The 2000s saw the budding internet culture. It was around this time that the Hotmails and the LinkedIns of the world were exploring what Sean Ellis eventually came to call “growth hacking”. Or as he explained, “growth, not with traditional advertising but rather with programming smarts on a shoestring budget”. Lo and behold, came growth hacking strategies that EVERY marketer started talking about. It became the buzzword and we saw “growth hackers” cropping up left, right, and center.
Sit tight as we uncover this term for you and offer some growth hacking strategies for each stage of the growth hacking funnel that has the potential to skyrocket your sales!
What Is Growth Hacking?
Growth hacking is a cross-functional strategy to scale your business, essentially aiming at maximizing growth at minimum costs.
A growth hacker works at the intersection of product, marketing, and data. They indulge in continuous experimentation to arrive at growth hacking tactics that maximize the results.
However, a product-market fit is necessary before jumping on to any of these growth hacking strategies. This means — your product should solve a critical pain point of a target audience.
So, if you thought growth hacking will help you escape the tough questions? Maybe not.
However, what growth hacking will do for you — is to provide ways of engaging and attracting your audience once you know they will find value in your product.
Now that we know that a viable product is a prerequisite for any growth hack let’s dive into different stages of the growth hacking funnel, or simply put, the user lifecycle.
Growth Hacking Funnel
The growth hacking funnel chalks down the stages in the user lifecycle. Also known as the AAARRR funnel, it is one of the most widely used tools to bifurcate growth hacking strategies based on different stages. These comprise the Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, and Referral stages. Each stage offers an opportunity for you to attain exponential growth. So, let’s understand them in detail.
This is the stage where you attract your target audience’s attention by bringing your brand in front of them. This should essentially be the “North Star” of your growth hacking journey.
And for this, you need growth hacking strategies that bring you to your target audience at the right time and in an effective way.
Wondering what ways could you use? We have some action-packed strategies for you!
1. Pre-Launch Marketing
The first strategy includes privately launching products or services in closed groups or specialized forums with a focus audience that is most likely to be interested in your product offering.
Reddit groups and Product Hunt launches can give you a kickstart by bringing you in front of your target audience and helping you gauge the potential of your product. The best part? It’s free of cost!
Moreover, some early users may also provide feedback that can help you improve your product.
Pre-launch marketing is highly product-led. If your product solves a real pain point, it’ll drive qualified leads. Hence, in product-led growth, the product does all the heavy lifting.
2. Ad Campaigns and Retargeting Campaigns
Ads are one of the engines of growth as talked about by Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup. And, growth engines are essentially what drives your growth hacking strategy. Well-planned ad campaigns aim at reducing the cost per click (CPC) and increasing the Lifetime Value of customers (CLV).
Ads on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google, and PPC ads are huge drivers of traffic depending on the industry you function in.
You can also use paid ads to feature your press appearances, user-generated content, customer case studies, etc.
Here’s a quick example of the impact of ad campaigns as a growth hacking strategy -
How do you feel about having this exclusive insight into industry hacks? Read about this entire growth hacking case study here.
3. Influencer Campaigns
Now, influencer marketing doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket! If you have a strict budget, you can collaborate with micro or nano influencers in your industry that have a tight hold in that niche. These influencers can promote your products in exchange for some affiliate offers, goodies, PR packages, etc.
This will help you reach a wider but relevant audience. You will increase your brand authenticity and visibility, along with maintaining a better social media presence.
Source: Business Insider
This is the stage when awareness grows into interest. The aim is to build touchpoints with your prospects by being in their line of sight. Here are a few helpful strategies for the acquisition stage of the funnel.
4. Optimize Landing Pages for Different Accounts
While ad campaigns and retargeting campaigns are incredible growth hacking strategies, they are incomplete if your landing page is not impressive. Dynamic and personalized landing pages make use of UTM parameters to show different post-click experiences based on who is viewing them. These are proven techniques to maximize conversions.
This also helps a lot in your account-based marketing strategy that industry experts vouch for. But how can you use ABM as a growth hacking strategy?
Here’s a case study of ABM optimized landing pages that led to an overall demo rate of 38% and lower CPC on paid traffic.
5. A/B Testing
Continuously A/B testing your website is a proven growth hacking technique.
