It’s no secret that growth hacking can transform a startup’s trajectory. With the right team and framework; reaching targets, getting funding and reaching exit all becomes possible. But how do you ensure a growth hacking strategy and methodology is properly embedded into your business?
Do you hire a Head of Growth or build out a big digital marketing team?
Do you cross your fingers and hope a handful of podcasts will show you how to do it all yourself?
Or do you partner with a growth agency to access pre-built frameworks, a plug-in team and bespoke strategy?
Depending on your targets, growth can mean something different to every startup. However, a growth hacking methodology provides the same benefits for businesses of all sizes:
Growth hacking maximises return from a business’ marketing budget by narrowing focus on specific KPIs
A growth strategy is 100% data-driven meaning return on investment is measurable and all tactical decisions are based on key metrics
A data-driven strategy provides direction and a marketing infrastructure that can produce sustainable, long-term growth
When is the right time for a startup to begin growth hacking?
Growth hacking should begin at the product/market fit stage of a startup’s evolution. However, with limited time and budget, very few startups are confident in developing a growth strategy from day 1. Without the resource to hire an experienced team, partnering with growth agency provides an affordable way to access the pre-built growth hacking frameworks, a plug-in team and bespoke strategy needed to solve key business challenges.
To stand out from the crowd, more and more startups are looking to maximise the benefits of a growth hacking methodology. But with limited time and budget, very few are confident in developing a growth strategy at the product/market fit stage of their evolution. Without an experienced growth team to develop a methodology and implement a strategy, the most immediate solution for many startups is to partner with a growth agency. Working collaboratively with an agency, startups can leverage external expertise to focus on growth at full capacity.
However, many startups find seeking external support a scary prospect. It may be common practice to utilise agency and consultant support, but when it comes to growth hacking, many assume that accessing top talent is unaffordable. In reality, it is possible to access the support of a full team of specialists for less than the cost of most single internal hires. Recognising the ROI that a partnership with a growth agency can deliver could be the best growth hacks out there.
Still unsure whether now is the right time to use an agency to growth hack your startup? If your business faces any of the three challenges below, partnering with a growth agency is the best step forward.
You are under pressure to deliver results quickly
Since the dawn of time, successful marketing strategies have been aligned with business goals. If business growth can be defined by one specific metric (sales, leads, traffic, downloads), a marketing strategy’s main focus should be to make that number skyrocket. When it comes to reaching targets and getting funding, startups live and die by these results.
Without a data-driven approach to growth, it is very difficult to attribute successes or failures to the work you do. Building a marketing infrastructure to track how customers interact with your business gives far greater insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your customer journey.
For example, you could be spending thousands to drive new visitors via paid search campaigns but no new customers to show for it. Properly set up conversion and funnel tracking will provide the data to identify where potential customers are dropping off. With some smart page optimisations, your customer acquisition cost could plummet.
As with any strategy, success is not identifying the problem, but finding the solution. Finding solutions quickly through a process of rapid experimentation can sometimes mean the difference between a startup excelling to its next funding round or shutting up shop. Here at GrowthMinds, we’ve developed a tried-and-tested process for building growth strategies around solutions that create big impact in a short space of time.
You don’t have all the ideas, tools and processes you need to optimise your marketing funnel
Creating a coherent and engaging customer journey as a growing startup is incredibly hard. You also only get one chance at a first impression. With limited time and technical skills available in-house, many startups struggle to define a strategy to identify and address the biggest holes in their marketing funnel. Fixing these barriers to growth requires a 5 step process. The difference between going it alone and using a growth agency is that an agency can provide the resource and experience to drive the process forward at pace.
Step 1: Market, Customer & Website Analysis
The first checkpoint on the road to growth is a deep dive of your full customer journey. Performance data in Google Analytics, ad platforms and CRM systems etc. can be used to illustrate what is and isn’t currently working. Anyone can poke around in different platforms and gather numbers, but translating data into insight is a hugely in-demand skillset.
At GrowthMinds, when we assess a business’s barriers to growth, we don’t make any assumptions about the existing marketing funnel. If we feel a businesses’ product/market fit needs validating before proceeding to the next stage of the funnel, this is what we look to solve. If a business has no problem finding customers but struggles to keep them, we’ll focus all our efforts on improving customer retention.
Step 2. Generating ideas
After identifying the biggest obstacles in your customer journey, the next stage is to develop creative ways of helping customers overcome them. The best solutions to business challenges are therefore always customer-focussed. As a team of channel experts, hackers and strategists, we are able to draw upon a database of over 1000 tried-and-tested marketing funnel experiments to generate potential solutions. Without this resource, when it comes to creating an experiment pipeline, small startup teams are often limited by internal comfort-zones.
Although most traditional marketing teams will not struggle to come up with a handful of ideas, the varied technical backgrounds within a growth agency can produce more ‘outside the box’ ideas. The holy grail of growth hacking is identifying a tactic which creates a huge impact and is untouched by competitors.
Step 3: Prioritising ideas
We’ve been in enough brainstorms before to know you need a way of avoiding pinning an entire strategy on the HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion). To rank experiments, each idea must be backed up by a hypothesis e.g if we change X, we would expect X to happen.
We draw upon our database of over 1000 tried-and-tested marketing funnel experiments to back our hypothesis up with data. Running all our experiment ideas through our MINDS framework allows us to further develop a project roadmap which is logical and transparent.
Step 4: Testing
Every business and audience is different. As we scale up our database of experiment tests, we’re getting much more accurate at predicting results. But an experiment wouldn’t be an experiment if the outcome was guaranteed. Once we launch experiments, we constantly check early data signals against our original hypothesis. As we move through our experiment pipeline, all our learnings are turned into new batches of hypotheses to validate. When executing a growth strategy, support from a team of growth experts can mean the difference between being too cautious with budget spend or scrapping a campaign before it has had the chance to optimise.
Step 5: Repeat and iterate
As clear winning tactics begin to emerge, many businesses are tempted to sit back and call it growth. As businesses grow, new hurdles in the customer journey always emerge. Although it pains us to say it, there is no such thing as the perfect customer journey. That’s why scaleups like Uber, Airbnb and Slack have whole internal departments dedicated to the pursuit of growth. Embedding a growth methodology and technical skills into your marketing infrastructure will give you the best chance of rubbing shoulders with unicorns further down the line.
You are unsure what specialist skills you need in house
Part of startup life is having a never-ending to do list. Irrespective of internal knowledge gaps, finding the time to execute a strategy of rapid experimentation can be the biggest blocker to growth. Hiring internally often feels the best solution to find the time, but without validation of your best performing marketing channels, this can be a costly and risky approach.
Supposedly there are 7 vacancies for every growth hacker. As a result, building teams with the right mix of mindset, technical skills and experience is simply out of reach for many startups. Growth hacking skills can be found in marketing specialists, developers, designers and analysts. So to deliver growth quickly, it takes a team. Rather than try to hire all these skills, growth agencies offer alternative ways to navigate the need for technical skills without investing long and expensive hiring processes.
A growth agency can support in identifying which skills need to be prioritised internally as best performing channels and tactics are identified.
We know that unlike hiring internally, partnering with an agency can feel like a leap of faith. At GrowthMinds, we are committed to making our tactics and processes as transparent as possible. This collaborative approach means you are in full control and we grow together.
To speak to a growth expert and understand whether partnering with a growth agency is the most cost effective and practical solution for your business, get in touch below. We’ll assess your business’ growth potential for free and walk you through our ways of working.