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Is Growth Hacking Part of Your Digital Strategy?

Apr 7, 2017
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In case you haven’t realized it yet, marketing has changed. The days of catchy jingles and easy-to-remember taglines are over. Today’s businesses are looking to grow fast and are on tighter budgets than ever before. This means spending tons of money on traditional marketing tactics just isn’t part of most business's plans. Thankfully, the internet has opened the door to new ways of marketing that are testable, measurable and scalable. While not every digital marker uses the tools available to their fullest potential, growth hackers have learned to squeeze every ounce out of them. Let’s look a what we all can learn from growth hackers.

What is Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking is not a replacement for marketing, but rather a shift in how you think about marketing. Sean Ellis, the man who coined the term “growth hacker” defines it as "a person whose true north is growth.” The obsessive focus around the single metric is what drives the growth hacker above all else.

Ryan Holiday, the author of “Growth Hacker Marketing” defines it like this, “ A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable. Their tools are emails, pay-­per-­click ads, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money. While their marketing brethren chase vague notions like “branding" and “mind share," growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth—and when they do it right, those users beget more users, who beget more users. They are the inventors, operators, and mechanics of their own self-­sustaining and self-propagating growth machine that can take a start‑up from nothing to something.”

Instead of focusing on feel-good metrics, growth hacking is about delivering results around the one metric that matters most to business owners, growth. So now we have an idea of what growth hacking is, let’s get into how we can implement it into our digital and inbound marketing strategies.

Using Data to Make Smarter Moves

We have access to more data than anyone could ever want. The problem is, most marketers and business owners don’t do anything with the data they have. For instance, “Only 12% of marketers say they create content with specific customers, targets, marketers, or industries in mind.” (Marketgizmo) Seriously?!? With the amount of information we can gather on our users, there is no excuse not to use it to create messaging and strategies to drive relevant users to your products and services.

Using data from a growth hacker mindset, you’ll be able to uncover hidden trends that could lead to exponential growth. For example, we use a software called Concurra that allows us to a/b test our website with real users in order to optimize conversion rates. These quick, real-time tests allow us to verify our hypotheses and generate better results faster.

Test, Test, and Test Some More

One of the mottoes I live by is “what would happen if…”. This mindset has helped me try and test things that have lead to real results for my business. Sure, I’ve found a lot of things that didn’t work but I also uncovered a few that did work - really well. The beauty of digital marketing is that you can measure nearly anything. So by running tests and tracking your results, you can see what works and what doesn’t a lot quicker and cheaper than with traditional marketing.

One awesome tool to help you run tests is “Project” by This tool helps you keep track of your ideas, the tests you run around them and the results of those tests. By constantly testing your ideas, you’ll find growth opportunities backed by real data. With the help of this tool, I can keep track of all the innovative ideas I want to test for my business and clients.


At the end of the day, marketing is about growth. Having a growth hacking mindset is one powerful way you can set yourself apart from the competition. With the ability to test, track and scale our ideas, marketers and business owners that embrace this mindset will reap the benefits. It’s often the simple, straightforward ideas that end up producing the best results. By having growth as your true north, you never know what you’ll uncover.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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