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Growth Hacking Strategies for Startups That Guarantee Success

August 15, 2019

12 Min Read
Growth-Hacking-Strategies
Reading Time: 12 minutes

In order to scale a business, it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to market their products effectively. There are many challenges down the road, however, scalability is possible with these best growth hacking strategies.

In order to reach out to a massive audience, entrepreneurs need to adopt different growth hacking techniques. Although some amongst these techniques have only been around for a few years, nonetheless, they prove to play a vital role in the growth of modern-day businesses.

Many entrepreneurs have made them an integral part of scaling their business because they saw fruitful results, and it’s about time you do so too.

Entrepreneurs search for various growth hacks and want to grow quickly by gathering millions of customers that increase their revenue. Growth hacking ideas for businesses is a proven element of success. But not every business is able to execute these marketing growth hacks in the best way.

What is Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking is an experiment-driven technique to determine the most effective ways of growing a business. The process involves a mix of marketing, development, design, engineering, data, and analytics.

The reason why it’s called growth hacking is that a hacker finds a quick, cost-effective but an innovative method to attain growth instead of following conventional processes.

Who is a Growth Hacker?

A growth hacker is someone who is clever, original, and innovative. Their primary goal is to implement creative, cost-effective strategies to ensure businesses are able to acquire and retain customers for as long as they can.

growth-hacking-quote

A growth hacker may use a combination of methods to achieve his goals like content marketing, viral marketing, email marketing, SEO, A/B testing or reverse engineering. But you must also remember, growth hackers can be growth marketers, however, growth hackers can never be defined as just marketers.

A formula that growth hackers follow rigorously is: Product + Growth = Impact

Growth Hacking Strategies Every Startup Should Follow

To assist you to outgrow your potential, leverage the following business growth strategies in order to expand your horizon and increase profits sharply.

#1 Create a Pre-Launch Email List

When it comes to an effective startup growth strategy, email marketing remains king to find both leads and conversions.

Put your focus on building an email list. It will allow you to reach your audience and deliver your message effectively. Additionally, email marketing greatly helps businesses to build pre-launch hype for any product or event.

It will also allow you to acquire potential customers even before your launch. But don’t just create a list of email addresses and sit idle. You should take a few weeks to build up the hype and try to make your audience eager for your launch.

For setting up email lists, you should opt for email services like MailChimp as it allows you to push emails effectively. Since communication plays a vital role in conversions, make sure that you reach out to your potential customers at least a week prior to your launch. A great case study involves Author Stash that used this tactic for
adding about 2000 subscribers in just two weeks.

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#2 Launch on Product Hunt or Similar Platforms

A launch on Product Hunt is an essential checkpoint. Week after week, there are dozens of startups launching. Such platforms allow you to deliver your message to fresh audiences.

Product Hunt continues to remain a market leader to expose your business to a global audience. It’s your “golden ticket” to get devoted attention to numerous innovators and journalists. Your chance to receive feedback and ideas for new opportunities.

cloudways-startup-program-Product-Hunt

We used Product Hunt as the primary launchpad for our Startup Program. We were very encouraged with the response of the community and received 50+ applications within the first 24 hours of the launch.

#3 Leverage Referral Marketing

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.

Such customers have better retention rates that result in a 16% higher LTV. Additionally, sales experts with referral programs also earn four to six times higher.

Uber-referral-program

Uber started out as a ride-sharing business. They used referral marketing to increase their brand awareness and user reach. The idea was simple: Users get $5 credit for every time other users use their referral code. The idea was so successful that it has been replicated by every ride-sharing app ever since.

#4 Make New Brand Partnerships

Business partnerships and collaborations are one amongst the best growth hacking techniques as they create a lot of noise. Many brands have realized the fact that co-marketing and product partnership is an effective growth marketing strategy.

It will not only create a great social media buzz but will also send relevant organic traffic to your website. It is an opportunity for news coverage and will enhance the visibility of your products and services globally.

Some of the most successful partnerships with not-too-shabby ROIs have been those that created new products around a theme. Any small-medium company can develop an effective collaboration if it finds the right partner to bring value to its brand and vice versa.

flipboard-aribnb

Partnerships even work for businesses that operate in very different industries. A great example is a partnership between Flipboard (a news app) and Airbnb ( a room sharing app) that allows users of one brand to leverage the strengths of the other partner.

In this case, Flipboard offers customized content to Airbnb users who could then make informed decisions when booking residences through Airbnb. On the flip side, these users create content (in the form of comments and reviews) that Flipboard aggregates for its users.

#5 Host and Attend Community Events and Conferences

The fact is that 30% of new businesses won’t make it past 24 months. These are heavy statistics that should make entrepreneurs think. But by attending the best startup events, you can acquire the tools and insights you need to make sure your business doesn’t fail.

