The term growth hacker was first devised by Sean Ellis in 2010. There are so many myths about growth hacking affecting business life on a large scale.
The term growth hacking is coined frequently among digital marketers, and it has become synonymous with viral marketing because of digital marketers’ influence over it.
But, what does growth hacking really mean?
Growth hacking is a mindset rather than being a set of techniques. Here, marketers try to achieve more with less. They arrange resources such as time, money and human capital to gain more in less.
Unlike other marketing techniques, the sole purpose of growth hacking is the growth of the business. Every tactic, strategy, or tool implemented or used by a growth hacker is just for growth.
Several startups have acquired millions of customers using this concept of marketing.
Though the stories of growth hacking are quite inspiring, there are a few misconceptions regarding this.
Here our objective is to address them and show you the real picture.
It is a Magic Pill
Several case studies of growth hacking make people believe it is a magic pill that will bring results before you expect.
For instance, how Hotmail acquire millions of users offering free email service within 6 months of its launch.
However, the fact is quite different than it seems to be.
This process involves A/B testing on several elements to understand the best performing strategy, lots of hard work, and most importantly, come up with out-of-the-box ideas as it needs you to break the linear pattern of growth.
All the tactics adopted in growth hacking are based on customers’ needs and behavior.
There are a few techniques to understand your users’ expectations and behavior. You may encourage your potential customers, answering some survey questions related to your product or service.
Several analytics tools are also helpful to figure out customer behavior, helping you improving user experience.
Growth Hacking is a Digital Marketing Technique
When it comes to online marketing, growth hacking seems like a technique used in digital marketing.
But in reality, growth hacking and digital marketing are two different concepts.
In digital marketing, the marketers promote the business online to create brand awareness. They emphasize engaging the customers rather than acquiring them at all costs.
Though growth hacking also involves laying out awareness and engagements, it uses several digital marketing techniques with a twist for rapid the growth of a business. The implementation of various innovative techniques ensures increase in the number of conversions.
Some popular growth hacking techniques are, offering freebies to refer your business, offering a free trial of your online stuff for a few days, etc.
It is Free
Often growth hacking is considered free and so do viral marketing.
Of course, the base of this concept is using a minimum budget to bring maximum growth to the business. Thus, it can be inexpensive method but not completely free.
Growth hacking, in general, works on the concept of shareability.
Here you need to create lucrative offers that are worth people’s attention. Once you create such an offer, you can spread it using several social media platforms, where your prospects are already searching for something like this.
Yes, this element of shareability makes content viral but you still need to push it from time to time.
Though making your content viral using these platforms won’t cost much, but creating shareable content needs research, time and resources and hence the whole concept can’t be labeled as free.
Moreover, there is a requirement to give your content a suitable platform so that it can be accessible to your targeted audience.
Today, when print media is losing its grip over people’s attention, new marketing methods are coming forward, trying out all these platforms. Hence, it needs trial and error, which in itself can be a costly affair.
It Focuses Only on Acquiring Customers Not Retaining Them
Another misconception about growth hacking is, it is implemented only to acquire new clients. There is no strategy for making the customers repeat customers.
But the fact is growth hacking focuses on the overall growth of the company. It works based on the A3R3 funnel model. The 6 stages of A3R3 are
The stages of this model start with spreading awareness of the business. After the company starts acquiring new customers, the hacker ensures in providing a seamless user experience to the customers.
By applying new strategies, the growth hackers build trust among the clients, making them loyal customers. Eventually, they not only purchase products again and again from the company but also refer the company to their connections.
It is Based on Assumptions
Most of the case studies on growth hacking manifest how startups have earned millions of revenue or acquired loads of customers in a few months. This automatically generates a thought that GH bases on some assumptions and there are no researches behind it.
But if you closely perceive the case studies of Hubspot or Airbnb, you will understand there is lots of A/B testing and research behind their success.
The marketers of Hubspot have created high-quality blog posts, e-books, webinars, launched various free and paid tools for the marketers, laying out awareness in the market.
It requires a deep understanding of your business and industry, immense hard work and market research to innovate a solid plan, ensuring growth.
This understanding helps you to improve your return on investment too.
To achieve better returns over your investment, you need to study and deploy various strategies such as influencer marketing, PPC, affiliate marketing and more to bring down the cost and increase the profit.
It is an Overnight Success
As we have discussed earlier, to implement growth hacking, you need to go through the process of trial and error.
Trial and error is a costly affair not only in terms of money but in terms of time too.
After a long trail of failures and vocational success, you will be able to reach your destination. Sometimes this can take months.
Marketing is all about getting and keeping the attention of your ideal customer.
Viral marketing can help you to get the attention of your potential customers quickly. But it takes much more to retain their attention.
To retain them, you need to constantly provide value in the form of content. To create such an extensive amount of content, you need to endeavour a lot of time and effort.
Marketers take several approaches to make the procedure faster. It is better to set a specific track rather than groping in the dark.
The best way to do this is to ask the buyers about their preferences. You can include several questions in the signup form relating to your service or product.
It works most of the time as if someone is opting for signup on your site, they already have an interest in your service. Thus, your leads will love to give answers to such questions.
However, too-long signup forms often decrease the conversion rate. Hence, you have to do it wisely.
Hopefully, you have understood several myths about growth hacking and what is the actual picture of it.
Naturally, there are lots of efforts involved in it. Thus, it can’t be done with a one-man army. You need to work with industry leaders or influencers to become visible to your potential audience in a short span.
Though the term includes “hack”, it is not about enticing your customers using some black-hat practices.
You need to find out some innovative tweaks from the traditional marketing strategies, grabbing the attention of your prospects quickly.