The term “growth hacking” first appeared about three years ago to describe generating sales using non-traditional channels at no cost, or low cost. At first, growth hacking was considered just another marketing buzz word that would fizz out over time. But it’s reportedly growing in use.
Wikipedia, the go-to place for definitions, probably sums it up best:
Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business. Growth hackers are marketers, engineers and product managers that specifically focus on building and engaging the user base of a business.
Growth hackers often focus on low-cost alternatives to traditional marketing, e.g. using social media, viral marketing or targeted advertising instead of buying advertising through more traditional media.
Where do we see growth hacking most? Start-ups. The goal is to generate rapid growth in the early stage launch, and at the same time, make the growth sustainable and retain customers for the long-term. Another way you might think of growth hacking is to get earned media (no cost) instead of using paid media.
So how would a traditional direct mail marketer use no or low-cost growth hacking techniques? I think one application would be to integrate direct mail with digital channels using automated software platforms to create nurture marketing strategies.
- Sync email contact with in-home direct mail delivery. Make sure you encourage anyone who comes to your website to opt-in to your email list.
- Test multiple landing pages with email, and when you have multiple segments of customer email, test a variety of options.
- Use Facebook sponsored posts or retargeting campaigns to serve ads to people matched from your email list or who have visited your website. Test a small budget that you’re comfortable spending daily.
- Frequently generate new content your customers and prospects want to know about. The written word is good. Video recorded from a smartphone can be authentic.
Growth hacking might not be part of a traditional direct mail marketer’s vocabulary and approach, but thinking out-of-the-box with how you can sell for no or low cost digital channels might yield some profitable surprises.
(My new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code” is available at the DirectMarketingIQ bookstore. Or download my free seven-step guide to help you align your messaging with how the primitive mind thinks. It’s titled “When You Need More Customers, This Is What You Do.” )