The hype around growth hacking has not only affected people in the Silicon Valley but every place in the world where an ambitious and determined entrepreneur has ever lived. As of June 2016, LinkedIn has 2,587 people with the term "growth hacker" in their title. A majority of them are startup founders and CEOs. So why do these founders want to be known as growth hackers rather than entrepreneurs, founders or CEOs?
Changing your title on your business profile does not make you a growth hacker. Growth hackers are people who accelerate growth within a company. They have decisive ideas about growth, virality and the success of a product or company that are needed to bring the company to the front and center of the public, media and potential investors. Airbnb, Dropbox and Payal are just a few examples of companies that hacked their growth. Here are some ways you can follow in their footsteps.
1. Learn the art of piggybacking.
Whether you are in an actual or a metaphorical room, make sure you are in the right room and are rubbing shoulders with the right people. PayPal managed to become popular by cashing in on eBay’s popularity. It managed to convince eBay to use the PayPal logo along with other big names in payment like Visa and MasterCard. This presence on the website next to big-shot companies gave PayPal all the leverage it needed to become popular. You need to think of groundbreaking ideas, or learn how to piggyback on other platforms in order to growth hack.
2. Get multi-domain expertise.
Startup founders are good at a couple of skills and slowly build on those skills as they grow. Growth hackers already have a set of various skills, allowing them to accelerate the growth of their business. Growth hackers have knowledge in numerous domains, such as content marketing, programming, design and sales.
This allows them to make accurate, balanced and quick decisions on any business topic under the sun. They are one-part businessperson, one-part artist and one-part salesperson. If you lack multi-domain skills, it’s time you to upgrade your skillset and become a growth hacker.
3. Be willing to take risks.
Growth hackers are quick decision makers. They understand that no decision comes with a 100 percent certainty. They know that any path they choose, they will face hardship and struggles. Despite knowing this, they are quick thinkers and can make decisions faster than average entrepreneurs and founders.
4. Build your personal brand.
Think Apple, and you think Steve Jobs. Think Virgin Airlines, and you think Sir Richard Branson.
What I'm trying to say is that all these entrepreneurs went to extensive lengths to build their personal brand. When people line up to hear you at the TED talk, when your tweets get as many hearts as the population of a small country, when your company’s mention is automatically followed by your name, you know you have success on your hands. You can hack your way into an inner C-Suite network, and supercharge your business. Try to build your reputation as an influencer or industry expert. Start slow with AMAs and podcasts, and slowly progress to touring and interviews.
5. Understand marketing technology.
Growth hacking is basically marketing on steroids, which then fires up your business. There is an unbelievable number of experts, from Neil Patel to Quinn Whissen, who have shed light on hacks that can help you win at marketing. Further, growth hacking is synonymous with tools. There are many tools such as HubSpot, BrandWatch, SEMrush and others that automate and simplify digital marketing, thus making your life easier.
A lot has been written about founders and small business owners who capitalized on a niche gap or solved a customer pain point. You usually see that either the profits are too small or the idea is too big and unviable. The difference between these founders and growth hackers is that no matter the industry, the idea or the competition, these people are able to grow their company by leaps and bounds.