Breaking down growth hacking to 4 simplified steps

There is no doubt that you have heard of growth hacking recently. It’s much more than a trendy buzzword in the startup world, though — it’s an essential component of growing and scaling a business.

Growth hacking is the process of building explosive momentum that takes your business off the ground quickly. While it’s generally discussed in the startup world, it’s very possible to use growth hacking to kick-start a stagnant company, as well. I’ve noticed a large percentage of the companies I consult with are terrified by the term growth hacking, so I wanted to break the process down into four simple steps.

1. Cut your main goal into realistic micro goals.

Every business is going to have a monumental goal, such as building a brand that generates $10 million in annual sale, but achieving a lofty goal like that will require flawless execution of several micro goals. Some examples:

  • Increasing your unique monthly website visitors from 20,000 to 30,000 over the next 30 days.
  • Average 100 daily newsletter subscribers to increase your email list by 3,000 this month.
  • Decrease your shopping cart abandonment rate to below 3 percent by the end of the month.

Home runs are exciting in the game of baseball, but they are few and far between. Consistently hitting singles and playing smart wins the game. You need to adapt this same strategy when attacking your main goal.

2. Analyze and measure every set of data points.

The majority of your goals from the first step will involve numbers, as demonstrated in the examples above. When you know your numbers inside and out, it enables you to make calculated decisions that lead to explosive growth.

Numbers never lie.

Some examples of data you want to track and analyze:

  • Website traffic referral sources, time your visitors spend on pages and what content is your most-visited.
  • Conversions: emails collected, lead form submissions, sales, etc.
  • Goals, through Google Analytics to determine the path your revenue generating conversions followed.

3. Develop a conversion funnel that drives revenue.

You could be great at mapping out micro goals and analyzing data, but if your conversion funnel isn’t creative, you won’t get off the ground.

There isn’t an easy conversion funnel solution that will work for everyone. Each business has different products, services and target customers. For example, an email sequence that’s designed to nurture and then convert leads into sales, will have dramatically different copy across different industries.

If you are targeting C-level executives for a B2B service, your emails will be very to-the-point, while copy that’s targeting Millennials and pushing them to convert on a tech product might be a little more aggressive with some sarcasm thrown in.

Some businesses will rely heavily on email marketing, while others will drive the majority of their funnel traffic using social media. Knowing your target market will play a huge role in whether or not you are able to put together a creative funnel that converts.

An example of a funnel, from top to bottom, would be:

  1. Attract traffic through organic SEO or paid media, such as promoted social media posts.
  2. Convert a high percentage of your visitors by using landing pages that are optimized to generate email leads.
  3. Use re-marketing and email marketing to pull your leads back to your website in an attempt to convert them into revenue.

4. Constantly split-test everything.

You have to split-test everything. This is where the most noticeable gains can be made. Again, numbers don’t lie. While you might think a blue rectangle “submit” button looks the best on your landing page, through split-testing you might discover that a round orange button is responsible for a much higher conversion rate.

Never assume; always test.

From your landing page layouts and color schemes, to different call-to-actions, marketing channels, ad copy and email subject lines — you need to be split-testing everything.