This includes testing headlines, copy, images, color scheme, CTA, using more data in your copy, using the right words, or even considering minimalist landing pages.
TheHOTH is an SEO service company that saw account sign-ups grow from a low 1.39% to 13.13%.
The design focused on what was important — sign-ups and thus, the results skyrocketed!
Podcasting is an effective growth hacking strategy for this stage as it creates awareness around your company and adds credibility.
Reach out to renowned personalities in your niche for your podcast while also making guest appearances on others.
Do social media blasts and create hype around these episodes.
These are some sure-shot ways to garner attention. Check out how we do it at Outgrow’s Marketer Of the Month podcast here!
7. Email Marketing
Did you know a $1 investment in email marketing can bring $44 in revenue?
Email marketing never went out of fashion. Believe us!
Through newsletters, you can acquaint your subscribers with your product offerings every now and then. You can provide industry insights or even valuable growth hacks from this blog all while building your email list.
Moreover, you must attach relevant CTAs and always keep the channel open for feedback and communication. A No Reply email is a strict no.
AppSumo leveraged email marketing in a way that the founder claims 90% of their business is due to this growth hack!
As long as people are searching online, content marketing strategies like blogging will not die.
In fact, for growth hacking via content marketing strategies we can take a page from Buffer’s playbook.
Buffer leveraged content marketing so well that according to Leo Widrich, Buffer App’s content manager, content marketing accounted for over 70% of their daily signups.
What did Buffer do? Here’s their journey:
- It all started with guest posting.
- Then, they moved on to writing more on their blog.
- Their content predominantly included blog posts with in-depth research and long-form content.
- They began sharing these blog posts on Twitter that gained heavy traction. Some of their blog posts reached more than 20,000 people.
9. Offer a Free Tool
Offering a free tool and promoting it can act as a lead magnet. Free tools work because they can effortlessly lead prospects to your real product offering. For example, if you’re providing content marketing services, you may consider creating a headline analyzer tool or providing stock images for free.
Here at Outgrow, we provide the idea generator tool to our users — a free tool to generate interactive content ideas for your industry. Check it out for yourself!
Now that your prospects have had some contact with your website and product offering, this is where you activate your charm! Turn them into paying customers.
10. Frictionless Signups
Did you know frictionless signups (amongst other incredible growth hacks) led Dropbox to earn one million users — 7 months into their product launch?
Dropbox just followed these 5 simple steps -
- A homepage communicating only the important details
- One-liner product introduction — “Store, Sync and Share your files online”
- A demo video to understand the product
- A simple sign up procedure asking only for important details like name and password
- Providing a ‘How to use’ guide along with the installation
Source: Neil Patel
11. Gamifying User Onboarding Using Interactive Content
Attention? Engagement? Leads? Growth? Voila! Interactive content for all your growth hacking needs!
Interactive content types like quizzes, calculators, assessments, and giveaways have a virality attached to them. Moreover, interactive content leads to increased user engagement and greater brand loyalty. It also answers your prospects’ most pressing questions and adds value, which results in a higher conversion rate.
The influence of interactive content on marketing has been on a rise. In fact, 46% of content marketers are already using interactive content as a part of their growth strategy.
Here’s a quick growth hacking case study on how interactive content can be your best bet as a growth hacking strategy.
Castelazo Content is a B2B demand generation and sales acceleration firm. They wanted a robust tool that could help them with services like demand generation, influencer marketing, lead generation, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, and ABM for their clients in a cost-saving, efficient, and timely manner.
Hence, they used Outgrow to create a UX assessment — “Are You Cost Efficiently Delivering a Great Experience for Your Users?”
It allowed firms to see if they were offering their clients the best possible experience in a cost-efficient method.
And guess what, nearly 30% of all the users that visited the assessment turned into leads!
By now, you must have provided various touchpoints to your qualified prospects who value your offerings and show the intent to stay connected. And you wouldn’t want to lose them after spending months of effort into acquiring them and nurturing them.
For this extremely crucial stage, here are the growth hacking strategies you need -
12. Exit-Intent Pop-Ups
Exit-intent pop-ups are the pop-ups that emerge on a page as the viewer shows an intent to exit the page by hovering on the close option.
An exit intent pop-up with an option to download an ebook, sign up for a free trial, or avail of a discount offer is a great lead magnet to have your prospects stay a little longer on your website.
