What is Growth Hacking and Strategies for Startups

By Vivek | Last Updated on December 28th, 2020 12:44 pm | 5-min read
What is growth hacking?

Growth hacking, a relatively new field in marketing, is a blanket term for strategies focusing on brand growth. Growth hacking makes it possible to go beyond the general demographics of the target market and look into data points like their internet usage, the devices they use, what they are looking for and their buying triggers. The term is related to startups, which need massive growth in a short time on micro budgets.

Growth hacking has only been around for a few years, but it’s already catching up. Every startup is looking for growth hackers. The reason is obvious, everyone wants to grow fast and obtain millions of users and big revenue.

(Above video is a part of a more elaborate course on Academy by Appy Pie. To access the complete course, please Click Here, or continue reading below.)

A growth hacker is someone who uses creative, low-cost strategies to help businesses obtain and retain customers. Growth hackers have very analytical minds and they tend to venture deeper into any subject. They dig into the data across the internet to find the exact target audience. Growth hackers are also called growth marketers, but they are not simply marketers. Anyone involved in a product or service can be a growth hacker.

The Importance of Growth Hacking

With all information growth hackers create the best strategies for the business to grow and in this blog we will discuss what is growth hacking, best growth hacking examples, and growth hacking strategy. We have listed below major points of growth hacking strategy for startups:

  • Create a Pre-Launch Email List
  • Introduce a Double-Edged Referral Hack
  • Launch a Program to Reward Loyal Customers
  • Leverage Adjacent Markets
  • Build a Community Around Your Brand
  • Capitalize on the Fear of Missing Out
  • Make Your Business Visible
  • Create an Aggressive Content Marketing Strategy
  • Launch a Freemium Model
  • Do Guest Posting
  • Get Bloggers to Review Your Product
  • Work with Influencers
  • Cash the Trends
  • Follow Your Biggest Competitors
  • Repurpose Existing Content on Your Website/Blog
  1. Create a Pre-Launch Email List

  2. When it comes to an effective startup growth strategy, email marketing remains the best. Put your focus on building an email list. It allows you to reach your audience and deliver your message effectively to your customers. Additionally, email marketing helps businesses to build pre-launch excitement for any product or event. You will acquire potential customers even before your launch.

  3. Introduce a Double-Edged Referral Hack

  4. When it comes to key growth hacking strategies, Dropbox’s referral scheme is the first to come to the mind. Users who refer a friend receive additional space for free, and the person who signs up from the link also gets a free gift.

  5. Use HARO for Press Opportunities

  6. One of the best growth hacking tips is – Helping A Reporter Out (HARO), as a platform where you can display your expertise. It is not only a brand-building tool but a place to read requests by journalists and scribes that may or may not be relevant to your domain. Remember reporters are very specific about what they need. Therefore, do not waste their time pitching an idea as they have not asked about. All this will take up a lot of time but will be worth it if executed correctly.
    The team at Spider-Solitaire-Challenge, for example, has had good success getting press mentions through HARO. They have a process of looking for inquiries related to games or their business expertise, and respond within two hours of the email being sent out. In each response, they begin by explaining why they have the expertise to help.

    (Above video is a part of a more elaborate course on Academy by Appy Pie. To access the complete course, please Click Here, or continue reading below.)

  7. Launch a Program to Reward Loyal Customers

  8. Loyalty programs work because of the way our brains are built. Customers love loyalty programs, and a study revealed 54 percent would increase the volume of business they have for rewards. Customers were given the chance to play a game for every three orders they place –the reward could either be a free drink, a dessert, gift certificates or free food for one year.

  9. Leverage Adjacent Markets

  10. One of the brilliant sales growth hacks is Adjacent markets. The goal behind getting into an adjacent market is to leverage a business’s existing capabilities and apply them to a new market. The basic secret to adjacent markets is to export your skills. It is usually confused with white space opportunities. When Nike decided to enter the market of mountaineering products, they started offering footwear for mountaineering activities. Once they had built customer loyalty, they branched out to the apparel industry successfully.

  11. Social Media Growth Hacking: Build a Community Around Your Brand

  12. Social media is an important part of the marketing mix for businesses. You can leverage social media communities to promote your business, receive market feedback and interact with industry influencers. However, it takes time to develop content and build an audience. For this, you must try to align social media activities with the overall direction of your growth.

    One of the best social media growth hacking strategies is creating a Facebook group around your brand where your audience can engage with your brand.

  13. Capitalize on the Fear of Missing Out

  14. Insecurity is an effective tool to attract new customers to a product. Limiting access to a product or service to members triggers an emotional response –the fear of missing out (FOMO) is more effective than logic. Gmail employed the invite-only strategy when it was launched. Owning a Gmail account meant being part of an exclusive circle and finally created a huge demand. Having a Gmail account was so much in demand, and invites were sold on eBay with bids going as high as USD 150.

  15. Make Your Business Visible

  16. Small businesses have the opportunity to make a positive social impact on the world by empowering as many people as possible. Hotmail reached one million users in just six months. The company did this by using 20,000 subscribers as leverage. The “Get your free email” at the Hotmail sign-off strapline, linking back to Hotmail site was added to each and every outgoing mail. Users who clicked on the link became Hotmail users, and this fueled exponential growth.

