With the inevitable changes happening in the world’s economy and politics, you won’t be able to follow the old-fashioned marketing playbook to grow your business. Considering the fact that technology has influenced the way businesses operate in both the local and global market, it is necessary to develop a new approach to customer acquisition, and customer engagement.
Although marketing strategies have evolved in the past few decades, these tactics were mostly shaped to serve corporations that have already established their client based, leaving the huge portion of small businesses, and start-ups out of the equation.
However, the game changed since startups began offering unique services at an affordable price around the world. In fact, startups have disrupted the dynamics of marketing and how a business should acquire more customers. The old-school marketing campaigns did not help them to succeed, hence it was time for the epiphany of growth hacking.
At first, Growth hacking was about using any means or method to achieve marketing results quickly, and it worked until black-hat marketers showed interest in growth hacking too. With the rise of unethical digital marketing activities, market leaders such as Google updated their algorithm to prevent misuse of their resources for advertisement, search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing.
According to Google trends, The demand for growth hacking services and strategies have tremendously increased from July 2013.
— Ehsan Jahandarpour (@jahandarpour) December 15, 2016
Today, growth hacking has reached an edge, and it is not just about applying new sales and marketing techniques anymore. Instead, it is about the combination of growth mindset and a proven framework that connect the main components of your business model, boost your growth rate and increase your conversion rate.
Generally, the advanced growth hacking framework is composed of three layers: A growth-driven business model pattern, reliable market intelligence, and a series of growth hacking strategies that empowers the business and results in higher growth. In this article, I have outlined three solid facts that are built-in to the advanced growth hacking framework and help you grow your online business faster.
A lean business model is the foundation of growth hacking
Today, rather surprisingly, more than 80% of businesses and startups either do not have a business model or what they refer to as their business model is a lengthy document, full of jargon, and unrealistic financial forecasts. The secret behind a success growth hacking strategies is that it has to be empowered by a lean business model.
Thanks to business model canvas, every individual, startup or business can simply craft a lean business model on a piece of paper, in no time. A growth-driven lean business model includes all nine building blocks of the canvas, at least one business pattern that acts as the supercharger, and series of interconnected business relationships that make it easier to implement the growth hacking strategies.
The two essential characteristics of a growth-driven business model are:
- Irresistible Value Proposition. Your value proposition is not only about what you are offering to your customers. Instead it is your unique selling point that determines what your customers are interested in, and respectively what growth strategy and business pattern you should implement to scale your business faster, and ultimately out-compete your competitors. General rule of thumb — The more simplified your value proposition, the easier you can make your business model work.
- Product Market Fit. It would be a huge mistake to believe that your product can fit all of your customer’s needs. The trends in 2016 has clearly shown that many businesses focused on pivoting, and altering their offering according to product-market-fit exercises. The first thing you must keep in mind is to discover your existing and future customer’s pains, desires and jobs. To achieve that, you can easily use the empathy-map-template,and discover your customer’s persona. Speaking of persona, a growth hacker must help you craft the growth strategies based on your customer’s incomplete jobs. Unfortunately, while understanding the emotional aspect of the customer’s character can significantly increase your growth rate, most of businesses try to emphasize on the functionality of their product. Instead of getting into their mind and convince your customers to love your brand, try to touch your customers’ heart, and they will easily turn into loyal fans.
Market intelligence strategies put you ahead of the game
It often happens that startups and businesses fall in love with their ideas, product, and service and decide to launch faster or push the product development line to develop with full speed, hoping to conquer the market.
On the contrary, according to CBinsights, the number one reason, (which also counts for 42% of cases) that businesses fail is not targeting a ‘marketing need’, in plain English, building a solution before looking for a problem.
Realistically, it does not matter how good you feel about your product because you’re not the one who is paying for it. The only way to make sure your business strategy is designed for growth is to validate it against market data.
Depending on your budget, you may choose to purchase whitepapers and case studies or conduct low-cost market research; whichever you choose to implement, your decisions must be based on proven facts.
For instance, conversion rate optimization (CRO) is one of the trending and efficient strategies that has been used by growth hackers. CRO strategies are designed to assist you to optimize your business based on customer’s interaction with your website, hence, you must collect the data on a regular basis and adapt to market demand.
Rather shockingly, in 2016 there were countless numbers of businesses that spent plenty of money to change their website’s look and feel purely based on personal preferences, hoping that their beautiful design attract more customers and improve their revenue. In reality, they all went down the hole without noticing that they are swimming against the stream.
Ignoring the market research or not putting it among your top growth priorities would not only reduce your chance of success, it can cause unrecoverable damages to your business as it is the same as putting blind fold while driving in a highway.
Unconventional data-oriented experiments are indispensable
With expansion of technology and providing accessibility to almost everyone, and virtually anywhere, customers are not limited to traditional shopping-experience anymore. Remember, if you can tap on your smartphone and review the latest product that you wish to buy, so do your customers.
You don’t need a marketing playbook to be able to grow your business faster than your rivals. In fact, the if you only rely on the 4P marketing theory that was originated by Jerome McCarthy in 1960, you are destined to fail.
Operating in today’s market requires important factors such as agility, adaptability. The growth hacker that you hire must think out of the box and dare to experiment the strategies that results in growth and business continuity.
Now that every business has online presence, whether to sell your product or to increase brand awareness, it is essential for a growth marketer to leverage on optimization strategies such as customer journey optimization (CJO), conversion rate optimization (CRO), split-testing and landing page optimization.
A dreadful mistake that many marketers make is to invest heavily on advertisement without engineering their online to convert. It’s obvious that advertisement is a great short term solution that brings more customers to your business, but the truth is that your revenue comes from those who enjoy your service and ultimately make a purchase.
Depending on your business model pattern, investing on advertisement and directing the traffic to your sales page might not be the smart move. Remember that not all of your customer’s need the same thing, hence your offer to each segment must differ and address their pains, otherwise your retention rate would be extremely low.
Considering the four steps of the advanced growth hacking framework – Attract, engage, acquire, maintain – you should design your customer journey experience according to your unique growth strategy and lead each customer segment to different landing page that help them find what they want.
All in all, growth hacking is not about how efficient you can work with the latest split-testing or analytics tools that just came to the market. The secret behind succeeding in 2017 is to leverage on the right growth hacking strategies that can help you grow your business, understanding your business model inside-out, and following a proven framework.