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– Guest Post –
‘A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth’ – Sean Ellis
Sean Ellis, co-founder of GrowthHackers, coined this increasingly well-known term in 2010, using it to describe the process of experimenting with a wide variety of strategies to quickly grow a business.
Growth hacking isn’t just another buzzword that can be used in the place of ‘marketing.’ It focuses exclusively on growth, and requires tools, methods, and practices that didn’t traditionally exist within the conventional marketing repertoire.
If you want your business to reach a large audience as quickly as possible, there are some techniques you can use that will make you look like you’re already a growth hacking pro, even if you’re only just getting started….
1. Hack your reach with influencers
Modern consumers (yes, B2B prospects as well) are looking less and less to individual companies, and more to each other, to find information and advice on products and services.
YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the main sources of this ‘underground’ consumer advice, and a whopping 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.
Any social media marketer knows how it works: If you can identify a social media influencer with expertise and credibility that matches your product, why not reach out to them for a collaboration? All it takes is a good pitch, and maybe a nice giveaway just to show appreciation.
Of course, some influencers may require payment. In that case you should try and estimate the value, before you decide what to do.
Influencers lend an authentic like, ‘non-marketing’ voice to your product or content, which can make all the difference in a B2B context.
You can hire someone to map relevant influencers in your field (or of course do it yourself), introduce your solution, ask for support and offer them to try it out first (ship them a sample for a physical good or offer them to see a demo).
You may also try and explore influencer marketing platforms. There are quite a few operating out there, offering different business models.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of smart email marketing
Growth hacking (some may talk about startup marketing) isn’t just about the latest trends and the quickest wins — sometimes the slow and steady approach wins the race. Email is cheap, and growth hackers like not spending money.
Email might feel like it belongs to the prehistoric age of the internet, but it is actually the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, coming behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders.
The more email addresses you have, the more people you can directly communicate with, so growth hacking your email list is crucial. Find ways to encourage potential customers to share their email address with you and then speak to them in ways they respond to. (But don’t spam your network. Just don’t).
You can also employ automation to ramp up the volume of your email growth hacking, significantly decreasing the amount of time you spend on a list-building campaign. MailChimp is a great way of bringing email automation to your business – if you’re in the ecommerce game then email retargeting will be a must-have. (Bonus points for marrying that with some social re-targeting ads too).
3. Data is your best growth hacking friend
If you aren’t looking at your data, you might as well give up right now! Data insights need to be at the heart of your marketing strategy if you want to go anywhere with it.
Companies that focus on data-driven marketing are five times more likely to achieve a competitive advantage in customer retention than those who ignore it — crunching numbers is a proven growth tactic.
Once you have collected your data on clicks, traffic and lead generation, you need to aggregate your findings. This is when the really interesting bit starts and you can begin collating data into subsets and testing hypotheses.
Analyse EVERYTHING to pinpoint the factors that result in the highest conversion rates and the most sales — and then keep refining your campaigns to boost engagement.
Amateurs stop when they think they’ve hit a ‘good enough’ conversion rate but a real growth hacking pro knows that you can’t fine-tune this process enough, therefore you should never stop..
4. Slow site speed- *why you need to pay attention to detail
A broad stroke approach to growth hacking using the examples above is vital, but a clever growth hacker knows that paying attention to smaller details can also add a huge amount of value. Getting the basics right will keep your brand from any embarrassing fails in the long-run.
Sites that take a little longer to load might not seem like such a big deal in early growth stages, but it can have a very negative effect on your business. A page delay of just one second can result in a 7% reduction in page conversions, and a slow site will make you look amateur and small-fry.
It gets even worse when customers are trying to access your site using their smartphone: 73% of mobile users say they’ve experienced a website that was too slow to load, and we all know what that means – they go elsewhere.
Small things like this are important and overlooking them will have a direct impact on your brand consideration and bottom-line.
Instead of investing in a fancy bells-and-whistles custom developed site, start with a growth-friendly sales machine or a click-and-build site designer to get your MVP site out there without any technical glitches.
5. Less is more when it comes to growth
The internet is built on information, and a successful online product gives the right amount of information at *just* the right time.
Rather than throwing all your information out at once, the savvy growth hacker knows that the customer wants to only see relevant information at the relevant stage of their journey.
For example, a lot of homepages are stuffed with text, pictures, links, calls to action and all sorts of other distractions in the vain hope of making a sale. The purpose of a website should be to show you what do in simplest terms possible — not overwhelm the user with complexity. Tech companies especially should avoid overly-complex websites stuffed full of jargon.
Take a look at the UX of some of the most successful websites, such as Facebook, Apple, Dropbox, Quora or the mighty Google, and you’ll see great examples of the ‘less is more’ approach.
6. Create a viral loop to become a big hitter
If you can create a viral loop, you are a bona fide growth hacking wonder.
Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, PayPal and most of the other big hitters have built-in virality, meaning they can’t fail to grow. Their user journeys are littered with recommendation and endorsement, and people unwittingly seed these products with friends and family.
Even if your product doesn’t work in quite the same way, you should still find ways to make it shareable. Consider using refer-a-friend or referral campaigns; these won’t necessarily create a viral loop, but they will contribute to your growth.
If used correctly, growth hacking will help you to broaden your brand’s reach and thicken up your bottom line. Don’t be afraid to test out hypotheses and experiment — that’s the whole point!