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What is Growth Hacking and how does it work?


Growth hacking is a subfield of marketing that mainly focuses on the rapid growth of a startup. It makes use of resource-light and cost-effective digital marketing strategies to grow a business.

The origin of growth hacking comes from 2010 used by Sean Ellis. It is popular among startups because of its limited cost and resources. Growth hacking uses inexpensive, creative, analytical, and innovative methods to grow a company. Growth hackers focus on growth and only the growth of the company. Examples of companies that grew largely because of growth hacking are Dropbox, Facebook, Tiktok, and Airbnb.


Who can be a growth hacker?

People who implement growth hacking are called growth hackers. To be a growth hacker, you’ve to be able to work quickly and thus, as independently as possible. Thus, a growth hacker should know at least the basics of programming, data handling, and designing.

How does it work?

There is no specific path to growth hacking that’d be successful. It depends on your ability to rapidly scale up sales and marketing leading to the growth of your company.

Some growth hacks work wonderfully while some fail. You have to accept that the initiative you spend a lot of time on may not even work. On the bright side, we already know failure is common in a business. Growth hacking is perfect to accept failure and keep trying something new.

Growth hackers focus only on the growth of the company. Thus concentrating largely on virality, customer interaction, web traffic, and social media activity.

Benefits of growth hacking:

  • Low cost: Growth hacking typically means effectively using all the resources you have as innovatively as possible. Thus, it does not have other traditional costs associated with it.
  • Low resources: Ideally growth hacking needs one or two people to effectively execute the ideas and not an entire team of people.
  • Provable ROI: By keeping a track of the performance of the hack, you can easily identify which methods are effective in your growth and which are not.
  • Speed and agility: If your product takes too long to be marketed, it might ruin the reputation of your company. Here growth hacking comes to the rescue. Growth hacking makes sure that the company grows rapidly.

Difference between marketing and growth hacking?

Growth hacking and marketing may seem the same but in reality, there are a few differences between the two.

  • Marketers are focused on sales while growth hackers are focused on both the sales and the growth of the business.
  • Marketers market the finished product but growth hackers help design a product that customers want.
  • Marketers only need to know marketing but growth hackers need to know the basics of programming or designing as well.
  • Marketers aim for sustainable growth while growth hackers aim for rapid growth.
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Top 5 Growth Hacking strategies:

A few of the many strategies to implement growth hacking are as follows:

Affiliate marketing program:

An affiliate marketing program is an effective tool to drive traffic to your website at a low cost. To enable an affiliate marketing program, you need to create an affiliate section on your website and ask people to register for it.

Once they have registered they will be able to promote your product with the affiliate links and make some money. This is a cost-effective way to grow your company. All you have to do is there a small part of your profit after your sale. Examples of brands that use this strategy are Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc.

Build Virality with your product:

Once a product has some functions which have the potential to become viral, its user base increases rapidly. To implement this hack, your product should have some functions which will encourage users to invite other people to use your product.

You need to provide a certain exclusive function that can only be accessed through your product when other users get on the platform with you. Examples of brands who used this strategy: WhatsApp

Referral hack:

Referral hacking is yet another cost-effective method to grow your company drastically. People are more willing to try a product or service if they know that someone they trust to use that product or service too. To implement this hack you need to provide something to the people in exchange for a referral.

Examples of brands who use this strategy: Dropbox

Integrating your product with others:

Integrating your product or service with other popular ones may help ignite curiosity in the minds of people. If people see your product in the news feeds of their friends, it might spark curiosity in their minds causing them to visit your site, thus increasing your user base.

Examples of brands who use this strategy: Spotify

Offer a freemium version:

Launching a free version of your product with limited features might be an effective way of attracting users to your company. As it is a free version, they can uninstall it if they don’t like it. If they do, they may consider upgrading to the premium version.

Examples of brands who use this strategy: Spotify, Canva

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