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Everything You Need To Know About Growth Hacking

Everything You Need To Know About Growth Hacking

You may have come across the term “growth hacking” somewhere and thought about what it is, who is a growth hacker, whether or not growth hacking comes under digital marketing, etc. Several big names such as Dropbox and AirBnB have made the most of growth hacking to reach the top. Nowadays, growth hacking is not only used by bigger companies but most startups and small businesses also use growth hacking strategies to ensure they stay at the top of their game and are not left behind.

Growth Hacking vs. Traditional Marketing

Marketing and growth hacking overlap each other at some point which is probably why many people assume marketers to be growth hackers, but that’s not the case. A growth hacker does not have to be a marketer at all as several marketers lack the growth hacking mindset and skills. Following are some of the key differences between growth hacking and traditional marketing:


  • Traditional marketing is mainly about selling products and services for a brand while growth hacking has a more comprehensive function.
  • The main emphasis of marketers is sales whereas growth hackers emphasize identifying the most effective means to grow businesses.
  • The main focus of traditional marketers is everyday marketing and branding while growth hackers focus on coming up with as many growth opportunities and strategies as they can.
  • Marketers don’t follow a customer till the end of their journey as they focus more on the awareness and acquisition part. Growth hackers, on the opposite, follow customers throughout their journey till the very end of the funnel.
  • Traditional marketers tend to work on bigger and long-term projects while growth hackers mostly conduct small experiments to test what works best for a business.
  • Marketers are used to running high-exposure and high-cost campaigns, be it on billboards, ads on the front page of a magazine or newspaper, etc. On the other hand, growth hackers are always looking for shortcuts, hacks, or tricks that are cost-effective yet highly successful. 
  • Most marketers lack technical skills like coding, programming, and automation. Whereas, a growth hacker is packed with all these technical skills.
  • Traditional marketers make decisions based on theories and methodologies that have been already tested by others. On the contrary, growth hackers are accustomed to using a data-driven approach and testing their strategies to get the best results.

Who is a Growth Hacker?

A growth hacker is a person who uses creative and cost-effective means to help a business grow, gain new customers and retain them. This is one of the primary differences between a growth hacker and a traditional marketer. Besides, growth hackers follow customers throughout their journey at every step of the funnel to ensure they become a part of the loyal customer base. As a growth hacker is a person whose sole focus is growth, they strive to achieve growth across not just a single but several metrics. Moreover, growth hackers come up with hypothetical strategies and are not afraid to test them to see which offers the best results for a business. Growth hackers are obsessed and curious to analyze and test more strategies, they know how to prioritize growth strategies, and constantly search for mediums to acquire new customers.

Skills of a Growth Hacker

Growth hackers are packed with an extensive set of skills as they have to come up with effective strategies in a very short time. Some skills you will need as a growth hacker include knowledge of data, design, programming, etc. A growth hacker doesn’t need to be an expert in everything, but they should know enough to independently do things on their own. A growth hacker with a broad range of skills is called a T-shaped growth hacker. T-shaped growth hackers not only have comprehensive knowledge of many fields but also have a bunch of special growth hacking skills, hence creating a T-shaped skill set.

The skills of a growth hacker include but are not limited to:

  • A growth hacker should know how to create landing pages.
  • Growth hackers should also know how to develop a website.
  • Must have a basic know-how of graphic design – fonts, colors, branding, etc.
  • They should be able to use different platforms like Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft Bing, etc.
  • Must be able to code in basic CSS and HTML.
  • Know how to implement Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, and other tracking tools.
  • A growth hacker should be aware of conversion rate optimization (CRO), implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in marketing, data and web scraping, chatbots, APIs, etc.
  • Growth hackers should have the ability to make data-driven decisions.
  • Growth hackers must always have room for improvement and should not be afraid of trying and testing new ideas and strategies to take a business to greater heights.

