There are two key approaches to Growth Hacking:
1) Using data-based evidence to learn quickly and adapt to find what your best markets are and try to scale there as quickly and cheaply as possible.
2) Using social media to achieve viral distribution for your marketing messages, by being smart, pragmatic, and able to respond quickly to opportunities, often through social media.
Tactic 1) will appeal to the developers in your team and 2) to the marketers in your team.
If you can excel at both, then you are looking at a potentially very successful business, because the best growth hackers use a mixture of both elements.
Data-based evidence abounds these days. There is so much good information available, it is inadvisable not to use it to your own advantage (but not everyone does). If you are using WordPress or any other type of website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and pretty much every other major platform, there are analytical tools available to give you many useful insights into what your users are doing (if anything) on your site. Each of the embedded links in the previous sentence provides a great starting point for you to learn more about how people are interacting with your company and product online.
Typical the data you can learn about your visitors includes; gender, age, location, device used, the operating system they are using, the browser they used to find your site, the keywords they used, the time of day they use your product, how long for, which parts of it, which bits do they like. There are many ways this can provide you with real, usable insights into who your product appeals to, and who else might be interested in it.
There are lots of good courses to teach you how to understand how to gather this data, read it, and act on it. All of this will help you to learn quickly and respond to the opportunities you have identified. Including, but not only, the free Google Analytics Academy courses.
This is growth hacking at its most forensic and analytical. To learn more follow the thought leaders in this field. Neil Patel is one of our favourites because he writes clearly and takes great joy in sharing the experiments he has run and the results it has yielded. There are many more though that you can read about if you want to learn more (we will return to this topic in more depth in future articles).
Some great businesses managed to grow their businesses, not based on their data analytics, but due to their hustle. Ideally, your team should be using a mixture of both methods. This means telling great, effective, accurate stories, and sharing them in front of great ‘high net worth individuals’ who will then share your stories with their, much wider, online audiences.
One recent savvy start-up found a social media influencer with over 670,000 followers on Twitter. He loved their product, happily became a brand ambassador for their product, and suddenly they were now able to reach a much, much wider audience locally and globally. These are the sort of smart strategic alliances you should always be looking out for.
How do you get other people to tell your businesses story for you? By having a great product and also a good story too. You will often find yourself competing with other very similar products. In this case, success may often come down to your ability to attract more attention to your product than your competitors. As you will invariably have a limited marketing budget this is why you will need to be creative and imaginative to reach a wider audience as cost effectively as possible.
The Dollar Shave Club video is a fantastic example of using humour and creativity to get the message out there. It worked, it was funny, it went viral, and it’s now had over 20 million views and counting on YouTube.
There are lots of great resources out there, with some of the key thought leaders willing to share a lot of their resources and expertise. Sean Ellis @SeanEllis is one of the originators of the Growth Hacking approach. He has created a really useful (free) online resource at GrowthHackers.com. This is a great starting point to begin reading up on successful strategies utilised by other people. Keep thinking about how you can adapt it to your own business and then ‘get out of the building’ and try out it out!