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Savvy marketers need an extensive arsenal of growth hacking tools at their disposal if they want to take their growth marketing and lead generation efforts to stratospheric levels. 

There's no shortage of companies ranging from small businesses and startups to large enterprises who've tapped into growth hacking campaigns to become influencers in their relative spaces. 

Here are some of the best growth hacker campaign examples:

  • Dropbox grew to an estimated total value of $10 billion by offering users an extra 250MB of storage for inviting friends, drastically boosting retention rates.

  • YouTube famously cut the plug-in middleman from the process of video uploading, putting video sharing in the hands of hundreds of millions of new users.

  • Uber Eats increased conversion rates by experimenting with collecting highly targeted customer data and feedback in limited test cities before launching globally.

  • Airbnb integrated Craigslist’s API, giving users the ability to cross-post in real time, radically amplifying their customer acquisition. 

  • Outlook, when called Hotmail, added invitations within email campaigns with the tagline “P.S. I love you” to all outgoing messages and acquired nearly 12 million users in 18 months.

These iconic examples of marketing campaigns remain the standard for businesses who’ve set their sights on ambitious, parabolic growth beyond traditional spending-for-growth strategies. 

With consumer acquisition coming in as a top priority for two-thirds of marketers this year, growth hacking tools have become essential to businesses at all stages of development. 

Here's what marketing teams need to know if they want to enhance the user experience with growth hacking.

Key takeaways

  • Growth hacking is a specialized kind of marketing that prioritizes growth that is disproportionate to expenses. 

  • Growth hacking works by creating viral loops in which success breeds success. 

  • Keeping pace with how people find and consume the content they want is integral to sustained growth hacking.

What is growth hacking?

Growth hacking is a marketing strategy that focuses on achieving growth with unlimited scalability. 

Growth hacking strategies can involve a variety of marketing channels such as:

  • email

  • mobile apps

  • social media

  • landing pages

  • CRM

  • ecommerce

  • search engine optimization (SEO)

  • web analytics

  • content marketing

All successful implementations create viral loops in which new customers refer and create potential customers themselves in a recursive acquisition process.

With its ability to scale endlessly inside viral loops, growth hacking differs from traditional digital marketing strategies by creating growth potential that isn’t restricted by budgets. 

A successful growth hack might take the form of leveraging free channels to move content to exponentially larger audiences or creating incentives that new customers value far above the expense they require to create.


5 ways to growth hack your business

A Venn diagram of growth hacking concepts.

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1. Create sharing options

Effective growth hacking always involves setting marketing automation processes in motion that begin to do the work for you. Unlike demos or samples of physical products, the reach of the digital content you create doesn't depend on resources invested. 

It only needs to find its way to more sets of eyes.

To boost customer acquisition, ensure that wherever your content appears, it can be shared directly to social media. This allows customers who identify with your brand to speak for you in their extended social circles.

2. Use free content syndication channels

Where it can be circulated with little to no cost, republishing can pack more value into your best written content. Many of the web’s largest content sharing networks provide free channels to syndicate articles and blogs. 

  • LinkedIn members can freely publish on their platform and promote content to the network’s 810 million users.

  • Medium is a free publishing site with tens of millions of users. Articles on Medium are thoroughly indexed and backlinked, driving traffic back to the original posts. 

With any form of content syndication—free or paid—you should verify that the third-party sites that republish your content backlink and canonically reference the originals so as not to adversely affect your own organic rankings.

3. Project your content in all media types

In both B2B and B2C contexts, today’s consumers respond to—and expect to find—content in an evolving array of media types. To effectively amplify your voice for growth hacking, you will need to project your message in your customers’ preferred channels.

  • Video: Online video consumption has doubled in the last four years and more than 90% of marketers now rely on video content to improve their overall messaging.

  • Audio: Podcast consumption in the U.S. grew in 2021 to 15 billion total hours.

  • Virtual reality (VR): The global number of monthly VR users now exceeds 85 million.

4. Automate social media marketing

Social networks try to sell you on paid media such as Facebook ads and retargeting, but there are much easier ways to attract website visitors. 

Leveraging social media channels for growth hacking requires making it work for you. Each of the world’s current social media giants—Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter—allow for varying degrees of automation. Either in the application or through third parties, automation in this case, refers to creating the maximum engagement with a minimum of regular manual input.

Here are some automation techniques to implement:

  • Schedule posts in advance for optimal days and times.

  • Create a queue of posts and workflows to fill optimal slots regularly.

  • Capitalize on analytics tools and metrics reported within the apps to adjust the content you create.

  • Use chatbots to maintain 24/7 responsiveness.

5. Optimize your content with A/B testing

an illustration of a/b testing

A/B testing—also known as split-testing—compares the performance of a control and a variant version of a digital asset distributed randomly at equal rates. 

Ideally, A/B tests should isolate single elements for comparison to limit misattribution of the higher-performing instance. Tests are then subjected to further iterations to drive up performance in stages.

A/B testing works well for a variety of digital assets:

  • ad copy and images

  • marketing emails

  • calls to action (CTA)

  • sign-up or referral incentives

In each case, getting optimal results depends on accurately defining what variable you ultimately want to measure such as clicks, conversions or subscriptions.

Fast, actionable A/B testing with Optimizely

To gain new customer insights and create higher-performing websites, you need fast and reliable A/B testing. At Optimizely, our team of experts specializes in creating data-backed multivariate A/B tests that deliver actionable metrics and eliminate wasteful guesswork. 

To schedule a free intro to A/B experimentation, contact Optimizely today.