What is growth hacking? A 101 for growth hackers

What is growth hacking? A 101 for growth hackers

In most cases, bigger is better. Why settle for a single scoop of ice cream when you can have a double scoop? And isn’t a two-week holiday better than a weekend getaway? As a creator, you certainly know that a bigger audience is better than a small one. When your audience grows, so does your income. 

If your audience growth has stagnated, it’s time for a change. Today, we’re going to go over the ins and outs of how to growth hack.



                -    Contests

                -    Discounts

                -    Rewards Referrals

                -    Guest blogging

                -    Get interactive

                -    Pyschological hacks

                -    Dropbox

                -    Uber

                -    Dollar Shave Club



What is growth hacking?

You’ve probably heard the term tossed around, and you know that growth hacking for marketers is one of the most important skills to build an audience. So, let’s start with the definition of growth hacking.

Growth hacking is a term coined by Sean Ellis in 2010, which describes the strategies used by brands to implement growth. Unlike traditional marketing, which is responsible for achieving a variety of goals, growth hacking is a data-driven, experiment-based method focused on achieving growth. While marketers often spend months planning a campaign, growth hackers must work quickly to capitalise on trends and maximise growth opportunities. 

Growth hackers optimise all stages of the sales funnel to achieve explosive growth, and constantly utilise A/B testing to achieve the highest rate of return on investment. In direct contrast to traditional marketing, growth hacking utilises low-cost strategies to achieve results. 



What are growth hacking strategies?

The beauty of growth hacking is that there is no one set way to achieve dramatic growth. Unfortunately, that’s also the frustrating part of growth hacking. You likely won’t achieve success on the first try, and most growth hackers create a strategy that combines multiple growth hacking strategies. We’ll go through a few of the most popular techniques for growth hacking to give you a place to start. Don’t feel limited by these growth hacking techniques, though. The sky’s the limit, and creativity is a growth hacker’s best friend!



Everyone loves a giveaway, and social media contests are a great way to grow. When you’re choosing your giveaway item, it’s important to be picky. If you’re selling a product, that’s an easy choice for your giveaway. If you’re a content creator, team up with like-minded creators on a specific giveaway. While you may grow your numbers with a giveaway, a poorly planned contest can boost your numbers while lowering engagement if you’ve targeted the wrong audience. 



If getting something for free if everyone’s favorite thing, getting it at a discounted rate is a close second. Subscription services have used this growth hacking method to drive sign-ups by offering a free box, deeply discounted fitness apparel, or a series of freebies across multiple months. Unlike a contest that can lead to growth without conversion, deep discounts prompt people to take out their credit cards and engage in an ongoing relationship with your brand. 


Reward referrals

Advertising is expensive. Asking people who already know and love your brand to share it with friends is cheap. Implement a referral program that awards points, discounts, or other perks to current clients who help drive a sale for a new client. 

In Software Advice’s B2B Demand Generation Benchmark report, marketers give referral advertising a “63 percent rating of a ‘very high’ and ‘somewhat high’ quantity of leads and a 68 percent rating of ‘good’ or ‘excellent quality’ of leads.” That’s a higher approval rating than any other channel of advertising, making this both effective at driving growth and cost-effective. 


Guest blogging

Content is king, and inbound links help boost your website’s position on the search engine results pages. It may seem counter-intuitive to give away content for free, but guest blogging on sites in your own niche (in exchange for a do-follow link) can be a great way to get started and boost the authority of your website. As the marketing joke goes: the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google. To earn a spot on page one, guest blogging in exchange for inbound, do-follow links will help you grow your reach. 


Get interactive

Let’s face it, we spend more time face-to-screen than face-to-face these days. Open up the lines of communication by encouraging emails, hosting live sessions on Facebook or Instagram, and always responding to your  DMs. 

Don’t have the manpower to be available to all of your new followers? No problem! Create interactive content that your followers can use and share. Fillable Instagram story templates, quizzes, and infographics are a great way to keep people involved and invested in the content you create. 


Psychological hacks

While deploying psychological hacks can come across as disingenuous if you’re not careful, utilising urgency and FOMO can be major drivers of growth. When Clubhouse launched in 2020, the audio-based social network saw great success by starting as an invite-only service. The feeling of exclusivity led to people clamoring for invites and driving growth while building the brand reputation.



Why optimisation is key for growth hacking for creators

While some marketing plans rely on the “wait and see” method, growth hackers must move quickly to test experimental processes, and rule out inefficient strategies. A/B testing is always a good idea, but with growth hacking, it’s imperative.

When you’re growth hacking, you must hold all strategies loosely, and come to the project from a scientific-- not emotional-- mindset. Don’t get too attached to a certain idea or strategy, because if it doesn’t perform well, you’ll have to drop it and move on. 



The best growth hacking examples

We can talk about the “how-to” all day, but let’s take a look at some major brands that have successfully used growth hacking to become the household names we know today. 



Sean Ellis, the man who coined the phrase growth hacking, was the first marketer at Dropbox. His LinkedIn profile says that he “worked with CEO for first six months after private beta ended to build a strong growth foundation based on data, experimentation and customer passion. We also had the goal of making data and experimentation an important part of the ongoing Dropbox culture.” As a result, “Dropbox was able to leverage this foundation to become the fastest SaaS business to ever reach a $1B revenue run rate.”

The most impressive part? Dropbox managed to get there without spending money on advertising. Instead, they built a brand on customer trust and word of mouth. The brand offered 250MB of extra storage space when a user’s friend signed up using a personalised referral link. Dropbox’s campaign resulted in a staggering 3900% growth rate in just 15 months. 



Remember the days when your parents warned you against getting into a car with a stranger? You’re likely helping that same parent figure out how to order an Uber on their smartphone today. 

Uber built their brand by exploiting pain points in a city’s available transportation. Does public transportation close down before the pubs? Is it difficult to hail a taxi? Uber is there anytime you need them. 

To reduce the barriers of getting customers into their first Uber, the brand gave riders $20 for their first ride. Despite the initial loss, the brand’s investment paid dividends. In 2019, the brand reported annual revenue of $14.1 billion (£10.31 billion).


Dollar Shave Club 

If you’re wondering whether you need to give away something for free to excel at growth hacking, the answer is no! As a content creator, you just need to create content that resonates with your ideal client.

The Dollar Shave Club’s viral video from 2012 is a great example of revolutionary content that made people rethink the “way it’s always been done.” 

The video is entertaining and shareable-- and has racked up over 27.5 million views. The video didn’t just drive views, though. It sparked action. The brand saw more than 12,000 orders for razors in the first two days after the video’s release. In 2019, the business had over four million monthly subscribers, 600 employees, and reported nearly £183 million in revenue. That one outstanding piece of content lives on YouTube and continues to generate views and sales nearly one decade later.



How RevGlue can help with your growth hacking

Growing your following is an imperative step in growing your income. As your numbers grow, your affiliate marketing income will skyrocket. You’ve got the tools to growth hack-- now you need the tools to streamline your affiliate strategy. RevGlue offers a free service for publishers to earn 80% on every commission-- you only need to add one line of code to your existing website.

We make converting your links into commissionable links easy. Time is money, and our easy-to-use platform makes it simple to increase your earnings so you can spend more time on growing and engaging with your audience. Whether you’ve grown an audience on your website, social media, or an app, RevGlue can help you turn your followers into a steady stream of income. Sign up today and start monetising for free

Growth hacking is the first step in expanding your digital footprint and growing your income. Get started today, and don’t forget to keep testing new methods until you find one that works best for your brand. The best growth hacking strategy might be the next one you create!


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