The Best Growth Hacks for 2021

But what about hacking growth? Growth hacking has become a buzzword in entrepreneurial circles. But what does it mean exactly? And how do you go about doing it? This article will explain the fundamentals of growth hacking, how to get started and tactics you can use to hack your growth in 2021.

scene from the movie Hackers of the character Cereal shouting "hack the planet!" From the movie Hackers (1995)

What is Growth Hacking?

The original term "growth hacking" was coined by startup advisor Sean Ellis after helping several high-profile internet companies grow massively in a short period of time. In Sean's own words, a growth hacker is "a person whose true north is growth."

While marketing and growth go hand-in-hand, marketers by default are not growth hackers. Marketers still consider budgets, expenses, conversions, etc before making a decision. A growth hacker and growth hacking only cares about the make-or-break metric of growth. That is their true focus. 

A famous example of old school growth hacking was McDonald's strategy of placing restaurants on every interstate. A modern example is Uber's reliance on app technology instead of traditional taxi fares, both to cut their own costs and to serve a shifting demographic's needs.


How Do I Use Growth Hacking?

There are five major pillars to growth hacking, as defined by HubSpot:

  1. Evaluate current marketing initiatives. Do a full audit that determines your best sources of leads, traffic, and page views. Figure out which channels are working for you.
  2. Set achievable goals. Determine where you'd like to improve these numbers, and start to think about how you can do so.
  3. Plan experiments to test your hypotheses. Come up with two, three, four, or twelve ways of testing your theories, and how you can reach your goals.
  4. Let it run. Experiment until your results are statistically significant. You can also continue optimizing until you reach your goals.
  5. Document your winning results, and share them with your team. Growth hacking is all about improving what you already have. If you come up with a game-changing tactic, spread the word.

This may seem like a daunting process, but the end result of exponential growth can be worth the time investment. 


12 Growth Hacking Ideas for 2021

Now that you've got an understanding of what growth hacking is and the steps involved, you can start experimenting. Here are 12 ideas to take into 2021, courtesy of growth hacker Neil Patel:

  1. Find social media platforms your competitors aren't using. If you're in a competitive industry, it can be a massive challenge to compete on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Try looking for smaller social networks - such as for stock traders or The Dots for creatives.
  2. Partner with another company to share audiences. By working together with another organization, you can spread your collective reach to a larger pool of people. If you don't want to work with a competitor, Neil suggests finding a complementary businesses - for example, a pet food company could partner with a pet toy company.
  3. Give something away for free. People enjoy freebies. You can always opt for a standard social media giveaway or come up with creative ways to incentivize people to buy. In the pet food example, that company could include a free treat with every purchase.
  4. Conduct constant A/B testing. A/B testing is the process of running an experiment with two variants. For example, creating two homepage designs and serving up one to each half of your audience. You can use the data from A/B tests to determine what content and design your audience best engages with. Neil Patel suggests A/B testing everything as a core foundation of growth hacking.
  5. Change up your landing page layout. Landing pages can grow stale over time. Shake yours up with a redesign - but pay attention to your audience as well. For example, a pet food company might create a series of questions about the visitor's pet to help determine the right food.
  6. Invite your audience to email you. Neil Patel suggests simply emailing your audience as you, asking them to email you back with questions, comments or answers to a question you've posted. This feels more personal than a marketing email from a DoNotReply email address.
  7. Attend small, local events. Growth hacking isn't just digital marketing. Seek out niche-related events in your area or online. Forging those connections on a smaller scale is helpful for your business long-term.
  8. Get interactive. Users love interactive content. You can supercharge your business by tapping into the power of interactivity. Some examples include infographics, quizzes, calculations and interactive video.
  9. Issue a challenge. Issuing a challenge boosts your credibility and creates a positive relationship with your audience. For instance, millionaire penny stock trader Tim Sykes issued a Trading Challenge. He has used his training program to create several millionaires as well as many more six-figure traders.
  10. Broadcast your personality. If you hav a strong personality, use it your advantage and become the face of your brand. People are drawn to other people - by becoming the face of your brand, you can humanize it.
  11. Offer a freemium option. In the freemium model, you offer a product or service for free but charge money for additional functionality, features and services. This can be a fantastic way to growth hack your business. Offering a free version gets people in the door, which makes it easier to upsell them to a more robust version of your product.
  12. Build a free, useful tool. Providing useful content is critical to attracting customers. A functional tool is a great way to attract attention to your business. You can then roll this into an inbound marketing campaign to capture and convert leads.

Growth hacking is a way to supercharge the growth of your company at any stage of your business. Try these action items in 2021 to shake up your status quo and drive more sales.

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BizzyWeb is a Minneapolis-based digital marketing and web design agency that helps companies get the high-quality leads they need to grow and thrive. Our tactics include inbound marketing, SEO, advertising, web design, content creation and sales automation. We are an accredited HubSpot Platinum Partner and we offer full-service HubSpot onboarding, enablement and strategy for new and current users.

Dave Meyer
Author: Dave Meyer
Dave Meyer is President of BizzyWeb. Dave has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and communications and has presented digital marketing topics to thousands of people across the US and Canada.