11 Growth Hacking Examples That’ll Help You Gain Traction

Growth hacking, often addressed as ‘growth marketing' as well, refers to the strategies, processes or mindsets that are solely intended for one thing – GROWTH! Although it may just sound similar to marketing strategies, there's a fine line between traditional marketing and growth marketing. Unlike traditional marketing, growth hacking focuses on more innovation, more experimentation, and more adaptation.

Sean Ellis coined the term ‘growth hacker' in 2010. Sean is a serial entrepreneur and business advisor who helped many startups achieve incredible growth. He pointed out that besides the basic strategies, some breakthroughs are essential to gain early exposure, wider user-base, or simply, accelerated growth for a business. Hence the need for growth hacking.

If we dig deep into the success stories of well-known companies today, we'd see many of them could hit the jackpot early, thanks to some brilliant growth hacks. Even, they also try new hacks from time to time in order to speed up the wheel. Let's get inspiration and ideas from some great growth hacking examples set by them.

Some Proven Growth Hacking Examples

Whenever you search the internet about growth hacks, you might be seeing the examples of Airbnb's hack on Craigslist users, or Hotmail's “PS-I love you”, or Dropbox's referral campaign. But we're not going to share the same examples again and bore you. We're here with some of the greatest yet less shared growth hacks done by different successful brands over time.

1. Storytelling approach from Dos Equis

Mexican beer company Dos Equis started an advertising campaign in 2006 named – The Most Interesting Man in the World. In this ad, we see American actor Jonathan Goldsmith going through some impressive events. So, when our mind starts considering his life as really exciting, he delivers the punch line, “I don't always drink beer. But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.” With this approach, their sale saw a leap of as high as 26% in the USA that year. The punch line went viral on the internet as well.

Snap of Dos Equis TVC

2. Tinder's campus maneuver

The famous dating app Tinder used several marketing hacks to find its early traction. And they got the outcome as expected. Better say, more than expected. That's why for our next example, we have chosen Tinder's growth hacking strategy for customer acquisition.

The then marketing lead, Witney Wolfe personally visited several sorority houses in the USA, did her presentation, and convinced the girls to join Tinder. Then she showed the app to their male fraternities. Obviously, they didn't take much time to join after seeing all the familiar girls already on the app.

Tinder's web login page

Tinder also threw parties in many colleges. Installing the app was the only requirement to attend those. Result? Tinder’s user base hopped from 5,000 to 15,000 overnight.

3. Unique Business Model by Red Hat

The growth story of Red Hat Software teaches us a very important thing – “staying true to the vision pays off”. We all know Red Hat brought an evolution in the software market by establishing the open-source idea as a business model. But after gaining huge credibility, it wasn't still profiting anyway near like the tech giants. But they listened to their customers, didn't follow the competitors. They preferred to stay small, didn't change the business model in order to scale faster. In an interview, Bob Young, the co-founder of Red Hat said that, “If Microsoft’s earning $40 billion worth of sales, and if we're a $4 billion-a-year market, because nine out of ten of the people that use our operating system aren’t going to pay us, we’re quite happy with a share of a $4 billion-a-year market”.

4. Robinhood's waiting list

Robinhood is a trading app for investors. The launching of Robinhood was a great success thanks to its ‘waiting list' approach. Before making the product available, they announced a waiting list. When someone signed up for Robinhood, he/she was added to the list and was shown a social proof with the current position.

growth hacking example - Robinhood

But there was an option to get ahead in the serial. A referral link to invite friends to the platform. It worked so nicely for them. Within 30-days, they got 1M+ signups!

5. Amazon's name selection

Founder Jeff Bezos nearly started online bookstore Amazon.com in the name ‘Cadabra'. But when he found that his lawyer misheard the word as ‘cadaver', he decided to change the name. This time he targetted to name it with the alphabet ‘A' to feature it top of different lists on the internet. So, he named it after the river Amazon. Don't forget that it was in 1995 when local search engines used to show search results by alphabetical order. So, Amazon used to get top position when anyone searched for a book name. Just what it wanted.

Moreover, back then, Yahoo had a section showing Top 10 Cool Things on The Internet Today in alphabetical order. Naturally, the day Amazon got featured in it, managed to stay on top as well.

6. Lyft's fuzzy pink mustaches

Lyft, a ride-sharing company targeted the word-of-mouth marketing for its early traction. For branding, it took the whimsical way to get noticed. It placed pink mustaches in front of every ride of it. People couldn't help talking about it. On top of that, people were able to distinguish Lyft cars easily from miles away. A small investment created visibility and buzz both at the same time for Lyft.

growth hacking example set by Lyft

7. Profile badges by Facebook

Facebook uses a team dedicated to generating and implementing growth hacking ideas relentlessly. Naturally, it's important for big companies like them. Because, when you already have got a large user base, you need to update your techniques regularly to retain them as well as to attract new ones.

Among numerous growth techniques by Facebook, profile badge is a recent one. When Facebook started providing badges to its users to embed in personal websites, both the numbers of engagement and new signups increased significantly.

