In the last few years, the title “growth hacker” became a bit of a buzzword. A lot of startups look into such specialists to give their businesses a boost. Although the job has existed for quite some time, it still comes with a lot of confusion.
In this guide crafted in partnership with Jooble, you’ll learn how such experts can help startups and how they have been changing the game for the last decade. Whether they use social media, remote PPC and video content, or challenges, they can give a tremendous push to a business.
Who is Growth Hacker?
A growth hacker is a specialist who uses different methods and innovative tactics to make a company larger (especially applies to small businesses). It has to do with marketing and digital tools that often are very affordable or completely free.
The basis here is an unconventional approach to leveraging marketing and business strategies. This term was first introduced by Sean Ellis in 2010 when he left his position at Dropbox. In many ways, it signified the shift from traditional business growth.
Dropbox is a great example of how this new approach can boost a startup to stardom. Here is what the company did:
- Created a unique onboarding strategy that boosted the motivation and excitement of employees;
- Launched the product at a business event where the target audience was;
- Offered invitation-based access at first to give a sense of exclusivity (this tactic was later successfully used by Clubhouse);
- Crafted a video demonstration of the product;
- Created a referral system where you get free storage space for every new user you invite.
As a result of all these methods, Dropbox grew rapidly. This is what growth hacking is all about.
What Does Growth Hacker Do?
What differentiates this position is that it doesn’t have set educational requirements or particular certifications. Even the set of skills depends on the expert and their experiences. It is much more about the new way of thinking and approaching specific tasks.
This is where the hacking part comes from. It refers to “hacks” meaning shortcuts that make something easier. Such a specialist figures out new ways to bring ideas to life and achieve specific goals.
Such an expert is responsible for expanding the startup’s development fast and smartly. This might mean boosting brand awareness, growing the audience, or popularizing the product/service. The core here is identifying new opportunities that can truly change the game for a company.
In many cases, this position has ties to marketing. But they are different in the core.
Traditional marketing is:
- About long-term campaigns and steps;
- Build on a significant budget;
- Based on traditional theories;
- Focused on the AIDA method (Awareness, Interest, Desire Action);
- Using traditional and/or digital marketing channels.
Growth hacking is:
- Driven by experimentation;
- Aimed at quick actions or trends;
- Designed for small budget options;
- Based on hypothesis instead of theory;
- Focused on the AAARRR model (Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue);
- Uses all available channels.
A growth hacker watches trends, analyses the market, and finds innovative solutions that require little investment to achieve impressive results.
There are plenty of existing techniques in growth hacking already. The problem is that any of them needs to be applied when needed and in the specific industry. What worked for Dropbox might not work for Uber and vice versa. The expert knows not only tools and hacks but also how and when using a specific one. Or how to create new techniques based on previous cases.
As for essential skills for a growth hacker, such a specialist needs to possess:
- Analytical and critical thinking;
- Some technical background in digital marketing and web development;
- Strong background in marketing, SEO, content, and community management;
- Creativity and out-of-box thinking;
- Collaboration and communication;
- Growth mindset.
The core competencies come from soft skills that have to do with a mindset rather than knowledge of particular software. Although the last one is always a benefit.
A Growth Hacker is a Game-Changer Position for all Startups
Startups have a lot of difficulties to overcome. One of the main ones is that they have to compete with established businesses that have more resources in all aspects – money, outreach, employees, and channels.
The best way to compete with them is to hack the game – approach it from a new angle. And with a growth hacker on board, one can do it with little investment, which is another pain point for many startups. Instead of competing with other producers on their terms, a business can create its own ones. Think of Dollar Shave Club and how it managed to get on top with a smart video in the industry where there were almost no changes for years.
This new mindset offers immense power to all types of startups. For example, Ahrefs is one of the most well-known SEO brands now. But the start was just a 10-cent coffee cup on the conference for professionals (target audience) that features essential keyword metrics for “coffee” and a link to the website.
With intelligent tactics, a startup can rapidly grow and achieve worldwide recognition. Because it is something new, fresh, exciting, and engaging. This is the exact opposite of traditional advertising, which is often more annoying than effective.
A growth hacker is an essential professional for any startup as such an expert can “hack” the industry and bring the business to success. It is all about innovation and creative thinking. It is based on experimentation and little investment while offering great ROI.