Growth-Hacking 101 Growth-hacking expert Phil LaBoon shares 4 steps to take to accelerate growth for your brand.

By Darrah Brustein

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Growth-hacking is more than just the latest buzzword to sweep through the marketing world. Instead, it's something that should be of urgent interest to you and your brand.

Related: 4 Growth Hacking Strategies That Work Like Magic

Growth-hacking is the act of accelerating the growth of a brand, service or product through the use of metrics and creative, innovative marketing strategies and state-of-the-art technology. It entails bypassing traditional approaches and streamlining growth.

Wanting to know more, I spoke with a growth-hacking expert, Phil LaBoon, who's CEO of Eyeflow Internet Marketing. "Ninety percent of startups will fail in their first year of operations," LaBoon pointed out to me. "If that isn't enough on its own to convince you that many of the more traditional marketing methods are dead, consider this: The top sites on the web got their spark through growth-hacking techniques.

"Twitter overhauled its entire system based on in-depth testing and UX reporting," LaBoon continued. "YouTube added embed options to videos to help spread brand awareness. Facebook offered embeddable badges and widgets to link back to profiles, to gain some steam when starting out.

"Everyone has to start somewhere, and growth-hacking is the way to come out of the gates sprinting."

What LaBoon did was open my eyes, through a kind of Growth-Hacking 101 crash course that he gave me. I asked if this was what he and his team do on a regular basis, and he said, "Our team works to maximize your entrepreneurial energy. We've seen what drives growth, and we've seen what drives brands into the ground.

Putting that firsthand experience to work, our team comes together to give you a cutting-edge approach to achieving sustainable growth and optimizing your brand."

Okay, interesting, I thought. So, I next asked LaBoon what steps entrepreneurs should take to growth-hack for their own brands. Here are the intro steps he gave me:

Related: How Growth Hacking Is Redefining Marketing

1. Start brainstorming.

"A hands-on white board session is a great way to get everyone's ideas out in the open, pinpointing what will work and potentially opening up new avenues of opportunity for your brand," LaBoon explained.

2. Don't just add 'followers.' Activate an audience.

So, what if you have a million followers, but none are engaging with you? According to LaBoon, "New followers are great and all, but if you want to experience the rapid levels of growth that will propel your brand forward, you need to activate them. Optimize your communications to convert your customers into advocates."

3. Reinvent your distribution channels.

Getting into the head of your customer is critical. "Understanding how your audience moves across the web is an absolute must. You need to know where your audience is going at all times, if you want to accelerate your startup's growth," LaBoon shared.

4. Growth leads to more growth.

Growth can lead to more than just an uptick in your followers. Sharing from his own experience, LaBoon said, "If you can manage to come out of the gates sprinting ahead of the competition, people are going to notice. Investors won't be able to resist your pitch if you can showcase some highly accelerated growth."

There are endless numbers of tools to consider to accelerate and assist these growth efforts; one example is Dux-Soup. As with any tools, these require some experimentation and a deep understanding of your business model. You need to know where your customers are, to determine which are best for you to try.

Related: 5 Ways to Think Like a Growth Hacker

Once you've got the basics down, growth-hacking may be your next smart move.

Darrah Brustein

Founder of Equitable Payments, Network Under/Over 40, and Finance Whiz Kids

Darrah Brustein is a serial entrepreneur and networking guru who's founded Equitable PaymentsNetwork Under 40 and Network Over 40.  She also authored Finance Whiz Kids to teach children financial literacy through fun and engaging illustrated stories.

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