Growth Hacking

What is Growth Hacking? A Step-by-Step Guide With Examples

Your business does not have to be another "okay business" when growth hacking can help maximise your customer's experience and optimise every stage of their buyer's journey.

Why You Need Growth Hacking?

A business's survival rate heavily depends on its growth rate. Of course, you can argue that a company can still survive with stagnant growth. Still, the truth is that your business's inability to grow signals opportunities for your competitors to surpass and eventually kick you out of the game.

According to Fundera, referencing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 20% of small businesses don't survive the first year, with 30% failing within the second year.

Those that reach the 5th year half fail by the end of the year. Overall, only 30% of businesses reach and survive the decade benchmark.

What Is Growth Hacking?

Growth hacking is a marketing process focused on growing businesses using low-cost strategies. The main aim is to attract and convert customers to generate revenue.

Many factors contribute to a failing/failed business, and there are also many ways to prevent your business from failing. One of the most effective ways is to implement growth hacking strategies at every customer's buyer stage.

Growth hacking strategies help business owners optimise every customer's action before purchasing and becoming loyal customers.

Well-defined growth hacking strategies will help you have more control over your business's fate. Done right, they will attract and convert prospects into loyal customers. 

Growth Hacking Funnel

To maximise your growth hacking effort, one must take advantage of every opportunity available by following a growth hacking funnel.

A growth hacking funnel outlines the chronological buyer's stages customers go through when making a purchase. As a result, it builds a strong relationship between a business and its customers.

There are five different stages in a growth hacking funnel. Each stage provides an opportunity to capitalise on giving customers the best experience designed to make them buy into your business and become loyal customers. 


Acquisition is the first growth hacking funnel stage. In its simplicity, Acquisition is all about customers finding and contacting your business. This may sound straightforward, but many enterprises die without potential customers ever knowing about them. 

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to help customers find your business. The best route is placing yourself where your targeted audience is. Whatever platform they prefer, prefer it too.

Putting yourself out there exposes you to your customers and increases your chances of attracting attention and growth through earned media exposure. A combination of interviews, podcast invitations, guest blogs, reviews are enough to give any business a good start.

Looking to learn more on how to find quality leads and drive them through your sale funnel automatically? Check out these courses from industry experts immediately before these insane discount expired!

Acquisition growth hacking strategies

●     Position yourself to be found

●     Use customers who find you to find their friends 

●     Collaborate with compatible established products and access targeted audiences through them.


Hotmail AKA outlook

Hotmail used its customers to grow their awareness. They embedded a Hotmail signature each time a user sent an email. The signature offered the recipient a free Hotmail email account if they used the link embedded to sign up. Because of this, Hotmail grew 12 million users in about 18 months. 

Hotmail Growth Hacking Example STANDOUT
Hotmail Growth Hacking Example


We cannot talk about positioning yourself to be found without mentioning AirBnB. After determining where most of their target market is, Airbnb put itself there. Most of their target audience was on Craigslist. Using API integration, AirBnB made it possible for their users to advertising their AirBnB places through both the Airbnb platform and Craigslist at the same time. This raised AirBnB's awareness tremendously.


Now that prospects have found you, we need them to take steps towards being actual customers. Don't let them give up on you without getting to know your business. That is why it is crucial that you give your customers all the guidance they need to get familiar with your business.

Remember that your customers are not doing you a favour by looking into your business. They are looking out for themselves. Thus, if you do not give them what they need when they need it, they will look elsewhere.

With the activation stage, you need to gather and offer much information from and to your customers. But be careful not to bombard them with too much information, especially when they are not sure yet if they want to buy from you.

Your growth hacking tactics at this stage should create a minimal-effort-high-rewards effect to nudge customers towards the desired direction. 

Activation growth hacking strategies

●     Offer free helpful tools that provide value

●     Make the sign up worthwhile

●     Teach your customers about your business 

STANDOUT offers one of the best and most user-friendly website builders available. With versatile design tools and dedicated support, you will be able to design and launch your website IN minutes! Start now and promote your stunning website within this growth hacking stage to maximise result:



HubSpot provides different helpful marketing tools to businesses. To attract customers to take a deep dive into the company's services, HubSpot created a free website grader tool for people to analyse their website speed, SEO, and mobile-friendliness. 

A valuable tool like this gave a good impression on behalf of other Hubspot marketing tools. This helped HubSpot grow 15k users rapidly. 

HubSpot Growth Hacking Example STANDOUT DIGITAL
HubSpot Growth Hacking Example


Before Facebook had more than a billion users, they were struggling to hold onto users attention. This changed after Facebook made signing up a worthwhile experience by making sure that a new user connects with at least seven friends within ten days. This was and still is a rewarding experience for users.


