Growth hacking, or growth marketing, are resource-efficient digital marketing tactics for growing websites, maintaining an active user base, selling products and gaining exposure.
Growth hacking is usually associated with start-ups, since large investments are not required but at the same time you want to get results quickly. However, it is a scalable concept that can be applied to any online business that wants to grow and keep users active.
The difference between growth hacking and traditional marketing
Many people mistakenly think that growth hacking and marketing are the same thing.
Growth hacking has the same goal as marketing – acquiring customers or encouraging people to use a particular product or service. The difference is that growth hacking doesn’t involve the huge budgets that larger companies have access to.
Typically, growth hacking combines marketing, optimization, and development know-how to achieve automated marketing on a low budget. For example, automated notification emails, subscription-driven homepages, or optimization of new customer onboarding.
Advantages of growth hacking
- Demonstrable ROI – You can easily see which growth hacking strategies are performing best, using data and accurately tracking a hacker’s performance.
- Low Cost – Growth hacking uses any possible economic investment. Like, for example, ensuring landing pages get high search engine rankings for important keywords. Or writing impactful content like case studies and sharing content on key social media channels is an excellent tactic.
- Few Resources – Growth hacking is often developed and implemented by a single product person or team of engineers and does not require the intervention of an entire team.
Criticism of growth marketing
In recent years, the practice of growth hacking has received quite a bit of criticism. Some believe there is an extreme focus on quick hackers and shortcuts rather than developing a thorough marketing strategy. Others argue that growth hacking is just traditional marketing that has been given a fancy new name.
For this reason, some professionals have begun to call themselves “growth marketers” to distance themselves from the negative connotations of the term ” hacking “.
Why is growth marketing so important?
Most of the hugely successful startups have relied on growth hacking during the growth phase to achieve the amazing growth they have had.
Growth hackers are often referred to as T-shaped marketers as they have a wide range of knowledge across different disciplines. They rely on insights into product, design, technology, data, content and analytics to find ingenious ways to achieve sustainable and often incredible growth. Although creativity and the ability to employ an original idea is what determines the success of a growth hacker, growth hacking is a strategic process that, if applied correctly, can help solve the problems that hinder the growth of any company.
Examples of growth hacking
Here are some examples of growth hackers who have managed to generate amazing results for top tech companies:
- Hotmail – ‘Get your free email on Hotmail’ with a link to the registration page automatically added to users’ signatures
- LinkedIn – One-click approvals for existing connections
- YouTube – Make it as easy as possible to share YouTube videos on your sites by providing embed codes
- Twitter – Automatic email notification
- DropBox – ‘Refer-a-friend’ scheme incentivized to get new users
- Airbnb – free cross-posting of all new listings on craigslist
Testing what works and discarding what doesn’t work is at the heart of these successful growth hacking, and many more. Only through a consistent process of hypothesizing, testing and refining the hacks that drive a company’s growth can they be uncovered.