Regular hacking is where you bypass conventional means of accessing a system. Similarly, Growth Hacking is when you bypass conventional methods of growing a company. Primarily this means taking an innovative, tactical and digital approach to marketing; techniques taught on our BSc (Honours) in Digital Technology, Design and Innovation programme.
A conventional approach to marketing is to bombard a wide cross section of potential users and hope that enough of the people who matter pick up on it. This might be in the format of a newspaper or radio advertisement.
The internet has created a vast number of potential avenues for companies to reach their target audience. This means that smaller companies can target a very specific market sector and with a smaller budget attain the same number of customers as a conventional campaign with a much larger budget. This Slideshare presentation gives a good overview of growth hacking and how the techniques have helped start-ups become successful global organisations.
What makes Growth Hacking so important and valuable to businesses large and small is that there are many of these potential avenues that have yet to be discovered and every new business brings new potential. This means there is huge scope to develop a market-cornering advantage over competitors.
Here are some key aspects of Growth Hacking to appreciate before using it in your business:
It is important to understand that there is no manual when it comes to Growth Hacking. What worked yesterday may not work today. But this is an advantage, not a hindrance. It means there is always scope to find new ways to approach growing your business. It requires inventiveness and innovation, using your skills and those of your team creatively and collectively.
Get there First
This experimental element of Growth Hacking means that once a hack is found everyone else starts to use it and that gap gets quickly plugged up. If you can’t get there first, get there early. If you are coming late don’t spend your time following everyone else trying to pick up the scraps, spend it looking for a new Growth Hack opportunity.
Hacked Growth is Product Integrated
The advantage of a business based on a digital product or service is that methods for Hacking Growth can be built directly into that product or service. It is important to recognise that an integrated feature should also be integral. Forcing users to share notifications before they can access your product, or tacking on superfluous social media elements, is a sure way to kill your product before it has had a chance to flourish.
Think like a Plumber!
This might sound strange but when you are dealing with SEM and other online advertising you should always be concerned by leaks. You might be driving huge numbers to your site with SEM but if they all fall out of the conversion funnel before they become sales you are pouring money down the drain.
You need to be constantly in search of leaks and finding ways to patch those leaks. A/B testing, UX experimentation and heat mapping should all be part of a continuous process of refinement. The fewer leaks you have, the greater your conversion ratio and the more you can scale your SEM campaigns.