There has been a lot of buzz about growth hacking in recent years, yet many business owners are still searching for a growth hacker who can help them grow their business faster.
Let’s first understand the term growth hacking: it is the process of experimenting and combining marketing channels with product development to come up with innovative strategies that ensure faster growth of a business.
Growth hackers are marketers, engineers and/or product managers focusing on building and engaging users in a unique way to ensure rapid growth by studying user behaviors, optimizing digital touch points, and more. Unlike traditional marketers, who have a broad focus such as branding, increasing traffic or improving sales, growth hackers are focused on only one thing: growth. In fact, at the early stage of a startup’s life, a growth hacker plays a much more important role than a marketer, since nothing else is as important as growth in the initial phase.
Does growth hacking really work?
A growing user base and increasing revenue is the key to business success; thus, growth hacking is meant to help businesses prevent spending money on marketing schemes that are too good to work.
Twitter has become a household name in today’s digital world. When it started, thousands of people signed up for Twitter, but after playing around for some time, they did not return again. Andy Johns helped Twitter grow manifolds and reach where it stands today. When Johns joined Twitter, it had approximately 30 million active users, but the growth rate was extremely slow. Johns and his team started working to find new ways to optimize the touch points. The following growth hacks worked wonders for Twitter:
- Simplification of homepage
- Persuading users to follow 10 people (at least) per day. Once they did, the chances of returning increased dramatically. Hence, “the top people to follow” feature was introduced
- Increasing the effectiveness of email. Automated notifications instead of sending emails manually and addition of new features like “favorites” improved user retention significantly
Being a successful and proficient growth hacker, Johns identified the pain points and optimized them to improve Twitter’s growth rate:
- $595 million in revenue in Q1 of 2016
- 310 million monthly active users
- 500 million Tweets sent each day
Do you want to become a growth hacker like Johns or hire one like him? Below are the must-have characteristics of a successful growth hacker.
3 characteristics of a successful growth hacker
- Proper interpretation of data
The first (and the most important) characteristic of a successful growth hacker is the ability to understand and interpret data precisely. The strongest attribute of a growth hacker is that he or she is not fascinated by vanity metrics such as page views and bounce rates; he or she follows meaningful metrics (such as sign up conversion rate or viral coefficient) that can make or break the business and design strategies that ensure growth for an organization.
- Right mix of creativity and analytical skills
Numbers are important, but in order to become a successful growth hacker, it is necessary that you are able to provide creative solutions for various business problems. A growth hacker must be able to think about new and innovative ways of acquiring and persuading users to get connected with a business. Thus, a growth hacker should be able to transform the helpful insights obtained from the analysis of data into creative solutions and designs that offer the best experiences for the users.
Curiosity killed the cat, but not the growth hacker!
A growth hacker should be rather curious about what makes users become loyal toward some brands over the other, why some products fail to work like others, and so on. Growth hacking is a continuous process, so growth hackers must have an insatiable urge to learn more and be curious toward understanding dynamically changing marketing channels and growth platforms, and how they can benefit the businesses they are working for. Facebook and Twitter have billions of users, but both platforms still have a team of growth hackers who work toward improving their business further.
Growth hacker: final takeaways
Even though marketers play an important role in the success of a business, growth hackers play a crucial role. They are people with a unique mix of creativity, curiosity and understanding of data. One more attribute that is a must for growth hackers is great communication skills. Since growth hackers work toward increasing the user base, which means bringing people on the same page along with driving everything else as planned, it is a must that they are able to communicate properly.
Whether you are willing to become a growth hacker or hire one for your business, these are the characteristics you need to hone to expand your areas of competency as a growth hacker.