Traditional Marketing Not Working? Try Growth Hacking!

Growth hacking is much more than a new marketing buzzword. It is nothing less than a revolution in marketing.

growth hacking

What Is Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking is a non-traditional marketing approach by an entrepreneur to increase adoption of his or her product. This is done by “hacking” an idea together that will result in explosive growth.

Business growth is not simply about having a good product. It’s about using an active approach to getting the word out about that product. Business growth, according to a growth hacker, is an active, not a passive process.


Some Growth Hacking Examples

Perhaps, the best way to describe growth hacking is through some vivid examples:

  • American Spotify exemplified growth hacking with Facebook integration.
  • AirBnb exemplified growth hacking by hijacking Craigslist to increase their website traffic and get new users.
  • Zynga exemplified growth hacking by doing cheap online advertising as well as by using Facebook alerts.
  • Author Tim Ferris exemplified growth hacking by giving away portions of his book on BitTorrent; a strategy that resulted in selling about 250,000 copies.

The Difference Between Growth Hacking and Traditional Marketing

Growth hacking is a marketing process that is ideal for startups that have not fully identified their target customer yet, for innovative product launches that have the potential for astronomical business growth, and for new businesses that don’t have the same resources as more established companies in a niche.


What Does A Growth Hacker Do?

A growth hacker finds or develops a great product, one that has a potential for high demand, plans or models a marketing strategy around it, and then tests these various ideas for growth potential.

Planning or modeling may consist of the following activities:

  • Figuring out how to attract people to a website via SEO and then capturing their information through an opt-in box for follow-up email marketing.
  • Figuring out how to transfer website visitors to mobile users.
  • Figuring out what would incentivize people to follow a particular social media thread, recommend a YouTube video, or promote a particular link.

In other words, the growth hacker is looking to find the answer to a particular question: what strategy or sequence of tactics will spur growth for this product?

Here, in summary, is the process:

First, find a great product.

Second, develop a list of tactics to promote interest and enthusiasm for the product.

Third, try out various ideas using split testing or A/B testing.

Fourth, deploy the ideas that work, or if none of them work, go back to recreating the model.


Actionable Growth Hacking Tactics

Here is a short list of hacking tactics that a growth hacker may use:

  1. Acquisitions. Trying out viral acquisition tactics to get existing members or users to share a product with others or trying out paid acquisition tactics like Google or Facebook ads.
  2. Sales teams. The idea here is to outsource low-cost labor populations like college interns to create an email campaign or build hundreds of SEO pages, and so on.
  3. Content marketing. Tactics include blogs, information centres , infographics, videos, and other ways to get website traffic.
  4. Email marketing. Attract traffic to a website to increase subscribers to an ezine.
  5. Search engine optimization (SEO). This is not the same as regular use of SEO, which is to optimize one website with about five major keywords. Instead, a growth hacker will create a team of people to create a large number of pages optimized for the search engines.


Final Thoughts

Growth hacking is not just a variation on traditional marketing. It is, in fact, a whole new approach. The focus is on growth, rapid and explosive business growth. While certain techniques may appear to be the same as those used by traditional marketers, a growth hacker uses them with a completely different purpose. While a traditional marketer is interested in getting more people to buy a product, a growth hacker is interested in making people go crazy over a new product.

Tim Ferris, for example, is not just selling books in the self-help niche; instead, he is creating a following of people who want to create a much more fulfilling lifestyle by following his “4 Hour” book series.