what they are looking for!