Go ahead, learn from the best, make connections, learn about your industry, and get some inspiration. You don’t have anything to lose. Exposing your business on relevant business events and conferences will allow you to taste success with minimum effort.

#6 Leverage Adjacent Markets

Adjacent markets is an excellent sales growth hack. It’s often confused with ‘white space opportunity.’ But, by adjacent, I mean markets that are close in proximity to what you do.

The secret to adjacent markets is to export your skills and capabilities, not products and services. It’s taking your core competencies and creating new value for new customers.

Before evaluating any new market, consider a few factors like what’s the competition like? How big is the opportunity in terms of volume and profits? Are there legal barriers you’ll need to tackle? Look at your skills and existing channels. Find new ways to use those skills and you’re on your way to new sales growth opportunities.

Most people associate Nike with products that focus on track and field sports. However, Nike’s product range covers almost all sports and activities for which you need high-quality apparel and footwear.

When Nike decided to enter the competitive market of mountaineering products, they decided to bring the principle of Adjacent Markets into play. They started by offering footwear for mountaineering activities. Once they had built customer loyalty, they branched out to the apparel industry with great success.

#7 Social Media Growth Hacking: Build a Community Around Your Brand

Social media is an essential part of the marketing mix for businesses. You can leverage social media communities to promote yourself, receive market feedback and interact with industry influencers.

It takes time to develop content and build an audience. For this, you must strive to align social media activities with the overall direction of your growth.

One of the best social media growth hacking strategies of leveraging social media for your business success is creating a Facebook group around your brand where your audience would engage with your brand. You need to ensure you’re creating value for them through that group. The chances are fair that those who are not aware of your brand may get to know about it once they get inspired by the content in your group.

Facebook-Group

Growth hacking & outbound marketing is a Facebook group created by the founder of Find that Lead – Lead generation tool. The audience of the group consists of potential buyers of his product and he does his best to inspire them by sharing his best growth hacking tips every day.

#8 Follow Your Biggest Competitors

Competition can come in different shapes and sizes but it always exists. Once you’ve acknowledged your competitive landscape, it is important to display why your company has a competitive advantage in any respective market.
Make sure – as an entrepreneur – you, not only zero in on your business venture but also remain aware of the changing factors in your competitive landscape. This will position your business to quickly adapt and leverage its strengths.

Many businesses fail due to following the competition without an action plan. As a result, they fail to produce the desired results. A good plan should focus on discovering all the conversations that are happening around the target brand.  For this, you need to be at the same digital places (social media, forums, etc.) where the target (and its target audience) hangs out.

The plan should also include a thorough and regular analysis of the competitor blog (and the keywords in those blogs) so that you can tailor your content for maximum impact.
Similarly, you should also track their backlinks so that you have a fair idea of how they are marketing their products and services.

#9 Create an Aggressive Content Marketing Strategy

For your business customer feedback is highly essential. It will help you resolve complaints and queries faster. It will also help you handle customer objections effectively.

Effective growth marketing strategies consist of an aggressive content marketing strategy that helps you focus on customer feedback and market your product with ease.

With a modest budget, create a content marketing strategy for your business that allows your audience to understand the value of your product. Regardless of what type of business you are, your content marketing strategies should always focus on attracting the right audience.

When planning content marketing campaigns, always focus on creating shareable content. Video content, for instance, has become the central pillar of many content marketing campaigns. Mainly because you can convey a lot of information in a concise package.

Take the example of Marketo, a popular marketing automation tool that relies on videos to replace the traditional text-only user education articles.

This is a tough challenge for content creators because there is no set formula that dictates the virality of a content piece. The good news is that regardless of the size of your team or the volume of resources at your disposal, you have the potential of creating highly shareable content by adding emotion, value, and of course the proper hooks for reeling in potential customers to the landing pages.

#10 Do Guest Posting

Guest posting services help to build a connection. There are numerous guest posting services available online. Almost all of them have their own websites up and running.

These service providers make it easier to get high-quality organic leads through the content by providing a link to your website which ultimately, helps in boosting up your SERP rankings.

Guest blogging is a great marketing growth hack which bloggers tend to use for the purpose of gaining organic website traffic and reaching out to different audiences by improving their search engine rankings.

Buffer is one of the brands that use guest posting as a growth hack. In their early days, they asked influential bloggers to create shareable content which they used to build an impressive number of backlinks from websites with good Domain Authority (DA).

#11 Work with Influencers

When it comes to brand building, there is a reason why brands pay influencers to endorse their products. Collaborating with well-known influencers is a powerful way to reach out to a wider audience. Worth mentioning, influencers having over 50,000+ followers are most impactful.

influencer-marketing-growth-hack

Source: Small Business Trends

Entrepreneurs should collaborate with influencers in order to promote their products and services by sharing the latest news. Influencer marketing if done right can help any business to raise awareness and achieve massive reach

Using influencers’ authority and reach is a great marketing growth hack for fresh startups who cannot afford to compete with established brands in terms of marketing budgets. Since influencers already have an established following, businesses can use them as a potential customer base.

