Growth Hacking

An essential sources of the latest marketing news are main choice to keep in touch with the digital marketing industry rapid moves. From breaking headlines to in-depth analysis of emerging trends.

Internet Marketing Sources

Inside AdWords Blog

Some news sources break AdWords developments so fast you’d think they were constantly hitting refresh on the official Inside AdWords blog. Obviously, the definitive place to get (officially sanctioned) news about new AdWords features, the AdWords blog is the news source for PPC marketers who need to know what’s going on as it happens. Remember, however, that when it comes to the juicier gossip about AdWords, you’ll have to look elsewhere…

Search Engine Land

Search Engine Land

If you’re in search, you’re probably already an avid reader of Search Engine Land. The publication also organizes and hosts the hotly anticipated Search Marketing Expo (SMX) conference every year. The industry’s go-to news source for both breaking headlines and comprehensive analysis, Search Engine Land should be in every search marketer’s RSS feed.

Search Engine Watch

Another must-read for search marketers, Search Engine Watch provides a wide range of coverage of everything that’s going on in digital marketing. Although SEW does offer breaking news and timely content, it also provides analysis of developing trends and actionable how-to articles that will help you become a better search marketer.

Search Engine Journal

Over the years, SEJ has grown from a small but dedicated blog into a diverse and reliable source of Internet marketing news with its finger on the pulse of everything search, social, SEO, and content. SEJ is also in the events business, running the impressive SEJ Summit, and also hosts the Marketing Nerds podcast, a series that’s as entertaining as it is informative.

SEM Post

The SEM Post, run by Jennifer Slegg, is always one of the first sites to break news stories about the industry’s biggest events, and I’m sure that even the “big boys” of Internet marketing news have been beaten to the punch by the SEM Post on at least a couple of occasions. If you want to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in search, be sure to subscribe to the SEM Post’s RSS feed and follow them on Twitter – they usually update several times per day, making it one of the best places to keep up with our rapidly changing industry.


I feel like every time I mention Moz here on the WordStream blog I end up gushing about how great they are, but it’s hard not to. One of the digital marketing industry’s best-known and most-loved companies, Moz also creates top-tier content about content, SEO, and wider digital marketing trends. From Rand’s Whiteboard Fridays to Dr. Pete’s in-depth analysis of search’s most mysterious enigmas, there’s always something worth reading (or watching) at Moz.


13 Digital Marketing Mistakes

1. Not targeting the right audience.



“Even if a brand is creating fantastic content, they will miss a great deal of the opportunity if they don't take the extra step to promote it to the right audience at the right time in the digital marketing plan,” says Michelle Stinson Ross, content & outreach goddess, Authority Labs, a provider of SEO software. “Every digital communication channel is getting noisier, [and] it takes effort and investment to cut through the noise to get your content noticed.
“Define targeted audiences not just on personal descriptions but on behaviors,” she advises. “Make use of tracking pixels and cookies to reach out to people who have visited your site and/or joined your email list. Take your social targeting beyond age, gender, education and topic interest by layering on purchase intent and relevant life events.”


2. Not employing a customer-centric mindset.

Marketing plays a critical role in enticing, converting, engaging and retaining customers, and organizations slow to embrace a customer-centric mindset will be left behind,” says Penny Wilson, CMO, Hootsuite. “Through personalization, targeting, journey mapping and data analysis, brands are now able to deliver a customized brand experience that provides value to customers and keeps them coming back for more.”


3. Impersonal (or incorrect) personalization.

“Be [it the wrong] name, gender, likes, etc., the list goes on,” says Jess Stephens, CMO, SmartFocus. “I see this every single day – my team compiles a ‘bad marketing folder’ where we store examples [of incorrectly personalized offers] we regularly receive. A particular bugbear of mine is when I shop for a present for a male member of my family [and] then get bombarded with male persona marketing. This can easily be avoided by using insights technology, which makes it easy for marketers to correctly identify the right products and offers to engage customers for their next purchase.”


4. Overlooking mobile.

“Mobile is becoming the dominant digital platform consumers use, now accounting for 62 percent of all digital media time, [according to] comScore, [with] apps account for over 50 percent of that total,” says Martin Doettling, CMO, Swrve, which provides a platform for managing customer relationships with mobile apps. “With this in mind, it is important to get your mobile strategy in place.

“Start by considering how your users are already interacting with you on mobile and how you can better shape that experience,” he says. “If you have not yet developed your mobile strategy, consider whether an app would be a [good] platform for you to speak to your customers and then deliver timely, relevant and meaningful content that grows your customer relationships.”

