Are you using growth hacks to boost your business? By hacking growth and taking less-traveled paths, you can find yourself ahead of your competitors. Growth hacking is all about transforming businesses using out of the box marketing experiments .
Growth hacking is an innovative and unorthodox way to get massive results fast while bypassing old-established processes.
Sean Ellis, Founder and CEO of GrowthHackers, originally coined the term “growth hacker” in a blog post in 2010. There are many definitions of what a growth hacker is, but it essentially refers to someone who has high-level marketing skills whose primary goal is to grow a company’s customer base .
"Growth Hacking is more of a mindset than a toolkit" — Aaron Ginn Click To Tweet
ImportantKey growth hacks are not reserved only for professionals. Anyone who has the right skills, tool stack and drive can build upon these tactics to increase a product’s reach and subscribers. With a good understanding of growth hacking, anyone can boost the reach of a product and garner more leads .
Everything a growth hacker does is aimed towards a single goal — growth . The end game for any growth hacker is finding scalable strategies to bring in more users.
With growth hacking, competing with established businesses on a smaller budget is a challenge, but not impossible.
ImportantThe secret behind effective growth hacks is to follow a proven framework, and implement the right strategy at the right time . I have outlined here a set of super easy-to-implement growth hacks that you can include in your marketing strategy.
Growth hacking allows you to test and iterate faster while keeping costs low.
WarningMarketers are taught to cut expenses, focus on conversions, and conduct long-term experiments. Those tactics are anathema to growth hacking. Many entrepreneurs have made grow hacks an integral part of scaling their business because they saw fruitful results , and it’s about time you do so too.
Now that we are clear on what exactly is growth hacking, and its goal, let’s dive right into some actionable growth hacks that work like magic to grow your business.
Tell a Friend
Referrals from friends, family or industry influencers relatively convert a lead much faster than other means. The CPA of referral customers is less , allowing you to cut down your costs too.
ImportantReferrals are one of the fastest ways to exponentially increase your business’s customer acquisition. That’s because people are more willing to buy a product or service recommended to them by someone they know and trust.
In particular, double ended referrals is a growth hack that work like magic.
This strategy works by ensuring the person making the referral and the person taking up the referral are both benefited . It’s a win win situation that encourages existing users to make a referral, as they will be getting something in return. It grows the business by enticing more people to use a service, as well as getting the business name out there.
"Consumers are taking ownership of brands, and their referral power is priceless." — Erik Qualman Click To Tweet
FactsDropbox grew from 100,000 users to four million in a matter of four months, while Airbnb was able to triple their daily bookings after implementing their referral program .
Even before you break even, you must give more than you are taking.
WarningAny business which believes in only taking cannot sustain for long. Giving back products or services worth more than the value than what they are paying you, if not always, then at least on occasions. Free giveaways have been a winning growth trick forever . You wanna know why? It’s because they work.
Offering free stuff in exchange for reviews from influential bloggers can be another way to get the word out about your product or service.
This is a smart growth hack that work like magic because it lets people really get to know your product or service, and they may then promote it even more, helping you to grow. A spin on this is inviting people to contribute to your blog in exchange for free stuff . It’s an excellent way to get content and free promotion.
Beats By Dr. Dre
Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop star Dr. Dre collaborated on Beats By Dr. Dre. Unlike high-end headphones, Beats offered a more colored tone to make the music sound dramatic. Iovine polled everyone at his offices, including the likes of Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani and Will.i.am and asked them what they thought of their design prototypes. Iovine also sent a pair to LeBron James. It wasn’t long before the entire 2008 U.S. Olympic basketball team were wearing Beats! In 2014, Apple bought Beats for $3 billion.
Play Into FOMO
FOMO is the fear of missing out. It relies on people’s psychological desire not to be left out of something good . And it’s likely part of the reasons why using an invite-only system for your company or for new feature releases is so effective.
ImportantGrowth hackers capitalize on FOMO because the anxiety people feel when they see they are missing out on something great increases their desire to want to purchase the product or service. Since the rise of social media, people now want to be part of the loop . If they are unable to relate to what everyone else is raving about, they start to get anxious.
"Make stuff people want." — Paul Graham Click To Tweet
FOMO isn’t just something that people deal with in their personal lives, but also in the way they shop.
You can attract new customers by making them feel insecure about potentially missing out on a fantastic product. This can be done by only offering a limited number of products at a time or only offering a service to members . It’s all about making a product or service seem exclusive, something that customers won’t want to miss out on.
Insecurity is an effective tool to attract new customers.
ImportantLimiting access to a product or service to members triggers an emotional response — the fear of missing out is more effective than logic. This strategy is all about offering an exclusive product.
HacksAn easy way to implement these psychological hacks are by using a countdown timer on your site with a limited-time offer if they sign up for your email list.
Entrance Not Allowed!
When Gmail first launched, it used FOMO to drum up interest by only allowing those who were specifically invited to use the platform. By making their service exclusive to a handful few, signing up for a Gmail account became something like a status symbol, and everyone wanted to get in on the action. Some were even willing to pay to get an invite! Owning a Gmail account meant being part of an exclusive circle and created a huge demand.
Gamify Your Onboarding
Gamification is a great growth hack because it rewards your visitors with incentives for each action you want them to do. It also keeps them interested and wanting to come back for more.
Implementing gamification (point scoring, giving ranks, creating competition with other users, having rules of play) is a much-overlooked marketing technique which can instantly hack growth of a product .
ImportantHuman beings by nature are competitive and by creating the atmosphere of game playing with rewards for better performance can lead to instantly high graphs of engagement in the product.
