Growth hacking is a term that’s often associated with young startups that grow explosively. It’s starkly opposite to the traditional modes through which businesses grow, taking things step by step, and minimizing risk.

Today, growth hacking or growth marketing holds a positive and meaningful connotation for digital marketers. Although the term ‘hacking’ hints at ‘grey’ marketing methods, there’s reliable data and an ethical approach behind it. Done correctly, growth hacking will help you grow your business fast and with long-term positive outcomes.

Here’s what growth hacking involves:

  • Experimentation: A growth hacker or marketer approaches marketing strategies with an experimental mindset, ready to try new and untested techniques
  • Testing: While experimenting, you make sure to test your marketing strategies on different audiences. A/B split testing and other testing methods form important aspects of your marketing
  • Analytics matter: You’re looking for data, generating reports, and identifying patterns or techniques that work
  • Leveraging what works: Once you see something that gives you good results, you immediately start scaling it up to a larger audience. It’s vital to continue using your analytics to keep track of your marketing and to fine-tune your strategies wherever necessary

Let’s dive deeper and look at real businesses that have used growth hacking and launched themselves into massively successful companies. Along with these business examples, we’ll look at key strategies to help you come up with your own growth strategy.

Growth hacking in action

Here are some growth hacking strategies together with examples of brands that experienced explosive growth using them. Use them as ideas for your own marketing efforts.

Invite-based marketing strategies

The mobile brand OnePlus is a well-known example of growth hacking. With a limited marketing budget, it had to use outrageous and interesting marketing techniques to get attention.

One of its best (and simultaneously disliked) strategies was to sell the product through an invite-only method. At one point, a person would be able to buy the phone only when an invite trickled down to them.

This created a feeling of exclusivity and gave users the feeling that they had a certain status by being in the ‘in’ group.

Another method that OnePlus used was to create a buzz on social media with a ‘Smash the Past’ campaign. People who took videos of themselves smashing their old phones stood a chance to buy the new OnePlus mobile for $1.

These methods were unusual but they certainly caught the world’s attention which led to them becoming a major brand.

Gamifying customer referrals

Gamification is applying gaming mechanisms to marketing activities. Every time your audience or lead hits a goal that you set, it creates positive feedback which makes them want to do more with your brand.

Dropbox used this technique to get users to refer it to their peers. It gamified its onboarding process by giving users free storage for doing certain things:

  • Linking their Dropbox account to Facebook and Twitter
  • Sharing Dropbox-related statuses to social media
  • Following Dropbox on Twitter
  • Referring the platform to other users

Soon enough, Dropbox grew at a rapid pace and today, it has over 14.3 million paid users and more than 500 million users overall.

Dropbox grew rapidly by gamifying various tasks

Exclusive membership sites

Membership sites offer gated content exclusively to users who have signed up with the site. Building a membership site allows you to nurture and grow an invested community that cares about what you have to offer.

There’s a brilliant example in the work of financial advisor Tiffany Aliche with her brand ‘The Budgetnista’. According to this entrepreneur, there are a few key ways to grow your business fast. Let’s look at the examples of her own work to see how a membership site can be leveraged to boost engagement and conversions on your own site.

  • Create a rallying point: Tiffany Aliche started the Live Richer Challenge to help 10,000 women take control of their finances. In five weeks, her community paid off $400,00 in debt and collectively saved $3.5 million
  • Give away content for free: Tiffany says that she gave away at least half of her advice and content for free to grow her audience. This helps you build trust and a relationship and then your audience is more willing to buy from you
  • Engage with your audience: A huge part of The Budgetnista’s success comes from listening to the audience. Tiffany frequently holds webinars and other activities to engage with people, give advice, and listen

She also encourages businesses to build email lists to connect with people over time. You’ll remind your audience that you can help them. And of course, you need to provide valuable and helpful content that’s authentic.

Over to you

Growth hacking is another approach to marketing that helps you find ways to grow your business faster. To use this approach, you need to have an experimental mindset and the willingness to try something new.

We’ve covered three helpful strategies and examples of businesses that used them. You can also leverage FOMO (the fear of missing out) and social media to meet your goals fast. The main idea is to keep trying and testing marketing strategies. Look at what works and then apply it on a larger scale. With this mindset, you’ll leverage analytics tools and find unique ways to grow your business fast.