Growth Hacking Definition, Complete Strategy, And Examples [Latest]

Paul Graham once commented, “Startups are companies designed to grow fast.”

It means:

Startups = Growth.

According to him, the growth rate of startups can be calculated from the increase in revenue and the potential for expansion from a certain time.

Well, to achieve the desired growth rate, entrepreneurs need to market their products effectively and efficiently. More specifically, entrepreneurs need to get customers in large numbers and in the shortest possible time.

If the goal is to reach a large audience while increasing brand awareness, mediocre promotion methods will not be enough. Fast work and adaptation to modern growth hacking ideas is required.

In this article, you can get more complete information about the meaning of growth hacking and how to do it.

What is Growth Hacking?

illustration of what growth hacking is

Growth hacking is an experiment-based marketing technique. Growth hacking is used to determine the most productive way to grow a business.

The term “ growth hacking ” is taken from a mixture of various data engineering, analytics, and marketing techniques. A growth hacker uses all of these techniques optimally. That way, they can find the most innovative, most effective, and fastest way to achieve startup success.

Also read: 7 Tips to Build Your Startup, Simple and Effective

Some of the techniques adopted by growth hackers are reverse engineering, A/B testing, SEO, email marketing, viral marketing, and content marketing. In the process there are several techniques that are carried out independently. However, these techniques can also be used simultaneously. It all depends on the type and vision of the startup itself.

You now know the meaning of growth hacking and its general working principle. Now it’s your turn to dig deeper into the expansion strategies that will help your startup thrive.

Growth Hacking Funnel and Its Optimization

stages of growth hacking funnel
Image source: Paldesk

In growth hacking, there are five funnel stages that your startup must go through in order to be successful, namely Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue (or abbreviated AARRR). The following is an explanation of each stage in the growth hacking funnel and strategies to optimize it.

1. Acquisition

An acquisition is the first time your business and potential customers make contact. It can be through the website or from the products you sell. This stage is very important, you know! Because, you can find out if potential customers are further interested in your business.

Therefore, for this stage to be optimal, you must be able to reach many potential buyers, aka expand your brand awareness. How to? Instead of promoting on various platforms, you should promote in places that are indeed crowded with potential customers.

For example, your startup is targeting millennials or Generation Z. This means that in order for the acquisition stage to be optimal, you promote on social media Instagram or TikTok, where the majority of users are young people.

2. Activation

Activation is the second step in growth hacking which is characterized by customers starting to use your product or service. So, if Acquisition is the process of attracting potential customers, Activation is the process of making them become customers for the first time.

Now, the large number of consumers who become customers is called the conversion rate and is a rather tricky stage . Because, even though you have promoted in the right place, many potential customers are still hesitant about new startups.

Here are some strategies you can try:

  • Put a good CTA on your website/blog. Starting from writing with a command sentence, mentioning the benefits in the CTA, to placing it in the right position.
  • Take advantage of pop ups . Pop Up is a form that appears when a visitor browses your website. For a guide on how to make it, you can check the article → How to Create a Popup in WordPress, Just 5 Minutes!
  • Make it easy for visitors to contact you . Surely visitors will ask and confirm many things to you before making a purchase. Therefore, make it easier for them to do it. You do this by installing a live chat on the website, including your email address/phone number, and providing an inquiry form. 

The above are just a few examples of strategies to increase conversion rates. For the complete strategy, you can find it in → What is Conversion Rate and How to Optimize it

3. Retention

After successfully getting customers in the Activation stage, it’s time to make them regular customers in the Retention stage . Therefore, you should try to ensure that customers don’t just use the product or service once. However, many times in the future.

How to? Here are some strategies to optimize Retention that you can try:

  • Give a limited promotion on your next purchase . For example, additional discounts, free shipping, or bonus items.
  • Make your customers feel special. Starting from sending a thank you email after buying your product, giving special vouchers for a customer’s birthday, to running a UGC campaign as a form of appreciation for customer work.
  • Send out newsletters . Newsletters are emails containing product or service information sent to your customers. So, they will always be updated and can build a sense of interest again. Are you confused about making a newsletter? Don’t worry, you can find examples in → 5+ Sample Newsletters for Your Email Marketing

4. Referrals

illustration of UGC as the most popular community marketing strategy

Referral is the stage where your regular customers promote your products or services to others. Generally, through a strategy known as Word of Mouth Marketing or word of mouth promotion. This strategy is very powerful and can help your business grow quickly.

Well, to encourage your regular customers to do promotions to other people, you give a bonus every time they manage to invite other people. For example, special discounts, cashback, additional features, and the like.

5. Revenue

Well, the last stage of growth hacking is Revenue. If the previous four stages went smoothly, you will start to earn income that can be used to develop your startup even further.

Unfortunately, many startups fail to reach this stage for various reasons. So that you don’t fall into the same hole, here are some tips to increase Revenue that you can try:

  • Immediately find a profitable business model. So you don’t always burn money without getting a profit.
  • Don’t just focus on finding new customers. Because getting new customers costs five to twenty-five times more than focusing on regular customers.
  • Offer an annual subscription plan. Customers will pay in full up front, so you have a handle on the money to grow the startup.

7+ Growth Hacking Strategies to Build a Startup

Of the many marketing strategies, use these eight growth hacking strategies in the early days of starting a startup.

