7 Simple Ways For Marketers to Get Started with Growth Hacking

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Kyle Porter, SalesLoft
Kyle Porter, SalesLoft

There's a buzz throughout Silicon Valley around the term “growth hacking.” Competition and the fight for customer mindshare have made it harder than ever to grow small and medium business. Driven by product and inspired by data, a new breed of marketer has hit the scene. Growth hackers take advantage of digital opportunities on the Web to add customers and build their companies.

Here are seven marketing essentials to getting started in growth hacking. Implementing these will begin your journey toward sustainable growth.

1. Make it a habit to understand your users. The core of your business should always be about solving problems. How well you can solve those problems depends on how well you understand them. Do everything you can to feel the pain of your customers. Then, as you create solutions, strive for continuous feedback. Measure their activity, perform simple surveys, and watch as your customers use your product. All this will enable you to build features that will help you acquire and retain customers rather than building offerings your users do not want.

2. Focus on the first time user experience. Figure out the most important moments related to your product and then direct your users to these experiences as soon as possible. Chamath Palihapitiya, the famous growth hacker behind Facebook's wild success, has spoken about the importance of getting your users to the “aha moment” as quickly as possible. Their first touch should be an impression they never forget, so pack it with value and watch their affinity grow. According to Palihapitiya, once you get your users to the aha moment, your next goal is to deliver core value as often as possible.

3. Provide incentives for sharing. Your goal is to make the product market itself and give users simple ways to share with their network. Build engagement and interaction into the content so your users will be inspired to share it. Dropbox has become successful for providing users with free storage when their friends sign up. Quora makes it easy to share its content and then requires users to sign up once complete. The more unique and valuable the content, the more likely it is to get shared.

4. Maximize content and social posting. Nobody is questioning the value of content and social anymore. Your goal should be maximizing the quality and frequency of inbound. Use tools to schedule social posts and intercept mentions and keyword hits. Create unusual content using data, charts, videos, or interviews. This post by Kiss Metrics goes a long way to explain the need to be different when creating content.

5. A/B tests. A/B tests separate the pros from the amateurs in digital marketing. Simply put, these represent tests where you deliver two different forms of content to different users and compare their reactions. By having one control and one test variable, a company can gain insights into customer preferences and behavior. This facilitates the company's understanding of which marketing channels and methods are more effective than others. Common properties to A/B test are email campaigns, features in apps, and landing pages on the Web.

6. Time your emails. There are many advanced ways to use emails to boost growth. One simple concept is to build emails to trigger on inactivity or multiple visits to the marketing site. The world of creative emails is untapped. Think about unique ways to take advantage of the most popular communication channel in business.

7. SEO optimization. Many businesses don't think SEO applies to them—they're frequently wrong. The ability to dig into the technical nuances of SEO tactics is a major differentiating skill in growth hacking. This goes beyond just choosing adwords. Mint, a popular finance app, built landing pages for virtually every financial term in the book. This made the Mint brand ubiquitous with all things regarding personal finance and a trustworthy source of information.

Growth hacking is far more than just a term; it's the future of inbound marketing. It can be a daunting term, but it's really more about the process of blending empiricism with creativity. Many marketers immediately think of writing code when they hear “hacking,” but that's not always the case. Before graduating to code hacking, tackle the seven simple tasks above. You'll then be well-positioned to take on deeper, more technical steps.

Kyle Porter is the CEO of sales intelligence software company SalesLoft. Find him on Google+ on Twitter at @salesloft

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