Growth Hacking is every start-up entrepreneur’s best friend. When starting an online business from scratch, managing your finances would be difficult especially when you do not have access to unlimited funds. Budgeting your capital is tough and although marketing and advertising are a necessity; you sometimes have no choice but to cut back of some of these expenses to stay afloat. In doing so, you also cut the chances of getting bigger sales.
That’s where growth hacking comes handy for you.
Growth hacking, is a marketing technique employed by trailblazers who would want to deviate from the normal traditional marketing. This applies especially to start up businesses who innovate new ideas and techniques that have not been tested before preferably at a fraction of a cost of what you would normally pay for having a professional launch your brand’s promotional campaign.
It was in 2006 when Sean Ellis coined the term growth hacker– to mean a person whose remarkable skills surpass that of a traditional marketer. The term was intended for people who would replace him in the startup companies he has helped developed. In Sean Ellis’s word, a growth hacker is both a marketer and innovator. Some of the very big companies are products of growth hacking including Dropbox, Facebook, AIRBnB, LinkedIn and Twitter. They have enjoyed considerable success already and are great models for growth hacking.
As a beginner, how do you go about doing growth hacking in your business? Here’s how:
#1 Define your goals
When you were planning to setup your business you considered a lot of basic questions like WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW. You must have answers to all these questions. It is also very important that you know what your short and long term goals are for the business. Your goals could be your business blueprint.
This is very important because your goals will serve as your guiding force in conducting a business. If you do not know what your goals are, you cannot shape the direction of your business. No goals mean no direction and with this, you are bound to commit several mistakes that may be detrimental to your business growth.
#2 Be specific with your goals
You are talking about creating a business. Before you can formally launch your product, you would have spend a lot of time, money and effort to keep the ball rolling. So you should be very specific with your goals. A goal would not be a goal without a time frame.
So how specific can you get? You can say, ROI on the 6th month and a net profit of 3% by the end of the 12th month.
#3. Track and Measure your efforts
There are so many things that you need to keep track of- the amount of traffic to your site, number of clicks, conversions, etc. Good thing that there are so many online tools that you can rely on. One tool that you must use for your website is Google Analytics which will help you track your website’s traffic.
There also several other monitoring systems that will help you keep track of your brand’s progress and other automation tools to make running your business hassle free and convenient. You can measure almost all aspects from your business from the number of people who subscribed to your email list to the percentage of repeat visitors your website gets on a daily basis.
One thing you need to remember though is that your test period should be long especially on the initial stages so you can accurately measure the success (or the lack of it) of your marketing efforts.
#4 Be extremely creative in designing your funnel
Every growth hacker needs a funnel, a marketing master plan covering all aspects of the business from strategic planning to implementation.
Normally, there are 3 stages to a funnel– awareness, engagement and sales. In every stage, you have channels and key metrics that you need to consider. You can create awareness of your products by posting in various social media accounts. At this stage, it is important to allocate a certain portion of your marketing budget for ads. Engagement is the stage when the people who have become aware of your business have suddenly become your Facebook friend or Twitter follower. A sale is what every business owner is after. You spend a little bit for your brand to earn recognition that you hope its cost you’d be able to recoup in such a short time.
#5 Re-use strategies that work for your business
There’s no one size fits all plan for all business. What will work for your business might not work for your friends. And not all tools or systems you use will be effective for you. That is why it is very important for your business that you use monitoring tools to keep track of all of your marketing and advertising efforts. You can reuse the same strategy to your business until you find something else that will work better than the one you currently use.
#6 Be Careful of the cost
The purpose of growth hacking is simply to look for other means of marketing a product or service using the different channels available on the internet and none of the expenses often associated with traditional marketing. Unless you can almost smell your ROI or expansion is inevitable, keep expenses and manpower at a minimum. If you need to outsource people to do certain tasks for your business like website designing, do it on a per project basis. Your overhead in the first few months of operation should be really minimal. Try not to operate your business on credit.
Wrapping it up
It is interesting to note that what makes growth hacking different from your usual marketing is the fact they are more driven to get strong leads than fans. Leads convert better when it comes to sales. A growth hacker is not resistant to change and is always on the lookout to improve the business.
How about you? Do you think growth hacking is for you and your business?