8. Reddit's activity inflation

During its initial period in 2005, Reddit did not have enough content to attract people. It's very natural of course. Since it needed to contain lots of content and sources to become credible and popular, it started filling up the vessel with fake accounts. With those accounts, they shared tons of useful links and contents. They created a buzz and ultimately became able to draw people to the platform.

9. Gmail's exclusivity hack

When Google introduced Gmail in 2004, Hotmail and Yahoo were the giants in the email market. Gmail needed to create an early impression to catch up in the race quickly. It used the scarcity hack to do so. It started with around 1,000 influencers who were able to invite friends. Joining Gmail wasn't possible without an invitation. So it was like joining an exclusive club and obviously, it worked.

growth hacking example by Gmail

10. Twitter's homepage

When Twitter already reached around 30 million users, its user growth rate was still slow. So, the growth hacking team investigated into it and came to learn – there's a lot of search in google saying “I don't get twitter”. They looked on the homepage. It used to ask new users few questions just after signing up, like “see if your friends are here”, “see who else is here, start following” and so on. Simply put, the joining process was complicated. They decided to make the process simpler, easier to focus on, using appropriate previews. And guess what? A massive number of new users started to join in every day.

11. Oatmeal's user-generated promotion

Cartoonist Matthew Inman is the founder of The Oatmeal, a website for comics and books. Once after publishing a new book, Inman offered that he'd illustrate the photos of those fans who'd submit him a selfie with the book from Barnes and Noble bookshops. Definitely, this went viral on the internet. With own selfies, people actually generated a real buzz about that new book.

The takeaways

The product-market fit is a must for making growth strategies or hacks work. Before implementing growth marketing tricks, ensure your product meets the minimal product-market fit requirements. If any product doesn't provide value to the users, only tricks can't bring viable growth.

Experimentation is a key element in growth hacking. All the companies mentioned here focused on diverse experimentation. And they succeeded from the one that clicked.

Flexibility is another important factor. Adapting with changes and acting accordingly increases the chance of success.

From these case studies, one thing is clear – there's no certain rule or pattern that you need to follow. You can exploit untapped ways in order to hack the growth for your business. But remember to engage with your customers to understand them, their demands, their pain points. Innovate ways to solve them. If one way doesn't work, don't stress, another surely will.

The A to Z of Creating A Blog Site : Start in Minutes

Writing for a social media or a blog may be fun. Moreover, it helps to increase one's knowledge and creativity. But how about writing on a personal blog or website? It's something much more exciting, something that gives an extraordinary feeling.

Having an own blog means you get the entire control of it. It also gives you the opportunity to increase your expertise and analyzing ability. You can even earn from it. Most importantly, it's not too difficult to start a blog. All it takes is just 10 minutes (or even less).

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Did You Know These Facts About Matt Mullenweg’s Life Journey?

Matthew Charles Mullenweg or simply Matt Mullenweg is the co-creator of WordPress, founder of Automattic and Audrey Capital, a collaborator of several other open source organizations. There are numerous articles about Matt's story, about his journey towards success. But in this post, we've tried to tell the story in an unconventional way.

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How to Add A Search Bar in WordPress within Minutes

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In this post, we'll be talking about some effective and interesting approaches to scale a marketplace. Continue reading “How To Scale A Marketplace For Growth: Key Strategies You Need to Know”

Most Popular eCommerce Platforms Right Now: Which One To Choose

Online business or eCommerce is taking the market by storm. New eCommerce stores are opening every day. Hence the need for the eCommerce platforms. Before starting a business, choosing the right platform for the online store is really important. So, in this post, we're going to find out which one is better for a startup business. If you wonder which platform suits which kind of business, this post is for you.

Comparison of The Top eCommerce Platforms

usage of eCommerce platforms

You'll find loads of eCommerce platforms in the market. Among the top 1 million websites, WooCommerce is the most adopted eCommerce platform right now. Shopify and Magento are in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. BigCommerce is also getting popular. 

In this comparison, we're considering the best contenders out there: WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce. Let's dig in.

Highlights

All these eCommerce platforms are rich in features and can help you build your perfect online store. They have some similarities and dissimilarities. You'll find about them in this section.

WooCommerce

  • WooCommerce is a highly customizable and extendable open-source solution.
  • There are thousands of templates to change the look of your site.
  • Bundled with PayPal, BACS, and Cash on Delivery payment options.
  • Marketing and SEO integrated. Built-in analytics and reporting.
  • Unlimited product categories.

Related: Top Websites Using WooCommerce for eCommerce

Shopify

  • Shopify is a hosted platform. No hosting is needed additionally.
  • You can sign up for an account and build your store right away.
  • Modern and user-friendly templates.
  • It has built-in analytics tools. SEO and social marketing integration are also available.

Magento

  • Magento also comes with a hosting. So, you wouldn't need any additional web hosts.
  • Very responsive and totally customizable template.
  • Built-in multi-currency and multilingual support.
  • Comes with search engine optimization tools.
  • Unlimited product categories.

BigCommerce

  • It is also a hosted platform like Shopify and Magento.
  • Content Management System is integrated.
  • It supports 60 different payment processors in different currencies.
  • Responsive and streamlined templates.