Also, “make sure your website is compatible with all mobile devices,” says Jonathan Ceballos, marketing director, USB Memory Direct. “Then make sure sales and special offers are [tailored to] mobile sites.”


5. Writing off email marketing.

“There is a lot of buzz surrounding marketing channels like mobile and social. However, neglecting email marketing is a costly mistake,” says Eric Stahl, senior vice president, product marketing, Salesforce Marketing Cloud. “As the lines between sales, service and marketing blur, email remains the customer journey’s connective tissue. A recent survey from MarketingSherpa found that 91 percent of U.S. adults say they like getting promotional emails from companies they do business with. Of those, 86 percent would like monthly emails and 61 percent would like them at least weekly. In addition, marketers can combine email with insights gained from customer data across channels and devices -- for example, social media -- to achieve the heightened level of personalization that today’s customer demands.”

6. Not doing A/B or split testing.

“Use A/B testing to maximize effectiveness of your email,” says Adam Jwaskiewicz, director of interactive services at PHG, an advertising agency. “For example, distribute the same email to a test group, but use two different subject lines. When sending the actual email, use the subject line that performed best. Make decisions based on actual data, not your gut feeling.”


7. Being anti-social on social media.

“Many marketers forget that social media is meant to be a space for dialogue and engagement, rather than simply broadcast,” says Jessica Riches, social media strategist, LMW Labs, which helps startups with social media. “Responding to your community, [answering] questions and sharing thoughts will help you build a deeper relationship that will positively impact business in the long run.”


8. Buying social media followers.

“It often seems like the aim of the game is to have lots of followers and fans on your social media accounts,” says Ceballos. “It makes you look reputable, popular and well-established. People, however, are becoming more savvy [about social media]. They are now able to tell if you've bought fake followers. [And] if they do find out, you've immediately sent across the message that you are untrustworthy.” Instead, “look to build a network of real people who [are likely to become] potential clients.”


9. Hiring a third-party to represent your brand on social media.

“The most common excuses for outsourcing social media management include a lack of internal resources and a lack of proficiency with social platforms,” says Kent Lewis, president and founder, Anvil, an integrated marketing agency. But, “nobody knows your brand better than your employees and advocates. Let them be in charge of spreading the good word, not a low-paid college graduate working from home [or a high-priced agency]. I wish this were less common than it is, but many brands still feel the need to outsource their voice on social rather than building the resources in-house.”


10. Sending automated direct messages (DMs) on Twitter.

“Nothing makes me cringe more in the digital marketing world than auto direct messages on Twitter,” says marketing consultant Donna Talarico. “Auto DMs are impersonal, tacky, annoying and ensure an immediate ‘unfollow.’ Yet, it’s a more common practice than it should be.” Her advice to online marketers: Don’t do it.


11. Ignoring abandoned carts.

“As consumers shop around for the best deals on the Web, it’s not uncommon for shoppers to place something in their cart, get distracted and abandon [it],” says Chris Birkholm, senior manager of marketing, Digital River, a provider of global ecommerce, payments & e-marketing solutions. “Marketers can avoid this by implementing a strong abandoned cart strategy to recover and re-engage those consumers at a later time either through reminders, incentives or other promotions and offers. “For example, if consumers have already provided their email addresses, send them a reminder within 24 hours, perhaps providing a 10 percent off coupon code to complete their order,” he suggests. “Alternately, you can utilize intent-based, predictive ‘Wait, don’t leave’ messaging, which provides an incentive or offer to get shoppers to check out now rather than leave your site.”


12. Not communicating with the sales team.

One of “the top mistake online marketers make is not communicating with their sales team -- not asking for input from sales,” says Jeremy Durant, business principal, Bop Design, a B2B digital marketing firm. To ensure they are getting qualified leads, “digital marketers need to [meet with] the sales team, scheduling [a] monthly meeting at the very least.


13. Not measuring results.

“Always make sure the money and effort you spend on your digital marketing campaigns are worth it [by using] Google Analytics [or another analytics tool] to measure your results,” says Ceballos. “Then, after analyzing the results, update your strategies and work on improving the results. You will never know whether or not your strategy is working or failing if you fail to track your marketing and advertising efforts.”


Growth hacking has changed the game for today’s marketers. However, a lot of people are confused as to what growth hacking actually is. Sure, it’s different from traditional marketing, but how, and why? And what does it all mean?

One of the best ways to understand growth hacking is to do growth hacking. Not only will you begin to understand how it works, but you’ll also experience its growth potential.

