How to get started with Growth Hacking?

Joran Hofman
February 26, 2020
Growth Hacking
Education
Learn how to get started with Growth Hacking

Before we tell you how to get started with Growth Hacking, let’s have a look at what it is. Mostly, it’s an umbrella term to describe strategies focused on growth. The name was first introduced in 2010 by Sean Ellis and is used a lot among start-ups. Start-up companies usually want to realize massive growth on a small budget. And that’s where Growth Hacking strategies come in. It’s a strategy to acquire as many customers or users of a product or service as possible while spending as little as possible. 

What is a Growth Hacker?

To get started with Growth Hacking, you’ll need a ‘Growth Hacker’. A Growth Hacker is a person who focuses on acquiring and retaining customers and uses creative, low-cost strategies to do this. Sometimes, you’ll hear the term “Growth Marketer”, but a Growth Hacker is not merely a marketer. Anyone who’s curious and has excellent analytical skills can be a Growth Hacker, including project managers and engineers. This is what the job description of a Growth Hacker looks like:

  • You focus on strategies related to growing the business and customer base. 
  • You hypothesise, prioritize and test innovative growth strategies. 
  • You analyze and test theories to find out what works and what doesn’t.
  • You run many experiments at once based on the above

How Growth Hacking works

Growth Hackers continuously try to figure out why a company grows and how they can make growth happen on purpose. Many Growth Hackers use the ‘pirate funnel’. This growth funnel consists of the following five steps:

  1. Awareness
  2. Acquisition
  3. Activation
  4. Retention
  5. Revenue
  6. Referral
Difference between marketer and Growth hacker based on the pirate funnel
Difference between a marketer and Growth Hacker based on the Pirate funnel; source

These five steps are the five stages a customer goes through. At each stage, Growth Hackers ask themselves a question:

  1. How can I make potential customers find me?
  2. How can I provide a good enough experience for my potential customers?
  3. How can I keep potential customers coming back to me?
  4. How can I get potential customers to talk about me in their circles?
  5. How can I turn potential customers into paying customers?


Another crucial part of Growth Hacking is raising awareness. Whichever method they choose, what they always focus on is getting traffic and visitors, turning visitors into users and retaining those users as happy customers. 

How to start Growth Hacking 

Know that you know what Growth Hacking is, what a Growth Hacker does, and how Growth Hacking works, we can discuss how to start Growth Hacking.

Create a product that people want

What you don’t want is to spend a significant amount of money to bring a product to the market only to find out that nobody wants it. You need to make sure that you create a product that people actually want. But how do you know this? That’s simple. You need to ask potential customers what they are looking for and collect as much feedback as you can. For the latter, you need to get your product out there as fast as you can—introducing a minimal viable product (MVP) is a good option here—and improve your product on a continuous basis to make sure that it is exactly what people want; Read more about the lean startup method here. 

Don’t target just everybody

When you bring your product to the market, you don’t want to target everybody. Focus on a small niche, on the innovators and early adopters. They need to like and use your product first before you can get the majority to buy it. That’s why you need to find out who the innovators and early adopters for your product are and target them very accurately. Create a customer profile by asking yourself who would benefit most from your product. It’s good to think of a real person here and focus all your efforts on catering your product exclusively to their needs. They need to feel like they have exclusive access to your product so they will share positive feedback within their community (tools to consider: Linkedin Sales Navigator in combination with Dux Soup).

Continuously improve your product 

Update your product regularly and keep gathering customer feedback. That’s the only way to know if you’re on the right track. At the same time, keep your product on the market to foster continued growth and track the success of those results. A/B testing and other conversion optimization techniques are useful tools here and are crucial for effective Growth Hacking. It would be best if you kept testing every detail of your product to make sure that it’s always the best version that’s out there for customers to use. (Tools to consider: Hotjar, Unbounce)

What is growth hacking?
See above where a Growth Hacker is involved and skills required.
I have not failed. I've just found 10.000 ways that won't work

Growth Hacking strategies

The strategies most Growth Hackers use fall into one of the below categories:

  • Content Marketing

A low-cost way to let customers know about the existence of your product. You could write and publish a weekly blog or create content for social media. You could also write an eBook or whitepaper, or record a podcast. You could organize contests or giveaways or have bloggers review your product. Influencer marketing is also an excellent way to get your product out there. 

  • Product Marketing. 

You are utilizing different techniques to make your product more appealing and build a user base. You can opt for an invite-only signup system, leveraging the fear of missing out. Another technique which works is the gamification of the user onboarding process to make it more enjoyable. You can also offer incentives for referrals that benefit both the referer and the new user. 

  • Advertising

Advertising can be done traditionally or by using social advertising or pay per click (PPC) advertising to promote the new product or service.  

Growth Hacking model from Growth Tribe

Run tests and gather feedback

Growth Hacking is all about running tests and experiments, as well as bringing your product to the market as quickly as possible to see if customers like it. Gather as much feedback as you can and keep updating and improving your product along the way. To experiment with your product, there are several useful tools you can use. You can use them to run quick experiments to make your business grow. 

Automate your Linkedin outreach and generate more business with Dux Soup and LinkedHelper.

Increase your email conversion and response by automating this with: MixMax, Gmelius & Prospect.io.

Make the right decisions with the insights from: Hotjar, Google Analytics & Google Data studio.

Get all the information from one tool to another, even when they don't have a native integration with Zapier.

See here all marketing courses we recommend, including Growth Hacking courses.