Growth hacking is something companies or marketers do in order to achieve fast growth such as build an email list quickly, improve conversion rates, enhance SEO, focus on content marketing etc – it’s essentially achieving rapid growth of the user base.
User experience design however, is a more strategic and research-based approach involving customer interviews, customer research, buyer personas etc. By focusing on user experience you become a solution provider for your clients.
Why user experience is so essential to business
There is a lot of trial and error in growth hacking, whereas the objective of user experience design is to remove as much guesswork as possible – by actually asking the right questions at the beginning of a project, to the right people. It essentially offers joined up thinking for clients.
Get the user experience right at the beginning of the project and you will save a lot of time (and money) later on trying to backtrack and re-direct the focus. User experience sets the right foundation and produces better results.
Stages of designing through User Experience
Prioritising user experience throughout a project will have a huge impact on your business so make sure you have the ‘bigger picture’ conversation with your clients at the beginning of the process. Here are the stages of designing through user experience:
#1 – Define the strategy and some deliverable goals:
Firstly, take some steps back, do a discovery session with all stakeholders and determine the goals of the project. Once you have the goals you have something you can measure against.
#2 – Research your audience – creating your personas and then good and bad scenarios for the personas to create user flows:
The second stage is about figuring out the strategy. Do some research based on your goals, determine your audience, create personas for a typical user and give them a back story. Create good and bad scenarios to help determine your user flow.
#3 – Gather the personas as an audience (or audience segments) and put a digital marketing strategy together to reach the audience(s):
The third stage is about creating your digital marketing strategy. Look at the personas you’ve created and gather them as an audience. By understanding your audience, you begin to predict how they speak, how they think, when and where they are most likely to go online etc – you can start to build the picture. Using this picture you can then build a digital marketing strategy to reach your audience.
#4 – Design and build the project based on your research to date:
Stage four sees you creating a content strategy and launching a minimal viable version of your product. If you don’t know who your audience is you will attract random users; SEO and content marketing can help target the right type of audience. Once you’ve found out who your audience are, and how you can reach them, you can move onto the content strategy and building the product itself with the user experience nailed as far as you can hypothesise it.
#5 – “Traditional” growth hacking (split testing):
The final stage is the more traditional type of growth hacking; you’ve done a tonne of work prior to this point, deep thinking about SEO etc, now it’s time to try split testing and testing your product. After split testing you can make those small adjustments to continue to improve the results you get on the measurable goals that you set at the beginning.
Traditional growth hacking is an important part of the process but it should compliment, rather than replace, user experience design.
So rather than defaulting to the trial and error, and guesswork, of classic growth hacking take a more considered approach through user experience design. Rather than employing random tactics and tricks just talk to your customers and you will very quickly better understand what they really need and want. This is the easiest and quickest way to grow your user base!
I was recently invited to speak on The Marketing Development Podcast with Pete Everitt on this subject, have a listen here;