Growth Hacking: How To Grow Your Small Business Faster

Growth is vital if your business is going to survive.

When you write a business plan, your focus is primarily on building a product or service and launching your business.

But figuring out how to start a business is only part of what you need to build a successful and sustainable business. You’ll also need to understand how to grow your business.

The problem is that as a business owner or entrepreneur, you get so deep in the trenches that one day you may find yourself wondering how your business became stagnant – or worse – failed.

Small business guru Michael Gerber offers business owners this piece of wisdom:

Most entrepreneurs fail because you are working IN your business rather than ON your business.

So, let’s avoid that pitfall.

Let’s spend the next eight minutes exploring ways you can grow your business faster.

You probably have some form of marketing strategy in place for growing your business.

While it’s true that slow and steady usually wins the race… a little jumpstart never hurt, either.

Growth is vital if your business is going to survive. But when you spend all your time working in your business rather than on your business, growth can be elusive. Growth hacking can help.

By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll know:

  1. What growth hacking is.
  2. What growth hacking is not.
  3. Fertile growth hacking terrain.
  4. Using infographics and shareable visual content to boost growth hacking.
  5. Leveraging blog and podcast influencers.
  6. Leveraging mobile apps.
  7. Leveraging email.
  8. How to build a growth hacking strategy.

Let’s get started!

What is growth hacking?

According to serial entrepreneur Darrah Brustein, growth hacking is “the act of accelerating the growth of a brand, service or product.”

But if accelerating growth were easy, everyone would already be doing it. So how is growth hacking different from traditional marketing?

Ehsan Jahandarpour, growth hacker and start-up coach, explains it this way:

Growth hacking is all about transforming businesses using out of the box marketing experiments. A growth hacker will combine unconventional marketing strategies that can result in acquiring more customers, increasing revenue and being in better competitive position.

In other words, growth hacking is a mindset and practice that relies on creativity and adventurous marketing techniques to grow your business quickly.

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What growth hacking is not

Companies like Airbnb, Hotmail, and Dropbox have all used growth hacks to great effect, rapidly expanding their businesses.

So how can you follow in their footsteps?

Well, the sad truth is that you can’t copy another business’s growth hacks and expect to achieve the same results.

Growth hacking is not a simple step-by-step process.

There are no one-size-fits-all growth hacks that will deliver predictable and reliable results.

That wouldn’t be a growth hack. That would be marketing.

Experimentation is the name of the growth hack game. You have to innovate for your audience, using your business’s strengths as the springboard.

In fact, it’s that ephemeral crossroads where your message, your business, and your audience overlap that makes a growth hack resonate… and succeed.

So, while we can’t give you the complete growth hack recipe for your business, we can give you the tools you’ll need to start brainstorming your own growth hack ideas.

Fertile growth hacking terrain

Growth hacks, by definition, seek to reach broad audiences quickly.

After all, you want to be sure that your marketing message is amplified not just by what you say but also by what other people say about you.

For example, we publish testimonials on our crowdspring reviews page so that entrepreneurs, small business owners, as well as marketing, social media, and SEO agencies can quickly assess what others say about working with crowdspring.

Similarly, as you can see below, we show the logos of some of our well-known clients. Showing that sophisticated, smart companies and agencies have used crowdspring successfully amplifies our marketing messages through social proof.


Ultimately, certain mediums are more appropriate (and more worth your attention) than others. Here are a few of the most valuable platforms that are ripe for growth hacking…

Infographics and shareable visual content

Social media is a natural platform for executing growth hacks.  Every content marketer dreams of their content “going viral.”

And visual content has a stronger likelihood of going viral than text-based content.

Data from BuzzSumo confirms this fact. Their study revealed that social media content featuring images consistently performs better than text-only content. They also discovered that infographics are the most shared form of content, beating out even listicles and video.

Humans are visually-oriented creatures. Make this work to your advantage but be sure that you maintain a consistent brand identity as you create new visual assets for your brand.

So, if you’re looking for a growth hack opportunity, you may want to think about how you can leverage infographics or other visual content in a unique and novel way to reach a wide audience.

And, if you don’t have an in-house art or design team to execute your visual content, consider harnessing the power of the crowd to develop professional and cost-effective infographics to share.

To learn more about visual marketing, we recommend reading 12 Awesome Visual Marketing Tools That Will Help Grow Your Small Business.

Blog & podcast influencers

Some networks are more powerful than others. And connecting with the right network in the right way can translate to a major growth hack.

The key is to discern which networks are worth targeting.

Media broadcasting is a field ripe for growth hacking.

Bloggers and podcast hosts with wide followings are dubbed “influencers.” Their followers value these influencers’ opinions.

