Digital marketing is a long game. We all know that. But what if you need those results fast? Enter growth hacking.
Although it’s not a replacement for traditional forms of digital marketing, growth hacking techniques can accelerate your brand’s growth.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is growth hacking in digital marketing?
Growth hacking is about getting the most bang for your buck. It’s a toolkit of techniques to complement traditional marketing activities and maximise your return on investment. Each action you perform must have tangible, beneficial outcomes for your business.
When done right, growth hacking can act as a shortcut to success. But caution is also necessary — there’s a fine line between growing your brand ethically and cheating the system to get those results unfairly. The latter is known as black hat growth hacking, which can be seriously detrimental to your business over time.
But how do you know the difference between ethical and unethical techniques? For the rest of this article, we’ll focus on twelve ethical growth hacking techniques we recommend to our clients.
12 growth hacking techniques to boost your traffic
1. Optimise your website
Growth hacking isn’t about reinventing the wheel. Your first step should always be the “quick wins” that bring you the maximum long-term benefit for the least effort. For most business owners, on-site SEO is the most obvious place to start.
On-site SEO is one of the leading factors that shape how your website appears in search engine results. And it makes sense when you consider the purpose of a search engine. They want to refer their users to the highest quality websites. When you spend a little time ensuring your website ticks those quality boxes, Google will reward you with better rankings.
Here are some of the most important on-site factors to work on:
- Write web copy that’s valuable to the end-user, using keywords naturally and in context.
- Improve your site structure and navigation so it’s user-friendly.
- Use internal links pointing to relevant pages.
- Use schema mark-up to increase your organic %CTR.
- Improve your website’s loading speed.
Most of these activities don’t take long to complete. However, they provide a strong foundation for the rest of your digital marketing.
2. Look for opportunities on social media
Social media is about more than promoting your brand. For growth hackers, it’s also the best place to find opportunities for collaboration, PR, and inbound links.
For example, in the UK, journalists regularly use the hashtag #journorequest to find quotes for their news articles or editorial pieces. Set up a notification for this hashtag, and look out for relevant requests to your niche. Not only is this an excellent way to get the word out about your brand, but you’ll likely get some inbound links to your website too, which is another crucial search engine ranking factor.
Newsjacking gets similar results, but you go out and create the opportunities instead of waiting for them to come to you.
Set aside time each morning to check out the day’s headlines, and identify any opportunities for you to leverage breaking news to your advantage. When a story sits within your field of expertise, get an insightful quote to journalists as soon as possible. Focus on high-interest stories. Journalists will be keen to get fast quotes for a quick turnaround.
For this particular growth hacking technique, we regularly use HARO. If you’re into digital PR you may have already heard about this PR tool. HARO is a popular newsjacking platform in where journalists post topics to be used in their articles. If you are an expert in your industry, those journalists may want to quote you, which will automatically earn you a high quality backlink.
This particular platform has proved to be extremely successful so far for our clients to execute Digital PR strategies, so feel free to send us a message if you were interested in exploring this channel.
4. Smart remarketing
Remarketing is a popular digital marketing technique. It involves advertising to people who have already visited your website. In theory, because these people have already expressed an interest, the conversion rate should be much higher than traditional advertising.
However, this strategy often fails to take into account bounce rates. In other words, the adverts retarget everyone who clicked onto your website — even if they left without reading anything.
Growth hackers refine this strategy to remarket people who engaged with their content—for example, targeting people who remained on the website for more than 30 seconds or clicked through multiple pages.
5. Create evergreen content
If you want to grow your business online, you need high-quality content to underpin your marketing strategy. Growth hackers take this one step further, ensuring the majority of their content is evergreen.
This content stays relevant indefinitely, appearing in search engine results long after publication. It also provides long-term link building opportunities, meaning content that doesn’t rank following publication can accrue links and climb up the rankings over time—potentially forever.
As well as the SEO benefits, you can recycle evergreen content in future marketing campaigns. For example, you could use your content years after publication to create an email marketing campaign. Or you could package up several pieces into an ebook, offering this for free on your website as a lead magnet. Those strategies are very comon when executing content marketing services and usually drive high quality traffic.
