The Complete Guide to Growth Hacking for Marketers

Growth hacking has made its approach from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to professionals in main enterprise firms.

Many specialists within the tech trade who take care of startups are acquainted with the idea, however others sometimes wrestle with understanding development hacking. Let’s dive into the terminology additional and talk about why this advertising and marketing approach is used broadly amongst thought-leaders and different trade specialists alike.

What is development hacking?

The term “growth hacking” was coined by Sean Ellis. Ellis has helped many Silicon Valley startups to obtain unbelievable development even though just a few of them had preliminary public providing (IPO). Eventually, Sean Ellis grew to become identified within the valley because the go-to man in the event you want to develop your consumer base. Ellis’ technique was unprecedented and basically totally different from every other advertising and marketing technique. The secret ingredient to his strategy was the unique deal with development and development solely.

The development hacking strategy doesn’t favor constructing and managing advertising and marketing groups or establishing a strategic advertising and marketing plan to obtain the principle company targets. Instead, development hacking revolves round making choices knowledgeable by development.

So, what precisely is development hacking? Growth hacking refers to the strategies, instruments, and practices used solely to develop the shopper base. Because the idea originated in Silicon Valley with its wealthy startup tradition, these strategies are sometimes low-cost, analytical, cheap, and artistic.

The idea of development hacking gave start to a novel sort of specialist – a development hacker. To actually perceive the function of a development hacker, let’s dive deeper into what it means to be a profitable development hacker.

What it means to be a profitable development hacker

Ellis notes {that a} development hacker is “an individual whose true north is development”.

A development hacker is an professional – not essentially a marketer – who focuses solely on methods associated to rising a enterprise. A profitable development hacker could be a mission engineer as a lot an entrepreneur or a marketer can.

What is the mindset of a development hacker? Every choice a development hacker makes is knowledgeable by development and aimed to develop the enterprise. Growth hackers sometimes ignore bills, budgets, and conversions. Growth is the principle goal and metric they care about.

The job of a development hacker is to brainstorm revolutionary development methods. Besides, development hackers’ tasks embrace the next:

  • Setting development priorities
  • Identifying channels for buyer acquisition
  • Developing a development hacking methods, instruments, and strategies
  • Testing, measuring, and analyzing the efficiency of development hacking efforts

There are three ranges of development hacker abilities: elementary, generalistic, and specialist. Let’s take a more in-depth take a look at every of the degrees to perceive what makes an impressive development hacker.

  • Fundamental development hacking abilities suggest an understanding of the elemental work varieties, fashions, and development hacking mindset. For instance, understanding how to implement the AARRR framework (which we’ll cowl within the subsequent part) is a elementary development hacking ability. Technical abilities are additionally elementary development hacking abilities.
  • Generalistic development hacking abilities refer to the skilled abilities required in each activity you’ll do as a development hacker. For instance, understanding the basics of buyer psychology, knowledge monitoring & evaluation, and visible design are generalistic development hacking abilities.
  • Specialist development hacking abilities refer to the abilities required particularly inside your organization. Specialist abilities differ from group to group. The widespread examples are understanding of referral advertising and marketing and channel advertising and marketing.

Growth hacking vs. conventional advertising and marketing

By now you could be questioning what’s the distinction between conventional advertising and marketing and development hacking. While each classes purpose to enhance the general development of the corporate, some key distinctions ought to be underlined.

First of all, conventional advertising and marketing usually depends on offline methods and channels, together with snail mail, direct gross sales, print promoting, radio, and tv. On the opposite, development hacking majorly depends on a broad spectrum of low-cost on-line actions. These 4 traits will assist you perceive what diversifies development hacking from conventional advertising and marketing or every other class of selling.

1. The AARRR pirate funnel

Unlike conventional advertising and marketing or model advertising and marketing, development hacking focuses on just a few key growth-drivers, often known as AARRR, and ignores the whole lot else.

In 2007, Dave McClure, a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, angel investor, and a former advertising and marketing director at PayPal, created the AARRR framework: acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and income.


AARRR is a approach to measure startup development by monitoring key efficiency indicators (KPIs) outlined by 5 funnel levels. After McClure proposed the concept, customers nicknamed the AARRR framework as “pirate metrics”.

Here’s how the AARRR framework works. To monitor the efficiency of your development hacking advertising and marketing efforts, you possibly can decide just a few KPIs for every stage of the gross sales funnel. For instance, if you’d like to perceive how properly your acquisition channels work, you possibly can monitor and analyze the variety of website/touchdown web page/widget visits.

Technical background

The technical background required to allow development is one other distinctive function of development hacking. In addition to figuring out issues and discovering options, development hackers, in contrast to conventional advertising and marketing specialists, should have the tech abilities required to implement these options with out the assistance of the tech crew.

Here are some examples of the technical background development hackers should have:

  • Front-end coding, together with the fundamentals of HTML and CSS.
  • Building and optimizing touchdown pages (both manually or utilizing the drag-and-drop instruments)
  • Web scraping for lead assortment.
  • The capability to work with numerous development hacking software program, together with monitoring instruments, database managers, extensions, and plugins.


Another distinctive function of development hacking is its data-driven nature. David McKinley, a advertising and marketing director at Ivory Research, tells a narrative of how they used GIFs in e mail advertising and marketing to develop their buyer base. They created participating e mail copies, backed them up with related CTAs, and embedded trending GIFs. Everyone within the advertising and marketing crew predicted the e-mail marketing campaign to be extraordinarily profitable as they thought it matched the audience completely.

