The tools and skills to develop apps, found a startup, and take an idea to fruition are more widespread than ever before, meaning that the rate at which new products and services are brought to market is extremely fast. The founders and marketing teams of these companies are usually small and in their experimental phases. Additionally, they're usually fairly strapped for cash. This, combined with the fact that paid search advertising is more expensive and competitive than ever before, birthed growth hacking. Literally, growth hacking is the art or science of growing the customer base without spending any actual money. Sounds great, right?
Unfortunately, most people get it wrong. They jump straight to trying to hashtag their way to some sort of niche popularity, and people see right through it. Nobody wants to interact with posts devoid of value. Before ever getting to this phase, however, these companies and individuals should have been defining goals.
That's right, the first step to proper growth is defining real, actionable goals. They can't be obscure. They can't be broad. We're talking laser focus, and here's how you find it.....
First, let's take the broad, universal goal of 'getting more awareness for my brand'. What are some ways you can build awareness that are specific to your business? Let's say you've got a referral plan in place, but people aren't biting. The people who do become longterm customers, however, so it appears to be an area worth improving. Perhaps your incentive for referrals currently is access to a library of training materials, and you think that creating more content for your training library which you can then reference in sales copy will be the way to get more people on board.
Let's say you then define your goal as "add five new lessons to the knowledge library", and go from there. Is your goal boiled down enough yet? Because you can take clear, definable actions at this point to reach your goal. Once you can see individual steps - write one article per week, create promotional email for each article, etc. - then you've got something you can work with.
Of course, an equally important part of the goal framework is the ability to accurately monitor your results. You don't want to have people hitting your new referral incentives and have no way of telling whether or not they're engaging more or less than before. If you don't have proper analytics in place to measure every facet of your business, you're not ready for growth hacking.
Growth hacking needs to be a flexible process that requires adaptability. More importantly, your adaptability has to be based on good data.