The first in a new series of posts on Growth Hacking. Veronica French is a growth hacker based in San Francisco with varied experience in marketing, SEO, social media, design, content and ghost writing. She has worked for several startups in Mexico City and the Bay Area.
Growth hacking is the hot new title on the block, and especially so in the startup world. Companies like Twitter, LinkedIn, Dropbox and more all swear by the art of growth hacking, scaling first and everything else will fall into place. Everything a growth hacker does must be justified by the numbers and explain how every effort gets us closer to our goals.
In essence, growth hacking fits into the realm of marketing but is devoid of the bad rep associated with a traditional “marketer” – those fluffy budget-spenders that have little to show in terms of ROI and are at constant battle with sales. The attack on marketing, however, is an unfair battle since marketing encompasses too many roles that overlap and are rarely distinguishable within organizations: social media, content, communications, direct, product, branding, PR, digital, and the list goes on.
But a true growth hacker distinguishes itself from the marketing pack by having an absolute focus on turning expenditure into revenue and getting a bigger bang for your buck.
Every company could use a growth hacker, but SaaS companies benefit most from this unique specimen of marketer for several reasons.
1. The Nature of SaaS
Of all industries, SaaS knows the power of the internet like no one’s business. They recognize the benefits of capitalizing on the world wide web, notably remote accessibility, lower costs in capital, and the largest audience in the world. Growth hackers share the same playground. If SaaS companies expect to stay at the forefront of technology and appear as leaders of innovation, practicality and accessibility, then they need marketers that speak the same language and know the workings of the internet like the back of their hand – SEO, ad words, conversion funnels, drip nurturing, opt-ins, and so on.
2. The Scientific Method
Most SaaS companies live on the internet. Their websites are their flagship store where potential customers are going to browse and, hopefully, buy. But how will you ever know if your shop is filled with the right people
Making the right purchases? How will you know if you have a bunch of visitors who don’t intend to buy anything, or very few buyers that had the intent to purchase but were somehow turned off at the check out counter? You may think you’re doing great with 1,000 monthly visits to your request a demo page, but maybe you could be doing better. Maybe you could actually have 100,000 monthly visits. But how will you know that you could be doing better?
A growth hacker puts on the lab coat and uses the scientific method for everything that they do. “I hypothesize that we can get 50% more signups on our landing page if we add a photo of a real person using the platform instead of a picture of the platform itself. I’m going to publish a control landing page with our current graphics, and a test landing page with the photo of a person. I will drive similar amounts of traffic to both pages and measure the submission rates after two weeks.” If it turns out your hypothesis is right, then run with the new landing page. Does a growth hacker stop there? No, now they want to test out the color of the submission button. Their role is to use A/B testing to do exactly what their job title guarantees: growth.
3. Take a load off your sales folks
Growth hackers must build the infrastructure to make the sales team’s job easier. Instead of cold calling or reaching out to every lead that steps foot through the door, growth hackers are constantly optimizing the system to make it so that only the most qualified and sales-ready leads pass over from marketing to sales. They do this by building a brand, pulling in a large audience, segmenting that audience, and putting them on appropriate nurturing tracks so that the sales-ready leads self-identify and raise their hands. No need for pushy sales tactics, rather a creative yet analytical side of marketing that makes things easy for the user and always communicates the value of the product. This makes sales a lot smoother and allows more deals to close.
by Veronica French @veronicafrenchy