Everyone wants to make things as easy as possible for themselves and growing a business is no different. We present to you some of the best examples of growth hacking that will inspire you towards success and show you just how easy it can be when you set your mind to it.
Summary: 5 Minutes read, Level: Advanced
Before we give you the lowdown on growth hacking successes we will need to explain exactly what growth hacking is for those who don’t already know anything about the term.
Hacking always comes across as a negative term and might conjure up images of masked members of Anonymous or, for those old enough to remember it, the 1980s film WarGames, but it can be attributed to positive things too. Life hacks is one example and growth hacking is another.
In a nutshell, growth hacking is a type of marketing where the focus is on the result rather than how you achieve it. It’s all about experimenting and evolving to achieve success. It might sound like winging it a little, but growth hacking is really calculated risk taking that usually applies to small companies or start-ups. In some cases it has catapulted businesses to extreme success. It is the best solution for companies with a small marketing budget.
The term growth hacking was first used in 2010 and was coined by Sean Ellis who was already practising the then unnamed marketing technique.
One of the most successful men in the field of growth hacking and something of a guru on the subject is Neil Patel. Neil’s history within marketing stretches back to 2001 when he created his first website. He was cheated out of money by some marketing experts and took matters into his own hands. Out of necessity he learned about and became a success. The expertise he gained has helped many companies to grow and he has been recognised by both Barack Obama and the United Nations for his services as a young entrepreneur.
A lot of companies we use, particularly online, are still in their relative infancy. Even though they are now recognised as huge, many of them have very humble beginnings and it proves that anyone with a good idea can make it. Here are some of the best examples of successful growth hacking:
This popular site for booking places to stay can often reward the user with some incredibly unique holiday experiences. In 2008 two men, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, were struggling to pay their rent. They put three mattresses on the floor of their house and rented them out. They then came up with the idea for a website and linked it to Craigslist’s rentals section to promote themselves better. Thousands of users became millions and the operation soon became worldwide. Brilliant in its simplicity, AirBNB is now estimated to be worth around $30billion.
We all like to watch videos online, whether they are music videos or films of cats looking cute. YouTube is the go-to place for all your video content, but it is a happy accident that it ended up that way. Originally YouTube was meant to be a search engine. The growth hacking technique they used was the ability to keep people on their platform and keep sharing their content. The ability to share videos via social media with just one click and the recommended videos which keep you watching boost their overall views and ultimately the website’s value.
Social media has never been more popular. Some call it time wasting, while others think it’s a fantastic way to keep in touch with friends and share content. Millions of users worldwide can’t be wrong, but Twitter wasn’t always as successful. Way back in the beginning people were unsure of how to use it and many registered but didn’t return to the site. Twitter analysed this and came up with the idea of making new users follow at least five other users upon registration. This meant people returned regularly to see what their new ‘friends’ had to say. The presence of many celebrities has undoubtedly helped their cause, but the key to Twitter’s success was fundamentally quite simple.
We’ve all had that email: “So-and-so wants to add you to their professional network on LinkedIn.” For many people it’s an annoyance, but for those who use what is basically a version of Facebook for professionals, it is a really help. LinkedIn began essentially as a networking site for professional people and was a tool to find work and develop contacts.
LinkedIn’s growth hacking success was making users’ profiles public. Now when you google a person’s name, their LinkedIn profile is generally the first result which is returned. This helped both companies and workers and the move added a lot of credence to the website and of course increased its value.
This site for file sharing and storage is used by millions worldwide, but in the beginning they struggled to get people to sign up. That was before they employed their own growth hacking technique. Each user has a limited amount of storage, but if they get a friend to sign up they get bonus storage. This referral system accounts for 60% of new users signing up with the platform. Dropbox allegedly once turned down a nine-figure buyout offer from Steve Jobs, so clearly they are doing something right.
All these examples of growth hacking show that it’s not as difficult as you might think to boost a new business to the sky and beyond. If you’ve got a good idea you’re already on your way, but the key is in choosing your growth hacking technique. You need to be doing something that your competitors aren’t and what no one else has thought of before.
Quite simply, successful growth hacking will equal a very successful business and if you make it, your company might one day end up in an article like this one!