An off-the-shelf package didn't offer what we needed.

Company Secretary, John Fleming & Co.

Growth Hacking

You may already have heard about "Growth Hacking". If not, you almost certainly will over the coming year. Therefore I thought that you would find it useful to know how it could impact you

Spend 1 minute going through the following. The definition below has been taken from Wikipedia.

Growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure.

It can be seen as part of the online marketing ecosystem, as in many cases growth hackers are simply good at using techniques such as search engine optimization, website analytics, content marketing and A/B testing which are already mainstream.

Growth hackers focus on low-cost and innovative alternatives to traditional marketing, e.g. utilizing social media and viral marketing instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as radio, newspaper, and television.

Growth hacking is particularly important for startups, as it allows for a "lean" launch that focuses on "growth first, budgets second." Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AirBnB and Dropbox are all companies that use growth hacking techniques.

You will see the appeal; "low cost" growth, and the examples given are all household names of successful businesses. That is why the label of "growth hacking" is likely to be what people will try and sell you next year.

However, if you look past all of the hype, and note the main methods of implementation, then you will realize that it is not some new magic bullet.

Growth hackers are good at using techniques such as search engine optimization, website analytics, content marketing and A/B testing. This is exactly what your online marketing should be about already.

If your current online marketing is delivering results, then "growth hacking" is unlikely to be of interest. But what if you have a problem? If you don't care about your website marketing, then it's not really an issue. However, you wouldn't have read this far, would you?

If your current provider suggests "growth hacking" as the solution to their poor performance, then your suspicions as to their ability may be confirmed. Similarly, if a potential new supplier touts it as the wonder pill for all of your problems, then ask questions and get specific examples of which techniques they propose.

Although growth hacking began with startup (internet) businesses looking to grow, most businesses have an online presence. This tends to be ineffective, so there is tremendous scope for growth with these techniques, even for long-established businesses.

This may be achieved through effective use of SEO and social media. However, the term "growth hacker" was defined to differentiate those who do that for a living, from those who do it for a living but do it very well.

I would suggest that you be very wary of people offering growth hacking services. Talking-the-talk and walking-the-walk are two completely different things. That is why web designers pass clients to us. Get in touch and I can tell you how we could help you.

By Kenneth Mackay, 4th November, 2014

This is one of a series of articles that deal with common issues when promoting your business online. We hope that you found it useful. Go to our online marketing tips to see previous pieces of advice. If there are any topics that you would like covered, please let us know.

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