The Five AARRR Metrics

A significant key to growth hacking is using the five AARRR metrics known as the “Pirate” growth hacking method. The AARRR metrics include:

  1. Acquisition – How do customers find you by name?
  2. Activation – How to make customers happy on their first visit so that they take the desired action?
  3. Retention – How to make customers come for more?
  4. Referral – How to make customers your advocates to bring in more customers?
  5. Revenue – How can you generate more revenue and increase your cash flow?

You would’ve noticed that all these metrics are straightaway related to how you can grow your business. It also shows that the more profit you get, the more your business will grow.

Growth Hacking Strategies

Growth hackers follow several strategies to grow a business, two of which are mentioned below:

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing is an inexpensive way to spread awareness about your brand, product, or service. Content marketing strategies include but are not limited to: 

  • Creating and sharing useful content
  • Guest posting
  • Writing additional content like eBooks, guides, checklists, whitepapers, etc.
  • Uploading podcasts
  • Making the most of search engine optimization (SEO) to enhance content visibility.
  • Content repurposing – making the most of existing content and using it again for a new purpose.
  • Using interactive content like quizzes, webinars, videos, etc. Interactive content attracts and engages many customers.


2. Product Marketing

Product marketing is all about ensuring your product looks more appealing to potential customers. Some of the most effective product marketing strategies include:

  • Incorporating the fear of missing out (FOMO) by using the invite-only signup process.
  • Offering rewards and incentives for referrals so that both the new user and referrer can get equal benefits and advantages.
  • Leveraging the power of affiliate marketing, which also implements content marketing tactics to get the maximum results.

Growth Hacking ideas you can try to scale your business

  • Dominate social media channels your competitors aren’t using yet and grow a customer base there.
  • Find potential partners for your business to grow your audience.
  • Offer freebies to make prospective customers interested in your brand.
  • Split test (A/B test) your website’s landing pages, homepage, blog posts, sales pages, etc.

Growth Hacking Examples


The founders of AirBnB did not have enough money to pay their rent so they came up with the idea to rent their air mattresses to earn some cash. Three people used their air mattresses and paid $80 for a night. They realized they could do something bigger with this idea and they did! They laid the foundation of AirBnB, a successful online marketplace that allows people to rent their place to travelers.


PayPal tried their best to be placed as a payment option on eBay but failed miserably. Joining eBay would have brought them a small commission on each transaction but eBay was not interested at all. PayPal in return reached out to some of eBay’s biggest sellers asking if they could buy their products and pay via PayPal. The sellers had no idea what PayPal was, but they realized that PayPal not being on eBay was costing them money. Thus, when several big sellers demanded eBay add PayPal as a payment option, eBay had to give in to their demands and integrated PayPal as a payment option.


One of the most popular examples of growth hacking is Dropbox. The company wanted more people to use their software. They came up with a referral program where customers would get extra free storage if they referred Dropbox to others and invited their friends as new users. Dropbox offered their current customers 250MBs of additional storage for every new user they brought. Know that Dropbox was one of the first few companies to ever use a referral program and it did wonders for them. Dropbox successfully grew its users from 100,000 to around 4 million within just two years!

Some of the best Growth Hacking books you can read

1. Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis

This book is written by none other than the OG growth hacker Sean Ellis and it examines how today’s fastest-growing companies drive breakout success. Ellis evaluates in this bestselling growth hacking book the journeys of giants like Facebook, Pinterest, AirBnB, and Uber to highlight the ways they became successful.

2. Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Looking for the best books on startup growth? Traction is one of the best books on how any startup can achieve explosive customer growth.

3. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell has used several case studies and stories in this amazing book on indirect growth hacking. He explains how little things can make a big difference.

4. Growth Hacking: Silicon Valley’s Best Kept Secret by Raymond Fong and Chad Ridderson

This book narrates the success stories of some of the biggest companies and the factors that sealed the deal for them.

5. Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

Growth Hacker Marketing is one of the most famous guides to growth hacking, it explains some simple steps to gain explosive growth.

6. Growth IQ by Tiffani Bova

Growth IQ is a Wall Street Journal bestseller and can help you get smarter about the choices that will make or break your business.

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