Growth Hacking Your Way to Success




  • by Alicia Lawrence December 12, 2015
    December 12, 2015

    Growth hacking is the key to boosting your user base and increasing the visibility of your product or service. Yet finding clever and often untraditional ways to kick-start rapid growth is a lot easier said than done. You can take some solace in knowing that some of the best growth hacks in recent history were relatively inexpensive but enormously successful.


    One of the first growth hackings, dating back to the prehistoric Internet days of 1996, came from Hotmail. The company simply added a “Get Your Free Email at Hotmail” tagline to the bottom of all sent emails to drive growth. More recently, the social media application Buffer went from zero to 70,000 users thanks to a combination of high-quality guest blog posts and open documentation of the company’s progress.


    Every company is different, but here are a few ways that could help you with growth hacking.


    Develop a New Way of Thinking


    The origin of the term “growth hacking” came from entrepreneur Sean Ellis. In his groundbreaking blog post about the subject, he lamented the shortcomings of traditional marketing. Marketing skills are and always will be useful, but different measures need to be taken for start-ups and companies yet to hit the market. In this stage, traditional marketing isn’t what’s needed.


    As Ellis writes, “The right growth hacker will have a burning desire to connect your target market with your must have solution. They must have the creativity to figure out unique ways of driving growth in addition to testing/evolving the techniques proven by other companies.”


    With those words in mind, the first step to growth hacking is to think differently than a traditional marketer and be willing to take calculated risks in the name of growth.


    Find What Works. Ditch What Doesn’t.


    William Faulkner said, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” What that means is that you have to be willing to delete what doesn’t work — even if you’re quite attached to what you created — in order to make a better product. It isn’t easy to eliminate a feature, service or even just a way of doing things that you’re proud of, but it must be done if it’s holding back potential growth.


    Fortunately, the decision to make a big change can be a lot easier if you’re running the right tests to see what works and what doesn’t work. For website and email campaigns, A/B testing will show you what your users prefer. Not everyone can afford focus testing and the like, so A/B testing is a cheap way to get a glimpse at what’s best for the potential customers.


    Visualize Your Solutions


    When it comes to brainstorming ways to drive growth, teams need to be organized. Miscommunication can cause a campaign to fall flat on its face. There are different solutions to this, from an old-fashioned whiteboard displaying everything important or a messaging platform like Slack. Task management is critical amongst a team, and a premium service like Kanbanize can help save time and keep everyone on the same page.


    Incentivize Customers


    Depending on your company, incentivizing customers to spread the word can make a big difference. The best example of this is Dropbox, the cloud storage company that gives users storage bonuses for referring customers. With very little advertising, the company grew to $ 10 billion in value with several million users. Dropbox is the greatest success story, but it can work on a smaller level with you. Save money by letting your customers do the advertising for you.


    Staying the Course


    There will be failures as you try to drive growth, with some brilliant ideas not doing nearly as well as expected. That’s all right, and it’s part of the process. Build on those mistakes and always be willing to try new things. Don’t forget to test as much as you can to see where the problem areas are and what’s working as planned. Doing all that will turn you into an effective growth hacker.

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