You’ve heard this buzz term growth hacking for a while now, and you’re wondering, “what is it and why should I care?” Growth hacking your small business means getting laser focused on your business one specific way – toward growth. The term was coined by Sean Ellis of Startups-Marketing in 2010 initially as a description of a type of team member that all startups need. Sean argues that at the startup phase a marketing department should be replaced with a growth hacker; someone who’s “true north” is growth for the company.
As a small business owner, you are your own marketing department, which means that you need to be your own growth hacker. Fortunately, growth hacking isn’t about expensive tools. It’s about adopting the right mindset and focusing your strategies.
Here are five essentials that you need to understand in order to become an effective growth hacker:
- Rethink the sales funnel.
Growth hackers adopt a unique view on the traditional sales funnel. There are three phases – getting visitors, activating member and retaining users. Finding ways for people to locate your product, helping people take predefined actions in your product and helping people become habitual users (and advocates) of your product, will establish a reliable system for growth.
- Focus on your story – not your product.
Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last, says that “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” When your marketing focuses on your story, and not on selling your product, your company becomes more memorable. The story of your company and why you’re doing what you do gives your audience something to connect with. As a result, they’ll be more likely to buy and spread the word about your business.
- Circle back on your product idea once you’ve gathered an audience.
In order to grow more, faster, you need to give people exactly what they are looking for and what they desire. This can be a difficult thing to know until you’ve built an audience. Growth hacking experts recommend that you begin with a small target group and then poll that group once your list has grown. This will help you narrowly target your product so it fits their needs exactly. It’s called product-market fit.
- Track, compare and refine your performance.
If regular marketing is a cross-country road trip, growth hacking is like a NASCAR race. You need to stop more often to check on your performance factors and make adjustments. Track your KPIs closely, and then focus on improving relative to yourself. Search for companies online who have published their numbers, or reach out to similar companies and trade stats for comparison. Make adjustments to refine your performance and see growth across the board.
- Start content marketing with guest blogging.
Neal Patel of QuickSprout calls blogging a “no brainer.” It’s a powerful tool for your small business – and it’s easier than you think. Blog owners are on a hunt for new guest posts and this makes guest blogging a perfect starting point for small businesses. It’s simpler to create a single post than launch an entire blog at once. Eventually, you’ll want to incorporate a blog into your growth hacking strategy but guest blogging is a smart start.
How are you going to growth hack your business?
About the author:
Tobi North – Creativity rock star and marketing master
I enjoy being innovative and creating communications that customers can relate to. I am always looking for that “light bulb” moment, when I find an interesting topic that I know our customers will love to learn more about. In between creative brainstorming sessions, you can probably find me at a concert or searching for the best BBQ joint in town. .