Our guide to growth hacking

Our guide to growth hacking

Growth hacking is not just another buzzword to throw around the business world. Find out what it means and why your business needs it.

Few methodologies have swept the tech world as fast as Growth Hacking. Entrepreneurs, VCs, founders, managers and journalists alike see it as a pathway to faster, more sustainable growth. Why?

In tech years, Growth Hacking is not a new concept. Having been around since 2008, it’s about the same age as the IPhone.

The term was first coined by entrepreneur, angel investor, and startup advisor Sean Ellis. You might associate him with Dropbox and that’s because he helped bring Dropbox and other startups to market. Ellis is also the founder and CEO of GrowthHackers.com.

What exactly is Growth Hacking?

For starters, it has nothing to do with anything illegal.

Growth Hacking is a set of marketing strategies focused on rapid growth. It translates to a strategy of acquiring as many new customers as possible in a short amount of time, while spending as little as possible. Cool, right? Here’s how it works.

Dropbox pulled a great growth hack in their first years of existence. The “hack” was essentially a trade – free storage space in exchange for customer referrals. Dropbox rewarded their users with 125MB of free storage space for a single follow in their social media platforms. Also, the company awarded 500MB for each referral when the invitee signed up. The cloud storage pioneer also gave away a few tens of GB in online contests, scavenger hunts or “races”.

The trick worked: As millions of users got free storage with just a few clicks, Dropbox saw sign ups increase by 60%. Their Twitter base grew close to a million followers. Today, Dropbox has over 500 million users worldwide, with a market cap in the neighbourhood of 10 billion dollars.

Dropbox’ impressive early growth: when growth hacking techniques meet the right product. Source: Techcrunch


So it worked for Dropbox, but will it work anywhere else?
Growth hacking is not exclusive to startups, tech companies, or new players. It’s also not just about handing out free stuff. Everyone loves a freebie, but still, there’s a bit more to it to make it stick.

While the typical growth hacks might appear to be all flash, there’s a lot going on backstage. The work and ideas that make the shiny hacks happen, for example, easy sign ups, collecting and rewarding customer feedback or Omnichannel marketing.

Growth Hacking 101: becoming a growth hacker

Contrary to what you might think from TV shows such as Mr. Robot, becoming a growth hacker has more to do with meticulous planning and processes than mystery and magic.

It is about making sound business decisions and getting all the help you can from different departments towards a shared purpose. Gaining new customers at lightning speed and zero cost.

Internalise Agile processes

Yep, Agile again (we love it!).
And while some may say Agile and Growth Hacking are not compatible, we disagree. Do you remember the four pillars of the Agile Manifesto? Most, if not all, of Agile processes focus on efficiency, productivity, and teamwork and are, of course, result-oriented. And growth hacking, while solely focused on (fast) growth, needs these to run smoothly.

Make adjusting as easy as possible

To grow, companies need to adapt. Fast. This means responding to customers’ demands as quickly as possible. And as we’ve seen in the last year, customers’ needs can change overnight. And the response must be, well, overnight as well, or you risk trailing behind. Being able to implement changes and make adjustments quickly and painlessly is very important to a growth hacking strategy. What better than low code to achieve it? Check how low code is speeding up time to market.

Get iterative customer feedback

Remember, there isn’t a math formula for growth hacking, as every business is different.
However, if there were to be a formula, a big part of it would be customer feedback. This is the most valuable resource a business can have. So, go get that customer feedback, and incorporate it into your project or products, in rapid, iterative development cycles.

Ace customer preferences with A/B tests

And still on that math formula, A/B testing is another key point for growth hacking. It is a kind of customer feedback in an indirect sense. Who knows what they like more than your clients themselves? Implement A/B testing in the most conversion-heavy areas of your website, such as landing pages, sales pages, homepage and even contact page.

However, although useful and almost always leading to a win-win scenario, A/B testing can become quite overwhelming really quickly. Pro tip: focus on one area of each page at a time. Too many variables make it much more difficult to evaluate the results and to know what works and what doesn’t.

Attract with interactive content

Interactive content increases customer engagement. And customer engagement is pretty much the first step in the ladder to growth hacking.

It’s undeniable that content marketing is king nowadays, and it’s also undeniable that there are a lot of good ideas out there, so businesses need to add a differential to their marketing strategies. How about making it fun? Accelerated growth requires companies to stand out.

That being said, growth hacking is not an exact science. There are, however, do’s and don’ts. It is also safe to assume that it’s not enough to have a good idea – or even a great product. Sometimes luck plays a part but there’s no such thing as dumb luck in growth hacking. As in many other things, luck favours the brave.

To hack growth hacking, your business needs to be ready to take flight. If you would allow us an aeroplane analogy, you can’t just send an aeroplane off and hope it gets where it has to go. There is a whole team, or rather several teams working together, behind a flight.

The picture bellow shows just how much cross functional goes into Growth Hacking.

The maze of Growth Hacking skills and techniques

The maze of Growth Hacking skills and techniques. Source. Hendrik Lennarz


Growth hacking with low-code solutions

At Near Partner we work with OutSystems, the leading low code development platform in the market, to help our customers accelerate their businesses’ growth. With a 75% reduction in costs and 4 times faster development, OutSystems allows businesses to bridge the gap between business requirements and technology developments.

Our OutSystems developers support our customers and their businesses every step of the way. This allows owners to design their websites and apps with less coding knowledge. The result? Ideas get implemented faster and projects are easier to manage.

Get in touch and we’ll gladly tell you all about our OutSystems services, how our OutSystems specialists can support you and your business in this journey to growth.

Patrícia Peixinho

Marketing & communication lover. Curious, imaginative, ingenious. Hungry for challenges and enthusiastic about life!