The primary aim of every business owner is to gain a large customer base to whom they will be able to flaunt their products…But just attaining a huge customer base is not enough.

You also have to retain them and keep them active.

So, how will you do that?

Simple! Growth hacking.

The founders of Hotmail had used effective growth hacking techniques to attain a customer base of 1 million within a month. When they sold off to Microsoft, they had a user base which was 12 million in strength and that too within just 7 months!

Awesome, right?

So what exactly is this growth hack?

Well, growth hacking is a technique of acquiring customers, which has been developed with the help of technology.

This process usually uses the likes of analytical thinking, creativity and social metrics to attract customers and gain exposure for various startups.

What is Growth Hacking?

But who does growth hacking for the startups?

Growth hacking is done by a bunch of professionals called growth hackers who have been described by Andrew Chen as:

“Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph. On top of this, they layer the discipline of direct marketing, with its emphasis on quantitative measurement, scenario modeling via spreadsheets, and a lot of database queries”

But how will a growth hacker help you?

Well, when you say that you have been a successful marketer, you should have at least 40% of your customer base who will be very disappointed without your product.

Whether you have reached such a position or not, a growth hacker will either help you to achieve such a feat or will help you to further enhance your situation.

Dropbox had used a growth hack in order to gain more customers. Here, they offered a scheme called “refer a friend” where both the involved parties were awarded with free storage space.  The idea obviously went viral and Dropbox gained a huge user base within a very short period of time.

 Dropbox's Invite-Your-Friends Growth Hacking Strategy

Okay! Now you are aware of what growth hack is, who growth hackers are and how they can help you to expand your business and gain exposure for you. You also know how famous companies have used the process to gain large number of users within a short period of time. But you must be curious about the various techniques of growth hack which you can use in order to boost up your business without spending a penny?

We will use this article to provide you with some of the best growth hacking techniques which you can use to get more exposure for your business.


1. Create Community Around Your Product

Do you know how to retain your customers once you have acquired them? Simple! You engage them in your business and their curiosity will make them be be loyal to you.

The sign of a successful marketer is the fact that they are capable of engaging their customers rather than just communicating with them. In this way the customer takes interest in your product and helps you grow by making your product a part of their daily life.

They tend to converse with your representatives and peers in order to help your product to evolve. One of the best methods of engaging your customers and getting them hooked to your product is to build a community surrounding it. This will serve as a forum where your customers will be able to communicate with each other as well as the tech support and customer support teams of your business.

Engaging Customers Online Through Forums


2. Give Users Option to Try Themselves

The “try it yourself” hack is yet another classic growth hack for your business which invariably invokes interest and curiosity of your customers as well as your visitors.

When you introduce new business or products from your organization, you tend to provide the visitors or potential customers with detailed knowledge sessions on how your business works and what your product does for the customers.

This can make them bored and in some cases might also confuse the customers with all the technical jargon. To avoid such a situation, all you need to do is provide them with a facility where they get to use the services or products on their own and check out what it does for them.

This will make it a fun process to learn about your product and also interest them to find new ways to make it work for their benefits.

Eoniq is the perfect example of this strategy where you can create your own watch from 100’s of customization options they provide.

Customizing Your Own Watch at Eoniq


3. Use Twitter as a Growth Hack Tool

Yet another discovery by Grasswire man Austin Allred, this hack includes the utilization of Twitter to find probable customers who will be interested in your product. There are basically three methods to this hack. You can check Rafi Chowdhury’s case study in which he discussed the whole strategy to use Twitter as a growth hacking tool.

  • You need to look into the accounts of your competitors and follow their followers. This will invoke them with curiosity and they will follow you back, thus increasing your customer base. But this method has a potential risk of spam accounts.
  • You need to search Twitter for people who are looking for products which are similar to the one you are selling. Although this requires time to skim through idle talkers and tweets from competitors, it does produce fruitful results.
  • You specifically search for people who “need” your product on Twitter and follow them. This is both time saving and helps you gain followers who will be potential customers in the future.

Chowdhury's Digital Twitter Page


4. Growth Hack Instagram for your Business

This super awesome growth hack was first discovered by Austin Allred of Grasswire. The hack, although a bit time consuming, is pretty effective when it comes to the acquisition of the large customer base within a small period of time. All you need to do is have an Instagram account for your company to make this hack work.

