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Hackernoon logoPSA: Stop Using the Word "Growth Hacking" in 2020 by@Nemek

PSA: Stop Using the Word "Growth Hacking" in 2020

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@NemekNick Zviadadze

Co-founder at Apollo Digital | Digital Marketing Consultant

OK guys, here's the thing:

It's the current year. You REALLY have to stop using the term "growth hacking."

"Growth Hacking" is a term that's been around the startup community for the past forever, and it means something like:

"Marketing tactics that get you insane growth in a short time-frame with a low budget."

...And it's not a real marketing strategy.

Let me explain:

Growth Hacking is BS

There's this misconception out there that your growth should be based on growth hacks.

You scour the depths of the internet, looking for an inspiration...

And then it hits you!

You do some engineering, some scraping, and BAM!

You have a lean, money, lead generating, money-making machine, and you didn't even have to lift a finger.

Except, that's just not how things work.

Sure, the occasional startup manages to be at the right place, at the right time, with the right viral ad, but chances are, that startup is not you.

Your Gurus Lied To You

"But Nick, I read on [insert your favorite media here] that they used growth hacks to do X..."

Except, y'know, they didn't really.

See, today, most growth hacks you're going to read online are convoluted, unscalable tricks that your friendly neighborhood guru came up with.

These "growth hacks" aren't meant to be scaled and make you rich. If they were, you'd be on your private island, enjoying a Mojito (and not reading this article).

Nope, in fact, the whole concept of of today's growth hack is 100% self-serving.

Your friendly neighborhood guru did NOT write about the hack because it's useful and amazing.

Nope, they're writing about it because:

  1. You WILL read it. After all, who doesn't love growth hacks?
  2. And you, my friend, are (probably) a qualified lead for their marketing services.

"But if growth hacks don't work, how do I grow my startup?" I hear you asking.

Well, the answer is simpler than you'd think...

Just Focus on REAL Marketing Processes

Yep, that's right:

No hacks.

No tricks.

Just the real, gritty marketing.

And so as not to leave you in a rut, we're also going to explain how to do that!

The Science-Backed Marketing Process

Let's start by talking about the marketing process. See, whatever channel you pick, you're going to follow the same exact steps strategy-wise:

  1. You define 2-3 marketing channels you want to experiment with
  2. You start using each channel on a small scale, measuring and bench-marking results
  3. You find the 2-3 channels that are getting you the best ROI
  4. And you scale that up! If it's PPC you're doing, you just up the budget. Content marketing? Hire more writers. SEO? Writers AND link-builders

Pretty simple stuff!

Finally, to make sure that we've covered all parts of the equation, here's how to...

Learn Digital Marketing

Obviously, to experiment with any channel, you need to have a pretty good understanding of it.

You can't do SEO if you don't know what's a backlink, right?

So, here's our general tips on how to learn some of the most common digital marketing channels, including:

  • Content Marketing
  • SEO
  • Google Search Ads

Content Marketing

First, learn the basics. Some of the best 101 courses for digital marketing are:

Then, learn how to create good content, as well as promote it.

Finally, read some case studies. For example:


First, learn the basics. Some of the best guides for that are:

Then, learn how technical SEO works.

Then, learn how to do keyword research, how to create SEO content, and how link-building works.

Finally, read some case studies to get a good idea on how the process works in practice.

Google Search Ads

The #1 free resource on learning search ads is the Google Academy, and a close second is Ad Espresso’s guide.

If you’re more of a fan of video content, there’s Surfside’s PPC tutorials or Isaac Rudansky’s Youtube channel.

...And that's about it, really. Google Search Ads are one of those things that's easy to learn, but hard to master (for the latter, you need some practice).

...And That's About It

Hope you enjoyed the read! There's still a lot more to learning digital marketing, but for that, you can just check out this mega-guide I wrote a while back.

Now, back to you:

Do you agree that growth hacking is total bs?

What's YOUR experience with super awesome hacks that make you rich real fast?

Let us know down in the comments!


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