growth hacker“Growth hacking” is one of the most talked-about terms in my household, being married to a technology startup entrepreneur. For the longest time I assumed I would need to know how to code to be able to access or implement growth hacking fundamentals and techniques.

Then I took a closer look online to define “growth hacking” to see why there was such a buzz around this word in the world of marketing.

What I found was interesting.  Some hacks I found useful.  Some I will pass on to my clients; some I will implement at JSA; but for the most part I found that JSAers (marketing & public relations experts) are already doing it.

You see, JSAers already push the boundaries of what is expected in marketing.  We are, by nature of the clients we work with, “data driven.” And while growth hackers might differ from traditional marketers…we at JSA are not traditional marketers.

As the wife of a technology startup guy I hear a lot of new terms, see a lot of new applications, new websites, CEOs getting funding, rounds of investment, angels, codes, and the list goes on.  The startup community seems to have its own language.

I am into marketing, it’s in my blood.  And considering that some of my clients are brand new to the market, I approach their marketing with the “startup” focus

I strive to learn and adapt to new marketing techniques – my client’s best interests are always at heart every time I see a campaign that grabs my eye or pulls me in to purchase something for no clear reason at all.  With this in mind, I set out to learn how I could add “growth hacking” to my list of real skills, even without extensive coding experience.

Ok, so what is it?

Wikipedia defines growth hacking as a “marketing technique developed by technology startups, which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure.” (Hint: we already do this at JSA)

How are startups applying the viral and referral features of growth hacking in a way that could be adapted for say… a dark fiber provider? Here are some tips and tricks that I found.

  1. Don’t host your video content with YouTube. If you are truly growth hacking, and measuring your analytics, you are essentially giving SEO credit to YouTube every time someone clicks on your video link.  If your embedded videos are a YouTube link your SEO train stopped the minute your website visitor clicked it.  As a growth hacker you know that measuring the analytics from your videos second by second is important.  Also—when you share the video, you want the link back to your website, not YouTube. Try professional video hosting through a company like Wistia.
  2. Get testimonials in video format and host them professionally. Just do this. Trust me.
  3. Think of your website visitors as users. Every acquired user is precious. Every time a visitor uses your site to find the information they are looking for, you are missing the opportunity to grab their contact info, have them share your content, or track where they are going next. Make sure that you’re maximizing conversion opportunities. This means targeting users with the right marketing message, at the right time, by optimizing your pages with calls to action.  Simple A/B testing will let you see what messages are working and where people are going next.  Metrics from each page matters to a growth hacker. You’ll never have more attention from a user than the first visit to your website.  Make the first visit count.  Scrutinize where users are leaving the site. Fix those areas ASAP.
  4. No one person should be responsible for driving growth at your company. If you are looking to go viral you must rely on everyone in your company to share your messages, share your videos, and share your landing pages. It takes a village and it takes time.
  5. Create content and make it shareable. There are free tools out there like Twilighter that make sharing easy. With Twilighter, visitors to your website can easily highlight any part of your content and share it instantly on Twitter.
  6. Search Optimization – There are algorithm changes aiming to take place on April 21 2015. ( ** scream **)
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    How SEO experts will feel on April 21st with major Google algorithm changes

    Don’t let your SEO agency forget to rework your site when changes take place. SEO matters.

  7. Social Optimization – Changes in social SEO should not be ignored either. Image-based posts are still king! Months ago Facebook changed the algorithm on its site and you likely went from seeing many image-based ads to more posts of your friends and family. Great right?! Not for marketers. However, the algorithm didn’t change the way multiple image posts were received. The lesson is to try different methods of getting your images out there on social networks. Measure the reach and adjust accordingly.
  8. Insert yourself into relevant conversations on social media – Use social listening tools that also track analytics. Tools like Colibri are a great place to start.
  9. question-mark-463497_1280Ask a real question on social media that requires a real answer. Growth hackers know that the majority of what you put online will not spark a viral frenzy of your content. But asking a real question to your network of telecom professionals will spark a real discussion and draw attention to your expertise. People feel more inclined to answer when the question is not rhetorical. Try engaging your followers with sensitive topics or technical discussions.
  10. Conversion Optimization – Write for people, not search engines. Search engines are powered by computer algorithms so it can be tempting to write for that, but as search engines have gotten smarter, people sharing your compelling content is important too.
  11. Try fun tools like Hello Bar. This free tool allows you to insert a call-to-action button within a horizontal bar at the top of your site. The website allows for tracking and is all part of the growth hacker’s bag of tricks.

 

The takeaway from all of this is that growth hacking techniques are a vital part of marketing.  Our goal is to bring awareness to you and your company.  My bag of tricks and best practices makes me a growth hacker already!  My true north is always more users (visitors) on your website. The difference is that I want qualified visitors that lead to sales.

And here at JSA you get a dedicated team, and we all growth hack for our clients daily.  Our attention to metrics data while integrating public relations and marketing methods makes us the ideal growth hackers for the telecom industry.