As digital marketing has dominated general marketing initiatives in the past couple of decades, there have been new emerging efforts in marketing, coined, growth hacking.  Growth hacking is the process of identifying the most efficient method of traffic through untested methods. This is where marketers and coders develop their own hypotheses and methods to find alternative ways to beat the market in attracting new followers.

Marketers and coders continue to challenge themselves to find a new method that can deliver mass interest with less effort and cost. In recent years, many new opportunities have come and gone.  Let’s see what 2023 is considering the best growth hacking initiatives to grow your audience.  These subjects are being actively discussed in forums, LinkedIn groups, and leadership communities. The goal of learning what others are doing in this area is to see how you can slightly tweak it and create your own blue ocean of growth hacking.

  1. Social media marketing: Use various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube to reach your target audience.One growth hacking strategy that has emerged since social media platforms have been in existence, is the use of hashtags to group information. Tagging your content with #relevantphrase enables users to search for like-minded content and can extend your reach significantly.  Using multiple hashtags extends your reach even further. Now consider you do not know which hashtag is the one that propelled your content virally; this is where testing comes in. Start small and try small new variants as you go.Another social media evolution is the ability to tag people and brands. This alerts another social media friend, friend of a friend, or brand that you want them to see your post. At first this is exciting and earns extreme response, until, like most new things, they become old and provide diminishing returns. Brands of course are excited when you tag them, but then the overwhelm, and impossibility of keeping up.  As in all things, early adopters are rewarded until the fanfare dies out.
  2. Influencer marketing: Partner with influencers in your industry to promote your product or service to their followers.Influencer marketing is a distant relative to the old, “product placement,” you could only get when working with the movie studios. The Apple computer in the teenage angst movie, or the Calvin Klein’s in Back to the Future, and one of the most iconic of them all, Reece’s Pieces in E.T.  The evolution of this practice is influencer marketing, which crowd sources exposure by using more influencers to deliver the same result that product placement has historically delivered.Brands are now using micro-influencers to reach different personas as well as the traditional Beyonce or Taylor Swift when possible to hit it out of the park.  Influencers of all sorts exist, from the yoga influencer to the gamer or gadget product influencer. Influencers create followers on social media and talk to their audiences about products they like. They receive spiffs and or product from the brands to promote the brand products. They often are provided an affiliate link from the brand that they may share with their audience for a discount or value add. This link allows the brand to track their success and reward them accordingly.
  3. Content marketing: Produce high-quality content that provides value to your target audience and helps establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.Content marketing is not new to marketing, but the hands that are able to create it have evolved significantly.  You don’t need a journalism degree or film and sound crew to produce some fantastic quality content in 2023. You need to plan, research, and develop the messaging you want with the best delivery medium for the message; this may be written form, video, diagrams, animations, or a combination to deliver a compelling message to your target audience.  Consider your audience age, interests, and media tendencies when determining your message form factor.
  4. SEO optimization: Optimize your website for search engines to improve your visibility in search results. SEO is one of the original growth hacking tools that emerged after the internet became mainstream. This is the practice of optimizing your website for Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other global search engines to rank you in their search engine results. This entails backwards engineering the Google algorithm to determine which variables help you rank higher. Over the years, this has evolved significantly as Google understands user search intent. The initial algo rewarded national publishers as they offered free content. As time progressed Google learned that searchers are looking for locally relevant content and they often are looking to spend money and not just get free information – this is where local usurped global publishers and tilted search results in favor of the local business.Current opportunities for growth hacking reside in the voice search category – all new technology provides a green playing field for innovation and opportunity. Learning voice search optimization for local businesses will be pivotal for future growth. This will include variables you may not consider, like tagging your videos with audio script, and voice search tags, as well as structured data and the typical SEO players.
  5. Email marketing: Build an email list of your target audience and regularly send them relevant and engaging content. Email marketing has not always been considered a growth hacking strategy, rather good communication as well as an economical marketing communications channel. The real growth hacking element in email marketing is list growth – not any list growth, but qualified leads list growth. You want folks to want your message or it’s wasteful on any level. Your time and energy should always be focused on qualified leads. This means the audience that is interested in your product and service. Growing this list will certainly grow your business.Consider growing your list through non-competitive partner marketing. This is a similar product or service that is not competitive but shares people with like minds and needs. An example of this would be a health food company and a fitness company. Collaborating and placing ads in each other’s email may be beneficial for both of you and cost you nothing.  This is a dual-upside partnership and well worth your time to identify more in your industry.
  6. Referral marketing: Encourage your current customers to refer their friends and family to your business by offering them incentives or rewards. Refer a friend campaigns are some of the most successful marketing campaigns available. This is the original word-of-mouth marketing that has proven to be so successful that customer review indices have been built around it.
  7. Community building: Build a community around your brand by engaging with your audience on social media and creating a forum for discussion. This may not seem as obvious of a strategy but it’s creating a community before the community creates their own; this gives you ownership, leadership, and influence in the community. Consider the ever-popular Red Bull brand developing events that drew masses from far and near to see what has, “WINGS.” Flugtag was born from a tagline, “Red Bull gives you wings.” And then the global sensation of flying “things” dawning the Red Bull brand began and has kept its popularity over decades.
  8. Mobile optimization: Optimize your website and content for mobile devices to ensure that your audience can easily access your content on-the-go. This hack seems like it may not be growth oriented until you run the numbers. This is the first place you want to optimize as it delivers immediately. Ensure your eCommerce is dialed in using testing scenarios and getting feedback from existing customers. You want to ensure you are meeting the average, “add to basket” rate, the average conversion rate, and the average order lines, and order value in your industry.If you are not familiar with usability testing, this is where you want to spend some time learning. Understand what your users expect online and how then think when adding to basket and checking out. Compare your process to others to understand best practices and possible opportunities you may have not considered.

Remember simply copying growth hacking strategies is merely keeping up with the Jones’, you actually need to speed right past them so that you are the leader of the pack. Review what others are doing and then start creating your own blue ocean by strategically testing nuances to these strategies. Continue to read, hypothesize, strategize, test, optimize, repeat – this is how growth hacking wins.

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