12 Actionable Growth Hacking Strategies to Boost Your Startup


Growth hacking refers to the non-traditional tricks used to multiply a business’ growth rate and improve product adoption, especially for a startup whose sole mission is either to grow fast or die. Therefore, growth hackers only focus on a single goal – to achieve phenomenal growth for the business in the least time possible without the excessive cost that comes with some traditional marketing techniques.

It was coined by Sean Ellis, the founder of the growth hacking technique, in 2010. As a consultant, Ellis assisted startups in achieving their dream accelerated growth. While trying to look for a replacement in each of his clients’ companies, he found that traditional marketers were not equipped to handle growth hacking. He was looking for people who focus on exponential growth using inexpensive, analytical, innovative, and creative tricks.

How to Maximize Growth Hacking

1. Define your goal.

Given a growth hacker’s overall goal being growth, it can get quite vague and chaotic to pursue. You can’t get the results that you want if you don’t break your broad goal into smaller, realistic, achievable tasks. If you’re worried whether you have narrowed your goal down enough, don’t stop until you reach a point where things can be considered as individual tasks that you can complete.

2. Implement a double-edged referral hacking trick.

Creating a win-win offer for your customers. A good example would be Dropbox’s referral scheme. Dropbox users who bring in a friend to use the service gets additional free space, while the new user also gets a freebie for signing up. This scheme led to Dropbox’s rapid growth, making this trick worth emulating.

3. Develop hyper-focused offers.

Stand out with your hyper-focused offers, ones that target a well-defined segment in your market. Even if you have heavily narrowed down your audience to a small group of people, you will be rewarded with a higher conversion rate anyway, leading to higher revenues. This is also a good trick if you are testing the effectivity of a strategy. For instance, your coffee supply shop could develop an offer for those who are crazy about macchiato, so you can start packaging the best macchiato brands to appeal to your specific target audience.

4. Give away random freebies.

Whenever you see an email from certain companies, you’d likely leave those emails unopened, predicting that those are about product offers anyway. Some would even directly trash those unread emails. But a good growth hacking trick would be to surprise your customers with a freebie, with no strings attached. You could online cash advance for little expenses for this strategy within your company. This trick will make your customers anticipate the next emails you’ll send them and likely encourage them to read your well-crafted emails.

5. Develop an email list and manage it well.

Building a great email list is an effective lead generation strategy. As a startup, you can develop your email list fast if you optimize your websites for email signups by putting a well-placed signup box. You can encourage potential customers and website visitors to leave their email address by giving away bonus content, such as product trials or copies of relevant books. Make that content a shareable one, one that can be easily emailed to a friend, for instance. And no matter how much you need to build up your email list fast, don’t buy lists. You only need people who have freely signed up to hear from you, not people who don’t even know who you are or not interested in your products.

6. Invest in tricks even if they don’t scale.

Even if they are not scalable, some tricks still ought to be done for growth. Some examples would be to post on social media and engage customers, comment on relevant posts, invite friends to use your products, and go to events where your target audience can be found. Making an app for artists? Visit galleries. Gearing something up for developers? Sign up for local hackathons.

7. Pair up with good partners.

Develop joint offers with complementary businesses. Identify that overlap in your target audience and create an offer your partner’s customers consider valuable. Extra services and discounts would be good examples. Find a business with a similar audience, but don’t compete with you and would be a good partner for you.

8. Be generous to loyal customers.

Aside from acquiring new customers, don’t forget about improving retention rates. Reward loyal customers and keep them coming back for more. Develop loyalty programs. Previous cases show that you can save money, six or seven times more, in retaining customers than getting new ones.

9. Take advantage of people’s FOMO.

When you cater only to a limited audience, those who are left out would likely experience the fear of missing out (FOMO). Offer an exclusive product, think about invite-only schemes, and watch the demand for your product grow.

10. Increase your brand’s visibility and accessibility.

Put your brand in just about anything that your customers will see or get in contact with. A good example would be Hotmail putting “Get your free email at Hotmail” in every outgoing mail sent by its users. This caused exponential growth for the webmail service.

11. Make buying easier for customers.

While this seems like an obvious point for any business, there are still businesses that make potential customers jump through hoops, such as fill out long application forms, before allowing them to buy a product. Hasten the buying process for your customers if you don’t want them to be discouraged before they even buy something from you.

12. Continue improving your product.

It does not matter how foolproof your growth hacking strategies are if your product does not offer value to your market. Build your product’s reputation and earn your customers’ trust to keep them coming back for more and help your business grow.

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