Growth Hacking for Inbound Marketers

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Jay Dillon

Director of Strategy and Creative at Inbound Experts
Jay is a digital marketer and producer whose creative and technical skills have developed digital brand strategies and sales campaigns using a range of complex internet applications from stand-alone websites through to Facebook API integrations.
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Have you heard about the new type of hacker running rampant in the business world?

This particular type of hacker is not out to get credit card info or bank account numbers, but they are out to make money.

These hackers aren’t trying to listen in on people’s phone conversations or log their keystrokes, but they are trying to win their favour and their business.

This type of hacker is known as a growth hacker. Growth hackers are those who use their creativity, technical skills, and curiosity to achieve one goal: company growth.

What Does Growth Hacking Mean?

Sean Ellis, the Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and investor, coined the term growth hacking and popularised the concept with a blog post back in 2010. Since then, growth hacking has become a new trend in marketing.

Several of today’s most notable companies have done very well thanks to their growth hacking efforts. AirBnB, the online vacation rental website, famously attained exponential growth by integrating its platform with Craigslist. Other companies that have successfully engaged in growth hacking include Twitter, Uber, and Facebook.

Marketing expert Neil Patel even provides an offline example of growth hacking in his comprehensive guide to the concept: during the 1950s and 1960s, when the United States was rapidly expanding its interstate system, McDonald’s wisely decided to put restaurants near highway exits to ramp up customer traffic on the road. This resulted in a massive increase in the amount of business the fledgling hamburger chain did with travellers.

What Exactly Does Growth Hacking Look Like?

It should be noted that while growth hacking may be considered a subset of marketing, the two concepts are not the same. Marketers use a wide array of techniques and are focused on several different goals: customer retention, building brand visibility, and so on.

Growth hackers, on the other hand, are focused on one thing: growth.

It’s hard to break down growth hacking into specific tactics, since the unconventional nature of growth hacking means that it can come in several different forms. Generally speaking, however, growth hacking needs to include these three elements:

  • Innovation – a growth hacker needs to think outside the box if they want to successfully market their brand. While you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to succeed with growth hacking, when you engage in more traditional marketing tactics you should have a specific differentiator that makes you stand out from others in your field.
  • Metrics-driven – companies that want to grow have to use metrics to ensure that they’re achieving and maintaining this growth. If you don’t have a way to prove that your page visits, sales, or conversion rates are growing, it’s impossible to tell how successful your growth hacking efforts are.
  • Scalability – part of the growth hacking concept is coming up with a hacking method that you can repeat over and over again, to sustain continual growth. Even if a specific marketing tactic works well for you, it is important that you are able to repeat it and scale it over time so that you can continue to gain exponential benefits from your efforts

It may not be a precise definition, but generally speaking if you are fulfilling these three requirements there’s a good chance that you are growth hacking successfully.

Three Tips for Inbound Growth Hacking Like a Pro

So what can inbound marketers do if you want to growth hack with the best of them? Focus on these three achievements with your inbound marketing campaigns:

  • Go viral – going viral is one of the best ways to get exponential growth in a short period of time. When content goes viral, it can quickly lead to a surge in your customer acquisition rate or get your brand in the minds of your prospects. To help you go viral, focus on sharing content that addresses a pressing need, in an area where lots of prospects are available, using an inventive delivery method.
  • Always be tweaking – by their very nature, growth hackers are never satisfied with growing a web site to a certain number of hits or revenues. There’s always another milestone to meet, since growth has no ceiling. To achieve the highest levels of success, however, you have to think outside of the box: a good growth hacker is constantly experimenting to see what they can do better.
  • Deeply understand buyer personas – a robust understanding of the people you are targeting with your growth hacking efforts will go a long way in helping you meet your goals, since you’ll be able to tell where your ideal customer usually interacts with content and what some of their pain points are. With a good understanding of what your buyer personas need, it’s less of a challenge to give them quality content that fits their requirements, which is a big part of growth hacking.

With some creativity, dedication, and perseverance, any marketer can become a growth hacker that uses subtle tactics and logical thinking to meet their customers where they are.

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