Growth Hacking 101

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To combat this lack of money and experience, growth hackers approach marketing with a focus on innovation, scalability, and user connectivity. Growth hacking does not, however, separate product design and product effectiveness from marketing. Growth hackers build the product's potential growth, including user acquisition, onboarding, monetization, retention, and virality, into the product itself.  Fast Company used Twitter's "Suggested Users List" as an example: "This was Twitter's real secret: It built marketing into the product rather than building infrastructure to do a lot of marketing."However, growth hacking isn't always free. TechCrunch shared several nearly free growth hacks explaining that growth hacking is effective marketing and not mythical marketing pixie dust. As new tools(SaaS) come out specifically that focus on more advanced forms of Growth Hacking, more and more tools are being offered as free.

The heart of growth hacking is the relentless focus on growth as the only metric that truly matters. Mark Zuckerberg had this mindset while growing Facebook. While the exact methods vary from company to company and from one industry to the next, the common denominator is always growth. Companies that have successfully "growth hacked" usually have a viral loop naturally built into their onboarding process. New customers typically hear about the product or service through their network and by using the product or service, share it with their connections in turn. This loop of awareness, use, and sharing can result in exponential growth for the company.

Growth hacking frames the user acquisition process through the "Pirate Funnel" metaphor (in short, new users flow through a 6-stage funnel - awareness, acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, referral), which got its name from the abbreviation of the first six letters spelling AAARRR. Rapidly optimizing this process is a core goal of growth hacking, since making each stage of the funnel more efficient will increase the number of users in the most advantageous stages of the funnel.

TwitterFacebookDropboxPinterestYouTubeGrouponUdemyInstagram and Google are all companies that used and still use growth hacking techniques to build brands and improve profits.

Examples of "Growth Hacks.

The examples below are called growth hacks and are the most well-known acts of growth hacking. Often people see growth hacking as merely repeating these growth hacks, but one should know that the 'hacks' are only the result of a repeatable growth hacking process, which all growth hackers use a way of working. Below are some of the most famous growth hacking examples:

  • An early example of "growth hacking" was Hotmail's inclusion of "PS I Love You" with a link for others to get the free online mail service. Another example was the offer of more storage by Dropbox to users who referred their friends

  • Online worldwide independent lodging company, Airbnb, is an example of growth hacking by coupling technology and ingenuity. Airbnb realized they could essentially hack the Craiglist.org scale and tap both into their user base as well as their website by adding automated listing generators from Airbnb with the feature called "Post to Craigslist". The company's growth was a combination of clever thinking and technical know-how.

  • The University of Alberta increased email subscribers by 500% using a popup survey by Qualaroo that asked anyone who spent more than 10 seconds on the site: “You seem interested in UAlberta news. Would you like to sign up for the Daily News email?”.

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