6. Target featured snippets
Until recently, the main SEO goal was to win the first-place ranking for your chosen keywords — but then featured snippets came along. Although search engine ranking is still crucial for driving organic search traffic, featured snippets are a brilliant way to boost traffic.
These snippets provide a fast answer to users’ questions. You can find them at the top of the results page for several popular queries. Targeting keywords that have featured snippets can be a worthwhile growth hacking technique because of their prominent position.
7. Get conversions from people on their way out
Many people are afraid of using pop-ups on their website, often with good reason. Pop-ups are annoying, right? However, there are some exceptions to this. When used effectively, pop-ups can be an extremely effective way to increase conversions on your website.
One example is the exit-intent pop-up. These appear when a website visitor indicates they’re about to leave your website, usually by moving their cursor to close the tab. When you use this technique, you can provide website visitors with an opportunity to join your mailing list — perhaps in exchange for a lead magnet or discount code.
Despite your preconceptions about pop-ups, you’ve nothing to lose when a reader is about to leave your website. Many growth hacking techniques focus on driving more visitors to your website, but those extra visitors don’t mean much if you’re not converting them.
8. Add a content upgrade to every blog post
Another way to increase your conversion rate is to add a content upgrade to every blog post. A content upgrade is an extra piece of content (called a lead magnet) you provide to people who opt-in to receive your emails. Lead magnets take many forms but should be closely related to your products or services, solving a key problem for your target audience. For example, a nutritionist might provide a recipe book for people who want to eat healthier without spending hours in the kitchen. They can then encourage readers of their blog opportunities to sign up and receive this recipe book.
This growth hacking technique tends to work well, mainly since the reader has already expressed an interest in the topic by clicking on your blog post. You can also use these lead magnets to target the remarketing campaigns we discussed earlier, running separate campaigns for your most popular blog posts.
9. Set up abandoned cart emails
Statistics suggest that, in many industries, over 90% of shoppers abandon their online shopping basket before making a purchase. These are website users interested in your products or services, expressing their intent to purchase by adding an item to the shopping basket.
Abandoned cart emails are one way to give these potential customers a nudge. It reminds them of their abandoned items and gives them another opportunity to buy them. If you have the margin available, you could also add a discount code or free shipping as an extra incentive to complete the purchase.
10. Work with social media influencers
When done right, influencer marketing can be a highly effective growth hacking technique, especially if you don’t yet have your own social media following. Many assume it’s out of their reach, given the high costs of advertisements with large influencers.
But this overlooks the important role of micro-influencers. These micro-influencers have a smaller number of followers, but their followers are often much more engaged — resulting in higher trust levels between the influencer and their audience. This trust means micro-influencers often drive better results, despite their affordability.
Did you know we can advertise your business through Social Media platforms like Instagram, TikTok or Youtube? Find out more about our Paid Social services.
11. The skyscraper technique
As SEO specialists, this is one of our favourite growth hacking tactics: the skyscraper technique. Link building is still crucial for SEO, and the skyscraper technique is an efficient way to do this.
Essentially, you’re repeating what’s worked for someone else but doing it better. For example, you might find a piece of content that’s ranking highly for relevant search terms, but it’s five years out of date. Your job is to create a new piece of content for your website that’s up-to-date and contains your expertise on the subject. Once you’ve published your article, you can contact the writers who linked to the old one, letting them know about your up-to-date, superb alternative.
12. Use affiliate or referral programs
Affiliate programs became famous after the referral marketing campaign Dropbox launched in 2008 which got them almost 4 million subscribers in just one year – an astonishing 3.900% increase!
How did they achieve this? Well, they created a “Refer to a friend” incentive for which every user who recommended Dropbox to a friend will automatically receive 16GB of cloud space. The referral process was also pretty simple which increased the likelihood of success.
Paypal did something similar by rewarding their users loyalty with cash. For them it was also a complete success, increasing their user base to over 100 million members, at a cost of $20 per member.
Which growth hacking technique will you try first?
To summarise, there are many ways to grow your brand online without a full-time in-house marketing team. Growth hacking techniques are a highly efficient way to get results online by getting more eyes on your content and increasing your conversion rate.
What will you try first?