In a saturated, complex, and competitive marketplace, everyone is anxious to cultivate growth. We all want our companies to generate new attention and revenue as quickly as possible, but growth can be difficult to capture without the right plan.
If it were that simple, you wouldn’t be reading this article, right?
Growth hacking, the process of rapidly experimenting with and implementing promotional strategies based solely on growth, is the dedicated way to boost your company’s presence fast.
Growth hacking has generated incredible results for some of the biggest businesses in the world. In fact, brands like Groupon earned millions in their first few years with nothing but growth hacking strategies. What’s more, the process isn’t just for startups; any company can thrive using the right growth hacking techniques.
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What Is Growth Hacking?
Growth hacking is a data-driven marketing initiative that relies on rapid experimentation and often low-budget marketing tactics to find the best ways of growing a business.
The definition of growth hacking can differ depending on who you ask, but the most important focus point will always be on accelerating growth. The process involves using everything from modern advertising efforts and web design decisions to community growth to facilitate conversions.
Around 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years so achieving rapid growth is an important step in keeping your company up and running.
Growth hacking also involves working with “growth hackers”. These are specialist marketing professionals who implement strategies focused on growth above all other metrics.
What Are The Most Common Growth-Related Obstacles Small Businesses Face?
Growth hacking isn’t just an important tool for attracting potential leads and prospects. It’s also a way for companies to overcome some of the most significant growth-related obstacles they face on the path to success. Some of the most significant issues small businesses face include:
- Cash flow management: Cash flow issues are one of the most common reasons why small businesses go bust. Owners have to spend money to make it during a period of growth. With growth hacking, hackers might not focus too heavily on the price of marketing budgets, but they only work with the money they have. The aim is to keep costs low, experiment, and double down on the strategies you know will work.
- Responding to competition: Staying one step ahead of the competition and differentiating yourself is another factor you’ll need to consider as a small business. With growth hacking, you can stay on the cutting edge of the market by experimenting with new strategies as they emerge. This means you’re less likely to fall behind.
- Lack of time: Shortage of time is a real problem for a lot of small companies. With a small team, you just do not have enough time to devote to building large, complex marketing campaigns. With growth hacking, you can either outsource your growth experts or work on smaller campaigns to make the most of your time resources.
- Ineffective presence: When you’re a small business, it’s not easy to grow your reach and brand recognition from day one. There are already a lot of competing businesses out there trying to attract the same audience. Experimenting with different growth strategies and working with growth hacking experts will allow you to find out which campaigns help you stand out most. This way, you can focus your efforts on building the most unique and memorable brand.
- Keeping up with the market: Many small businesses need to be able to adapt rapidly to a changing market, particularly as they learn more about their target audience and competitors. A growth hacking strategy can allow you to take a more agile approach to businesses in some cases, which could help you to stay up-to-date.
7 Growth Hacking Tactics To Try Right Now
There are different growth hacking tactics growing brands can try. Let’s look at some of the most effective ones right now:
1. Find Social Platforms Your Competitors Aren’t Maximizing
Social media is an excellent way to facilitate growth because it helps you build a meaningful relationship with your customers. More than half the world now uses social media (58.4%). However, many growing companies spend a lot of time focused on the most common platforms, like Instagram and Facebook. You can accelerate your growth by looking at smaller social networks too.
For instance, experiment with community forums on Reddit, or look into specialized networks like “The Dots” for creatives. When looking for social media channels to get involved with, research what kind of platforms your users are using and which are specific to your industry. This strategy allows you to target under-served markets and avoid competing on saturated platforms.
Remember, Airbnb got its start on Craigslist rather than generating attention through Instagram, as you might expect. By realizing most of its target audience were looking for places to rent on Craigslist, the company was able to target its niche straight away.
2. Do Pre-Launch Marketing The Right Way
If you’re starting a new business from scratch, you can begin generating interest for your company straight away with pre-launch marketing. This is an excellent way of getting the attention you need for faster revenue growth online. Even if you’ve already launched your company, you can still use this method every time you introduce a new product or service.
Start this growth hacking strategy by creating a landing page designed to highlight your company or product, and to capture the contact details of potential customers. Make it the focal point of your promotional activities—social media posts and paid ads, your PR posts, and collaborations with other brands. It doesn’t have to be an entirely digital affair. You can also collect email addresses from people you interact with in-person at events and tradeshows. With this marketing approach, you can get people excited and talking about your product or company pre-launch so you can start making money faster.
Monzo, a company dedicated to digital banking, generated around 5 million users over the years, and many of them signed up before the app was even released. Using a viral waiting list, the bank allowed other users to invite people to the platform and even “bump” each other up the queue. Every time a user shared a link to Monzo, they could also get bumped further up in the queue.
3. Leverage Referral Marketing
Studies show customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate, and they’re 18% less likely to churn too. You can also earn up to 16% more in profits from referred customers. Referrals from friends, family, and industry influencers generate immediate trust and credibility among your target audience.
To create a referral marketing campaign, all you need to do is offer customers a specific link or code they can share with their friends to have them join your service or buy your product. There are various referral marketing tools out there, like ReferralCandy and InviteBox, which can help you set up campaigns and share them with your audience.