You need to choose a specific set of hashtags, which complements your service or product. Go to the search section of Instagram and search for the hashtags. Like the top three or four pictures which contain the said hashtags. You need to follow the accounts which have posted these pictures and keep liking their most recent pictures.

This technique has a pretty awesome follow back rate and will help you to gain more and more Instagram likes and follows for your account which in turn means a growing base of customers. Check out this article on Instagram growth hacks for your business in detail.

Tips for Perfect Instagram Profile Page


5. Fake it to Appear Large

The fake it hack, as the name suggests, is the technique of appearing much larger than you actually are. Consider the puffer fish. It is a rather small fish which dwells in the marine environment where it has to protect itself from larger threats. Hence it fills up its stomach (which is elastic in nature) with water to appear much larger.

Many startups use the same technique in order to attract investors and users as all of love to attend a fuller party rather than an empty one. Fake it hack is all about providing your customers and probable investors with an idea that you are much larger than a small startup so that they rely on you.

Pipetop did it by displaying a large number of phone numbers on their homepage which made them seem to be a large company and not a small startup.

Pipetop Website Landing Page


6. Be Exclusive

Human nature compels us to have what we can’t have. Be it a car, another human or a vacation, if it is forbidden to us, we will be more in awe of it. Here in comes the exclusivity hack. You have to give your customers an impression that your product is an exclusive one which can only be achieved by a handful of them.

The thought of being excluded or someone having it and them not will make them fight to achieve it. When you limit the number of customers who can avail your product or utilize your services, it makes them fearful of losing on it all together. This invariably triggers an emotional response which makes them hungrier for your product and their curiosity increase.

Their logical sense gets overpowered by the emotional part. This makes them jump for your product and helps in growth.

A red apple in the middle of green apples


7. The Accurate Growth Hack

Double sided referral act is the exact growth hack which was used by Dropbox and which was stated earlier in this article. It helped them grow their customer base by 60% permanently and that too in a short span of time. Basically, when you offer some kind of incentive to your existing customers for referring your business to others, it only excites the referrers to act on your behalf.

This may or may not attract new customers to your site. But on the contrary, if you offer incentives to both the parties, i.e. the one who refers and the one who joins your customer base due to the reference, it automatically increases the chances of attaining new customers for your business. This will help you to gain more customers and will keep them active as they will be using the incentive that you have provided.

Dropbox Website Landing Page


8. Use LinkyDink to Expand Business

What is LinkyDink? Well! It is a link sharing tool which helps you to share the link of your business to multiple people. LinkyDink works by sending e-mails regularly to a group of people who tend to subscribe to a particular group or forum which is related to the product you are trying to sell or to the business you are trying to promote.

In this way you no longer have to take the hassle to code your own website.

You can just link to or create a group on another website about your business and product, utilize the facilities of LinkyDink and have the advantage of a growing customer base in no time. Hoover used this technique successfully and received as many as 170 customers for its business with a short span of just two weeks.

Linky Dink Website Landing Page


9. Create an Awesome Landing Page

Your landing page is one of the most important parts of your business or product website. They say that first impression goes a long way and your landing page provides your customers with a first impression for your business or product. So you need to make your landing page catchy and interesting.

Utilize your landing page to provide your customers with an idea of what your products are so that they are aware before delving into the details of the same. This will be beneficial to both the new users with low awareness levels and existing users.

You can create different landing pages for new and existing users as existing users may get bored of product explanations. Use tools like Google Analytics to know about the statistics of new as well as returning users and you can then set your page set up strategies based on it.

Awesome Landing Page


10. Use Reverse Engineering Method

This is the age of technology and you can see a start-up pop up every day. Hence it is very obvious that you will have many competitors. Most people tend to think of these competitors as obstacles in their path of growth. However, you have to think them as a tool for your growth and learn from them.

When you are thinking of a startup, take a good dig at the similar businesses which are already prevalent. Reverse engineer their marketing strategies and compare with the one which you have made in order to see whether it is full proof or does it require some tweaking for further improvement.

There are a number of websites present such as Google Advance Search Operators which provides you with data like the number of ads launched by your competitors, their email blasts and their website traffics to provide you with a clear picture.

Growth Hacking Using Google Advance Search Operators


11. Use Net Promoter Score to Make Customer Happy

The net promoter score hack is a simple and effective way of making your customers feel special and important. It basically utilizes two questions to reach out to your customers. The first question, ask them to score your website on a number scale as to whether your customer will recommend your product or business to other people or not.

