Back in the 90s, whenever a new product was launched in the market; the prime source for user acquisition was to invest heavily in advertisements. The media for ad placement could be billboard, magazine, digest, newspaper, tv ads, etc.
Communication between advertisers and people was scarce, and often difficult, because of the lack of communication facilities. The brand pushed its ads to the public and there was no feedback directly from the public to the marketers.
With the advent of technology, the means of advertisement evolved too. Now, in a glimpse, marketers can access real-time analysis of their campaigns, helping them to learn or drive innovation from their campaigns.
What is growth hacking strategy?
The story of David and Goliath are popular expressions explaining ‘growth hacking’ in marketing. David being the marketer that holds the tools that combat expensive strategies that brands (Goliath) use as campaigns. The whole notion follows with David’s choice of a simple stone slinger and expertise in execution being the recipe of success in conquering a behemoth opposition.
Sean Ellis coined the term (growth hacking) in 2010 when trying to come up with a new job description. Sean is the OG (original growth hacker). He helped lots of startups achieve accelerated business growth as a consultant. Dropbox is one the prime example. In a post, he offers an explanation to growth hacker as:
“A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.”
A growth hacker can be any person who by his/her wisdom comes up with creative and low-cost strategies to help the business reach new heights by acquiring a huge number of users. It can be any person, be it an engineer or a product manager, one who is specifically involved with a product or a service.
Example of successful growth hacking case study!
The best example of growth hacking strategy is referral marketing on which Dropbox cashed in and grew a multimillion-dollar company. Initially, they were running Google ads and Dropbox charged $5/month from users.
They realized quickly that retention rate was slow due to the fact that people simply wanted more space in less budget. So, they came up with the idea of creating a referral program where a user can grow his space for free if their friends or colleagues sign up through a referral code. This is how they upgraded user database and eventually, users started upgrading the account which made Dropbox a multimillion-dollar company.
Another example of Growth hacking is the classic case of BurgerKing’s revisiting 2010s campaign. The American global chain started liking tweets from back from 2010 on twitter. A number of Twitteratis noticed this activity and made this into a trend.
When this activity caught enough mentions, the international fast-food chain tweeted “some things from 2010 are worth revisiting – like your old tweets. And funnel cake fries. Get them now for a limited time.” A YouTuber by the name of Casey Neistat created a video highlighted that Burger King’s used this tactic to connect with some 11 million subscribers. This video got some 2.6 million views which would otherwise have cost a heavy budget – meaning thereby Burger King got a free ride through influencers.
In order to stop this from escalating, the brand then responded to Casey asking him to contact the brand with his solutions. The entire case concluded with Casey Neistat winning 5000 meals that he could give to his fans, and donating about $50,000 to a children’s charity of Neistat’s preference.
Best Strategies for Growth Hacking:
Before we dwell deeper into understanding what are the best strategies for growth, let’s first cover the groundwork. We already know growth hacking requires skills that are also otherwise required in traditional marketing methods. The difference here, however, lies in the approach to achieving targets and goals.
Ryan Holiday – an American author, marketer, and entrepreneur highlights a number of skill and changes in thinking in his book “Growth Hacker Marketing”. He quotes about growth hacking and how there is a need to have trackable measurements in making an impact within the arena of digital marketing.
‘A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable. Their tools are e-mails, pay-per-click ads, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money. While their marketing brethren chase vague notions like “branding” and “mind share,” growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth— and when they do it right, those users beget more users, who beget more users. They are the inventors, operators, and mechanics of their own self-sustaining and self-propagating growth machine that can take a start-up from nothing to something.’
1. Trigger emotions through a stimuli
It’s human psyche that when individuals face an easy challenge, they aim to complete it to prove dominance. Remember the flappy bird game; the game which went viral in two weeks after the launch. The point which triggered people to invest time on the game was the fact that instead of being so simple, and easy, yet no person was able to make a huge number of high scores. In fact, few people ended up breaking their screens while playing.
One of the best growth hacking strategies is to play with emotions. Like in most games, in order to retrieve a character from dead, the user has the option to either promote their app or watch advertisements. This is one of the case scenarios. Other scenarios may require users to download a file, promote the website on social media, etc.
2. Content curation (guest posting & blogs)
It’s a fact that an average person conducts three to four searches online every single day. It is essential to know the problem statement of the user for which the individual is conducting the search(es). No one would like to spend hours creating content, only to find out no one cares to read about it.
