Growth hacking for small businesses

Sean Ellis, Founder and CEO of, is credited with coining the term “growth hacking.” He defines it for us this way:

A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth.

Growth hacker and start-up coach Ehsan Jahandarpour explains that growth hacking is about transforming businesses using out-of-the-box marketing experiments.

It is a mindset and practice that is constant, energetic, and relentless. A growth hacker will combine unconventional marketing strategies that can result in acquiring more customers, increasing revenue and being in a better competitive position. Growth hacking is about flexibility and does not have a one-size-fits-all formula. Unlike conventional marketing strategies, growth hacking does not deliver predictable and reliable results.

In fact, growth hacking is a customer-centered strategy to find the right audience for your brand and use data strategically to move forward.

Content is your brand’s life

According to stats from Search Engine Journal, organic search results account for 70% of the links search users click on. Generate organic search traffic by making sure your website is updated and your content aligned to your users’ needs.

  • Create content like your business depends on it (because it does).
  • The moment you hook your readers, they’ll want to hear from you on a regular basis.
  • The more content they read about your brand, the more likely they are to trust you and recommend you to their friends.
  • If you disappear, so will your readers.

Blogging generates the most traffic for companies. Consistent blogging leads to more search result traffic. In fact, blogging is the #1 traffic-increasing factor, while SEO is #2.


Neil Patel, Entrepreneur and Founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics, advises that as you continually do so, not only will you generate organic search traffic, your brand will also take on a new shape—and attracting clients using digital marketing will no longer be a hassle.

Marketing automation

Automate repetitive tasks in the marketing and sales departments. For example, welcome emails can be set up to go out anytime someone signs up for your email list, whether they’ve downloaded a lead magnet, purchased a product, or are just interested in receiving your blog or newsletter updates.

  • According to email marketing company My Emma, a welcome email receives an open rate of 50%.
  • Welcome emails are your way of making sure that the first interaction someone has with your brand is a positive one.

One of the best things about automating your emails is that you can create specific email campaigns that only activate depending on the actions someone takes.

Use marketing automation tools with cookie-matching integration with email marketing database providers to send personalized email messages. They will free up your team to develop new campaigns, create useful content, pursue more leads and automate time consuming tasks in the sales department.

A study by Harvard Business Review found that only 37% of businesses responded to leads within an hour. Those that did were 7 times more likely to qualify the lead.

Targeted use of social media

Businesses sometimes try to pursue engagement through every social media channel, inevitably spreading resources too thin. Spend some time doing market research, get to know your target audience and pursue only the avenues that are relevant to your business. For example, if most of your target audience is over the age of 40, then using Snapchat to pursue leads would not be very effective.

Instead, a good way to build your business is to build a community around the brand. For example, create a Facebook group that offers real value to members. Share your knowledge with your audience.

Serial entrepreneur Phil Laboon shares these tips:

  • Provide content that would add value to your customers.
  • Sell strategically: While you can make the occasional sales pitch or offer, aggressive or hard selling to your members may turn them off and you will lose their trust and interest.
  • Use educational videos: Use video to build a relationship with the group. With video, you have the chance to get in front of members, allowing them put a face to the name. It will help to foster one-on-one relationships.
  • Be exclusive: Make people who join your group feel special. No one wants to be a part of an open group where anyone and everyone can join. Make your Facebook group closed and ask someone why s/he wants to join. This gives the group credibility while weeding out spammers.

Get into the head of your customer

Growth hacking is not a shortcut to success. Instead, as Laboon advises:

Find the right audience. Begin with a product or service that adds value to a customer’s experience. Then, test, test and test again to uncover that value. Pivot when needed.

And when your value-laden product is introduced to a relevant and interested audience, growth will follow.

To growth hack your brand, innovate for your audience and leverage on your business’ strengths to springboard forward.

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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