If you’re at all involved in the world of digital marketing you’ll no doubt have heard the term ‘growth hacking’ thrown around a little. It’s come to prominence since technologies like smartphones found their way into nearly every pocket in the country and marketing opportunities suddenly exploded. Things like mobile app marketing (interesting piece here on the benefits of push notifications) and people having constant access to emails and social media platforms have resulted in growth marketing boom. But what is growth hacking?
Defining Growth Hacking.
Growth hacking basically does away with traditional marketing methods and focuses primarily on the empirical gathering of relevant users – that is, users who have an interest, sign up and stick around for the long term. I say “empirical” because with growth hacking it really is all about the numbers and, “How quickly can we grow this business but keep a relevant and interactive user base?”. Whereas more traditional marketing methods would involve paid advertisements and ‘getting the word out’, growth hacking uses measurable tools such as pay per click campaigns, blogs, emails and APIs which allow it to gain a statistical overview and insight into how a business should evolve its strategy. I guess you could think of growth hacking as more of a mindset than method.
How can growth hacking affect marketing?
Traditional marketing, while obviously effective once upon a time, can now seem rigid and limiting in certain circles. There’s no doubt that paid adverts in widespread publications are a great way to get the word out about your business. A press release can offer up important information about your business and help you bring in new leads, clients or visitors, but growth marketing really turns this on its head and becomes a lot more fluid in how it connects with audiences. The real trick behind growth hacking is to offer your target audience something they want. A perfect example would be Instagram. Did you know that instagram actually started out as a location check-in app (similar to that of FourSquare)? The reason it become a photo sharing community was because it registered that that was what its users wanted – so it changed its entire strategy and became one of the most utilised social media platforms in the world. Instagram changed their business based purely on customer feedback, statistics and usage patterns. In other words, they moulded themselves to suit the needs of the masses – after all, people create marketplaces, not business. Traditional marketing may disagree.
How do get started with growth hacking
Remember, growth hacking is more a mindset than a specific set of marketing tools and methods, but there are some things you can do to help you get there. Firstly, remember that growth hacking is internal while traditional marketing is external. It’s a lot cheaper than traditional marketing and relies purely on facts, figures and numbers rather than status and reputation. Instead of building your brand through spending and hoping like so many other businesses before you, consider targeting a particular user base through social media, or by putting a measurable email campaign together (MailChimp is a marvellous tool) and work at getting those people on board by offering them something valuable, unique and relevant. ‘Growth Hacking’ sounds negative, but it’s really just a more effective way of finding a way to engage with people, something which has perhaps been lost in various parts of the more traditional business communities today…