  17. Create an Aggressive Content Marketing Strategy

  18. With a modest budget, create an aggressive content marketing strategy for your business that allows your audience to understand the value of your product. Regardless of what type of business you have, your content marketing strategies should always focus on attracting just the right audience. For your business customer feedback is of high relevance. This will help you resolve issues and queries faster. You will be able to handle customer objections effectively and help you focus on customer feedback and market your product with ease.

  19. Launch a Freemium Model

  20. Growing a business is all about knowing the most effective distribution channels and how to deliver content your digital users will love. One effective strategy to deliver the right content is by offering basic services for free. People love anything for free, especially when it has got a rich set of features. Users are given the choice to apply for a premium membership to unlock advanced features. Spotify gained success by using the Freemium model.

  21. Do Guest Posting and Get Bloggers to Review Your Product

  22. Guest posting services help to build a connection. There are numerous guest posting services available online. Guest blogging is one great growth hack that bloggers tend to use for gaining organic website traffic and reaching out to different audiences by improving their search engine rankings.

    Offering free accounts in exchange for reviews from influential bloggers can be another great way to get the word out about your product or service to be marketed. This is a smart growth hacking tactic because it lets people get to know your product or service, and they may even end up promoting it even more, finally helping you to grow.

  23. Work with Influencers

  24. When the brand-building comes into the conversation, there is a reason why brands pay influencers to endorse their products. Joining hands with well-known influencers is a significant way to reach out to a wider audience. Influencers having over 50,000+ followers are most impactful. Entrepreneurs should collaborate with influencers to promote their products and services. Influencer marketing if used in the right manner can help any business to raise awareness and grab massive reach.

  25. Cash the Trends

  26. When it comes to customer service, marketing, sales, budget tracking, and product development, it can be difficult for any brand to stay on the top. Identifying trends at a very early stage will allow you to come up with profitable campaign ideas — or alter your business plans to jump on a new trend just as it takes off. You can achieve accelerated results by staying well-informed of the latest trends.

  27. Follow Your Competitors

  28. Competition always exists, though it may come in different shapes and sizes. Once you have acknowledged your competitive landscape, it is important to display why your company has a competitive advantage in any respective market. Many businesses fail due to pursuing competition without an action plan. As a result, brands fail to produce desired results. A good plan should focus on discovering all buzz around the target brand. The plan should include regular analysis of the competitor blog.

  29. Repurpose Existing Content on Your Website/Blog

  30. Startups should never be timid about repurposing content. You are using something that is valuable and you are offering it to someone who appreciates that value. The success of startups depends on the quality of their content and exposure to relevant audiences. Repurposing content and expanding the number of publishing platforms can lead to a range of interesting profitable outcomes. As a startup consider repurposing content as a very important aspect.

    Three Best Growth Hacking Examples

    Three Best Growth Hacking Examples

    1. Facebook
    2. The world’s most favorite social media platform is undoubtedly one of the best growth hack examples in today’s digital world. With more than 2 billion users, Facebook has now become a life fact for us. Facebook is the world’s biggest social advertising platform. It is a great place for building an online community, whether it’s one that’s chiefly organic or advertising-based.

    3. PayPal
    4. Another business PayPal is one of the best growth hacking examples. The fact that giving away money will help your organization grow is something new. Well, it worked wonders for Paypal. Their growth hacking strategy and plan was to use the referral program. They began to incentivize users who brought in more users by using PayPal’s referral program. As a result, PayPal’s business began to grow by 7 percent to 10 percent on a daily basis. The total cost of incentives reached nearly USD 60 million.

    5. Dollar Shave Club
    6. Video content is in more demand than ever. This growth hacking example of the Dollar Shave Club proves how effective video marketing is and how conveniently you can get all the conversions you need with the right video content. According to Business Insider, the Dollar Shave Club made more than USD 20 million in revenue by using the following video growth hack.

      First, they encouraged people to add their friends and family so that they can share content within their circle on Facebook. Then Facebook sent emails to their friends and family inviting them to create an account with Facebook.


    A real growth hacking strategy is not just about driving demand –it is about giving customers what they want and addressing their pain points. Key growth hacking strategies are not only reserved for professionals. Anyone who has the right skills, drive and tools can build upon these tactics to increase a product’s reach and subscribers. The end game for growth hackers is finding scalable strategies to bring in more users. So don’t just wait, get on with growth hacks of different combinations and permutations, which companies use to boost their sales and grow businesses. Discover everything you need to know about growth hacking; what it is and how it helps to increase your brand awareness in the course – Growth Hacking Techniques in Digital Marketing on Appy Pie Academy.

    You May Also Like:

    Take a deeper dive into the digital ecosystem and start expanding your business with these helpful resources:

    About The Author

    Vivek Srivastava, co-founder, Appy Pie, is a digital analyst and writes extensively about website and app promotion. He has over 8 years of experience in outbound and inbound digital marketing, website analytics, social media, conversion rate optimization and business analytics. Before entering the Digital arena, Vivek covered technology news for TV channels, Local Newspapers and Radio Channels. He also has a keen interest in music and he enjoys playing music instruments.

    App Builder

Take a Related Course