Growth hacker marketing is the latest buzzword in the digital world. It essentially involves a unicorn-like figure who can build a distributed and scalable viral growth engine for your product or brand. Such an individual will also have solid technical skills to manage large data sets and build automated tools to drive traffic and conversions towards your website.

How does one become a growth hacker? 

Well, it’s not something that one applies for on LinkedIn. You’re either born with these intuitive abilities, or you aren’t. However, if you’ve ever been bitten by the ‘startup bug’ (or maybe even if you haven’t), then there are some basic principles and rules that any budding growth hacker needs to follow to have any chance of ‘building their engine.’

Emerge from the startup playground and enter the real world. 

Many people over-complicate growth hacking by adding jargon that doesn’t mean anything without a product or service to plug into it. Growth hackers need to come up with solutions that don’t make assumptions based on experience – they need a fresh approach to get new ideas, which leads nicely onto our next point.

Be objective.

Not everyone’s going to like your ideas and suggestions, so as you start (and even further down the line), remember that you’re not blameless either. It’s easy for us all to become attached to our ideas, but no one wants someone who is always attempting to sell them ‘the next big thing.’ 

Learn how to listen.

Growth hacking isn’t about developing innovative technology that will impress people – it’s all about helping your customers! Practice listening for honest, non-sales-related feedback from users and solve their problems in a meaningful way. That sounds very simple, but the truth is that most products and services are built around the wants of only one individual or business — not around every potential user’s needs.

Let go of your ego. 

The growth hacker role doesn’t suit everyone, so don’t feel bad if you’re unable to see yourself as anything other than an engineer or marketer. On the other hand, the startup world can be pretty lonely and cutthroat at times, so it’s essential to surround yourself with other growth hackers and entrepreneurs who have the same outlook on things.

Once you have a good idea of your startup’s target market, you should use this knowledge to focus your marketing efforts around their needs rather than yours or those of your investors. Having a great product is notoriously tricky, so be sure that you’re not just spreading yourself too thinly regarding sales and marketing channels. 

Use real data.

Don’t let vanity metrics dominate all! For example, you may think that 100 new subscribers will make a huge difference, but how many people visit your website? How many are signing up for trial offers etc.? You can measure almost anything these days, and numbers don’t lie — they only tell one side of the story. 

Check what’s already working on your website.

If you’re not sure where to start, look at some of your existing content and see which pages are receiving the most interaction from users. Of course, that can be determined by looking at each page’s traffic numbers and bounce rate. Still, it will help you see what topics people are finding useful or interesting and then provide new opportunities for growth hacking in the future.

Don’t forget about Google Analytics.

Find out who is visiting your site (along with their preferred browser and operating system) plus how they got there – was it via an email campaign? Social media advert? Word of mouth references? You’ll need to know this information when deciding on growth hacking tactics to focus on the ones that work for your business.

Please keep it simple and repeatable.

Are you still using those ‘growth hacks‘ from last year? If so, then it’s time to re-evaluate some of the currently being used methods. Remember, growth hacking is all about building relationships with users in a meaningful way – if there’s no real reason behind why someone is visiting your site, then don’t expect them to return any time soon.

Connect with the right people.

Growth hacking is all about building relationships – and that’s not necessarily just users. It could mean you’ll be getting on better with your investors or other businesses too. You don’t want to get caught up in all of the hype surrounding growth hackers but instead, try to understand what they’re really trying to do for their company and then use their tools as applicable for your startup.

Get involved at meetups or conferences.

That will provide an excellent opportunity to network with like-minded people keen on helping startups grow through focused marketing efforts. So even if you can’t contribute anything back (yet), remember everyone has something new to learn! 

Think growth first, second, and last.

It’s essential to keep the focus on growth when building your product or service – this is applicable even during early development stages and will ensure that you’re heading in the right direction at all times. Don’t be ashamed to ask yourself, ‘what can we do to grow faster?’ before you think about how to build a better product! 

Create something of value. 

Although it sounds obvious, it’s easy to forget just how helpful good marketing can be for any business if they create real value and interest for their users. Growth hacking is no magic formula but instead represents a strategic approach towards achieving brand awareness by providing an exceptional user experience from day one. And that doesn’t happen overnight! So take some time to ensure that your product/service is up to scratch before worrying about growth hacking tactics.

If you are interested in other growth hacking articles you can check them out here!

How much does a growth hacker make?

The growth hacking salary depends on your role and where you work. 

A growth hacker in the USA can earn from $73,000 to $100,000 per year, while an early-stage growth hacker in a London company can expect to be paid anywhere between £45,000 and £70,000 — that’s about half of what a similar salesperson would make in these countries.

But this is just an estimation since the growth hacker salary also depends on his/her experience level. Namely, if someone who has 1-2 years of experience as a growth hacker wants to double his salary, he needs at least 3-5 years of expertise or more to land those higher figures (experienced startup founders usually look for experienced personnel).

So, the average growth hacker salary is estimated to be about $93K in 2016.

What steps will I need to take to become a growth hacker?

The first step is to understand what you are dealing with here — this field involves some innovative approaches and divergent ideas that differ from traditional marketing strategies. The next step is to create your growth strategy for your company (you can use tools like these if you want). Then, if you feel confident enough, start practicing what you have learned on small services/websites first before moving onto larger ones like Facebook or Twitter.

Keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with not being able to fully deliver results each time but instead, it’s important to try things out and learn as you go — growth hacking is still a relatively new field, so it’s completely normal to be somewhat hesitant when attempting to leap. But once you have read up on growth hacking tactics, found an opportunity, and started getting results, then you can proudly say that yes, indeed, you are a real-life growth hacker.

Summary

There are many ways to learn how to become a growth hacker but take everything with a pinch of salt. It seems like every day, there’s an article about a new social media platform or growth hacking tactic so try not to be too influenced by what everyone else around you is saying. Instead, take it easy and do things at your own pace – remember that there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ growth hacker!

Author

A data-driven professional with more than 10 years of experience in digital marketing, SEO, PPC, automation, and so on. Privately tea lover, gamer, tech nerd, and traveler. I love writing about marketing!

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