23Dec
By: Justas Markus December 23, 2016

What is growth hacking?

Growth hacking refers to a process of blending marketing, product and data strategies and employing rapid experimentation across different marketing channels to pinpoint the most effective ways to drive accelerated and accumulative business growth. Growth hackers focus on testing unconventional techniques to discover scalable and repeatable methods to grow the user base with minimal spend.

Why is growth hacking so important?

To achieve the astounding growth that they did, the majority of highly successful startups, such as Dropbox, Shopify and AirBnB, have relied heavily on growth hacking during their startup phases. Growth hacking isn’t here to replace the traditional marketing, though. It’s a completely novel approach to acquiring new business.

Growth hackers are often referred to as T-shaped marketers that have a wide range of basic knowledge across a number of different disciplines and deep knowledge in a single field. They draw on product, design, technology, data, content and analytics insights to find ingenious ways to achieve sustainable and often incredible growth. Although creativity and ability to employ unconventional thinking is what determines a growth hacker’s success, growth hacking itself is not some secret book of ideas that can be copied from product to product. It’s a strategic process, which, if applied correctly, can help solve problems hindering any company’s growth.

Although traditionally employed by tech startups, thanks to its phenomenal impact on generating sales and driving traffic, growth hacking is rapidly gaining momentum in eCommerce. Adopting this growth mindset can help you boost your e-shop’s performance and gain new customers at minimal costs.

Best growth hacking techniques and ideas for eCommerce

Growth hacking is a constantly evolving and changing practice, so you shouldn’t try to follow blindly in the footsteps of those who succeeded. Make sure that all the tactics you’re employing are relevant to your audience and the type of business you’re running. Experiment with these evergreen growth hacking ideas to kick off your efforts:

  • Use incentives to create a self-perpetuating growth machine. Your ultimate growth hacking goal is to find a way for your online store to automatically drive traffic to itself, so that it continues to grow exponentially without you having to lift a finger. Although it sounds like an idea from a sci-fi movie, Dropbox have done it. They came up with an idea to use incentives to encourage existing users to share the service with their friends in exchange for 16GB of free storage. The offer took off immediately and resulted in Dropbox achieving rapid growth. You can apply this tactic to your eCommerce store by offering a discount, free gift, free shipping or anything else you can think of, to customers who share a link to your shop with their social network. Keep in mind that it has to be a mouth-watering incentive to generate enough interest.  
  • Go where your customers hang out. This doesn’t just mean Facebook or Twitter. If you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll simply drown in the social noise. Identifying the sites that your customers frequent and leveraging that data to develop creative (and ideally automated) solutions on how to capture their attention is one of the tried-and-true hacks to generate traffic. AirBnB used Craigslist to reach their potential customers and get the word out. Think about the type of shoppers you target, what other interests, hobbies or habits they might have and how you can use that to your advantage.
  • Create high-quality free tools and resources. Many marketers are familiar with this hack. Giving away free content is an excellent way to expose your paid-for products to high volumes of traffic. Moz, for example, is nailing this tactic with its free SEO tools. Consider different types of content and resources that could engage your target audience – videos, guides, calculators, free stock images, tutorials, certified classes, etc – and double down on creating something exceptional that users will appreciate and share with others.