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Startups have used growth hacking for years. Now it’s finally making its way into SMEs all over Europe.
But what does it mean? Everyone seems to have their own understanding of what growth hacking is and what it does. So let’s start at the beginning.
What Is Growth Hacking?
We like how Opt-In Monster describes growth hacking as:
“… umbrella term for strategies focused solely on growth. It is usually used in relation to early-stage startups who need massive growth in a short time on small budgets.”
If this sounds like music to your ears, you’re not alone. The goal of growth hacking is to acquire customers as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. And push them into your marketing funnel.
With growth hacking you focus on growing traffic and visitors, turning them into clients and finally retain them through great service.
Now you might argue that this is exactly what any good marketer should do. And you’re almost correct.
The difference between ‘traditional marketing’ (online & offline) is the fact that growth hacking is totally focused on growing your customer base. This means that closing sales, may or may not be a priority.
With growth hacking the mindset is to first build the audience, and then convert them into paying customers. It’s like building your own captive audience that just can’t wait for you to sell to them.
Growth Hacking Strategies
Okay, now you might want to know what strategies you can use to growth hack your business. Generally, all growth hacking strategies fall into three key areas:
This is the favorite growth hacking strategy of many startups and SMEs because it can be a very cost-effective way to create awareness and interest in your products and services.
Typically this strategy will include:
- Starting an authority blog and sharing valuable content;
- Writing case studies and whitepapers;
- Creating shareable social media content;
- Using an e-mail list to engage with your customers.
The only downside with this approach is that it takes time. It will take anywhere between 6-12 month for you to see tangible results from this.
Once they have covered the basics with content marketing, many startups start pushing their product in order to generate growth.
With this method, you highlight the benefits of your product or service and leverage technology to generate growth. For example:
- Create scarcity and exclusivity around your product by making it invite only (Gmail used this to grow its email service at the beginning).
- Creating incentives for customers to refer their friends and family to you (Dropbox used this to build their customer base).
- Affiliate marketing to get a network of influencers and digital marketers to promote your product on a commission basis. (Amazon uses with great success).
By using product marketing, you tap into the social and societal forces that affect us all. People trust referrals from their friends and family which builds credibility.
Last but not least, advertising is our favorite growth hacking strategy. Using paid advertising on the web and social platforms you can drive targeted traffic to your website and landing pages. Examples include:
- Google Search ads
- Facebook ads
- Instagram ads
The great thing is that this strategy generates predictable traffic that you can guide to go exactly where you need it to go. You also have greater control over who gets to see your ads.
Growth hacking is all about growing your client base quickly on a budget.
Leveraging digital marketing channels like dark social will help you reach out to potential customers.
But by using content and product marketing, as well as advertising -growth hacking helps you build a captive audience to market to.
Used by startups world-wide for over 8 years, it’s finally being adopted by SMEs in Europe and Switzerland.
What is your experience with growth hacking? Have you ever used them? Where they helpful?
We’d love to hear what’s worked for you in the past or what you’re excited about trying in the future, in the comments below.