Gr8fires discovered that one of their biggest customer pain points is the cost of installation.
And so, they installed an exit popup that offered an installation calculator for free in exchange for an email address.
Result: a 300% increase in monthly sales leads.
The idea behind a good exit-intent pop-up is to provide an irresistible offer. Another example shows how you can make use of personalized offers in pop-ups to grasp more attention and increase your mailing list.
This is the stage in the growth hacking funnel where prospects start generating some sort of return on investment.
So this is where you ask yourself — how do I transform my prospects into paying customers?
Here are your revenue-generating strategies -
13. Adopt a Freemium Model
Freemiums act as a hook.
You offer limited tools under the freemium model. Say — limited designs or limited APIs or integrations. And if a customer finds your product to be good enough, they will most likely upgrade to a higher plan without exploring many competitors. Because well, now they are acquainted with your product.
In fact, Slack leveraged this to enjoy a 30% conversion rate from its freemium model to its paid model.
A crucial aspect of the freemium model is to keep reminding the customer to upgrade to higher plans through pop-ups and effectively placed CTAs.
14. Increase the Price!
Yes, we flipped faster than a pancake on a pan. But hear us out.
Most often we think of reducing the price every time we think of increasing sales and attracting more customers. But what if a price increase was the solution?
Slidebean did exactly that. It increased its prices by 4 times.
- Churn rate dropped down from 25% to 6.53%.
- Life-time value increased from $22 to $444.
Ah, the good old referrals. This is the stage where you want your prospects to talk about your product on social media, amongst their network, and to everyone who might potentially need your tool.
15. Referral Models
In Elon’s words, PayPal’s referral scheme was like “bacteria growth in a petri dish”. Under the referral scheme, PayPal gave $10 to those who referred and to those who opened an account after being referred.
This strategy resulted in 7–19% daily growth (100 million new users).
Run giveaways and contests where you can ask clients to refer you as a prerequisite to getting an upgrade or discount.
Tip: Gamify the process. This way, participation would be higher, leading to more engagement.
17. Video Testimonials
Video reviews and case studies work wonders as social proof!
97% of B2B customers cite testimonials and peer recommendations as to the most reliable type of content.
Start using them to get more leads.
New and Unconventional Growth Hacking Strategies
18. Guerilla Marketing
In the offline world, Guerilla Marketing was seen as notorious but something every marketer wanted to try once. From creating Graffiti to hijacking events, those were the days (just kidding!).
In fact, Twitter did something similar back in 2007 at the SXSW conference. During the event, the conference hallway saw screens displaying Tweets.
Source: Robbie Richards
The company won the top award at the conference and became the talking point across some of the most well-known blogs. The company went from 20,000 to 60,000 tweets a day post the conference.
In the digital world, Guerilla marketing looks something like this -
Influencers taking over company profiles on social media or vice versa.
Did you know 73% of B2B marketers say a webinar is the best way to generate high-quality leads?
Conduct webinars with industry specialists on niche topics and promote the hell out of them.
You can also consider running ads for your webinars apart from sharing links and creating hype around it on your social media handles and also on the panelists’ social media handles.
In fact, webinars provide an opportunity for partnerships with brands. Make use of these partnerships to mutually benefit from each other’s audiences.
20. Live Streams
Professionals anticipate that 82% of internet use will be for streaming video by 2022.
The live streaming industry saw a growth of 99% from April of last year to April of this year.
But we understand conducting live streams may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
So, we will let you in on a hack!
You can live stream pre-recorded videos — an Instagram growth hacking strategy. This hack will help you post videos as live streams with good quality (which sometimes gets compromised in live videos) and engage your audience.
Remember, live streams keep you at the top of your target audience’s mind. Consistently providing quality content will drive them to your product offering and even further down the funnel.
Growth hacking strategies for each stage of the funnel- what a roller coaster! Hope you gained as much while reading it as we did while writing it. Take a trick or two (or more) from this guide and don’t forget to let us know how you used them!
Remember, this isn’t an exhaustive list (as much as we tried to make it one). You can always think out of the box and come up with your own new and unconventional growth hacks and boost your sales. Speaking of which, did you try our interactive experiences yet? They are one of the proven growth hacking strategies! So, what’s stopping you? Start your free trial now!