What Is Growth Hacking?

What is growth hacking? It refers to business strategies that are focused on rapid growth at the lowest possible cost. While it’s become somewhat of a buzzword, understanding its nature is beneficial for all businesses. Here’s why you should consider incorporating growth hacking into your business strategy to expand your reach — and your profits.

What is growth hacking?

The term “growth hacker” comes from a 2010 blog post on Startup Marketing in which Sean Ellis defined a growth hacker as “a person whose true north is growth” — differing from a traditional marketer, who may be equally concerned with non-growth areas like brand awareness or public relations.

Anything that drives growth falls under the growth hacking umbrella, making it a multidisciplinary approach that blends product design, blog writing, social media, and more. A growth hacker may be involved in a variety of activities, such as:

  • Working with analytics to identify potential opportunities and learn what has been a successful driver of growth

  • Changing the design or text on a website

  • Adding a new product feature, like a refer-a-friend program

  • Creating content to grow a blog

  • Running highly targeted Facebook ads aimed at specific shopper personas

Since they’re involved in so many different activities, growth hackers focus on rapid testing and development to quickly experiment with new strategies. On top of that, they seek out low-cost opportunities that offer the biggest bang for their buck.

Is growth hacking unethical?

Some people worry that having such a singular focus on expansion can lead to unethical actions all in the name of accelerating growth. Some companies have crossed the line, moving from thoughtful audience-building techniques to spammy or dishonest behavior.

But you don’t have to follow in their footsteps; there’s nothing inherently unethical or malicious about growth hacking. As long as you act responsibly and understand that your main goal is to provide value to your audience, understanding growth hacking as an ethos is helpful.

3 growth hacking principles that benefit all businesses

You don’t need to be a professional growth hacker to benefit from the core principles of growth hacking. By incorporating some of the most useful strategies into your own business, you can discover ethical — and valuable — ways to grow.

1. Set up a strong analytics foundation

To understand which specific activities are helping your business grow, you need analytics tools. Analytics help you understand how many users visit your site, what visitors do on your site, where visitors come from, and plenty more. Once you have this information, you’ll be in a better place to make informed decisions about which marketing tactics work for your business and which tactics you can leave behind to better focus your time and effort.

To help you get started on targeting all the right data, every WordPress.com website comes with built-in stat tracking from day one.

2. Experiment with different site details

When it comes to growth, experimenting with changes to your website can pay dividends down the road. You don’t need to swing for the fences, either — even the little things can add up.

Try experimenting with details like:

3. Leverage low-cost channels

Blogging and social media are staple growth hacking strategies because of their low cost of investment and high potential for rapid growth. Not only does regularly publishing content to a blog help promote your site’s search potential, but it also provides additional avenues through which an audience can discover your website.

For best results, publish content that truly resonates with your core users, and promote content via social media using relevant hashtags to drive it to a wider audience.

In the end, growth hacking isn’t just about growing at all costs. It’s about applying the core principles to grow your new business in an effective and targeted way. Just remember to always keep in mind what’s most important to your audience.

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