Growth Hacking and Growth Marketing: How to Optimize Your Startup’s Growth

If you’re beginning to promote your brand, sell your product/service online, or if you’re at wit’s end trying to rope in customers, try hacking your way out of the problem!

We aren’t talking about computer hacking, either.

Rather, we’re speaking of hacking in a marketing or entrepreneurial guise: a quick solution to zoom through the beginning steps of getting your product, service, or business off the ground.

We’re talking about growth hacking and growth marketing, precisely. If you haven’t heard of these terms, it’s okay.

Growth hacking and growth marketing are subterranean, as far as growth strategies are concerned.

While they might be hard to uncover, however, they certainly aren’t hard strategies to learn and use to you or your business’s advantage!

Let’s debunk, demystify, and analyze growth hacking and growth marketing. See for yourself how these strategies can help you get your brand off the bottom of the lakebed.

Looking to launch a new product or service funnel soon?   We’ve helped countless #FunnelHackers overcome broken links, invalid redirects, missing Pixels, wrong videos on webinar – the list goes on…  But all these issues could be avoided by following our Ultimate Launch Checklist. Grab it for free now.

A Breakdown of Simple Growth Strategies (What is “Growth Hacking” anyway?)

Remember when your science teacher back in high school had you conduct the experiment where you put a couple Mentos into a bottle of Cola? (or maybe you just saw it on Youtube.)

If you don’t remember, the reaction between the Cola and the Mentos causes the soda to shoot out of the top of the bottle, creating a short and intense burst of foamy liquid.

Growth hacking functions similarly to how the soda shoots out of the bottle:

Growth hacking is a strategy and process that marketers and entrepreneurs put in place to cause rapid sales growth of their business’s product or service.

Also similar to how the Mentos-Cola reaction creates an intense but short-lived burst of energy, growth hacking also functions in this way.

The strategies used to implement growth hacking are great strategies for giving your business the explosive growth it needs in its beginning stages, but usually aren’t efficient with respect to sustaining this growth.

Another way to put it is finding the perfect tip or trick to quickly enhance growth, hence the term “Hacking”.

So, what’s “Growth Marketing” then?

Growth marketing is different from growth hacking. In a sense, growth marketing is a form of growth hacking.

As Mike Volpe, founder of HubSpot puts it,

Growth marketing is removing the boundaries of marketing to enable every aspect of the customer experience to focus on attracting more engaged customers.”

We’d say that Mike knows a thing or two about business growth. Simply put, approaching your business’s growth operations from a detailed point of view optimizes its potential and eventually, its growth.

Now that you know the definitions of both growth hacking and growth marketing, you’re probably wondering what you can do to implement these strategies into your business’s playbook.

Using some real-life examples and proven success stories, let’s take a look at how you can hack the growth of your product or service from the jump.

Real-Life Growth Hacking Case Studies

Growth Hack #1: Help your new customers win with your product or service (in the first 30 days)

One of the best examples of successful sales increase through growth marketing is how the site PopcornMetrics increased their revenue by 367% in 12 weeks.

How’d they go about doing this?

Firstly, they realised there was a problem.

They offered a 30-day unlimited free trial of their product for new users, but a lot of trial users weren’t converting to paying customers.

“Our trial-to-paid conversion rate just wasn’t cutting it – and worse we just couldn’t understand why.”

Then the ball dropped…

“We weren’t actively helping our customers succeed.”

So they tweaked the onboarding process.

Simply put, they focused on total customer immersion; they put in hours of code tweaking, skype calls, and customer conversations to figure out what they, as a company, needed to do better for their customers.

All of this effort was put towards customers using the trial version of their product which, in turn, spurred higher conversion rates once they released the paid version of their service.

This, in itself, is a picture-perfect growth hack.

Key Takeaway/Hack: Don’t hesitate to tweak and fine-tune your product and/or service during its softsell period; the benefits can be immense when it comes time to release the full version of your product and/or service.

Growth Hack #2: Underpromise, overdeliver.

Let’s jump to another successful growth hack. This one is also simple – Promise less and deliver more.

Or, you can simply overdeliver.

We won’t cite any specific growth marketing examples, but we’ll point to one psychological study that showed servers who brought back an extra set of mints to their table received, on average, 23% more tips.

