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Growth Hacking definition

Growth Hacking (© wladimir1804 /

Growth Hacking (© wladimir1804 /

The term ‘growth hacking’ refers to the process of swift testing across product development and marketing channels in order to determine the most effective and efficient way to expand a business. It utilizes both conventional and unconventional experimentation in marketing that can help grow a business. 

In this article, we will dive deeper into growth hacking, providing a more in-depth explanation of this process and the effects it can have on businesses.

Growth hacking is a process that is used in marketing. It involves using both old and new strategies with the goal of achieving the maximum results with a minimal investment. In the simplest terms, growth hacking involves testing out different methods of marketing via swift experimentation; you create a marketing idea, you test it out, and if it works, you use it until it stops producing results and go back to the drawing board to create a new marketing idea.

openPR tip: When it is done properly, growth hacking can offer a very high return on investment, as well as rapid growth. However, it is important to point out that they key to successful growth hacking is figuring out a specific and consistent protocol to use. Startups primarily use growth hacking, as they have to use innovative marketing ideas because they often have limited budgets, which can prevent the use of traditional marketing practices.

Examples of Growth Hacking

There are several businesses that have employed growth hacking and the process has proven to yield exceptional results. Some examples of businesses that have used growth hacking include:

  • Dropbox. This site is commonly used as an example for how to use growth hacking the right way. Instead of investiong a lot of money on advertising, Dropbox began offering extra storage space for any existing users who referred a friend to the cloud storage service. Once they did this, their referrals increased at a rapid rate, and the company had to put in very little effort.
  • Airbnb. This travel business saw the potential in using Craigslist to increase their property views. They simply added a “post to craigslist” feature on their listing options menu. Though the marketing tactic was short lived, during the time that it was operational, Airbnb saw an incredible boost in their views, which helped them become one of the most powerful businesses in the travel niche today.
  • Uber. This car service don’t do any traditional advertising at all; rather, they rely on average people to use their own vehicles to pick up other people at one location and safely bring them to another location. The payments that are processed are funneled through the Uber app. In the United States alone, there are more than 250 million cars on the road, which makes this a very scalable strategy. Uber simply provides the app and the users provide everything else.

Techniques Used in Growth Hacking

There are several techniques that can be used in growth hacking to find success for your marketing and business growth endeavors.

Four Steps to Growth Hacking

Here’s a look at four simple and easy to follow steps that will allow you to apply growth hacking to your own marketing practices.

  1. Create a product or service consumers really want. You would think this shouldn’t have to be mentioned as it seems pretty obvious; however, a lot of businesses overlook the importance of creating something that people actually want. If the product or service isn’t something that the public wants, you are going to end up putting a lot of time and effort into marketing it, not to mention, you’re going to spend a ton of money. Not only should you develop a product or service that people want, but you also have to keep improving on it to ensure that people remain interested in it.
  2. Make sure your products or services are hitting the right target. You might have developed something great, but if you aren’t targeting it to the right audience, it isn’t going to take off. To do this, begin by asking and answering questions, not by creating a product or service that appears to have an excellent market. By asking and answering questions, you will gain a better idea of what it is that your customer base is interested in. You also want to make sure that you get feedback on whatever it is that you are offering. With feedback, you can find out what works and what doesn’t; or what your target audience likes and what they don’t like.
  3. Don’t target everyone. It might be tempting to target everyone, but the truth is, this approach will likely lead to failure. You’ll waste valuable resources marketing to a large market that simply isn’t interested in what you are offering. Instead, target only those who would be interested in what it is that you are offering.
  4. Define your general business goals. Just like any other aspect of your business, in order for your growth hacking efforts to be successful, you need to define the general goals you have for your business. In order to do that, keep the following acronym in mind: SMART. S = Specific, M = Measurable, A = Achievable, T = Time-based. It goes without saying that your ultimate goal is to improve grow your business and your profits, but there are several ways you can make that happen depending on your general business goals. Once you identify your goals, you can use growth hacking to make them happen.

Additional Growth Hacking Tips

In addition to the insight we shared above, here’s a look at some additional growth hacking tips that could help you attain great success with this marketing process.

  • Make automation a top priority. One of the biggest keys to growth hacking success s automation and repetition. Find out what works and what doesn’t. Nix what doesn’t and streamline what does.
  • Develop a personality. In a sea of businesses, standing out can help you get noticed. Develop an unusual PR or marketing campaign and reach out to news sites to get them interested. If several news outlets end up writing pieces about your business, you could see a huge increase in your success in virtually  no time.
  • Send out abandoned cart emails. If you operate an ecommerce business, you should seriously think about creating emails that can be sent out to people who abandon their shopping cart; in other words, when someone adds items to their shopping cart on your ecommerce site, you can have an email sent out that reminds them of the items. This could encourage them to move forward and complete the purchase.
  • User-created contests. Consider hosting a contest in which users post photos or videos using your products. These types of contests get a lot of attention, and they also get shared a lot, which is a double-win for you.
  • Join forces. You might want to think about collaborating with another business in your niche. For example, you could work together to provide customers with something that you both offer. This can get the word out about both of your businesses, which could prove to be beneficial for both of you.

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