Growth hacking is a marathon – it’s a long, arduous and unsexy process. Behind the now legendary growth hacks employed at places like Dropbox, Airbnb and other well known internet companies, are hours and hours of failed tests and frustratingly small gains.
Why do people think otherwise?
For many, growth hacking is about finding that one simple hack for rocket ship growth. This is partially because of famous growth hacks that make the company’s growth seem like an overnight success when there was a long slog to get to that point (and after to maintain that growth).
The “hacking” in “growth hacking” is also to blame – for many, the word implies finding shortcuts to a solution. It’s true that growth hackers are looking for maximum impact with minimal effort, but the times that a tactic’s impact outweighs the effort to implement it 10x or more are far and few between (if they ever happen to you).
Reality can be harsh
Most of your conversion tests will fail or eke out much smaller gains than you were hoping for. The standard growth story is about a startup combining the results of hundreds of test to find growth. It’s growth by a thousand tests.
How to be Successful
Growth hacking takes time and effort so you need to approach it with patience from the beginning. Learn to accept failure, because you’ll be wrong a lot. In fact, embrace it, because each test that doesn’t result in significant growth is a learning opportunity about what doesn’t work with your customers.
Don’t give up on your instincts, but test everything. Develop efficient testing processes and make your tests bullet proof – bad data can derail the best growth efforts.
Most importantly understand the road ahead and you’ll be far better prepared.