growth hacking techniques

Airbnb, Hotmail, and Linkedin are some great classic examples—you should definitely read about them. It’s not that you’ll be able to replicate these growth hacks, but it will help you understand the growth hacker’s mindset.

Some of my favorite companies that have used smart and unique ways to grow are Jet, Drift, and Pinterest.

Jet.com—Invites for Perks & Shares

Jet is an eCommerce company launched in 2014 as a direct competitor to Amazon. After raising their first $80 million in funding, they were looking for creative ways of running an epic prelaunch campaign.

So, they came up with Jet Insiders. The unique part of this prelaunch campaign is that they were giving shares to those people who would invite lots of friends— “The more friend you invite, the higher you climb up the leaderboard.”

Growth Hacking Techniques
Jet’s prelaunch landing page—you could join by email or Facebook
growth hacking techniques
If you made it to the top ten, you would get 10,000 shares of stock. The first in the ranking got 100,000 shares (back then, Jet was valued at 600 million).
growth hacking techniques
The complete list of perks

One of the highlights of the campaign was that the top Insider, Eric Martin, spent about $18,000 on Facebook ads (according to Business Insider) and rewarded advertising on Swagbucks and gifthulk to ensure that he’d get the 100,000 shares. (Swagbucks and GiftHulk give people rewards for completing surveys or, in this case, signing up for websites.)

Drift—Branding & Positioning Hack

Drift is a messaging and marketing platform for websites. It offers a chat functionality and marketing automation capabilities. One of their main competitors is Intercom—their product is “bigger” with more features and better in marketing automation.

But, Drift has a totally different approach in positioning their product. They focus on building a killer intelligent chat functionality to help you close leads faster. They’ve released great features, like Leadbot, which is an automated way to qualify leads without asking people to fill in boring forms.

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So, they don’t try to build a huge product and compete on features. They have a very specific positioning with unique features around it. They also push this with blog posts, webinars, and infographics, like the one below:

growth hacking techniques

In terms of branding, they want to show people that they lead the new wave of marketing without gated content, boring lead forms and traditional lead scoring. Who wants to be the traditional guy? As marketers, we always try to find new ways of acquiring more customers, more effectively.

One of my favorite branding hacks they did, which reinforces their product, is that they threw away all of their lead forms without asking people to opt-in before reading any piece of content. You can read more about this move: Why We’re Throwing Out All Of Our Lead Forms And Making Content Free

Another branding and funny small detail are that you can “celebrate” after you have responded to all of the leads. You may think that this is not a growth hack and you’re right. But this drives word of mouth—I’m just writing about it 😛

growth hacking techniques
Party time in Drift’s mobile app 🙂

Pinterest—Solid Experimentation & Growth Engineering

I won’t talk about a specific growth hack of Pinterest, but for their approach. After all, the top companies that hack their growth, they have a robust process of rapid and data-driven experimentation.

Their lead growth engineer, John Egan, has a great blog and occasionally shares his lessons learned, experiments they tried and how they did it—mostly growth engineering stuff—which I love by the way 🙂

In his latest article, he points out 3 habits of highly effective growth engineering teams:

  1. Your team should have a broad range of coding and marketing skills—velocity in execution is the most important factor for experimenting and learning as fast as you can.
  2. Everyone should be a driver and owner of his project/experiment. In growth teams, you cannot afford to have people that just execute what they are told to.
  3. You should ship high quality and stable stuff, especially when your experiments affect crucial parts of your product, like sign up forms, upgrade flows, and onboarding—else you may impact negatively the whole experience and top line growth.
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Disclaimer – This article is a copy of an answer written on Quora by Savvas Zortikis. He is the founder of Viral Loops, a viral and referral marketing platform  In the past, he has started one of the first growth marketing agencies, GrowthRocks.