By Akinpelu Babatola
Guest Writer, The Xpress Train

Growth Hacking is a term used to refer to all the strategies a startup or even an already established company employs that is focused only on the growth of the company. It is common among startups as they are the ones that need growth as much as possible. Growth hacking strategies are focused on expanding the paying customer base of a startup as quickly as possible.

In 2010, Sean Ellis, the CEO of GrowthHackers, came up with the term “Growth Hacker”. A growth hacker can be described as someone different from the everyday marketer, who will come up with strategies that will push the product of a startup to as many customers as possible and in as little time as possible. While a marketer may be distracted by the ideas and concepts of budgets, expenses, and so on, a growth hacker’s attention is on growth and growth alone.  

There are many ways to go about growth hacking, and while the strategies may differ from startup to startup, Dave McClure a member of the PayPal Mafia and founder of the startup accelerator, 500 Startups, came up with a pirate funnel concept to effectively capture what growth hacking is all about. He explained, that growth hacking’s working recipe is geared towards;

  • Acquisition: Getting customers to know your name
  • Activation: Giving your customers a noteworthy first impression or first-time experience
  • Retention: Getting your customers to come back
  • Revenue: Monetizing your product and getting your customers to pay for the product
  • Referral: Having your customers spread the word about your startup’s product.

While most growth hacking strategies are employed online, that is not to say the concept cannot be employed offline. You only need to look at McDonald’s presence on the American highway system and you will find that the company has effectively employed growth hacking strategies offline.

How do you go about Growth hacking?

If you are going to use growth hacking strategies in your startup the first and most important thing to do is to come up with a product that people will pay for. This is not the same as having a startup idea, it takes it a step further by placing focus on getting people to pay for it.

Once you have such a product, then you have to determine those who will pay you for the product. You must establish your target market as quickly as possible. A very detailed customer profile will make things easier. A common mistake that startups make is to target everyone, not everyone will like your product, and not everyone will see the reason for it, so focus first on those who will.

Keep track of your product’s performance, regularly improve on it, and collect as much customer feedback as possible. Customer feedback will help you note areas in which your product is excelling or deficient and as such will guide your future marketing strategies. With frequent adjustments and customer-focused product development, it will be very easy to expand your market quickly and efficiently.

There are numerous growth hacking strategies that you can employ in your startup, all these can be summed up as Content Marketing, Product Marketing, and Advertising.

For instance, if you choose to go with the content marketing route, you would do things such as starting a blog related to your products or generating a larger social media presence for your product.

As a startup, your focus should be on growing as large as possible and if you can do this in record time it would be the best. Learning more about growth hacking and how you can apply it to your product should never leave your mind.