Understanding Growth Hacking

We all know Airbnb now.  But in 2008 it was a couple college kids renting out their living room as a bed and breakfast.  Ya,true. Within a short amount of time the company grew rapidly.  How did this happen?  Airbnb offered users a free posting on Craigslist and engineered a way to send automatic emails to people publishing a listing on Craigslist. A traditional marketing person never would have thought of it but it worked and virtually overnight Airbnb had millions of listings.  This was one of the first and the most successful “growth hacks” in history.  But today growth hacking means a lot more than that.  For software engineers, growth hacking is the use of “web scraping” programs to extract data from API’s and websites to “artificially” grow a user base.  For marketers, growth hacking is the process of executing multiple campaigns across multiple channels, measuring the effectiveness of each campaign and then adjusting them as necessary thereby finding the most effective and efficient ways to grow a business.  To build that growth we first must find where your target users are and then employ both proven, existing and as yet untested methods to create and grow engagement with the target user.  This often means engaging with leading influencers in the space.  These individuals and groups have existing followings that can be tapped into, invited into our community, and then rewarded for getting the word out.  By the process of elimination, we find the most efficient tools to make those conversions.  Then we “rinse and repeat”.  Building an online community and then connecting your community with other larger communities is the key.  When executed effectively results are fast.  Days instead of weeks, weeks instead of months, months instead of years.  Effective growth hacking today means both software engineering and social media marketing. That’s understanding growth hacking.

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