There’s a small group within digital marketers know as growth hackers, who are united by a common way of looking at the world: They have the courage and desire to experiment with new ways to achieve scalable growth with limited resources.
The end goal is to build systems that are self-sustainable, resulting in a product or service eventually going viral and becoming the next big thing. Growth hackers are mostly coders by background, but also business-oriented people to an increasing extent.
Why should you care about growth hacking?
Well, for most business the most reliable predictor of their long-term success is how well they can acquire new customers. Growth hacking is a discipline that can elevate this to new heights for you.
The more systems you have in place for acquiring customers on autopilot, the less time you need to spend on manual sales efforts.
As a result, your time can be freed for more important stuff, like capital allocation decisions that really move the needle.
So how does growth hacking work?
Basically you start with a hypothesis, figure a way to measure the effect of the inputs, then experiment & use the feedback to adjust what you’re doing. Add a number of iteration rounds until you succeed.
Now, this is not an exact science, although the formula is pretty much the same. What you’re really after is inputs that eventually start stacking outputs/results in a compounding manner:
The question here is not whether you can steadily increase inputs or just keep them on the same level each day, week or month, but rather if the outputs are asymmetric. If yes, you will eventually see this type of curve where results just take off at some point (also known as the tipping point).
Now we know we should aim for compounding results – but how does that help us? Don’t we still have to figure out everything from scratch since your company/product/industry is different from those have already managed to hack their growth?
The answer is: Yes and no.
Yes in the sense that you probably have to do some thinking utilizing first principles like Elon Musk regarding the specific problem you’re solving for your customers, and how scalable growth can be achieved for that in your case.
No in the sense that many industries have tried out methods that have become best practices, and they can be applied in your industry too.
Let’s look at the 4 best practices used by those gone before you, the bold growth hackers who documented their battles for the rest of us to make it with less blood, sweat & tears:
Table of Contents
Get a better understanding of the customers’ problems than any of your competitors
I bet you’ve met many salespeople and entrepreneurs who know their product inside out, and could talk hours about features & benefits. Maybe they’re really good at selling in a consultative style too, and can ask sharp questions from their customers to understand them better.
Nevertheless, if you’re not breaking the actual customer problem down to the first principles before building a solution, you’re sacrificing a big source for a competitive edge.
The better you understand the customer problem that you’re trying to solve, the better you will be not only in solving that problem but also in selling the product.
Even better: if you’re solving a problem that you have personally faced in your life, you’re likely to be very good at selling a solution to that problem.
If you want to apply this practice specifically to marketing, the simplest way is to make all your communications & content about what problem you’re solving, why this problem is very hard to solve yet how you solve it anyway. This way you can get your customers quickly on the same page with you.
A real-life example of this could be googling some company and applying this on their website’s front page:
ORDER IN WITH A PICKUP OR FREE DELIVERY
There’s nothing about the problem they’re solving. Their brand is so well-known that they don’t have to apply this tip anymore. But, if they were a start-up, I would strongly advise them to changing this into something like:
GET THE MOST DELICIOUS BURGER WHENEVER YOU’RE FEELING HUNGY – PICKUP OR FREE DELIVERY FOR ALL ORDERS
Now you’re stating what exact problem you’re solving for your customers, and everyone is on the same page with you from the first moment they land on your website.
Build authority around the buying criteria
The one who controls the general view on the buying criteria for a specific solution will be in a position to command sales at will.
After all, if you’re the best person to advise your customers on how they should decide which solution to purchase, why would they go anywhere else to solve their problems? Sometimes this actually requires pointing your customers to your competitors, in case you’re not the right fit.
This can be very hard to do, but success in business requires the readiness to lose marginally profitable deals without a second thought. If you have a proper growth system in place, that is.
Take for example the problem of how to transfer money in online gaming.
You should first lay out the specific requirements that your customers should evaluate when looking at possible providers, with some key requirements being added privacy and minimal fees. That’s exactly what I did when I wrote the guide Cryptocurrency for online poker at our website.
Adjust your content according to the state of mind for each marketing channel
In case your growth system includes paid ads, SEO, or social media marketing, you should tailor your message to suit the specific channel you’ve chosen to use.
Why do that?
Simply because it will help your ads to convert better. Here are the two most typical channels and how people are feeling when they consume content on those channels:
Hmm, what have all my friends been up to this week? Are there some funny cat videos, memes or exciting stories? I’m clearly looking for a bit of excitement because I’m bored. Throw me an ad that cheers me up & tells something that excites me, and I’m ready to move forward in your funnel!
Google’s search bar
What was that smoothie company again? I should order something healthy today for breakfast. What are the health benefits of smoothies anyways? Whether I’m searching for a specific brand name, information on a topic that interests me or looking to purchase something, I’m trying to solve some type of problem right here, right now. Give me a brilliant answer and Google will show your site high on the results for me!
Never stop iterating
For most start-ups, it takes years to become profitable even if they happen to get loads of users. The quicker you can get to the point where your product starts to go viral, the better your chances of survival are. Hence you should look at every detail in your product & marketing funnel with the following focus on a regular basis:
- Can we optimize the onboarding process so that every new user gets value from the product fast and recommend it to their friends?
- Is there a way to add more value at some point in our funnel (or in some part or aspect of the product) to charge our customers sooner and/or increase our price?
Even though growth hacking has many different best practices and techniques, it’s mostly a mindset thing. Start thinking like a growth hacker each day, and soon you’ll be performing the actions required for compounding growth.
Best of luck and have fun experimenting growth hacks!
The author is a copywriter & entrepreneur who loves creating content that gives readers actionable ideas. He spends most of his time reading, writing & optimizing articles at BeastsOfPoker, but also enjoys meeting new people in business.