You thought the most challenging part is attracting customers and making an impression? - Not even close. 

The hardest part has to be keeping your customers wanting more from you. Good deliverance that meets your customer's needs will encourage them to pledge loyalty without even realising it. This loyalty is what will lead to sale growth. 

In some ways, prospects that make it here are already customers. This is the bridge between "I don't care about you and take all my money."

Retention growth hacking strategies 

●     Meet your customers halfway.

●     Provide customers with helpful information.

●     Give customers what they want.


Netflix and Instagram

Different beasts in their rights, Netflix and Instagram have something that works in common. First, both platforms take note of the content users consume the most to determine users preferences and interests. Then, using the collected behavioural data, Netflix and Instagram recommend the most exciting content to their users. 


Zapier is a task automation tool that helps users integrate web applications. This is an excellent tool if you have repetitive tasks on more than one application because you can act on one application and receive notifications on other integrated applications.

To help their users make the most of their service, Zapier created a guide blog full of "How to blogs" on different tools that can be integrated through their platform.

This meant that their users could learn about platforms they integrated through Zapier in one place. 


Did you make it here? Well, congratulations! Your customers like you. But do they like you enough to give you their money? Because if they don't, that would mean your business is merely accessible on the eye while failing to get money in.

You need the money to come in, especially if you are a new small business. Otherwise, your business is as good as a loan machine operating on borrowed time.

Let me ask this. You love your money, right? Well, so do your customers. Therefore, they need a good reason to give it away. Pull all the stops and make your customers see your business as worth their money. 

You have successfully activated their curiosity and kept their attention. Now, make sure they give you the money. Remember that customers have no problem abandoning a sale. 

Revenue growth hacking strategies 

●     Create urgency and FOMO

●     Offer limited offers and promos.

●     Have a great product



Monzo is a mobile banking app in the UK with approximately 4 million users as of March 2020. The people behind Monzo are constantly working on getting more customers to be part of their community officially, and they complain about this on their website. 

This is because they always have customers waiting to be accepted. They started as a limited user platform, and this led to their platform having a waiting list for customers wanting access. 

The waiting list even allows you to see how many people are behind you and how many are in front of you. Referring friends is rewarded with bumping up the line. This created urgency in Monzo's customers. Monzo also hit 250k users in 2 years.

Monzo Growth Hacking Example STANDOUT DIGITAL
Monzo Growth Hacking Example


Congratulations! You have successfully convinced your customers that you are the best to invest their interests and money in. 

Now, casually ask them to tell their friends about you. I say casually because customers still do not like too much hassle even at this stage (or any other possible stage). 

If you consistently provide excellent buyer's experiences to your customers throughout your growth hacking funnel, you might not even need to ask. But you will because you are an intelligent business owner. 

Do well also to remember that customers do not lie on your behalf. If they think you suck, they will tell other prospects you suck. And if they think you are the greatest thing to happen to them, they will not keep quiet about that either.

Whatever marketing strategy you use here, give your customers something good to speak about. 

Referral growth hacking strategies 

●     Reward wanted actions with enticing freebies

●     Have a worthwhile experience awaiting referred prospects.



Dropbox used Dropbox to get referrals and grow. Yes, I mean precisely that. To increase their storage size, Dropbox users perform small tasks that grow Dropbox's reach. In return, the users earn free storage space. 

These tasks were as simple as posting about Dropbox on social platforms and earning free storage. Likewise, simply following Dropbox on social media was enough to earn you free storage. 

Dropbox currently has 14M paying users with a total of 600M users. 

Dropbox Growth Hacking Example STANDOUT DIGITAL
Dropbox Growth Hacking Example

This might not be your first option as a small business owner, but it's worth mentioning. 

Paypal paid 20 dollars to new users and to users who referred new prospects to sign up. This cost Paypal a whopping 60 million dollars. On the flip side, it also acquired Paypal 5 million users in just a few months. 

If you sign up for Paypal right now, you won't get 20 dollars, but you'll still sign up because it's Paypal, and you need it. After their success, Paypal slowly dropped the money incentive but kept their customers. 


Starting a business can be an easier step than you might expect with apt marketing strategy planning. Running and growing a business is very much possible with forward-thinking growth hacking strategies. And remember always to put your customers first. 

If you are looking to build your digital marketing skills further, with powerful strategies to convert strangers into paying customers on autopilot, you need to check out these leading courses with great values before their insane discounts expired!

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Alice Lieu
Alice Lieu

Digital Marketing Manager @ STANDOUT

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