Which elements are the most critical in growth hacking?

A very common buzz term these days is growth hacking. It can be understood as the art and science of rapidly growing a business. However, beyond that, how do you break it down? What are the specific elements of effective growth hacking?

Growth Hacking

In this article I will try to break down the three challenges I often face with clients: traffic, conversion and engagement. These challenges must be addressed in order to rapidly grow a business online. I have tried to arrange them in the order that most businesses might experience them. If you have any suggestions for amendments or changes, please let me know.

Traffic

Growth Hacking

When a website has just gone online, the most critical component is getting visitors. Without it, you cannot collect data, and without data, it can be hard to make optimal decisions. Normally, there are three different types of traffic: free (which still takes time and effort), paid, and stolen.

Free traffic can result from tactics like guest posting where you are directly, or indirectly, trying to get a higher SEO ranking. Paid traffic usually involves a pay per click service, but can also be specific ad placements. Stolen traffic is a little murkier. That is when you take the definition of “free traffic” a little bit further and try to piggyback off sites with a lot of traffic. This is for instance how Air BnB managed to get traffic from Craig’s list.

Conversion

Growth Hacking

This is often a forgotten part of web development. After you have gotten traffic to your site, you need to have a plan in place for gradually improving the amount of leads or sales you get. This can be done by first identifying hypothesis based on “best practices” and then testing it with software like VWO.

If you are struggling with increasing your conversion rate, you might begin by looking at your business model, then your sales funnel and finally, your landing pages and traffic.

You might realize that you can scale your operations faster, and be less reliant on outside capital, if you focus on conversion early. It can also put you in a much better negotiating position with potential investors.

Engagement

Growth Hacking

After you have gotten your first conversion, how do visitors act on the site? Where do they go, and where do they spend the most amount of time? What can you do to improve their activity on your site? These are the questions that can lead you into having a very “sticky” audience, like Facebook’s audience.

Engagement can be hard for a lot of websites to master because they fail to consider human psychology, and what needs the core audience has. It can, therefore, be worthwhile to study hook models, and create a system for regularly activating visitors to keep them engaged. For instance, if someone has not logged onto your site if a while, do you send out emails with specific offers?

Closing thoughts

Growth hacking can be broken down into three areas: traffic, conversion and engagement. Each of these elements can raise questions whose answers will help you grow faster. For instance: Where can you find potential customers which you have not tapped? Can your web-pages be more focused to convert? How do you engage visitors?
Over time you might realize that your creativity can be just as important as knowledge in improving a business. Reading case studies on fast growing companies can be good sources of inspiration, but how did their ideas come about? Trying to identify the characteristics of fast growing companies, can help you get more ideas to grow.

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