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  • Writer's pictureChristina Tsiripidou

Growth Hacking 101: Unleashing Unconventional Tactics to Drive Business Growth

Growth hacking is a term coined by Sean Ellis, who defined it as "a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business." Growth hacking is essentially a marketing strategy that focuses on using unconventional and innovative tactics to grow a company's customer base, revenue, and brand awareness. This approach is particularly popular with startups and small businesses, as they often have limited resources and need to find creative ways to gain traction.

One of the defining features of growth hacking is its focus on data-driven experimentation. Growth hackers often use A/B testing, user feedback, and other data sources to identify the most effective strategies for achieving growth. This allows them to quickly iterate and refine their tactics, as well as to scale those that are working.

In this article, you'll find an overview of growth hacking, including some of its key principles, best practices, and case studies. You will be provided with actionable recommendations for businesses looking to implement growth hacking strategies of their own.


The Principles of Growth Hacking

Best Practices for Growth Hacking

How to Use Digital Marketing Channels to Hack Growth

Examples of Brands that Hacked Growth

Actionable Recommendations for Growth Hacking

The Principles of Growth Hacking

To understand growth hacking, it's important to start with its underlying principles. Here are a few of the key ideas that underpin this approach to marketing:

Data-Driven Experimentation

Growth hacking is all about testing different tactics and strategies to find what works. This requires a willingness to experiment, as well as the ability to gather and analyze data to inform those experiments.

Focus on User Acquisition and Retention

The ultimate goal of growth hacking is to grow a company's customer base and revenue. This means focusing on both acquiring new users and retaining existing ones.

Rapid Iteration

Because growth hacking is based on experimentation, it's important to iterate quickly and frequently. This allows growth hackers to test many different strategies and tactics, and to refine them based on what works and what doesn't.


Growth hacking is only effective if it can be scaled. This means that successful tactics must be able to be replicated across different channels and user segments, without sacrificing their effectiveness.

Best Practices for Growth Hacking

With these principles in mind, let's take a closer look at some of the best practices for growth hacking. Here are a few strategies that have proven effective for many companies:

Referral Marketing

One of the most popular growth hacking tactics is referral marketing, which incentivizes existing users to refer new ones. This can be done through a variety of means, such as offering discounts or other rewards for successful referrals.

For example, Dropbox famously used referral marketing to achieve explosive growth in its early years. By offering users additional storage space for each successful referral, the company was able to grow from 100,000 to 4 million users in just 15 months.

Content Marketing

Another effective growth hacking tactic is content marketing, which involves creating valuable, informative content to attract and retain users. This can take many forms, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, and more.

For example, HubSpot has built its entire business around content marketing. The company offers a wealth of free resources for marketers, including blog posts, webinars, and downloadable ebooks. By providing value to its users in this way, HubSpot has been able to grow its customer base to more than 100,000.

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is another popular growth hacking strategy, which involves creating content that is so compelling or entertaining that it spreads rapidly through social media and other channels. This can be difficult to achieve, but can lead to explosive growth if successful.

For example, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a viral marketing phenomenon that raised more than $115 million for ALS research. The challenge involved dumping a bucket of ice water over one's head, and then nominating others to do the same. The campaign was incredibly successful, largely because it was so shareable and engaging