In this guide, we’ll answer

1. What is growth hacking?

2. How is it different from traditional marketing?

3. How can I find a growth hack for my business?

Even if you’re new to growth hacking, you probably already have an idea about what it is. Or even what it does. Growth hacking is all about growth! It’s a marketing tactic geared specifically toward rapidly building your business.

You’ve probably seen or even been influenced by one without knowing it. In fact, you might be using a growth hack in your own marketing without realizing it.

One thing you can do now is examining your welcome emails.

Welcome emails have the highest open rates of all promotional email – 57.8% to a paltry 14.4%! They’re also reported to bring in 320% more revenue than standard promotional email.

Not to mention that subscribers are most engaged during the first 48 hours, so your welcome email arrives – or should – during that optimum engagement window.

Growth hacking started as a brainchild between developers and marketers

These were startups that wanted to promote their company quickly but didn’t have a large advertising budget or a background in traditional marketing.

Today, a lot of young companies use these tactics to grow and you can too. It helps to have technical expertise, but really it’s all about having the right mindset.

Growth hacking isn’t a structured set of rules and steps to follow. It’s more about thinking about growth all the time. The goal is to find low-cost loopholes that can help you get more customers fast.

Let’s take a look at some of the tactics you can apply to your business and which ones traditional marketers rely on.

Traditional Marketing

  • Commercials & Print Ads
  • Media Planning
  • Press Releases

Growth Hacking

  • Data Analytics
  • Blogs, Content Marketing
  • Platform APIs
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Referral Programs

Traditional marketing tactics often require large ad budgets and planning. Growth hacking techniques are low-cost and usually flexible.

There are a lot of well-known companies that used growth hacking in their not-so-well-known days, and not all of them relied on technical expertise.

For example, When Gmail launched, it used an invite-only system to drive growth, and it worked. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful marketing technique, and if you have a product people really want, they’ll respond to this type of marketing.

The invite-only growth hack worked so well that Gmail invites were auctioned on eBay.

In  AirBnB’s early days they realized people looking for alternative accommodations turned to Craigslist, so they offered an option for hosts to copy their listing to Craigslist and post it with one click. The result? Immediate access to a large market of target users.

And in 2012, Etsy added a new “Pin It” button on product listings, right beside the Tweet and Like buttons. This helped Etsy shop owners promote their items and Pintrest users see what was for sale.

The Etsy story shows how growth hacking isn’t a static set of rules you can follow. You just need to find and join the communities your customers are in. Let’s dive deeper into how Etsy did this.

Etsy observed that their customers were pinning Etsy items onto Pinterest, the Etsy team added the Pin It button on each item listing page on Etsy also launched a Guest Pinner program in which pinners—including Etsy Sellers, popular bloggers, and brands like Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine—pin to Etsy group boards.

This inspired them to add the “Pin It” button, helping people share items on Pintrest with just one click. It also helped Etsy’s sellers, because each pin or post included the seller’s name and a link to purchase the item on Etsy.

As more and more people pinned items found on Etsy, the marketplace became a top source of pins on Pintrest, which introduced new people to Etsy every day.

The cross-pollination further gave sellers a way to promote their shops and showcase their items for sale.

Growth hacking is all about finding opportunities to tell your customers about your business.

Make a list of some growth hacks that you can use from the examples below.

  • Add a referral code to emails that gives customers discounts for referrals.

  • Email purchases receipts with links to your social profiles or newsletters.

  • Create rewards to get your customers to sign up for your email list.

  • Give customers a discount if they share your business on social media.

  • Engage with competitors’ followers who you want as customers.

  • Add a share button by your products or quotable parts of your blog posts.

  • Offer a valuable branded service to attendees (i.e. Free parking).

  • Live blog the event for people who couldn’t attend.

  • Partner with an industry expert and host a meet and greet at the event.

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