Growth Hacking 101: An Introduction for Wannabe Growth Hackers

July 5, 2018

whole brain marketing blog author

Posted by Alex Sobal

growth_hackHave you seen the term "growth hacking" recently and are wondering what it means? You've come to the right place! While the term has been around for several years now, there's still plenty of confusion around the subject and much learning to be done. To give you and your organization a better understanding about what "growth hacking" is and how it can be used to deliver effective marketing results in today’s online marketplace, here’s a quick breakdown of the basics of growth hacking.

What is “growth hacking?”

According to Andrew Chen, one of the first marketers to talk about growth hacking, a growth hacker is a hybrid between a marketer and a coder, someone who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers using website analytics, A/B tests, search engine optimization, and content marketing. Everything a growth hacker does is for the sole purpose of generating more growth, and they use low-cost, innovative website design solutions to do so. 


As mentioned above, the term was coined several years ago as web designers and marketers started to dive deeper into the statistics and analytics of their websites, looking for insights they could use to optimize performance. In layman's terms, growth hacking is just fancy way of saying "conversion optimization" today, but it really became popular around the same time "life hacks" starting going viral — hence the name. 

What are some examples of growth hacking?

If you’re still a little confused about what growth hacking actually is, here’s a basic example:

Acme Corp. is a specialty manufacturer of conveyor belt systems. In order to increase their exposure and capture more leads, Acme Corp. built a modern website and loaded it with tons of product information, pictures, and informative blog posts. The site looked great and seemingly had all the information a potential customer could ever want, but somehow they weren’t getting great results. One area where they were really struggling was with their Product Information pages. Here, visitors could click on a particular conveyor belt system type and get more information about that system, look at pictures, and request a quote. Despite these being some of their most popular pages on the website, only 4% of visitors were clicking the “Request a Quote” call-to-action on the bottom of each page, with a click-to-submission rate of only 30%. Rather than creating an entire marketing campaign around the idea of getting more quote requests, however, Acme Corp. decided to try some growth hacking techniques. Here’s what they did:

  • Replaced low-res product images with high-quality professional images

  • Embedded a video of the conveyor belt system "above the fold," making sure visitors don't have to scroll to see it

  • Made the call-to-action (CTA) button bigger and changed the text to read, “Request a free quote!” (replacing "Get Pricing Information")

After improving the image quality, giving visitors actual footage of the conveyor belt system in action, and making the free quote more noticeable, Acme Corp. saw their click-through rates increase to 8% and click-to-submission rates increase to more than 50%! By implementing these simple technological “hacks” on their website, Acme was able to improve how visitors digested product information, which led to more quote requests and leads.

How do I know if growth hacking will work?

To answer this question bluntly: you won’t. Unless you have a magic crystal ball that tells you how your audience will react to your changes before they happen, you can never be sure whether a hack will work or not. In fact, you could try 5 different A/B tests on your page and find that none of them work, but that’s okay.

The greatest thing about growth hacking is that no matter what the results of your A/B tests are, every test should give you deeper insights into how visitors interact with your page and digest information. Knowing what doesn’t work is almost as valuable as knowing what does, and can change how you run tests in the future. As all content marketers will tell you, there’s no such as thing as too much A/B testing.

How do I get started?

Before you start searching for different growth hacks to try, you need to figure out what problems need fixing on your website. As I mentioned above, a growth hacker’s only goal is to improve growth, and they rely on specific website metrics and KPIs to do so  not only to measure if they’re successful or not, but also to find clues about what needs to be fixed. For example, if a CTA has a high click-through rate but low click-to-submission rate, growth hackers know that visitors must have a problem with the landing page. If you don’t track and analyze your website’s metrics, however, you won’t even know what to fix – or if it’s working once you try!

That being said, many marketing strategies today now include a form of "growth hacking" in their long-term marketing plans. CRO and GDD both revolve around constantly testing and improving your website using the data and insights gathered from your website. When it’s done correctly, not only can it have a major, quantifiable impact on your lead growth, but it also helps you understand your audience on a deeper level. Want to get started on your website? For a quick list of fixes you can start making today, download a copy of our Website Usability Checklist for Inbound Marketing below.

Resolve website trouble spots with this checklist

Topics: Inbound Marketing

whole brain marketing blog author
Written by Alex Sobal

Alex has exceptional writing skills and the ability to learn new industries and their complex processes. He's also an avid social media marketer and writes frequently on online community engagement and content creation strategies for our blog. Alex is also one of Weidert Group's most knowledgeable HubSpot users.

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