For the best results from this growth hacking tactic, reward both your customers for making the referral and the new leads you collect. For instance, Uber, the world-famous ride-sharing business, used referral marketing to give users $5 credit every time others used their code. The riders using the code also got a discount on their ride, so everyone won!
4. Partner with Another Company
One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is gathering initial attention for their company when they launch. It’s not easy to convince your customer you’re a credible brand when nobody knows who you are. Fortunately, you can overcome this problem by partnering with another company to share audiences.
The key to partnering with other companies is finding someone who appeals to the same target audience as you, without working with a competitor. For instance, if you sell homemade pet food, you could partner with a company that sells pet beds and toys. Reach out to prospective partners highlighting the benefits for their customers (and them) by partnering with you.
One great example of a company using this growth hacking tactic is Flipboard. The social news app partnered with Airbnb to offer meaningful engagement to its users while promoting Airbnb Experience Magazines. By working together, Flipboard and Airbnb both achieved significant marketing results. While Flipboard saw high engagement levels as a result of the co-promotion, Airbnb gained thousands of followers on Flipboard and drove thousands of visitors to the home-sharing company’s website.
5. Give Something Away
When you’re struggling to generate growth as a small brand, the last thing you might want to do is give something away for free. However, freebies and demos can be more valuable than you’d think. They’re a chance for customers to test your product and see how amazing you are so they want to keep coming back. Free samples improve brand awareness and help you build a relationship with your audience.
There are a few ways to “give something” away as a growth hacking strategy. For instance, you could provide free samples when visiting a trade event, or you could give people the chance to try a free sample of your new product whenever they order from your site. If you’re selling software, free demo versions of your service with limited features are always a good option.
You could also give away something unique as a way of highlighting your value and getting people more interested in your products. For instance, HubSpot has a free website grader tool that helps customers evaluate their site’s performance for optimization.
Once you sign up for the free service, you’re also giving HubSpot your email address which they can use for nurturing purposes.
6. Issue a Challenge
Human beings are naturally competitive creatures. This is why competitions and similar efforts do so well on social media. We all like feeling like winners. Running a contest is a fantastic way to improve your chances of generating attention online and strengthening your brand image.
Challenges are also becoming more popular right now, at a time when TikTok is taking the world by storm. Everywhere you look, companies are creating hashtag challenges to engage their audience and increase brand reach.
The challenge you create for your business will depend on the kind of company you build. Think about something your customers will actually have fun doing and make sure you have a prize available at the end so your prospects have something to compete for.
One example of this kind of growth hacking comes from penny stock trader Tim Sykes, who allowed people to apply to take part in a trading challenge. The campaign got people involved in building their trading portfolio and got people talking about the brand.
7. Invest in Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the most powerful growth hacking tactics out there for several reasons. It helps build your thought leadership presence and make your company look more professional. Plus, content marketing is a great way to build your impact online through things like search engine optimization so customers can find you more easily.
With growth hacking, you’ll want a more aggressive content marketing strategy, which could mean making a lot of high-quality content fast. You can explore everything from blog posts and ebooks to guest posts on other high-authority websites, and even podcasts or videos.
Videos, in particular, are excellent for growth hacking because they’re easy to share and consume. You could even build your own training courses and webinars to help customers make the most out of your product when they get started. For instance, Marketo uses videos to help customers learn as much as they can about their features.
Dollar Shave Club achieved phenomenal growth using video marketing to promote its service. Using funny content, the company ensured its video went viral and, two years after launch, the company had more than $20 million in revenue.
Do You Need Help From A Growth Marketing Expert?
Growth hacking can be a powerful tool for a company looking to accelerate revenue and customer acquisition during the early stages of its development. However, it takes exceptional skill, creativity, and a decent amount of expertise to use growth hacking effectively.
Growth hacking doesn’t come easily to everyone, so it might be worth considering a professional to help you achieve your goals if you really want to get the best results. Hiring a growth marketing consultant will help you get the highest possible ROI from your campaigns.
If you’re not sure if a growth marketing expert is right for you, ask yourself:
- How much time do I have? If you’re limited in time with all the challenges of running a business to consider, it’s best to rely on a growth hacker to focus entirely on your growth strategy on your behalf. You can save yourself a lot of work this week.
- Do I need the expertise? If you don’t know much about growth hacking, you could simply find yourself throwing strategies at the wall to see what sticks. An expert will be able to assess your company and market and use a strategy that works for you.
- How much money can I save? While it might cost you something to hire a growth marketing expert initially, you can save money in terms of the time you won’t have to commit to the process. Plus, you can ensure you’re using the strategies most likely to generate a positive return on investment from day one.
Leverage The Power Of Growth Hacking
Growth hacking is a powerful tool for small businesses and an essential part of making sure you can stay one step ahead of the competition in your industry. As the marketplace grows increasingly saturated, growth hacking can ensure you find the customers you need straight away so you can build your business rapidly and start earning a profit.
While growth hacking can require some assistance from the experts, it’s well worth the effort if you’re serious about building your brand.