If you haven’t growth hacked, it’s not because you’re missing some secret recipe – it’s because you either lack faith in your strategy or the desire to work long hours on largely untested methods. Growth hacking is about pushing forward, with little or no budget and lots of data – data you’ve compiled about your customers, competitors and your product. Where do you get this data? It’s out there, for free, but takes those long hours I mentioned above and lots of determination to find. When you take this data and create relevant content, it creates a valuable trail of information for potential searchers to find you, and gives you a very robust online presence.
Most growth hackers, or at least the ones who you hear about, are guys. I think however that girls make great growth hackers. We often have to work harder to be respected, so the hard work comes naturally. We also often handle budgets at home, and make a small amount of money go a long way – whether it’s with groceries, clothing and other stuff. Science tells us that women are more intuitive than men, and growth hackers often have to make split decisions based largely on intuition about which strategy or paid advertising channel you can spend your limited budget and time on. Some industries, for example, simply don’t have benchmarking data on which marketing methods work…here’s where the educated guesses come in. If a certain strategy works for B2B marketing for example and has not been proven in B2C – should you try it – and how should it be adapted?
One trait that all growth hackers need to possess is “guts”. You need to be pretty positive and pushy when it comes to growth hacking, as tested methods – however expensive and ineffective – are just easier for most boards of directors of companies to digest. If you’re lucky, your VPs are on board with your strategies – if not it pays to educate others on your team in order to convert them. There are lots of benchmarking facts and figures out there on inbound and content you can use as ammunition for your cause. Once people learn about the effectiveness of content marketing, they are usually pretty excited.
Ready to get growth hacking in 2015? Here are the top online marketing growth hacking tools I’ve used in 2014. They are all free or cheap.
- Google: Whether you’re collecting information about your competitors or creating content in order to be competitive – you’d be surprised at what you can find on Google. The right keyword combinations have given me access to major studies (Gartner, Forrester and more) when I worked in the consumer packaged goods space that some organizations had purchased for thousands of dollars and posted online. Instant free research!
- Google Analytics: If you don’t have Google Analytics on your site you’re missing out on valuable data. With free training that can both help your skills and look good on your resume, Google Analytics is an invaluable tool. They have begun adding tools that mimic marketing automation – for example there is the link tracking tool that can give you a way to A/B test and optimize based on call to actions.
- Google AdWords: Google AdWords is not free per se – you need to bid on keywords and pay for clicks – however it is a great way to learn about the audience for your product. Additionally, branded keywords for small brands are often quite cheap. More visibility, whether it is organic or paid advertising, means more credibility for your brand.
- Free Graphics tools (Photoscape, Microsoft Paint, Adobe PDF creator in Microsoft Office): You don’t need to hire a graphic designer, unless your product is related to graphic design or your audience is uber sophisticated and expects high level graphic design. Marketing agencies like Hubspot even have free templates to create infographics. If you can write good copy, you can create quick cheap graphics for free. Tip: stay away from trying to look “modern” or polished as it will definitely look bad if you’re not a real designer. Embrace the cheese – use “vintage” looking graphics such as stock images in Microsoft Word inventively and consistently. See how I have taken this advice with my infographics here. I would also recommend turning all of your graphics into an Adobe PDF – it just looks more polished.
- Free Social Tools: TrueSocialMetrics, Hootsuite, Social Mention, Meltwater, Enjoygram (for Instagram), Twitter search. From my experience, paid marketing automation tools often lack a good way to track social media (at least the cheaper ones do) so B2C companies with a small budget actually don’t miss much by foregoing paid marketing automation tools for free social media tracking tools. Practice makes perfect, and you’ll learn by doing. Combine Google Analytics link tracking with your social media promotion to get a good picture of how your calls to action and other strategies are working.
Lastly why did I call this post “Growth Hacking for Girls” – well why not. This article is really about growth hacking for anyone, but I have noticed there isn’t much out there for the ladies who growth hack or want to growth hack, so I thought it might be nice to create a post specifically for us. Also, the title itself is a growth hack – I am testing the effectiveness of a keyword “growth hacking for girls” in a very uncrowded space.