A great way to find out the search queries of your targeted audience, search the volume of keywords which lie in your business persona. Track those keywords with higher volume and set up alerts as to what people are discussing and writing about it. Analyze and produce a quality article that addresses the problem statement of users. Get those articles ranked on search engines, by using standard SEO techniques. Always make sure to include a call to action (CTA) button in your blog which could attract visitors to the business signup page.
Once a quality article gets produced, start reaching out to the high authority guest post site. Either write a new article related to the targeted audience of that site or present a summarized version of that blog on guest post site which can attract visitors to the business site. The goal should be to attract a visitor to a business site by answering the user’s problem in a blog.
Paige Arnof-Fenn, the founder & CEO of global marketing and branding firm Mavens & Moguls based in Cambridge, says
“I am a big fan of Content Marketing and Thought Leadership which are great ways to build your brand, increase your visibility more broadly, raise your profile and attract more clients. Activities like speaking at a conference, writing articles, building your following on social media all contribute to increasing your awareness with potential customers and building your credibility with a larger community. Instead of trying to start your own blog or newsletter, try contributing regularly to existing well-trafficked blogs in your industry or newsletters of like-minded organizations reaching the same target audience as you. Make sure you put your URL or contact info on it so they can find you and follow up.”
3. Influencers (Hunt & Meet)
Influencers can play a vital role in making a product go viral. Wondering why? They have followers on their side whom they can influence to buy your product or service. Think about it. If a person has 15M followers on Youtube, at least 1M will be die-hard fans who can even spend money on influencer’s wish. Therefore, in order to make the business product go viral, interact with competitors, influencers in the targeted niche. For sure, not all influencers will respond positively, and never expect they would voice their opinion for business (word of mouth) for free. Some influencers tend to charge for their services and others may ask for special incentives in order to say something positive for a business since they are the authority in the niche. In order to reap benefits from influencers at low or no cost, work with them and build relationships with them. They might lend you favor on a good friendly relationship.
Recently, a viral app ‘FaceApp’ has taken the internet by storm. It all started when a celebrity just used the app, shared the experience issuing an open challenge and the rest is history. People started exploring and shared their experience on social media. As a result, the app started trending and got a huge number of downloads.
4. Growth Hacking strategy By Email
Did you know?
Everyone wants to reach their potential users through the most effective medium, and email marketing stands to be the best medium for this exercise. Email marketing is the best strategy to bring in quality leads and conversions. So, if this is all about email marketing which is a marketing channel basically, what it has to do with growth hacking?
The answer is the approach. According to Forbes in 2017,
“56% of brands using an emoji in their email subject line had a higher open rate than those that did not.”
“Marketers who used segmented campaigns noted as much as a 760% increase in revenue”
So, how can you land your email in the inbox of potential customers? Not an easy task, since it will take weeks, even months to build an effective mailing list. You must create a hype for your product or business launch where interested users would drop their emails to get more information.
A very good example is the launch of Opera Gaming Browser. A few weeks back, they were asking for interested users to drop an email so they can get notifications of the browser launch. They collected all the relevant users’ email ids and built a healthy database which can be used for email marketing for their other related product launch.
5. Free vs. Paid Growth Hacking strategy
If a product is free, there is a higher probability that people will test it out and may end up using it. There is a reason why Facebook states on its homepage “It’s free and always will be.” The question is: how can the business run and make a profit if it is free? Initially, to make users’ comfortable with a product, few features are introduced in the market just to grab market share.
Once, people are used to of the product, then paid versions got launched. A good example is of Truecaller. For years Truecaller was providing a free version of the application. The sole purpose of the app was to provide the identity of an unknown number in calls. Now they have launched premium features with the application such as recording a phone call and banking, and people are buying it.
To conclude, Growth marketing is not limited to the marketing department only. The best part about Growth Hacking is that it involves all the channel of an organization such as engineering, product or even sales with the objective to grow quickly in low budget marketing cost. The key for a successful result is, everyone must work together to perform rapid experimentation. By now, a question may arise which could be “So, is there an easy way to learn growth hacking or hack your business?” Nope, since the result depends on continual software testing with consideration to many factors such as environment, political situation, current trends, etc.
Author BIO: Salman is a software engineering graduate and digital marketer by profession. He works as a Digital Marketer Strategist at Cloudways. He loves to create value for the Startup community & help entrepreneur reach their goal. He is a big fan of cricket and does play AAA games in his free time.