As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. With literally no marketing budget, start-ups are forced to seek optimal ways to find customers, hire the best talent and deliver the highest value.
The term growth hacking is in itself proof that marketing techniques for start-ups and businesses have greatly matured and have been improvised. Marketing is no longer just the challenging as getting your name out there. And this is where growth hacking comes in.
One needs to be very creative. And at the same time very knowledgeable about their market and industry to effectively make a significant difference.
What is Growth Hacking
Growth Hacking. This term was coined by Sean Ellis in 2010. He blogged about a growth hacker as “a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth”. The term was wildly introduced by Andrew Chen through his blog post: “Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing“.
Growth hacking is a mindset and it should be the mindset that all start-up entrepreneurs and their employees should embrace. Whether you are in the marketing department, engineering, product or sales, everyone knows that the customers are the centre of the business. Without customers, the business would not exist.
Ryan Holiday’s “Growth Hacker’s Marketing,” says that growth hacking starts with “Product Market Fit”. Growth hackers believe that their businesses and business models can and should be changed until they are primed to generate explosive reactions from the first people who see them. Ryan shared that the growth hacker’s mindset is one where we treat our product and services as something malleable and were able to change and improve until we find its best iteration.
Growth Hacking by Design
In fact, this is aligned to the design thinking process where there are three key iterative steps to the design of a solution. Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation. The process itself is not a linear one. It goes through a roller coaster of divergence and convergence before the solution gets sharper and sharper with the iteration of input processes, peeling the onion till you can clearly see the needs of your customers.
Growth Hacking Mindset
Growth hacking is a mindset more than a toolset. It is a singular mindset of achieving one goal above all other goals. All that matters is growth. They choose not to be multi-taskers. Seeking not the path of being a jack of all trades. They seek only absolutely and complete mastery of being driving forces of growth.
Growth hackers harness a set of disciplines learned through doing and out of necessity. They have a common attitude, an internal investigation process, and a mentality unique among technologists and marketers. This is a mindset of data, creativity, and a yearning for the curiosity which allows a growth hacker to accomplish the feat of growing a user base from zero into the thousands and millions.
The 6 most effective strategies for growth hacking.
- Be Exclusive
Adopt a strategy that will make your product stand out and instantly available to a large group of people right away. It is customer psychology that people always desire to be part of something exclusive and special.
- Offer Something for Free
Although there are no free lunches in life, the term ‘Free’ is always able to attract people. Used strategically, people are willing to overlook the cost they actually have to pay for the product/service that they are getting for free.
- Start a Referral Program
Both large and small businesses have benefitted from a referral program, and it seems to work. So develop a referral program so that your customer automatically attracts other customers themselves without you having to do anything about it.
- Study the Customer’s Desire
Amongst the essential things that you should know about your customer is what exactly they look for in your product. Advertise that, exploit that; do what you have to, to project that very thing in your product.
- Relate to the Customers in a Language that they Understand
Fully understand and identify the target market. Get to know their culture and what makes them tick. That way you are able to reach out to them in a language that they can understand. Hence, relating back to you.
- Establish the Product/Market Fit for Your Product
Make a survey to see just how much of your target market actually appreciates the product that you are offering. The person who coined this term believes that at least 40% should actually want your product.
There is no step-by-step method for growth hacking your start-up. Growth hacking breaks the natural law of organic evolution. That’s why it takes creativity and ingenuity to break the initial growth barrier.