If this question is properly answered by them, it will automatically send them an e-mail which will pump them for providing you with the score and ask them for a review as to why they gave you that particular score. This is a pretty effective growth hack for two main reasons:

  • It’s easy. All your customers see is one single question and an e-mail following it up.
  • It provides you with a review that you can learn from.

Net Promoter Scores


12. Viral Sign-up Form to Increase Customer Base

The best mantra for boosting the sale of your product or your service is the fact that you need “more”. More likes, more sales, more customers, more followers. Basically more of everything that is good for your business. How will you achieve that? Well!

The viral sign-up form hack is one of the classic growth hacks which provide you with more customers. It simply is an innovative way of addressing your website visitors to sign-up to your website. One of the best ways of doing it is by providing them with some kind of extra facilities or rewards if they recommend your site to others.

This way your sign-up form will be made viral by your existing customers and you will gain the facility of reaching out to a larger customer base with limited effort and without spending anything.

Growth Hacking Using Viral Sign Up Forms


13. Detect your Success Barrier

When we start up a business or our product isn’t selling as much as it should, the first impulse of most of us is to invest further in the marketing of the product to boost up the sale. But the technique just might fail to work. In major cases the problem lies with the product itself and not with the technique of marketing you are using.

The “aha moment” is usually the time when the extensive research of your product leads to the detection of the flaw which is preventing your customer base from increasing. It might be a small glitch which is hampering the user experience major time or a feature which is preventing your customer from sticking to your product.

Once you resolve this issue, you can be assured to get a loyal customer base who will be happy to help you grow further through recommendations.


14. Transparency is the New Marketing

With the growth of technology as well as the business world, people have become more and more aware of the various dubious methods used by the marketers to boost up the sale of their product. People these days are bored of and can easily see through false marketing claims.

In such a world a transparent marketing approach will help you boost up your business in a small time. The transparency hack basically asks you to put everything out in the open. Check out the article in which Neil Patel says “Transparency is the New Marketing”.

Example of a Product Revenue Chart

It helps your customers to trust you more as they get to know about little details about your business initiative. This brutal transparency will make your customers recommend your business to others. This will help in the initiation of a chain reaction which will make your customer base grow in a pretty short period of time. It will also help you gain a reputation as an honest organization.


15. Start Acquisition 

They say “if you can’t beat them, join them” or in this case you can also buy them if you can the acquisition hack is a pretty common hack which is used by many businesses where negotiations are made with other businesses, which already have a growing customer base or a developed customer base, to join or buy the same.

This helps the former to get advantage of the already large customer base of the later. This was successfully done by Buffer when they have purchased the already established Digg Digg and added their button to them.

Digg Digg


16. Pre-target Your Customers

Providing your customers with e-mails about your product will help you to induce the interest of your customers to your product. But if you are sending e-mails to people who are totally uninterested in your product, it may affect your business in a very negative way where you e-mail will be sent to spam folder and go in vain.

What you need to do is make your customers curious about your product before you send them the details? This is called pretargeting growth hack. You can use various social media sites to promote your product or advertise them so that people take a good amount of interest in them.

They become eager to know more about your product. Providing them with details after invoking considerable amount of curiosity in them will work in your favor. It will not only make them take heed of your e-mails but make them your customers too.

Pretarget Your Customers


17. Grow your Business Base

Although it may feel similar to the acquisition hack we spoke of earlier, it is a completely different technique of growth hack. In this technique, you leverage on the followers or users of an already existing big business to gain followers of your own. For example, the Facebook log in button.

People lead a very hectic life these days and they don’t have time to fill in the details on your website in order to register to it. As most people are on Facebook, having a Facebook log in button provides them with an easy registration process with just one click and they will grab it more easily.

This will ease out the lives of your users, make you seem trustworthy for integrating a trustworthy social media site and will provide your service or product with a legitimate edge. It will help you grow your customer base manifolds.

Grow Your Business Base with a coupon


Final Thoughts

So to conclude it may be said that the techniques of growth hacking are basically the marketing techniques were out of the box thinking is involved.

There are probably hundreds and thousands of online techniques and articles which will provide you with the idea of growth hacks. But in reality, the true essence of growth hacks is actually creative marketing which ultimately boils down to use your creativity to sell your product to customers.


So what do you think? Have any techniques that you think should be added to the list? Are you going to try out these techniques on your own site? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.