Many startups today are moving away from traditional marketing towards growth hacking. A trend that was adopted way back by marketers and innovators in the Silicon Valley, Growth Hacking simply refers to using creative and technical marketing techniques with the sole purpose of growth.
Who can benefit?
If you plan a quick launch or have a small marketing budget, you possess a creative spirit and technical know how - in short, you are a start up with a vision – growth hacking can be your best friend to boost your business or product. In fact, unless you are a big company like CBA that could afford to spend $522 million on marketing in FY2015 as reported in Annual Report 2015, startups can make a big impact in a creative way with less than $500!
Does a growth hacker think differently?
If you have used SEO, you have already been growth hacking. However, it is not a static concept. A growth hacker must think independently, creatively and from the user’s point of view. Instead of pushing the product, the aim is to pull customers to the product. Instead of focusing on a niche clientele, usually the focus is to draw a large pool of people.
Are you wondering why growth hacking works? Here’s why:
- We love change. Of course, anything that is out of the box catches our attention. Anything that creates a buzz (tweets, likes and comments) on social media garners maximum attention (or as we say, followers).
- Word of mouth is a proven sales manager. The more people see you, the more they talk about you. And the more they talk about you, the more they see you. Viola – you just got famous.
- Growth hacking goes beyond marketing. It is an intelligent mix of data analysis, behavioural study, social media marketing, advertising and traditional marketing.
The famous also hacked!
Companies like Facebook, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Quora and Twitter made it big by using inventive and creative strategies. The reason for success: in-depth user analysis and creative insights.
Metro.co.uk, a much-loved news portal, used principles of responsive design in their website way back in December 2012. They provided a friendly, interactive and intuitive portal with easily share-able content that ensured viewers were hooked. Users could even create their own micro blogs. Regular competitions ensured viewer engagement leading to over a million viewers in a short span of time.
Airbnb(room rental service for travelers)redefined the way we travel causing mass disruption in an established industry. They made use of some loopholes in the Craiglist (an advertising service) portal by letting users advertise their rooms on Craiglist while applying through Airbnb, offering an integrated solution. This ingenious arrangement got them instant traffic for free! Craiglist did fix these loopholes eventually to prevent cross-posting, but Airbnb had arrived in a big way by then!
Not to forget YouTube, the largest video sharing community. YouTube employed simple techniques such as rewards for uploading videos. The comments section on each video turned Youtube into a social platform where people were soon sharing their opinions, arguing and bonding over their favourite videos!
Finally, some handy tips to get you started:
- Keep in tune with the latest trends on the digital landscape.
- Being an early user of a social media site can get you some extra leverage. For example, in the early days of Pinterest, each user had to follow suggested profiles of the earliest users.
- Give people what they want. Marketing creates demand while growth hacking fulfils the demand. Works well for solution oriented products (read DropBox and Paypal).
- Have a blog and share content. Ensure each member of the company signs up and shares. Tap the potential of going viral.
- While you create content to share, do provide user-friendly information instead of solely talking about yourself. Contribute to online discussions. People always like friendly and helpful pages.
- A social campaign could give your website an instant boost. Generating curiosity is a sure shot crowd puller.