Take the case of Gymshark, a brand that is well known for using influencers to increase brand reach and sales. In fact, in the early days, Gymshark depended heavily on the influencers in bodybuilding and fitness industries for creating brand awareness and generating traction.

Between customer service, budget tracking, marketing, sales, and product development, it can be difficult to stay on top of all the latest industry advancements and innovations. Staying on top of trends is key to the success of your business.

Identifying trends at an early stage will allow you to come up with profitable campaign ideas — or alter your business plans to jump on a new trend just as it takes off. You can achieve accelerated results by staying abreast of the latest trends.

#13 Use HARO for Press Opportunities

One of the best growth hacking tips is considering Helping A Reporter Out (HARO) as a platform where you can display your expertise. It is not a brand-building tool, instead, a place to read various requests by journalists that may or may not be relevant to your domain.

Yes, it will take up a lot of time but can be well worth it if executed correctly. If you can find 30 seconds three times a day to read their newsletters, consider that as the much-needed investment.

Also, bear in mind that reporters are very specific about what they need. Hence, do not waste their time pitching an idea they have not asked about.

#14 Send Gifts to Your Customers and Showoff

Branded gift products, ranging from pens to office supplies that have your company’s logo and name embossed on them, provides great value to the user.

It will raise your brand’s awareness and maintain customer loyalty. It also helps in spreading positive word of mouth. Moreover, it improves customers’ perceptions of your brand. A happy customer becomes a promoter of your brand and allows you to enjoy more referrals and leads.

Cloudways Swags - Customer

P.C: Donald McGuinn (Cloudways Customer)

Bonus Growth Hacking Tips You Can Try

#15 Offer Discounts to Beta Testers.

#16 Feature User Stories on Your Blog.

#17 Repurpose Existing Content on Your Website/Blog.

#18 Leverage Quora by Answering Relevant Questions.

#19 Make Affiliate Partners.

#20 Create Email Drip Campaigns.

Grow Your Business to More Revenue and Customers this Year

3 Best Growth Hacking Examples

1. Facebook

The world’s most favorite social media platform is undoubtedly one of the best growth hack examples in today’s digital landscape. With more than 2 billion users, Facebook has now become a fact of life for us. This question on Quora regarding Facebook growth hacks reveals 2 effective techniques this social media giant used to scale themselves.

Firstly, they encouraged people to add their friends and family so that they can share content within their circle on Facebook. Secondly, Facebook sent emails to their friends and family inviting them to create an account with Facebook.

This growth hack piqued the interest of many as they became curious about who tagged or mentioned them on Facebook. They wanted to see what was being told about them on Facebook. Also, they wanted to see what would they get after signing up.

2. PayPal

Another business that’s proving to be one of the best growth hacking examples is PayPal. Ever thought of the fact that giving away money will help your organization grow? Well, it certainly worked wonders for Paypal.

Their growth hacking strategy was to use a referral program. They began to incentivize users who brought in more users by using PayPal’s referral program. As a result, PayPal’s business began to grow by 7% to 10% on a daily basis. The total cost of incentives was nearly $60 million.

Additionally, what’s more, interesting about their growth hacking strategy is that social media wasn’t as common or powerful as it is today. Paypal grew mostly via word of mouth, SMS, blogs, and emails.

3. Dollar Shave Club

Video content is in more demand than ever. This growth hacking example of the Dollar Shave Club proves how effective video marketing is and how conveniently you can get all the conversions you need with the right video content. According to Business Insider, the Dollar Shave Club made more than $20 million in revenue by using the following video growth hack.

The Dollar Shave Club created a video in order to promote their services, particularly sending their prospects to brand new razor blades every month for a mere $1 only. The video went viral like wildfire, as it successfully garnered 19 million views within a short passage of time. Today, the promotional video of the Dollar Shave Club is at more than 25 million views.

Final Words

Growth has always been a challenge for many businesses. The real issue is that your market and target audience aren’t exposed to creative marketing campaigns on a regular basis.

In such a competitive environment, you can only grow your business by adopting these aforementioned growth hacking strategies.

While there is no harm in trying out new things (in fact, this is the number one advice from all experts), businesses must focus on deploying tried-and-tested growth strategies. There is no single hack that resolves all pain points. Henceforth, don’t hesitate to practice with new growth hacking strategies.

If you would like to share other growth hacking strategies, please feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below.

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Arsalan Sajid

Arsalan, a Digital Marketer by profession, works as a Startup Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves all things entrepreneurial and wakes up every day with the desire to enable the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs through his work!

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