And that can be very good for you.

If you can show the value and relevance of your product or service, these influencers may help their audience become your audience. And this can translate into strong, rapid growth.

Influencer Marketing Hub reports that businesses are making an average of $6.50 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing. And with that sort of ROI for traditional influencer marketing, imagine what you could accomplish with a truly unique and innovative approach.

The power of influencer marketing comes from letting the influencer do the talking. Centaur Media’s Content Marketing Manager, Priyanka Dayal,  advises:

For influencer marketing to sustain, authenticity and credibility is key.

If you aim to make influencer marketing part of your growth hack strategy, allow the influencer to craft the message. Today’s savvy customers are leery of scripted endorsements and can smell an advertisement a mile away.

Mobile apps

Mobile technology has reshaped the way we live our lives and reach our customers.

As we wrote in a recent article:

Apple launched the iPhone a little over 10 years ago and dramatically changed the world. At the end of 2007, a mere 6% of Americans owned a smartphone. As of 2016, that number was over 80%.

People have embraced mobile apps in ways that few industry insiders anticipated. Need proof? Over 57% of all digital media usage is through apps.

Let me say that again. More than half of all digital usage is now through apps.

Wouldn’t it be great if your audience could carry your business around in their pocket?

Oh, wait! They can.

With a smartphone or tablet in nearly everyone’s pocket or bag, mobile apps are a powerful way to reach and grow your audience.

Is there a novel, useful, entertaining, or otherwise worthwhile app that you can use to bolster customer interaction, engagement, and sales?

Don’t forget email

With the constant rush to keep up with the latest technologies, it’s easy to overlook the tried and true.

Email continues to be a major avenue of communication between businesses and their customers.

And, the welcome email may be the most valuable promotional email of them all. As we previously wrote:

Welcome emails have the highest open rates of all promotional email – 57.8% to a paltry 14.4%! They’re also reported to bring in 320% more revenue than standard promotional email.

Not to mention that subscribers are most engaged during the first 48 hours, so your welcome email arrives – or should – during that optimum engagement window.

Email is a staple of day-to-day life. As such, it’s a great medium to try out new growth hacking ideas.

Want an example? Hotmail’s notorious “PS- I Love You” email signature growth hack was tremendously successful.

Growth hacking is all about generating the biggest response possible, quickly. So, focusing your efforts when and where customers are most engaged is to your benefit.

With that in mind, consider executing your growth hack idea via welcome emails to get the biggest return on investment.

Your growth hacking strategy

Now that we’ve given you a few ideas for where to look for your next big growth hack let’s talk about a framework to help you actually execute it.

Ben Angel, one of Australia’s top marketing experts and a best-selling author, has outlined these guidelines for your growth hacking efforts:

Set Your Goal – How do you want your business to grow? Are you looking for new subscribers, followers, or buyers? To craft a targeted growth hack, you need to know what goal you’re targeting.

Determine How You’ll Track and Test – What metric will you use to track your success? Will you use likes, clicks, or maybe revenue? And how will you test? Put these plans in place before you execute so you can ensure that you’ll have the vital data you need to make informed decisions.

Build on Your Strengths – Start by looking to your existing successes for creative business growth ideas. What is your business good at? For what positive traits is your business known? A growth hack should be a natural extension of your business’s strengths. And, even if it does take a fresh new direction from your same old same old, make sure it’s true to your brand identity.

Aim to Go Viral – I know, I know, this is easier said than done. If marketers could control whether their content would go viral, all content would go viral. But, at the very least, you can:

  1. Create unique, novel, and interesting content that appeals to your market and…
  2. Make it as easy as possible to share

Never make your audience work for it! If your content will have a chance of going viral, it needs to be easy to share.

Fine-Tune Your Performance – Take the time to review your efforts and make performance-enhancing tweaks. What does your testing and tracking show? How can you learn from it and adjust for next time? Can you make changes on the fly that will improve your performance at the moment? Small adjustments on a winning strategy can maximize your success.

Fortune favors the bold

By now, I hope we all know that get-rich-quick schemes can’t be relied on, and success doesn’t really happen overnight.

But, growth hacking has proven that maintaining a curious outlook and a willingness to take calculated risks can give your business a serious boost.

Phong Ly, CEO, and co-founder of breaks it down:

Growth-hacking is about using your creativity to find cost-effective, scalable ways to acquire and retain as many users as possible. I myself was initially intimidated by the concept when I first heard of it, but at the end of the day, it’s really just a process of experimentation: coming up with an idea, testing it, tracking it and analyzing the results, then working to make it more effective.

So, get creative.

Be brave.

And, start thinking about how you can grow your business today.

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