Let’s talk about growth hacking. It’s an industry buzzword that has a lot of tech workers excited and a lot of companies drooling. It’s driving incredibly rapid expansion of businesses around the globe.

So what, exactly, is it?

Urban Dictionary defines growth hacking as this:

A new, more aggressive and results driven approach to marketing. A growth hacker may employ a list of media and campaign models executing a list of simple tag lines or interactive marketing techniques. The hacker will pay attention to the results, tweaking the campaign to the exact audience or method until optimum results are reached. A growth hacker literally uses all possible combinations and learns from each trial. Similar to a scientist working on a new discovery.

Sounds pretty cut-and-dry. Actually, it doesn’t sound very exciting at all—which is why conventional definitions do not apply to growth hacking.

Growth hacking comes in many forms: automation, blogging, viral content, public relations, social media, partnerships and the list goes on. But at its’ core, growth hacking is simple—it’s the constant search for a better way to grow.

And many of those ways tie an awful lot into tried-and-true, common sense methods of online marketing that, even in the face of constant changes, haven’t been wholly reinvented in years.

You can call yourself a growth hacker if you want, but if you’re constantly improving SEO, content marketing, analysis and workflow you’re also practicing common sense.

Turns out, in today’s fast-paced world a little low tech common sense still goes a long way.

So what can a web design company named after an unnamed mineral compound teach you about growth hacking?

We can share our experience with you.

For starters, what you’re reading write (ha) now is a form of growth hacking. You probably already know that most company blogs are a form of content marketing; and we’re certainly not here to pull the wool over your eyes.

For Metal Potato, our goal is for you to search the internet and see this blog, then click on it; or our goal is for you to see this blog on social media, then guess what? Click on it.

Now, obviously we aren’t selling advertisement and we aren’t getting money for web-traffic. But what we are doing is hoping to teach you some interesting things about the inside of our industry, and in turn convert that shared experience into a few sales.

In a sense, it’s not too different than a corporate gift bag. Except, our gift to you is knowledge, and whether or not we convert you into a sale it could still help our SEO.

That’s a concept you can apply to nearly any industry if you target your audience. 

Listen, the internet is huge. Incomprehensibly huge. It’s so huge that Bill Nye couldn’t graph it with a miniature football in his finest Umbros.

But you don’t need the entire internet to see your company. You only need a portion of the potentially millions of people interested in what you do to see it.

Think about this: for a small business, how much would 10,000 or 20,000 hits to your website generate in sales? If you have a good conversion team, it could be a lot of dinero.

Anyone can be a growth hacker

Before my stint here at Metal Potato, I worked as a graphic designer for a screen printing company in Memphis, TN (Yes, I like Elvis). I had very little experience in web design and even less in online marketing.

But, of the 30 or so employees in the shop, only the designers were on a computer all day, and as such our team was tasked with redesigning the company website.

Like many small business websites, this joker was in bad shape. Think geocities bad. Web traffic was maybe 500 hits per month. Online sales were non-existent, which was crazy for one of the top screen printers in a city of over 1.5 million.

But a quick reboot onto WordPress added some much needed SEO and eCommerce functionality. It wasn’t much—just a few simple things like keyword optimization and an online order form and product catalog.

We threw in a $50 Google Adwords campaign. Unintentional as it was, what our graphic design team patched together in a few weeks was growth hacking.

Web traffic went up by thousands of hits per month, and sales from that traffic rose with it.

At the time, it was common sense. Now, it is growth hacking.

But the truth is the two go hand-in-hand, and anyone can do it.