Here are six growth hacking techniques you can implement in your own:

1. Start a blog.

“Wait, give me some real techniques,” you’re thinking.

Actually, I’m serious about this. A blog is an essential tool in the growth hacker’s toolbox.

But don’t let the word “blog” throw you off. What I’m aiming at is a full-fledged content-marketing effort.

Growth hacking runs on the engine of content. You’ve heard it so many times it makes you nauseous: “Content is king.”

2. Guest post.

As marketers should know by now, traditional “linkbuilding” is history. Gone are the days when you could rustle up a few linkbacks after sending some emails and pulling a few strings.

How do you grow your brand today and get those coveted linkbacks?

It’s called guest posting. Even though it irks the powers that be, it still works. As long as you’re creating high-quality content on high-quality sites, you’ll get the high-quality growth that you deserve.

Here’s how you do it: Identify the leading websites in your niche and pitch them with a request to provide an article.

3. Build your personal brand.

Growth hacking is enhanced by personal branding.

Today’s top growth hackers are well-known people like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss and Jeff Bezos. These entrepreneurs didn’t approach growth like a typical CMO. They hacked their way in, creating massive disruptions as they did so.

If you can become a small-time celebrity in your own right, then you’re already positioned to start killing it with growth hacking.

One does not simply “become a small-time celebrity” without a lot of hard work and hustle. It’s not easy to become well known, but neither is it impossible in the age of digital marketing. With a computer and a connection, you have the basic building blocks of a personal brand.

As you build your own brand, you can build other brands, too. That’s what we call growth hacking.

How do you do it? Spend time intentionally curating your own social profiles and personally engaging online. It takes time, but you’ll get there eventually.

4. Harvest email addresses.

The rage over social media is overrated.

Email is the number one lead generation technique, with three times as many active users than all the social-media users combined. It’s 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter. Email marketing has three times the purchase potential of social media, and pulls in average orders that are 17 percent higher. Even though it’s one of the oldest digital marketing channels, it’s still the best. And it’s still growing.

This is a growth hacking channel too big to ignore.

Growth hackers may speak softly, but they carry a big email list. If your goal is to hack some growth, then you need to grow your email list.

There’s a quick and dirty way to do this. Simply create an email opt-in form on your website. Or, you can use a popup for maximum email harvesting.

5. Hire a growth hacker.

Growth hacking has become this big, bloated and misunderstood field. Hire a growth hacker.

Before you go Craigslist-happy with a job ad, do a reality check. Growth hackers don’t grow on trees. Growth hackers have become as common as the self-proclaimed “social media gurus” littering the Twitter landscape. People like to use the word “growth hacker” in their LinkedIn title, because it sounds trendy and they attended a webinar on it.

Be careful when selecting, vetting, and hiring a growth hacker. Do your homework on growth hacking so you can hire a good one.

6. Really understand your data.

Just because growth hacking has the word “hack” in it, doesn’t mean that it’s sloppy or haphazard. Growth hacking is obsessively focused on data.

Data leads the way in the growth-hacking environment. It’s crucial that you understand key performance indicators (KPIs), viral coefficients, multivariate testing, CACs, LTVs, and other jargony metrics.

More analytics companies are streamlining and presenting data in ways that feed the growth hacking engine. As Kissmetrics remarks, “aggregate data is kinda worthless.” When you start to really understand your data, you’ll be better equipped to launch growth hacking.

Data doesn’t always mean numbers. Data is information. You need content performance information (Buzzumo), and customer acquisition data (, customer information (Kissmetrics), and other actionable information. Google Analytics alone just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Don’t rely on something like Google Analytics for all your data needs. Dig a little deeper by using an analytics platform that interprets your data in actionable ways.

7. Leverage your social media and other free channels

Write great content and publish it on multiple free platforms like Facebook, Quora, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Vine and much more. The audience are always interested in learning a thing or two on the web and provide them with those informative or entertaining snippets. These free services would drive more traffic to your blog and in turn more conversions. Make use of tools like IFTTT to automate the process of sharing on these free services and save you valuable time.

8. Provide free products that go with your services

Now who doesn’t love a freebie on the web? Offer your users or potential customers free incentives that go hand in hand with the services you offer. This allows them to try out your paid services if they are satisfied with what your free products have to offer. You can also consider offering a free informative e-book that could drive more email subscribers to your startup. You can look at how offers free SEO tools and services in the belief that it would compel users to subscribe to their paid subscriptions and it did work out pretty well for them.