Pricing & Other Costs

Since costing is an important factor especially for the startups, we're taking this discussion without further delay.

WooCommerce is an open-source plugin that works with WordPress. That means it is totally free. But it doesn't come with a hosting. So, you'll need to buy a domain and web hosting. Though you can cut this cost if you already have one for your personal or company site. Another cost may appear. It depends on the number & type of extensions that you would need to install with it. They have an Extension Store with about 300 plugins in different categories. Some extensions are free and some are paid. For startup businesses, starting with free extensions may serve all the basic functions.

You can get more idea about the costs of building a WordPress site from here.

The cost of Shopify comes in two steps. There are monthly fees and individual transaction processing fees. The monthly fees can be from $9 to $179, according to the version you choose. Besides, you'll be charged for every individual transaction through third-party gateways. That means you can only use Shopify payment gateway for free. Otherwise, if you use payment services like Paypal, Stripe etc., you'll have to pay up to 2% per purchase.

Magento may be the most expensive solution than the others. The yearly cost is 18,000$ for the Enterprise Edition. So, it might be difficult for small or startup businesses. Although there is a free version named Community Edition, it needs a lot of plugins which are not free. Moreover, you'll need a hosting provider for this edition.

Based on different packages, BigCommerce can cost $29.95 (Standard), $79.95 (Plus) or $249.95 (Pro) monthly. It holds a lower price range than that of Magento, but higher than Shopify. Moreover, it charges a transaction fee for the Standard package like Shopify. Though it won't charge such fee if you upgrade to the plans like Plus or Pro.

Limitations

Every solution has some drawbacks too. We've tried to explain them here.

WooCommerce

  • Since it is a WordPress plugin, you need to know a little about WordPress to run your site.
  • It is not a hosted solution. As a result, you have to be careful in choosing the right server.

Shopify

  • The products attributes are limited. You can describe your product with only three attributes: size, color, and material. You can add other options for each of these parameters, but can’t create new ones.
  • If you want to expand the features of your store, you'll need to spend additional fees.
  • You may find the URL structure unimpressive.
  • Customization can add up to the expenses.

Related: Here's how WooCommerce compares with Shopify

Magento

  • The expense of Magento Enterprise Edition is huge.
  • Even the free version needs some features and apps which don't come as free.
  • Programming skill is needed for the set-up and customization.

Related: Here's how WooCommerce compares with Magento

BigCommerce

  • Compared to the competitors, the number of apps is lower.
  • In the number of free themes, this scarcity continues.
  • There is an annual sales threshold for each plan.

Ease of use

How easy is it to set up or to customize? Let's get to know.

WooCommerce has a modern and user-friendly interface. Easily customizable from the WordPress admin dashboard.

Shopify is extremely easy to set up. It has a drag-and-drop interface. It makes your site fast and totally secure. The admin panel is stylish and pretty intuitive.

Setting up with Magento is a bit complex for the starters. The total customization facility of this platform may be preferred by the technical people. But it also makes it a bit confusing to set everything in place.

BigCommerce has a drag-and-drop feature like Shopify. However, the user interface isn't as easy as Shopify. Still, we'll consider it easy to use.

Preferred User Group

After taking all the facts into account, we all can agree that every platform is not for everyone. Then, which one should we go for? Let's find out in this section.

In the current situation, WooCommerce seems to be the best option for small or startup businesses. Moreover, with the necessary plugins, database system, and other tools, it'll be the perfect fit for large businesses as well.

Shopify can be useful for those who don't want to spend much time in setting up an online store. With a good budget, it can be a good option for all kind of businesses. But you need to be ready to cost more with the growth of the revenue.

Magento is optimized for the larger enterprises. If you have got a big budget with a huge business model, this solution may be suitable for you.

BigCommerce is best suited for someone who wants to operate at large scale. For those who're just starting out, there are other alternatives out there.

The Verdict

As we can see, Magento may not be a wise choice for the startup companies. BigCommerce is a prominent solution but still lacks some features. That leaves us with WooCommerce and Shopify.

Shopify is easy to use and helps to launch the online store quickly. But the transaction fees and other costs may turn to be too expensive.

On the other hand, WooCommerce is comparatively cost effective and gives more control to you. Secure payment gateway, shopping cart, limitless product attributes – these features give it an extra edge over the other eCommerce solutions. Moreover, it is pretty easy to use. For startups, it seems to be a perfect solution. That's why its popularity is growing among small businesses day by day. No doubt that WooCommerce comprises of most of the market share. With some additional investment in extensions, database or maintenance system, you'll find it ready to serve all the purposes as your business grows.

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From startups to small organizations, growing a business in today's market is quite a tough job, right? Especially when so many competitors are out there. Well, you can also think in a totally opposite direction. Because, with the increase in the number of competitors, the opportunities to learn new methods and ideas from them also gets higher. This post is about such methods and ideas.  If you are trying to grow your business fast but carefully, you're in the right place. Continue reading “Proven Strategies To Grow Your Small Business In WordPress & Beyond”