Growth hacking is getting a lot of attention. You walk into a marketing meeting and they start talking about hacking-this and hacking-that.
But why? The main reason is a lot of startups are seeing phenomenal growth due to growth hacking being applied.
Want some growth hacking examples? OK. There are many examples and many stories. You might even know most of these companies.
Facebook: Yes, Facebook. They have grown from a couple thousand to billion subscribers.
Airbnb: From starting they have grown to millions of users.
Dropbox: Their marketing cost a lot. They used referral marketing and grew their subscriber base.
These companies have grown extremely fast. There is a saying, a rising tide raises all ships. This means the internet is starting to get some serious traction world wide. People are hungry for information. This fueled this growth.
But; what is growth hacking and what does it mean?
Let us break it down into smaller bits to get a clear understanding.
Definition: Growth hacking comes from Sean Ellis who coined the phrase in 2010. He worked at Dropbox. The example above is where they grew because of one of his ideas. The same idea applies to Black Berry with their messenger and Hotmail (they had a get a free email account link on all outgoing emails).
Using his words; a growth hacker is someone who is focused on True North, Growth. What is important here is the focus. In this case; growth. That is what a growth hacker is focused on 100% of the time.
Growth in a business can happen anywhere. It is not limited to just one thing.
Can you growth hack any product or service? No. It needs to be something the market wants. Part of the process is changing and adjusting your product and service according to what the market wants. They are voting with their registrations; their clicks, their behaviors, feedback and wallets.
Ensuring you have a product the market wants is the most important step. You need to validate this. How? Ask people money for it. If they give you money it is a step in the right direction.
Not everyone is your market. This is a hard one. Many entrepreneurs believe everyone needs what they have. That is not true.
In product development terms; you get a couple of phases, or adoption. These are:
- Early innovators
- Early adopters
- Early majority
- Late majority
There is a goal for any startup. It is crossing what is known as “crossing the chasm”. If a product or services does not cross over it dies. The crossover is between early adopters and early majority. Miss this and there is no growth.
Another important concept is market-message-product-fit. This means your product, market and message is aligned. You can clearly see the difference when the fit is right.
Pirate Metrics. There are a couple of key metrics for Growth Hacking. This is called pirate metrics because of the way you say the acronym, AARRR. The stages are:
- Acquisition: How people hear about you
- Activation: How their first experience is
- Retention: How you keep customers (subscribers / clients / users / people / peeps)
- Revenue: How you make money
- Referral: How they tell other people like them
Because growth hacking is ALL about growth; finding and measuring the right key performance indicators is critical. Some metrics do not matter; others make or break a business. Focus on the important ones.
In God we trust. All others must bring data. ~ W.E. Demming.
In Growth Hacking we use tools to help measure and improve. We use statistical analysis to get to an answer.
There is no golden bullet. You get growth by having a clear focus; testing; reviewing; and making changes based on data.
Get my growth hacking template here. Growth happens everywhere in a business. It is not just getting more website traffic, or more leads. It is about having a full view of the whole process.