The terms “growth hacking” and “marketing” are often used interchangeably – and for good reason. They share the same end goal (to grow a business), and there is plenty of crossover between the tactics that both growth hackers and marketers use. That said, while they’re similar, they’re not the same. A growth hacker’s sole aim is to drive more business, and fast. It’s generally very data-driven and experimental, with tactics quickly getting pushed aside if they fail to get results. In many ways, growth hacking is as much a mindset as it is a set of skills. Marketing is a more holistic practice that’s designed to boost the overall visibility of a brand or product. Driving business is an important part of that, but there’s less pressure on getting results that go up and to the right, right away. Ready to incorporate more growth-oriented tactics into your marketing strategy? Here are 7 growth hacks that you probably haven’t tried yet (but probably should).  

1. Get Feedback from Reddit

Reddit has to be one of the best – and most underused – resources for marketers on the web.  This may be because when you sign up to the site, you’re presented with content from just a handful of its most popular subreddits. Only once you stray away from these default communities will you begin to realize how much the site has to offer. Looking for content inspiration? Check out Data is Beautiful, Internet is Beautiful, Visualization, YouShouldKnow, AskReddit, and CrazyIdeas. Want to become a better person, in your professional and personal life? Subscribe to Deciding to Be Better, Get Disciplined, and Zen Habits. Want help growing your business? Before investing in an idea, get honest, impartial feedback from Startups and Startup Ideas, then get involved in communities like Grow My Business, Content Marketing, Ask Marketing, Small Business, and Entrepreneur.  

2. Offer Free SaaS

Most entrepreneurs think of SaaS as a revenue-generating tool and little else. While SaaS products can be really profitable, they can also be pretty awesome marketing tools, and fantastic leverage to help you grow your core business. Let’s say you run an agency. You might design a tool that you add to your website and offer for free, and promote in order to drive links, web traffic, and general brand awareness. If you already run a SaaS company, you might offer a self-contained element of your product for free. The Moz toolbar is a good example of this. You don’t need to pay for the full suite of Moz products in order to enjoy the toolbar’s benefits, but by downloading it and using it, you’re getting regular exposure to the brand, and are consequently more likely to invest in the full product in the future.  

3. Create Automated Webinars

Webinars are, by default, usually live, and held by a host who can guide participants through the subject matter and answer questions in real-time. But they don’t have to be. You can record webinars ahead of time, upload them to a tool like EasyWebinar, and configure the settings so that your webinars stream automatically at set times. You can then log in yourself to interact with participants, answer questions, and sell, without the added stress of actually having to present.  

4. Boost Visibility on Instagram with Smart Use of Hashtags

There are only three ways Instagram posts are found via the app’s search function: hashtags, geotags, and usernames. The rest of your post’s description doesn’t matter (not when it comes to getting your posts discovered, at least). Users can even elect to follow specific hashtags, so it makes sense to use them wisely. Thankfully, unlike on other social networks, enriching Instagram posts with a handful of hashtags (or more) is not only normal, it’s expected. Image Credit Of course, you shouldn’t be littering your posts with any old hashtags. For maximum visibility and growth, you should choose hashtags that first and foremost are relevant, and that are also popular but not too popular. So how you can you discover hashtags? Click on a hashtag – and the app will show you related hashtags. Click the search button, then ‘tags,’ and search for a topic of interest – a list of related tags will be displayed. You’ll also be able to see how many public posts feature each tag, so you can gauge how popular each one is. Look at which hashtags your competitors are using – and pick out those that are relevant to you, too.  

5. Partner with a Similar (But Not Competing) Company

A commonly-held belief in business is that other companies – even when they’re not directly competing with you – are your enemies. This is a seriously-shortsighted approach that I have no doubt holds lots of companies back. Get in the right mindset, and other companies (even, in many cases, your direct competitors) can prove invaluable to the growth of your business. Much of the marketing industry is testament to that. Most of us are more than happy to share knowledge, experience, and ideas with those we would consider competitors. I’ve seen agencies putting potential clients in touch with a “competitor” because they themselves are overworked and understaffed, or they simply think the “competitor” is a better fit for the client’s needs. Of course, I’m not talking about befriending competitors here, but forming actual partnerships with companies that complement you, but don’t compete. Let’s say you run a SaaS company. You might talk to companies that offer software used by the same audience you target, and that could benefit from using both your products. Your challenge, then, is to sell them the benefits of partnering up (mainly, increasing customer numbers by getting in front of each others’ audiences). Once you’ve successfully formed a partnership, your next task is to get noticed by each others’ customers, and convert them into customers of your own. There are plenty of ways to do this. Here are just a few to get you started:
  • Promote each other in email blasts and on social media.
  • Update email signatures to mention your partner’s product.
  • Discuss the product in conversation with customers.
  • Give incentives to try out your partner’s products with things like exclusive discounts and extended free trials.
Bartering is also another good option here when you’re bootstrapping. Identify the right moments and partners who you could trade services with.

6. Recycle Your Content

While it’s important to regularly create fresh content, you shouldn’t forget about your old content, either. Evergreen content that’s performed well previously has pretty good odds of getting results a second (or third, or fourth) time around. This means you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and resources by pinpointing your best-performing pieces of content and promoting them again. You can one-up this tactic by actually taking your most successful content and repurposing it into another format. For example, you might:
  • Turn a webinar into a video tutorial that you upload to YouTube and embed on your site.
  • Extract slides from presentations and upload them to Slideshare
  • … then turn them into an infographic.
  • Combine blog posts that cover similar topics into a single detailed guide or “playbook.”

7. Sign Up to a Press Request Service

Press request services match journalists and other publishers with relevant brands and sources (that’s you).You’ll have to get organized to ensure you only receive relevant requests, but once you’ve automated sorting through the noise, these services are invaluable for driving links and brand awareness for very little or no cost. Here are a few you might want to try: HARO – it’s the biggest and best-known of these services, and it’s free. Signing up is a no-brainer. Response Source – if you’re UK-based and have the budget to spare (pricing is bespoke), Response Source can open the door to tons of opportunities. SourceBottle – similar to Response Source in that it’s a paid service designed to match PR pros with journalists and bloggers looking for sources, the main difference being its wider, more global reach. PressQuest – another free service, similar to HARO but with a far smaller user base (and UK only). Hashtags – for example, #journorequest and #PRrequest. Check Twitter for others, or if you know of similar hashtags being used, please share them with us in the comments. A lot of growth hacks are well-known and widely used (typically for good reason – because they work) – but do you use any lesser-known hacks that we could add to this list? Again, it’d be great if you could share them in the comments below.