The beginning stages of B2B growth are critical. You have to find a way to get off the ground quickly without sacrificing too much of your budget marketing an unproven product.
There are growing pains to any growth story, but there are also some incredible techniques that marketers have come up with to solve short-term growth needs in creative ways.
We refer to these types of short-term growth techniques as B2B growth hacking.
Though they are unconventional by definition, there’s a spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity behind each of the examples we’ll present today that should inspire your own growth hacking techniques.
Understanding the goals behind growth hacking and how others have approached it should also demystify the process and give you a roadmap to your own successful growth hacking.
What is Growth Hacking in Business?
B2B growth hacking is closely embedded in the concept of B2B growth marketing strategy.
At the beginning of your business journey, growth will be more difficult. Getting off the ground requires overcoming a great deal of inertia, uncertainty, and roadblocks.
“Hacking” this stage of growth is focused on short-term, unconventional strategies designed to kick-start your growth and ease your transition into more traditional long-term growth strategies.
What is an Example of Growth Hacking?
Growth hacking is naturally unconventional. This means there are strategies you can easily implement on your own product without much change.
Then there are the rare moments of brilliance that aren’t exactly repeatable but can point you toward the spirit of inspiration.
Here are some examples of each of these:
Airbnb’s Craigslist Hack
Airbnb’s marketers realized that customers looking for short-term accommodation often searched Craigslist in addition to regular search engines. In a stroke of genius, Airbnb figured out how to provide an option for Airbnb owners to copy their ads directly to Craigslist when making a new posting.
This simple extra step put their product in front of countless more consumers, immediately increasing demand and driving growth.
Hacking the Fundamentals Like Knudge and Instagram
Knudge and Instagram are two examples of products that developers poured their heart and soul into before launch.
According to Knudge’s blog on the subject, the company spent $0 on marketing but still managed to drive over 1 million installs in six months. Instagram found a similar level of success, seeing 10,000 users just hours after launch and rapidly growing ever since.
Each company focused on doing the little things right: optimizing their app store presence with great titles, banners, and marketing copy. In addition to this, they painstakingly designed products with consumer feedback that ensured using their app was easy and fun.
Gmail and Facebook Used Exclusivity to Trigger FOMO
Two great examples of tech companies that launched their products behind a wall of exclusivity are Gmail and Facebook.
In both instances, the company put a wall between users of its website and those on the outside.
In Gmail’s case, users initially needed an invite to use the platform, and could only be invited by someone who already had an account. This not only encouraged networking but made Gmail a key piece of that networking connection.
Facebook gated their product behind a wall that required exclusive membership from the get-go, namely a college email.
As cheap as it might seem, tapping into this feeling of exclusivity accomplishes many things that can quickly hack growth. Namely, it taps into a primal fear of missing out, which means even people who aren’t that interested in your product will want a piece of it, just so they can say they did.
What is a Growth-Hacking Technique?
A growth-hacking technique is a short-term solution to growth that is generally used by companies that are still trying to get their business off the ground.
When formulating your own growth hacking strategy, focus on ways you can get customers interested in your product without having to spend money on advertising.
These techniques are fantastic for initial growth, but you’ll eventually need to settle into more stable, long-term growth strategies once you’ve got some momentum.
What Skills Do Growth Hackers Need?
B2B growth hacking efforts need to be creative, diligent, resourceful, and capable of determining which risks are worth the effort.
That last one is particularly difficult, but when your company is at the beginning stages of growth, it can sometimes take that extra level of brashness to get it kick-started.
A few skills every growth hacker needs are:
- Research: Growth hackers need to know their customers inside and out, so they can design hacks that will work on the psychology of their customer base for minimal cost.
- Problem Solving: There is no problem more important to solve for early businesses than “How can we get people interested in our product?” Generating this interest will look different depending on everything from your product, business history, experience, funding, and customer base.
- Data Analysis: You’ll need to get constant feedback from your customers and business metrics to keep track of your performance. If something isn’t working, growth hackers must be able to identify this quickly and shift gears before any damage is done.
3 Ways to Make Your Own Growth Hacks for B2B SaaS
Here are three things you can do to begin your own growth hacking journey.
1. Learn About Your Customer
To drive fast short-term growth, you need to solve a simple psychological problem: How can we convince our target customers they need to try our product? The only way to know this for sure is to know your customer inside and out.
2. Study Your Competition
Your competitors, especially those who are already well established, will have encountered the same kinds of roadblocks you’re experiencing. Find out how they dealt with those problems to avoid them entirely.
3. Brainstorm with a Team
Brainstorming a strategy for B2B growth hacking is not easy.
If it were, it wouldn’t be a hack anymore.
Marketers looking to develop B2B growth hacks should involve as many unique voices and feedback as possible to ensure their hack will be effective and, more importantly, set them up for a transition to stable long-term growth.
Why Growth Hacking is the Best
Slow and steady only wins the race if the race is long enough.
In business, you don’t always have the luxury of making up for a bad start. Not when competition is fierce and customers are more demanding than ever before.
The new B2B growth equation involves rapid short-term growth hacking, followed by a transition to more reliable long-term growth strategies.
Hushly Can Help You Grow in the Short and Long Term
Whether you’re focused on developing short-term growth hacks or are ready to transition into long-term growth strategies, a content platform like Hushly can help.
The principle behind content marketing is that customers will see the value you can provide for free and become more interested in the value they’ll have to pay for.
We focus on driving growth by optimizing your content marketing from top to bottom. We believe that providing value upfront to customers is the best way to build relationships and drive growth. We also believe in tracking data and optimizing your content marketing constantly – it’s the only way to ensure you’ll stay ahead of the curve for long.
Hack your short-term growth and transition into long-term growth by checking out our “What is B2B Growth Marketing? And How Can It Help You?” eBook.