When the numbers got here in, it turned out that that they had fewer new shoppers than earlier than the GIF e mail marketing campaign launch. As a end result, the e-mail marketing campaign was shortly dumped, and all future e mail campaigns have been A/B examined earlier than aired.

There are many takeaways from David’s story, however an important one is the facility of analytics, which leads proper to my level. Growth hackers are extraordinarily analytical and use knowledge to inform each step. Every advertising and marketing choice, each answer, and each experiment made revolve round knowledge and development.

Unlike conventional entrepreneurs, development hackers deal with and measure their efficiency utilizing one thing that’s known as one metric that issues (OMTM). OMTM is a single metric that development entrepreneurs care about throughout totally different levels of a startup.

funnel flowchart



Technologies, and significantly the web, have given the world a brand new sort of merchandise: software program merchandise. For lots of and hundreds of years, a product has been a bodily object price exchanging or paying for. Now, clients take care of non-physical merchandise on a regular basis. Banking apps, streaming providers, and music subscription platforms are all as a lot merchandise as groceries, attire, and automobiles are.

This transformation of products from bodily to digital requires a very totally different mind-set, the one distinctive to development hackers. Unlike conventional entrepreneurs, development hackers perceive the potential of digital merchandise and the function they will play in their very own adoption. Thus, development hacking permits methods the place product-oriented strategies, like referrals, are central.

10 development hacks to strive in your advertising and marketing technique

Now, as you recognize extra about development hacking, its historical past, key distinctive options, and abilities required to be a great development hacker, it’s time for you to study just a few development hacking ideas. This part explains 10 methods you possibly can make use of development hacking in your advertising and marketing technique.

1. Break down your targets into subgoals

By specializing in the smaller subgoals which are SMART (as an alternative of extra normal targets), you possibly can attain the general development of what you are promoting. The SMART targets framework suggests setting targets which are particular, measurable, attainable, related, and time-bound.

2. Find a spot the place your audience is situated

If you’re wanting for the expansion hacks utilized by many profitable firms, most of them began out by discovering a spot the place their audience hangs out on-line. For instance, you possibly can market to the members of explicit Facebook teams with a messaging that may interact them.

3. Use the freemium mannequin

The freemium mannequin has turn out to be the dominant enterprise mannequin utilized by startupers. By permitting customers to check out the premium model of your product earlier than they determine if it’s proper for them, you possibly can increase your consumer base, and consequently, develop what you are promoting.

4. Implement a referral program

Referral packages, and different reward-based packages, are a good way to scale enterprise development. Develop a referral program that advantages each the referrer and the brand new buyer. This approach, you’ll create a win-win state of affairs that may profit your clients and stimulate development.

5. Leverage influencer market

Social media optimization, and significantly leveraging the influencer market, is one other approach to scale development. Before pursuing a partnership with influencers, make sure the influencer of your alternative is aligned together with your model’s values, audience, and product.

6. Employ the invite-only signup system

By implementing the invite-only signup system, you possibly can leverage the concern of lacking out (FOMO) that may immediate customers to join for your service. For occasion, you possibly can enable every service consumer to invite up to 5 pals who can then invite up to 5 pals, and so forth.

7. Content hacking

Content hacking is one other approach to scale development. Wait, what precisely is content material hacking? Basically, it is a mixture of development hacking and content material advertising and marketing efforts. By bettering your content material advertising and marketing sport, you possibly can enhance the site visitors to your web site, and consequently, develop your consumer base.

8. Gamify the consumer expertise

Gamifying the consumer expertise is one other approach to enhance development. With gamification, each interplay will really feel like an achievement, and your clients will truly take pleasure in participating together with your merchandise. This Ben & Jerry’s collaboration with Netflix is a good instance of gamification achieved proper:

ben and jerry


9. Inspire collaboration

Collaboration is what drives the expansion hacking course of. Different departments of your group want to be working collectively and to do fast experimentations to allow development.

10. Get artistic

The development hacking technique was revolutionary at a time, and now lots of of pros make use of it to allow development. It took a artistic (and analytical) mindset to provide you with such an idea. Turning your artistic concepts into experiments is the essence of the expansion hacking course of.

Growth hacking examples from firms which have achieved it proper

Now, as you recognize what development hacking is and the way to allow it, let’s check out the big-name firms which have achieved it proper!


Dropbox is an ideal development hacking case examine. They used development hacking practices to implement an automatic referral program that operated on the next thought – the extra pals you refer, the extra free area you get. This development hacking technique has helped Dropbox to turn out to be a multi-billion greenback firm with greater than 14 million users.




Growth hacking put one other big, Airbnb, on the map. The founders of Airbnb initially used Craigslist, a platform with thousands and thousands of customers, to market to individuals looking out for reasonably priced lodging. This development hacking technique succeeded as Airbnb skyrocketed into changing into the primary app for reasonably priced lodging with an estimated net worth of about $38 billion.




In 2010, following three months of its unique launch, Pinterest had acquired solely 3,000 customers. To scale development, the founders began the “Pin It Forward” marketing campaign by which customers would make a pinboard and get extra invitations by getting different customers to create their pinboards. The marketing campaign resulted in Pinterest’s fast take-off, and now the platform has over 360 million month-to-month energetic customers and is among the most used social media networks.

pin it forward



The backside line is that development hacking just isn’t a hard and fast technique. Continual brainstorming, evaluation, testing, and experimenting is what makes a great development hacking system that may assist what you are promoting skyrocket. Following the expansion hacking ideas will assist you put extra customers on the prime of the conversion funnel and stimulate development. Still, development hacking is all a few particular mindset cultivated by the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley.

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