1. Develop affiliate marketing

Affiliates or referrals help convert leads faster. Because recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues are much more trustworthy. Much more reliable than the ads milling about in the mass media or social media.

Consumers who are netted through referrals also have great potential to become loyal customers. Another plus point, affiliates or referrals are among the least expensive ( cost-effective ) strategies available for startups.

2. Attend community events

Networking is a must for any startup.

According to Dr. Ivan Misner a pioneer and chairman of the Business Networking Organization (BNI) once said, “Networking is more like gardening than hunting. Networking is all about building long-term relationships.”

Attending community events doesn’t just allow you to learn from the best people. From that event, you can connect with people who are experienced in their field. Try to learn from their stories and experiences. Then, apply it all to your startup.

Apart from that, there are even better points. Community events can also be your opportunity to promote your startup to a wider audience. At the same time you can get to know and build relationships with people in the same industry.

3. Create a featured website

The website is the digital home of your business. So make sure you have time to make it look perfect. Starting from the layout, colors, until the navigation should run smoothly. These will all create a pleasant experience for visitors.

Also read: 11+ User Friendly Website Criteria

Creating a cool website is important, but having the right domain name is equally important. Just imagine. How can users visit your “nice house”, if they don’t understand the address?

The key to a good domain name lies in its extension. There are more than 1200 domain extensions available. For example, .STORE, .TECH, .ONLINE, .SPACE, .SITE and others. Choose an extension that best describes your business.

4. Build community on social media

Social media is booming right now. There are many brands and startups trying to increase their popularity on social media. This is done in order to promote, sell, interact, and get feedback from consumers.

However, there are no shortcuts on social media. To succeed on this one platform, you need commitment and dedication. Whether it’s a matter of creating the right content, or also about getting the audience that meets expectations.

Also read: Complete Guide to Social Media Marketing 2019

Growth hack tactics can be used for this matter. Try creating a group or page on social media. This method has proven successful in attracting the target market. However, don’t forget to display appropriate information and quality content.

One more thing to remember. Interact with the audience. Help them to get to know and trust the brand better.

5. Use HARO to get media mentions

Maybe not many people know. Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is the ultimate formula for growth hack tactics. As a platform, HARO can be used to show your skills in various fields.

HARO also helps journalists get answers from entrepreneurs regarding their industry and area of ​​expertise. HARO can also be used to gently promote startups. For that, you only need to answer questions informatively and clearly. Plus, only answer questions you really understand.

HARO may not qualify as a traditional marketing strategy. However, this is precisely one of the leading growth hacks. Through HARO you can show your brand to a specific targeted audience.

6. Send bonuses to customers

Everyone loves free stuff!

There are more benefits to the freebies strategy than one might think. Sending branded goods, free products, or personal gifts can add value to the customer. That kind of thing they feel appreciated and appreciated. Especially if they are loyal customers.

Moreover, satisfied customers usually don’t keep their stories to themselves. They will not mind recommending the product to their closest circle (potential consumers).

In addition, the gifts you send leave a positive psychological impact on the customer’s mind. Other times, when they want to buy a product, your brand is the first thing that comes to mind.

7. Collaboration with influencers

Collaboration with influencers is the most perfect growth hack tactic. Influencer don’t just help you reach a wider audience. The same trick is also used to instill a potential customer’s trust in the brand.

Startups who cannot afford to spend a large marketing budget can use this strategy. Invite influencers who have a mass base according to the target customer.

8. Take advantage of the latest trends

Try to find out about the latest trends, industry news, or other popular phenomena. Use such trends to create relevant campaigns.

Stay updated with the latest trends. That will help you reach a wider audience, keep your startup memorable, and help you increase sales.

Famous Growth Hacking Examples for Inspiration

Here are some examples of businesses that have successfully implemented the above strategies and that you can use as inspiration:

1. AirBnB

For you travelers, you must be familiar with AirBnB which offers cheap accommodation in various corners of the city. In fact, even in remote rural areas.

an example of growth hacking is AirBnB via Craigslist
Image source: Optinmonster

Early in the formation of AirBnB, the founders realized that many people were looking for accommodation through the Craigslist buying and selling site. As a result, they also post AirBnB stays on the site and get a lot of customers from there.

2. Dropbox

Dropbox is one of the largest online storage services in the world. In the past, Dropbox also implemented a growth hacking strategy to increase its use, you know. How?

Dropbox offers additional free storage for users who log in to a Twitter or Facebook account and then make a Dropbox-related post. Indirectly, users promote Dropbox for free to their social media.

3. Gmail

You must be using Gmail, right? Well, before it became what it is today, Gmail used a growth hacking strategy called FOMO.

Image source: Optinmonster

So, Gmail used to use the invitation system to be able to use it. Without an invitation from someone else, you won’t be able to use Gmail. As a result, people became curious and flocked to find ways to get the invitation.

Ready to Use Growth Hacking Method?

Growth hacking is not a solution to all problems. So, it can’t be called a miracle either. However, growth hacking is all about implementing all known business strategies for the best results.

There is no definite formula for executing these strategies. Keep trying. It is the only thing done to get the desired result.

After all, in the end, “The only way to fail is not to take risks.” That’s what Mark Zuckerberg said.


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