Growth hacking, or business growth through analytical, strategic, and creative marketing moves, is quickly becoming the norm. The practice that began with budget-conscious startups looking for quick, effective means for growth and distribution is now being integrated into marketing plans across industries. Through a combination of technology and unconventional marketing tactics, growth hacking has had explosive results for companies like Facebook, Airbnb, and Twitter, just to name a few.
So what constitutes strategy when it comes to growth hacking? Aaron Ginn, growth hacker for organizations like StumbleUpon, Everlane, and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, puts it like this:
“A growth hacker finds a strategy within the parameters of a scalable and repeatable method for growth, driven by product and inspired by data. Growth hacking’s goals are based in marketing but driven by product instincts. A growth hacker lives at the intersection of data, product, and marketing. A growth hacker lives within the product team and has a technical vocabulary to implement what he or she wants.”
Though some growth hacking strategies seem complicated, there are many that you may already use without even knowing it. Here are four simple hacks that you can use to get visitors to your website and grow your brand.
Start with your homepage.
Your website is the foundation for your online growth hacking strategy. Keeping your site up to date in terms of SEO, offering landing pages with valuable information and content, and having an aesthetically pleasing layout are simple ways to attract and engage visitors. If they can quickly and easily find a solution to their problem, they will also be apt to tell their friends. User sign up websites (think Pinterest) are another strategy growth hackers are employing when it comes to homepages, as they provide a user’s email address and product preferences almost instantly. Plus, if a visitor wants to share an aspect of your site with friends, they will also have to sign up.
Put your content to work.
Growth hackers must be creative, as many marketing channels may be be too costly or too mainstream. Creating useful content is especially beneficial when resources are limited.
Blogging is one of the easiest growth hacking strategies to attract visitors to your website. By providing value to your visitors, you are rewarded with subscribers—contact info that doesn't require buying a list. And you can get some good mileage out of your content by sharing across platforms, reposting and repurposing your content, and sharing via email. According to this HubSpot article, “research from Experian states that $1 invested in email marketing initiatives yields roughly $44.25 return for marketers,” proving that email marketing is still a cost effective tactic.
Whether it be through social media or social relationships, word of mouth is as good as gold when you have a small or even nonexistent budget. Growth hackers cleverly take advantage of referrals and user bases to promote their products. In an interview with Forbes Magazine, former Facebook growth hacker Andy Johns explained that in order to grow Facebook, his team created embeddable Facebook widgets that could be shared on users’ blogs and websites. These widgets “served billions of impressions per month, which led to hundreds of millions of clicks and consequently millions of signups.” Facebook successfully tapped into its users’ networks and followers with the simple placement of an icon. Cant quite develop your own widget yet? Use your social media accounts to share engaging content and interact with your followers. Social proof in the form of testimonials or social sharing counters on websites is another example of hacks that are easily done and encourage new visitors.
Growth hackers know the importance of the end user experience and which metrics can help improve conversion rates, website performance and engagement. Measuring what works and what doesn’t and then making necessary changes is vital to growth hacking. Experimenting with the times you publish social updates or send emails and A/B testing email subject lines are two simple hacks you can do today. Once you get visitors, it’s important to keep them on the site and encourage interaction and, hopefully, conversions. Google Analytics is a great place to get started, and Quick Sprout’s Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking has an awesome chapter on commonly used analytic tools and terminology.
In what ways have you used growth hacking strategies to attract visitors to your website?