If there were no change, there would be no progress. Something that worked well last year may or may not work that well today. This is especially true of the online world where media-consumption and browsing behaviors shifts rapidly. One of these trends that are worth knowing about is Growth Hacking. There are many principles in this trend that work extremely well when included in your overall marketing strategy.
What is Growth Hacking?
‘Growth Hacking’ refers to a set of simple techniques used by start-ups to generate massive growth without investing much. It involves:
– Leveraging platforms that are already established
– Getting the leg work done by brand followers or users
– Finding out new ways to scale up
More often than not, we meet obstacles in life that can be confronted only with quick, creative thinking. That makes us ‘hackers’ of a kind. Take for instance a cheeky motorist who decides to park on the double yellow, knowing it’s illegal. He leaves his hazard lights on, to avoid the ticket and runs into a stationary shop to buy a birthday card. This is hacking. There are examples galore of tech companies that went on to earn millions of users overnight with this ‘hacker’s” mindset. A few worthy examples: Dropbox, Airbnb, Ray Kroc and Uber.
What was the magic sauce that made it for these companies?
Creative thinking on how to engage users and drive traffic without paid advertising.
Companies such as Quora, Twitter and Facebook have done just that.
Growth Hacking Strategies that they adopted:
– The growth hacking strategy used by Facebook was to send email notifications to people to let them know that they were tagged in a picture. This strategy definitely piqued the curiosity of the users and increased the click-through rates by 75%. It was the must-see-my-face mentality that helped this social media giant achieve success.
– Hotmail came up with a simple line of text that it used as a footer to lure the readers to sign up for free email accounts. This strategy worked very well for Hotmail to gain a competitive edge during a time period when email services were absolutely awful.
– Google used the strategy of exclusivity when it launched Gmail. The early adopters actually felt like Internet VIPs with their family members and friends left waiting for an invite. It was obviously a huge success
– Pele’s last minute request to tie his shoelaces in the finals of the World Cup in 1970 worked out as an excellent branding strategy for Puma. Not only were all the cameras focused on the greatest footballer, the world even came to know that – Puma King Boots were what he wore.
– Clinkle’s strategy of signing up for an invitation and waiting to see where you stood in the queue worked very well for Mailbox too. The company was later acquired by DropBox at a $100m.
– Infinite scrolling was the growth hacking strategy that was adopted by Pinterest. This made the users get absolutely hooked to the platform. They spent more time on site without getting bored or distracted and this only led to more shares. Not having to browse through pages added to their benefit.
– PayPal’s referral scheme of offering $10 for every customer you referred was a great hit. The incredible rewards that people could earn with minimal efforts helped PayPal gain millions of users. Once this happened the offer was pulled back.
High-Impact product marketing is based totally on growth hacking. When growth hackers enter a company, they try out many ideas and marketing tactics so as to maximize the growth. In case something works they try to enhance the same and if it doesn’t they leave it at that. There is a lot of thinking to be done, with the big picture in mind. This calls for a combination of product development and traditional marketing skills. New distribution paradigms need to be tried and tested.
What makes one a successful growth hacker?
First, the ability to solve problems related to growth. You need to look for opportunities and use them in a creative way. It is not just an art but also a science. Driven by moving metrics and data, growth hackers are also excellent problem-solvers in a creative way. You need to possess a vibrant mental dexterity in order to come up with new methods that can help companies acquire maximum users. It is not just about data but also a knowledge of unknown frontiers in the quest for growth.
In addition, you are not to think of the “user funnel” as one of the features of the analytics dashboard. You need to understand that successful businessmen and effective marketers have been driven by the key performance indicators (KPIs) ever since modern business models came into existence.
Benefits of Growth Hacking:
– Growth Hacking helps you save time and money by keeping away from the marketing schemes that do not work.
– It helps companies acquire and retain users. It is all about engaging with your users and giving them what they want.
– Growth Hacking helps you create a business model which delivers what you want to achieve. It helps you come up with very creative and unique methods that will make your marketing efforts worthwhile.
Finally, Growth Hacking is not a book of secrets. It’s a process that goes on. It is not something that gives you results overnight or instantaneously. It is a mindset that solves problems in a creative way. It is not something that you can copy-paste from one product to the other. It varies from product to product, industry to industry and audience to audience.