The Formula for Growth Hacking

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ver the past five years, the interest in Growth Hacking has more than doubled according to Google Trends. It’s unsurprisingly considering how companies like Uber and Dropbox achieved such rapid uptake which has been attributed to their growth hacking activities.

What is Growth Hacking

Growth Hacking is a cascading marketing strategy – creating virality for a business - that starts with a product or service that provides a solution to a problem. This is the critical part of Growth Hacking - your product or service must be something that people want, or businesses need.

Tip: B2B companies selling enterprise solutions with long sales cycles, high sale values and multiple stakeholders, can also take advantage of growth hacking however they need to be more creative with their approach. Rather than leveraging their core solution, create a less risky “foot in the door” solution or offering which customers will be less fearful about adopting but which will serve as a gateway to larger deals. Remember though – it must be something they want or need! So first make sure you understand your target market inside out.

How to achieve it

A crucial part of growth hacking is offering a high-value incentive that is easily sharable. Dropbox gave away additional free storage, and Uber offered discounts on rides – both in exchange for referrals. Most software companies have cottoned on and now offer freemium licenses like Dropbox initially did (and still does), but as this generosity becomes an expectation rather than an exception for customers, the perceived value will diminish. The freemiums also still need to offer incentives for referrals otherwise they only reduce barriers to entry, rather than act as growth hacks.

You might have noticed that we used the words “easily sharable” when it comes to referrals. To maximise referrals, your user experience must be flawless to remove any barriers that a person might run into to prevent them from sharing your offer. So, ask yourself

“What can I offer, that is highly valuable to my target audience, which would encourage them to share my solution amongst their peers, and what obstacles can I remove that might prevent them from doing so?”.

Once your sharable offer has been created, you can start advertising to give it the kick it needs to gain momentum. The beauty of growth hacking is first that it reduces your advertising investment because it encourages organic engagement, and secondly that it provides social proof that your brand is legit.

The Growth Hacking Formula

When it comes down to it, growth hacking is quite simple and can be summarised into the following formula:

Desirable product/service + valuable, low-risk offering + (incentive to share – obstacles to sharing) + advertising = Growth Hacking


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