Growth Hacking is a popular marketing buzzword, but does anyone really know what it means? Neil Patel does a pretty good job explaining the concept and talking about its origin, saying that a growth marketer is someone who uses “analytics, inexpensive, creative and innovative ways to exponentially grow their company’s customer base.” But how can one pull off that kind of growth -- especially with a limited budget and resources?
Growth hackers or marketers are inherently what we call “scrappy” -- fast-moving and super creative. They experiment and experiment until they find something that multiplies growth by 10, 20, or 40x, instead of doing large projects that increase conversions in small increments.
On the surface, it might look a little intimidating. But with a little bit of light shed on how growth hacking works -- and how marketers have successfully experimented with it before -- you'll be on your way to producing your own significant results.
At its core, there are five major pillars to growth hacking:
For traditional marketers, this level of experimentation can look overwhelming, or maybe even foreign. But if you’re already testing certain marketing variables and learning from the outcomes, you're executing "growth hacking" without the label.
Think about it -- have you ever A/B tested a subject line in an email? That’s an experiment. Have you ever noticed that a certain landing page converts much high than another? It's an opportunity to duplicate that page for other campaigns and optimize for conversion. That conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a major component of growth hacking. It takes your existing content and updates it to increase conversion rate, making things like your landing pages and blog posts perform better, without having to create new content.
To give you an idea of how to start growth hacking your marketing plan, we talked to four growth marketers from some of the top tech companies in Boston. We asked them to give an example of an experiment that they ran with significant results -- here’s what we found.
For video hosting platform Wistia, getting a video into a new user's account is the first important step in the onboarding flow. Once users upload a video, they can begin to explore all of the core Wistia features, like customizing player colors according to the brand, and adding lead generation tools or clickable links. After experimenting, Andrew's team was able to produce a 15% lift in onboarding metrics. Here, he explains how:
Capland's team zoomed into the data and noticed that many users who borrowed a video from Wistia just to complete that onboarding step actually viewed it -- which presented an opportunity.
"We realized there could be an opportunity to use that video for additional product education," said Capland. "We believed that we could increase our active users by making our 'loaner' video more educational and product focused." Wistia decided to test this hypothesis by creating a new video that gave a tour of the media page and taught users how to use the Wistia tools.
Wistia created a new video -- which we've shared below -- for their users to borrow, and showed it to 50% of visitors.
The new variation produced a 15% lift in one of Wistia's main onboarding metrics - and led to more account activations and sales.
The team at Trello needed to find the best way to position the product on its homepage, to make the best impression on new site visitors. To test out different messaging options, the team ran an experiment that ultimately increased homepage conversions by 2%. Here's how:
The homepage serves as Trello's most important real estate for new users to learn about the product and sign up. The team was looking to determine the best messaging to accomplish that, and came up with the idea that experimenting with different themes would be a good way to see what resonated most with visitors.