Around late December and early January, I like to reflect on some of the big lessons of the past year.
One of the things that’s stood out to me most over the past few weeks is that growth hacking will be even more important in 2018 than it was in 2017.
Why? Here are 5 reasons you should add growth hacking to your marketing mix—or increase your efforts—this year.
1. SEO as we know it is dead.
In 2017, Google’s RankBrain effectively killed long-tail search terms (though not long-tail content), along with a whole host of other factors.
More and more ranking techniques are falling by the wayside. What’s still alive and well? Getting people to talk about you, building a real audience, and landing real backlinks. But this still requires acquiring new users, which means leveraging somebody else’s audience—at least until you’re big enough for your own to snowball.
Leveraging an audience is exactly what growth hacks are for.
2. There are few new business models accessible to small companies.
As Jon Evans wrote in TechCrunch:
It is widely accepted that the next wave of important technologies consists of AI, drones, AR/VR, cryptocurrencies, self-driving cars, and the “Internet of Things.” These technologies are, collectively, hugely important and consequential — but they are not remotely as accessible to startup disruption as the web and smartphones were.
Most of these new business models require significantly more capital than before, meaning big companies like Google and Facebook are far more likely to be the ones innovating.
Smaller companies left fighting for the scraps better have a real growth strategy if they want to win in already crowded marketplaces.
3. Advertising will be even less effective for startups in 2018.
This should come as a surprise to nobody, but paid advertising’s days are numbered. Or at least they should be.
Ad blockers are so ubiquitous now, Google is even building one into Chrome.
Yes, there will still be paid ads, and yes, advertising will still work for some brands. But a huge amount of inventory is about to disappear. That means competition and costs will go up.
4. Your email list is worth less every day.
Click rates were even worse in 2017 than in 2016. In fact, they’ve been down year over year for the past 6 years.
You need a new way to grow your audience… this one won’t be around much longer.
5. A metrics-driven mindset will always work.
My biggest problem with marketers as a whole has always been that so many of them are just tactic pushers without a strategic bone in their bodies.
Marketing isn’t about one particular tactic. It’s about building funnels that produce measurable results and then optimizing those funnels iteratively until you have a well-oiled machine.
Tactics come and go, but the metric-driven mindset behind growth hacking is here to stay.