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July 10, 2020

4 Growth Marketing Hacks for Startups

By Anton Chow

You have a nimble team behind a great product. Now all that’s left is building a user base.

With limited resources and time, how can early startups jumpstart their growth trajectory and begin to capture market share? That’s where growth marketing comes in.

At a substantially lower cost, growth marketing is both a creative and data-driven form of marketing. It’s digital marketing, but with a twist - the main driving force being growth.

However, what might work for one startup might not work for another. Innovate and experiment with different growth marketing hacks to see what works for your business and how they line up with your marketing strategy.

Here are 4 growth marketing hacks to try as a starting point for your startup.

  1. Growth Hack #1 - Experiment with Product Positioning
  2. Growth Hack #2 - Streamline Onboarding
  3. Growth Hack #3 - Offer Free Tools
  4. Growth Hack #4 - Increase Your Chances of Going Viral

Growth Hack #1 - Experiment with Product Positioning

Your product or service may solve a lot of problems, but it might be hard to convey exactly how you can help. Product messaging is critical to growing your startup. 

With a lot of intended target demographics, you need to tailor your product messaging to the right audience. That way, your product messaging can actually convert visitors into customers.

Experiment with different angles in marketing your product, analyze changes in metrics, and make data-driven decisions when adjusting your messaging.

Trello ran A/B tests on 11 messaging headlines for their landing page to find the messaging that made the best impression on its visitors.

Trello Landing Page
Trello’s use of collaborative-based messaging on its current landing page.

First, craft personas and user journeys to discover insights on who your prospective leads are and what they value. Are they budget conscious? Look into positioning your product as cost efficient. What if they’re value focused? Bring a spotlight onto your product’s features.

By doing so, you can stand out from competitors and choose a value proposition that truly speaks to your customers’ needs.

Growth Hack #2 - Streamline Onboarding

Another marketing hack for startups is to streamline the customer onboarding process for your product.

Put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes. Think in terms of a first-time user - what are some friction points that could cause confusion? How can you make it easy for visitors to get started with your product? First impressions matter.

A simple way to do this is by sending a series of onboarding or welcome emails. This might look like an introductory email after a customer makes a purchase. Here’s an example from Asana.

Asana Post Purchase Email
A post-purchase onboarding email with the intent to educate.

You'll then be able to establish a relationship with the customer and help work out any initial problems. Check out Upscope’s blog for more unique examples on customer onboarding.

Or you might use educational content, like video walkthroughs, to guide customers on using your product. Dedicate a section on your website for a Frequently Answered Questions section to pick low hanging fruit, aka answer high volume questions.

Whatever the method, think of how you can be intentional in supporting your customer and guiding them through the next action to take.

Growth Hack #3 - Offer Free Tools

Another effective way of attracting new traffic to your site would be to launch free tools for visitors. These tools are typically complimentary software to your product or service offering and create opportunities for other websites to create backlinks and improve your SEO.

Take Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest tool as an example. In addition to consulting services and a suite of paid SEO tools, Neil Patel’s SEO keyword research tool is available for free. By signing-in through Google, users get more perks, such as access to historical data.

Ubersuggest SEO
Ubersuggest’s domain overview feature.

After implementing Ubersuggest into, monthly traffic roughly increased from 800,000 to 1.1 million!

Not only does extending a free tool promote your site, it also acts as a lead magnet. A lead magnet is an offer that provides value upfront, in exchange for an email address. This is a great way to build your email marketing list. 

By offering free tools, you’ve already built interest and product familiarity. All you have to do is strategize ways to upsell to your email list.

Growth Hack #4 - Increase Your Chances of Going Viral

How do you build a following from scratch? Engage in marketing activities that increase your chances of going viral. This means making your product and relevant content easily shareable

Or look into implementing a referral program. A referral program is an incentive-based strategy that rewards existing customers for directing new customers to your product. 

By using a trusted source (your existing customers) to market your product, a referral program is an effective way to target audiences that share the same needs and paint points.

Here’s a referral program from Google Apps for example. 

Google Apps Referral Program
The referrer gets $20 for every person that signs up using his/her link.

As you acquire more users, referral programs work to exponentially expand your network and bring you high-quality leads at a relatively lower cost.


Through adjusting your product messaging, streamlining your onboarding process, aiming for creating viral content, or offering free tools, you’ll be able to start growing your user base. 

Growth hacks are not one-size-fits-all. You need to try them for your own business, monitor and tweak quickly. Experiment with how you can implement new strategies. Move fast and constantly identify growth hacks that work and do not work for your business.

With the right growth strategies, startups can do a lot with a small budget.

We specialize in demand generation for startups in the B2B space. Schedule a free 30-min consult with us today!

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