While the study did include candy as its primary focus, the correlation is there. If a customer gets more than he/she expects from your product/service, they’ll more than likely use it again.

Even better, they might even recommend it to a friend or two.

Here’s how Buffer, a social media platform startup, applies this concept:

They send swag, and lots of it.

Furthermore, they put a strong emphasis and dedicate resources to surprising and delighting their clients and fans – regardless of whether they’re paying or not.

As co-founder Leo Wildrich explains:

“A lot of companies and startups offer great customer responses – but only for paying users. I believe there is a huge advantage to not just providing some customer service, but treating them exactly the same as your paying ones. When we changed our focus here at Buffer, to do everything we can to wow our users, that was one key decision we made.”

Key Takeaway/Hack: Promise less but deliver more; surprise your customers with an excess of whatever you initially offered and you can do fun things too (like Buffer does). This simple growth hack can go a long way.

Growth Hack #3: Convert your ad traffic with personalized landing pages

The next hack we’ll talk about involves directing traffic to various, more precise locations, from sources such as Google Adwords. You can see for yourself how Intercom did it and experienced growth in customer conversion.

Specifically, Intercom directed the traffic it received from its Google Adwords campaigns to accommodate specific customer needs, by using personalized landing pages, as opposed to directing the customer to a general page and relying on them to do more work to find what they needed.

This cuts out the middleman and provides a direct link, for the most part, to what a customer may want to purchase.

Intercom experienced positive growth in both signups and sales using customer need-driven landing pages.

Key Takeaway: Directing the traffic you generate from advertising campaigns to personalized landing pages can be a potent hack to generate customer signups and sales.

Growth Hack #4: Use a viral referral campaign to quickly build a valuable email list

Finally, let’s take a look at one of the most potent (and oldest) growth hacks: email lists.

We aren’t kidding, either. Specifically speaking, earned email lists can serve as a potent growth hack for your business. Here’s a step by step guide to building your very own earned email lists.

  • On your site, you’ll need to construct what’s known as an “email gate”. This is a term that refers to a popup or something else that prompts the entry of a customer’s email.
  • Get visitors to your site.
  • Direct visitors to the aforementioned “email gate”.

Soon enough, you’ll have an extensive email list that will boost your brand’s awareness and overall sales!

If you’re interested in seeing a real-life scenario proving how this method works, be sure to check out how the shaving company Harry’s gathered 100,000 emails in the course of one day.

Key things to note:

  • Harry’s website for the campaign was simple, yet catchy, playful (on brand) and effective; and it was just a 2-page microsite.
  • When people landed on the website they saw an image and tagline that was easy to understand (they sell shavers for men), and aroused curiosity (“coming soon”), with a simple call to action (“be the first to know” with email signup box). You get all that in just 5 seconds. Powerful stuff.
  • After giving their email, people were immediately given the opportunity to “earn product”. All they had to do was invite their friends. Super clever, right? (Who doesn’t want free product?)
  • Pay attention to the mechanics of this, as that’s the secret to the success of such campaigns. The messaging was clear and attaining a prize was extremely easy to do – who doesn’t have 5 or 10 guy friends that shave? This multiplied the share count.

You’ll find that a lot of the methods Harry’s used to gain such an extensive following in a miniscule amount of time are similar to the earned email list process we just spoke of.

Growth 101: Recapping All The Hacks We Mentioned

Let’s take a look at every growth hack and growth marketing strategy that we just talked about, in a simplified, easy-to-follow format.

  • Using the Soft Sell or trial version of your product, take customer feedback into consideration to fine-tune and tweak your finalized, paid product.
  • Overdeliver compared to what you initially promised your customers.
  • Divert ad-generated sales traffic to specific landing pages; you’ll eliminate pointless browsing and increase the likelihood of customer conversion.
  • Create “earned” email lists to quickly produce a large amount of email recipients which, in turn, boosts brand awareness.

These are just a few of the endless amount of growth hacks available. None of the above hacks, however, should be left out of any marketer’s or entrepreneur’s toolbox!

Looking to launch a new product or service funnel soon?   We’ve helped countless #FunnelHackers overcome broken links, invalid redirects, missing Pixels, wrong videos on webinar – the list goes on…  But all these issues could be avoided by following our Ultimate Launch Checklist. Grab it for free now.