If you’ve recently been in the process of setting up a new business online, you must have heard of terms such as growth hacking or growth mapping. What does all this really mean? What’s the difference between the two processes, and do they add value to your business? Let’s find out: GROWTH HACKING Growth hacking strategies have been in place for quite a while now as an increasing number of entrepreneurs are doing everything possible to give their brand the push they need to gain visibility and to thrive in an impossibly competitive global market. Although it is loosely bundled along with the ‘marketing tag,’ a growth hacker has to go far beyond what a conventional MBA degree would place you. Without a doubt, traditional marketing personnel have some extremely valuable skills that would help a brand gain strength and visibility, however, these skills are designed to focus on a wide range of aspects of the brand. For a fresh brand, these skills do not necessarily contribute to the absolute requirement – rapid growth. A growth hacker, on the other hand, concentrates solely on this aspect of a new brand. Basically, growth hacking constitutes rapidly enhancing the value of a brand utilizing novel marketing techniques. A growth hacker will combine existing marketing techniques with new unconventional strategies that result in the acquirement of a large number of customers, stepping up revenue, and placing the brand in a more advantageous position. Generally, growth hacking focuses on three key aspects of a brand: Attracting A Wide Potential Customer Base A growth hacker typically employs various techniques to attract potential customers. One of them includes generating a significant volume of online content and blogs for a target audience. An article or blog is designed keeping in mind the specific emotions and thought processes of the target audience. It’s necessary to understand what influences them, the kind of conversations they have with their peers and relatives, and what makes them happy or sad in order to determine the kind of content that needs to be generated. Once this has been ascertained and you have a good picture of your target audience, you can create content that could make an impact on a potential customer. The article or blog needs to either provide a solution to an immediate issue or provide a new perspective about an issue that they are facing. Engaging the audience and using convincing infographics are other tools used by growth hackers to draw attention and build credible interest from potential customers. A growth hacker can also employ platforms such as popular online forums where they can engage with potential customers and build an authoritative brand image. Engaging visitors and working on converting them into leads Email marketing is surprisingly one of the most effective marketing strategies employed by growth hackers to keep a consistent stream of conversation with potential customers. The main reason for this is that users rarely change their primary email address. However, these conversations are never blatant marketing campaigns. The conversations are generally personalized, relevant, and useful to a customer. It could range from unique tips, promotion coupons, or anything that a potential customer would be inclined to share with his/her peer group. Acquiring a customer base and maintaining them This is the tricky bit and A/B testing forms an integral part of the growth hacking campaigns. Although it’s quite impossible to find something that appeals to EVERYBODY, a growth hacker conducts a battery of experiments with the goal of maximizing the number of conversions on the client’s landing page. This is implemented by constantly analyzing user responses to different components of the website content. Modus Operandi of A/B testing The first step of A/B testing involves recognizing the pages that have low conversion rates and the pages or sections that garnered the most interest. The growth hacker then decides on goals to be achieved in the process. This could be anything from spiking up the opt-in ratio, taking revenue to the next level or even to influence users to visit a section or to ‘click a button.’ Whatever the case may be, you need to establish your goals for conversion and metric so that you can ascertain whether your test is a success or a failure. The next step involves generating the A and B versions for the experiment and subsequently running the test. Finally, you will have the result of the test. In a scenario where there is a substantial variation in conversion rates, the successful version is integrated into the website. GROWTH MAPPING Growth hacking, when implemented properly, can have outstanding results taking your brand to the next level in terms of revenue and visibility. However, after a point, you may run out of components to tweak and optimize further. Once you reach this plateau, it’s time to change your tactics and this is where Growth Mapping comes into the picture. As growth hacking provides you with the instant drive to get your brand off the docks, growth mapping helps to sustain momentum through long term strategies that establish your brand at the top of the food chain and maintain it there. Two important aspects of growth mapping include: Growth Scoring – This is about re-evaluating your growth prospects once all your efforts to optimize your landing pages have been exhausted. A strategy focused on sustainable growth results is possible only by taking a closer look at what works and what doesn’t for the brand at the fundamental level. For instance, if a company has benefited immensely from its content marketing strategy, it would gain substantially by tracking key metrics for subsequent campaigns. Growth scoring involves asking in-depth questions about your content campaign. Some of these questions include: What would be the optimum length for a blog post in order to engage an audience? How should the article be titled? What is the average time spent by a user on your landing page? What would be the average bounce rate? What kind of content attracts more engagement? (infographics versus videos) Do certain authors attract a wider audience? Who are they and why? Strategy Mapping – Once the score analysis has been made, you should have a clear picture as to where optimizations need to be made to enhance revenue generation to the full potential. If you discover that infographics have a better impact on your audience, you would subsequently realign your resources accordingly to generate more content of that kind. In a nutshell, growth mapping is about generating high volumes of relevant data on the basis of your page traffic and target audience, and then, making strategic changes for long term benefits to your business goals.