If you’ve been around in the online marketing world for a while, you
probably recognize the phrase ‘growth hacking’, but you might also get
the impression that it’s a fairly new player in the online marketing
sphere. And you’d be right. Growth hacking is an interesting way of
building up a company or brand because it was literally grown out of the
necessity to avoid old, more expensive tactics.
The tools and skills to develop apps, found a startup, and take an idea
to fruition are more widespread than ever before, meaning that the rate
at which new products and services are brought to market is extremely
fast. The founders and marketing teams of these companies are usually
small and in their experimental phases. Additionally, they’re usually
fairly strapped for cash. This, combined with the fact that paid search
advertising is more expensive and competitive than ever before, birthed
growth hacking. Literally, growth hacking is the art/science of growing
customer base without spending any actual money. Sounds great, right?!
Unfortunately, most people get it wrong. They jump straight to trying
to hashtag their way some sort of niche popularity and people see right
through it; nobody wants to interact with posts devoid of value. Before
ever getting to this phase, however, these companies and individuals
should have been defining goals.
That’s right, the first step to proper growth hacking is defining real,
actionable goals. They can’t be obscure. They can’t be broad. We’re
talking laser focus, and here’s how you find it:
First, let’s take the broad, universal goal of ‘getting more awareness
for my brand’. What are some ways you can build awareness that are
specific to your business? Let’s say you’ve got a referral plan in
place, but people aren’t biting. The people who do become longterm
customers, however, so it appears to be an area worth improving.
Perhaps your incentive for referrals currently is access to a library of
training materials, and you think that creating more content for your
training library which you can then reference in sales copy will be the
way to get more people on board.
Let’s say you then define your goal as “add five new lessons to the
knowledge library,” and go from there. Is your goal boiled down enough
yet? Because you can take clear, definable actions at this point to
reach your goal. Once you can see individual steps (write one article
per week, create promotional email for each article, etc.), then you’ve
got something you can work with.
Of course, an equally important part of the goal framework is the
ability to accurately monitor your results. You don’t want to have
people hitting your new referral incentives and have no way of telling
whether or not they’re engaging more or less than before. If you don’t
have proper analytics in place to measure every facet of your business,
you’re not ready for growth hacking.
Growth hacking is an agile process that requires adaptability, but more
importantly adaptability that is based on sweet, sweet data.