"It is play that helps us do serious things better" — Daniel Debow Click To Tweet
Another great way to create a positive relationship with your audience and to boost your credibility is to issue a challenge.
When Magnum Ice Creams launched Magnum Temptations, they created a Super Mario Bros. style game called The Magnum Pleasure Hunt in which consumers were invited to find chocolate bonbons across the internet. By connecting with internet giants like YouTube, Samsung and Dove, they were able to create an engaging game that captivated users everywhere. The campaign resulted in more than 7,000,000 players !
Gamification helps to make the whole customer experience interactive and encourages to the customers to use and recommend your service or product.
ImportantSimilarly, inspiring people to contribute to a charitable cause can help the charity while amplifying your voice.
Getting involved in something you care about will naturally draw others to you.
To put this into action, think about what actions would both get users more comfortable with your product and help get the word out . Then make those part of your onboarding workflow.
HacksA growth hacking tool like Userlane enables you to create a gamified onboarding experience. During the Easter season, SEMRush released a game, directly built into their interface – an Easter Egg Hunt. They challenged their users to find 15 Easter eggs, hidden anywhere within their platform. To collect the egg, a user had to set up a project from scratch.
Link Me In
The company which has mastered this the best is LinkedIn. LinkedIn users are prompted to fill their profile. The levels of achievement are marked with names such as All Star, expert, advanced, etc., which act as great social proofs in a user’s professional network. Another employment of gamification is the endorsement feature where LinkedIn users can be endorsed by each other for particular skill sets. Each skill shows the number of times it has been endorsed by other users with their profile pic showing next to the skillset. Profiles with endorsements are 13x more viewed according to LinkedIn.
A freemium product can help you attract the attention of potential reviewers because they don’t have to pay to use it. People love to get something free , especially when it’s got a rich set of features.
Growing a business is all about knowing the most effective distribution channels and how to deliver content digital users will love .
One effective growth hack to make this happen is to offer basic services for free.
Users are given the choice to apply for a premium membership to unlock advanced features. The best freemium products will give you enough features so that users get hooked on using the product and want to upgrade .
“The focus needs to be in improving customer retention” ― Ryan Holiday Click To Tweet
WarningNevertheless, the best way to maximize on your growing free account user base is to set limits on your free accounts based on those critical “Aha!” moments. Often, startups struggle with getting their customers to upgrade their free accounts to one of their paid plans.
HacksThis was the biggest hack behind Spotify’s success . The company was making money from cash subscriptions and ad revenues. Free users could use the streaming service without paying for anything but they had to listen to ads.
Slack is one of the fastest growing SaaS companies ever built. Their freemium model may have contributed most to their overall success. The freemium option allowed people to try out the platform before deciding whether it was right for them. This wasn’t just any old freemium offer either. Users got to take advantage of a feature-rich platform and only needed to upgrade as they required more storage space and deeper message archives. As of 2019, Slack has over ten million daily active users.
Piggybacking on an existing successful network is a great way to growth hack a business , and it’s something that Spotify started out doing. Using an already established platform to market your services is a time-tested hack to grow a business.
Integrating your product or service so with other more popular ones can help open the door for you to a rich pool of potential customers.
When a Spotify user played a song, the title showed up in the user’s Facebook feed. Ultimately, millions of Facebook users also became advocates of the music platform.
WarningWhat usually happens is that no one enters into such a deal until and unless you are exceptional . This is because neither of the parties would wish to ruin their impression amongst the masses.
“The more your users stick, the more it will spread” ― Ryan Holiday Click To Tweet
If you have a product that will compliment another product, you can piggyback on its success.
ImportantIt’s focused on finding organizations that can benefit mutually from a relationship that offers complementary products or services. These are organizations that aren’t competing with each other in the marketplace but rather can give each other a leg up while sharing the cost of advertising .
AirBNB x CraigsList
AirBnB piggybacked on Craigslist by reverse-engineering a cross-posting integration with Craigslist. Airbnb encouraged hosts to simultaneously post listings on Craigslist every time they would post one on Airbnb. It’s important to note that Craigslist doesn’t allow external services to post listings there and Airbnb had to go out of its way to simulate that feature. Airbnb offered a better end-to-end transaction experience and greater activity in the short-term accommodation category. Piggybacking on Craigslist and stealing traction from them helped Airbnb get the initial community going, ultimately letting them build out the massive marketplace that they have.
Creativity is at the core of growth hacking but so is rapid experimentation to continuously improve the product. A lot of growth hacking is trial and error , finding out what works and what doesn’t.
ImportantThe real issue is that your market and target audience aren’t exposed to creative marketing campaigns on a regular basis. Rather than paying out a tonne of money for a brand new strategy or investing in a technique you are not sure will work, growth hacking allows you to use what’s already at your disposal.
A growth hacker doesn’t care about all the little metrics. He or she wants to cause exponential growth in the shortest possible timespan.
“Virality is not an accident. It is engineered.” ― Ryan Holiday Click To Tweet
ImportantUltimately, key growth hacking strategies don’t just centre on tools — it’s all about your product and its users. A common feature of growth hacking is that the value a customer gets out of a product becomes greater with sharing and social interaction .
A real growth hacking strategy is not just about driving demand — it’s about addressing pain points and giving customers what they want.
WarningUsing growth hacks doesn’t mean that you’ll have to say goodbye to inbound marketing. Growth hacking serves as the catalyst that gets everything going for your business. Inbound marketing helps sustain it.
Tell us what you think of these growth hacks. If you would like to share other growth hacking strategies, please feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.