22nd of May 2017 | Matt Southam
Growth Hacking is a marketing process that we are very keen on. It has a number of key characteristics compared to traditional marketing, one of them being the aim to save money (I am guessing that has got you interested!)
So what is Growth hacking and what is a Growth Hacker?
Firstly where it differs from traditional marketing is that you may only be pushing your product to get feedback so that you can refine the product before you go for a full market onslaught. Often as marketers, we look at how best to "force" a product on the public but the best way to grow a user base is to firstly make sure your product is one people want!
Secondly, Growth Hacking is concerned with finding creative marketing methods to grow your user base rather than relying on the traditional and expensive, methods you may have used before.
Let's look at some examples
Traditionally a product would be pushed out to everyone but as we mentioned above with Growth Hacking it is important to ensure the product is right first. Many startups slowly build a product with a select group to get feedback and then adapt to what works. This is key to ensuring the product that you fully market is the right one!
A great example of this was Instagram.
Did you know that it was originally called Burbn (named after the drink Bourbon) and was an app that allowed users to check into places and post photos?
It only had a small number of users but after looking at how the app was used the founders realised the main feature people loved was posting photos! So they stripped it down and relaunched as Instagram in 2010.
Fast forward to 2012 and Facebook bought Instagram for $1Billion, in cash, so you will agree they made the right decision to adapt the app!
So once you have the right product how do you use Growth Hacking for marketing.
Well, using Growing Hacking as a marketing method is more of a mindset than a set idea. One key aspect you will often see is companies using current users to market their product. This is much cheaper than trying to advertise yourself to new users. Let's look at some examples to explain this:
Dropbox - Dropbox offer 2GB of free storage when you sign up but their clever growth hack is to give users an extra 500mb every time they refer a friend! What a great way to get users to market Dropbox!
Hotmail / Apple iPhone / Gmail - This is a classic growth hacking technique that most email providers do. I am sure you have seen an email come through where at the bottom is says "Sent from my iPhone"
This basically markets the iPhone everytime someone sends an email to a friend!
This hack was first seen when Hotmail launched as they wanted a cheap way to grow the user base. They couldn't afford big advertising so they stuck a footer at the bottom of everyone's email and soon their user base was huge. A simple “Get Your Free Email at Hotmail,” added 1 million users with 6 months!
Firstly make sure your product solves a problem and is user-friendly. If you need to adapt then do. We have! Most of our early websites were built with WordPress.
While we do still build WordPress websites we found that users found them at times hard to update so we built our own really simple system which allows users to update their blogs, galleries etc. We are still testing this out, getting feedback from users and making adjustments before we fully launch it. Want to know when it's fully live? Head over to mjsmedia.co.uk/graphite and sign up for the mailing list to be first to know.
What can you do?
Think about how you can get your current customers to market your service for you, this could be as simple as testimonials or perhaps offer an incentive if they refer someone.
Growing your mailing list by offering a special offer is a simple way to get a list worth marketing too.
How do you use Growth Hacking in your business? We would love to hear your ideas.