I wanna be a Growth Hacker.
Even the title of this article: Growth Hacking for Startup is a hack. I have chosen the growth hacking for startup as a title because any good SEO expert knows that the title is an important signal for Google: put your fu***ng keywords in the title. What I have to do now is convince you to continue to read this article and share it with your friends and followers. I know what you are thinking. Nope! Growth hacking is not a fancy name for properly executed and well coordinated marketing.
So why in the heck growth hacking is important for a Startup? Time is the short answer. Are you considering to become a startupper? Run! You have to grow fast because there is to much noise out there and none is interested in your new product or service. Startup needs eyeballs. You need to increase the number of active users or clients every day. Every startup on the Earth wants its fair share of active users or customers.
What is growth hacking? What does it means? In theory growth hacking is a brilliant method or a number of smart methods which can help your product or service to be popular among milions of prospects in a very short time.
Probably you are wondering if there is any recipe for success. Are there any secret tips and tricks to push your startup? Some books and some web sites can help you to learn about growth hacking. In these books are listed nice and very well known case histories: Hotmail, AirBnB, etc. Anyway you are not AirBnB and every startup is unique. So which is the correct strategy to growth fast and furious?
Growth Hacking and SEO are siblings.
Hold on for a moment and let me say something about SEO. My core business at this moment is SEO consulting plus Content Marketing Strategy. SEO is acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimization. The Acronym S.E.O. is a technical name which means: “I want to hack Google in some way!” Furthermore, the scenario is a little bit complicated. There are, in fact, two kind of SEO experts: White Hat SEOs – for your info I am officially a White Hat guy – and Black Hat SEOs. White Hat SEOs strictly follow (at least they try to) Google’s rules meanwhile Black Hat SEOs feel strong the dark side of the force but, at least in this movie, they fight fierce the Emperor Google. To be honest with you I should also say that there are at least 50 grades of SEO!
Growth hackers and Black Hat SEO guys can be fairly considered siblings. That’s the reason because a normal marketer cannot be considered an hacker; He follows the rules and he needs also a big budget. Startups have not a big budget! Thinking out the box is the rule of thumb here.
Nowadays many experts say that the old fashion growth hacking tips and tricks – the ones used by Hotmail, AirBnb and others famous unicorns – are not possible anymore because everything has changed very fast during the last years – Sean Ellis coined the term “growth hacker” – and nowadays it is incredibly difficult to be visible only using Facebook or other popular Social Media platforms. Game over? I don’t think so because is still possible to “cheat” Google using only White Hat SEO methods.
Where should I start with growth hacking?
Didn’t I lose you somewhere above and do you still wanna be a growth hacker? Well, you can start your journey as a growth hacker reading a little book: Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising written by Ryan Holiday.
Another important thing you have to bear in mind, especially when you are employed as a growth hacker in a startup is: Everything begins with Product Market Fit. That’s the reason because growth hacking is not really only a fancy name for properly executed and well coordinated marketing. Marketers need always a huge budget because they try to sell you a product or a service even if everyone know that it will be a clamorous fiasco! A marketer wants only buy eyeballs and not try to earn them using some strange nerdy techniques. Usally startuppers don’t have money for regular adv campaigns, so a growth hacker must get followers or active users very fast in a very very creative way.
Beware! All your creativity means nothing if the product doesn’t fit the market: do the clients need that service/product? Is it really really useful for them? On the other end you cannot start to sell and try to be visible only when everything is perfect and you feel confident, because Apple is an unicum and you are not Steve Jobs!
Test, test, test and again test is your everyday mantra. Change something and wait feedbacks from clients. Flickr began as a multiplayer online game and only when the founders added the feature useful to share photos Flickr became finally… Flickr. Same story for Instagram! Instagram was in the first days only a very complicated social app called Burbn and only after a deep analysis of behaviour of their users the founders realized that they only like to upload and share pics. Even YouTube was born as a dating site, go figure!
I hope you have realized that growth hacker doesn’t mean only a cool job title to put in your LinkedIn profile. Now it’s up to you!