The 20 Best Growth Hacking Strategies to Skyrocket Your User Base

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Are you using growth hacking strategies to boost your business?

Whether you’re a start-up or have been in business for a while, business growth is necessary to thrive. Businesses that don’t grow soon disappear.

The stats are clear: 20% of businesses never make it past the first year, and a whopping 50% don’t make it to year five. How can you avoid becoming one of those?

By using growth hacking techniques to gain traction and skyrocket your customer acquisition.

In this article, I’ll outline the key growth hacking strategies and tactics to help you grow user numbers fast. You’ll know the best growth hacks to beat those stats and create a strong, growing business by the end.

Related ContentUltimate Guide to Growth Hacking

20 Effective Growth Hacking Strategies

  1. Hack Your Email List Growth With Exit Intent
  2. Reward Social Shares With Discounts
  3. Gamify Your Onboarding
  4. Use Urgency and FOMO
  5. Go Freemium
  6. Create a Free Tool
  7. Run a Contest
  8. Get Bloggers to Review Your Product
  9. Use Your Email Signature
  10. Get Listed in Relevant Marketplaces
  11. Amplify Reach with Social Advertising
  12. Use Data Analytics for Decision Making
  13. Implement Chatbots for Enhanced Customer Engagement
  14. Utilize SEO for Organic Growth
  15. Develop a Mobile App
  16. Host Webinars and Online Workshops
  17. Implement Viral Marketing Campaigns
  18. Explore Affiliate Marketing
  19. Optimize Website Speed and User Experience
  20. Take Advantage of Influencer Partnerships

1. Hack Your Email List Growth With Exit Intent

Email marketing is one of the best ways to connect with your visitors, and encourage them to become subscribers and customers. Plus it’s very cost effective. Smart Insights estimates that you get $40 in revenue for every dollar you spend.

email marketing roi

Best of all, email marketing is affordable. For example, if you use MailChimp, you can message your first 2000 users for free. After that, you can always try one of these email marketing services.

But growing your email list can be slow going.

The first of my top growth hacking strategies will skyrocket your subscribers quickly.

You’ll need to set up an exit intent campaign with a lead magnet, like this one:

A lead magnet is an incentive that marketers offer to potential buyers in exchange for their email address, or other contact information. Lead magnets usually offer a piece of digital, downloadable content, such as a free PDF checklist, report, or eBook like in the example above.

Exit Intent detects user behavior and prompts them with a targeted campaign at the precise moment they are about to leave.

To set this up, just follow these 3 simple steps:

  1. First check out our list of lead magnet ideas so you can quickly create your own.
  2. Then, visit our gallery for some neat exit intent popup examples you can copy.
  3. Follow this guide on how to use OptinMonster to grow your list, and be sure to enable exit intent.

om exit intent enabled

That’s it!

Now sit back and watch your site visitors convert into subscribers.

2. Reward Social Shares With Discounts

There are millions of social media users worldwide, and it makes sense to spread the word in the networks you belong to. This can help you get new business via social sharing and word-of-mouth promotion.

top social media platforms

But simply asking people to spread the word on social media doesn’t always cut it. People always think – “What’s in it for me?”

By rewarding them for sharing, you’ll see your brand spread like wildfire.

Think about it – this was one of the that’s exactly how Groupon does it. If people don’t share, they may not get their deals.

If you’re using Shopify, you can use an app like Social Marketing All in One to ask customers to share a product as soon as they add it to the cart, and then reward them with a discount.

Check out our guides on getting traffic from Facebook and using Twitter for lead generation for more actionable tips you can use to spread the word on social media.

3. Gamify Your Onboarding

A tried and true growth hacking tactic many companies use is rewarding users both for using the product and for bringing in new users. That can be a great way to expand your user base really fast.

For example, Dropbox’s onboarding process is gamified, allowing you to unlock more storage as you reach different milestones.

dropbox growth hacking strategies

There are additional incentives such as for referring new users. To put this into action, think about what actions would both get users more comfortable with your product and help get the word out. Then make those part of your onboarding workflow.

Growth hacking tools you can use to create a gamified onboarding experience include Userlane and Masskom.

4. Use Urgency and FOMO

Two psychological hacks that complement any growth hacking strategy are FOMO and urgency.

FOMO is the fear of missing out. It relies on people’s psychological desire not to be left out of something good. And it’s likely part of the reasons why using an invite-only system for your company or for new feature releases is so effective. Learn more about FOMO marketing in our guide.

Related Content25+ Powerful FOMO Statistics to Skyrocket Sales (2019)

Related to that is urgency, which is also tied to human psychology. Basically, we feel compelled to act if a situation is urgent. So if you’re opening beta access to your new service for a limited time, it becomes more appealing to potential customers. We’ve got a guide to help you use urgency in marketing.

An easy way to implement these psychological hacks are by using a countdown timer on your site with a limited-time offer if they sign up for your email list:


5. Go Freemium

People love to get something free, especially when it’s got a rich set of features. A freemium product can also help you attract the attention of potential reviewers because they don’t have to pay to use it.

And the best freemium products will give you enough features so that users get hooked on using the product and want to upgrade. For example, drag and drop WordPress form builder WPForms offers robust contact form features for free, but you have to upgrade for certain useful integrations.

wpforms gorwth hacking strategy

A/b test different pricing models (e.g., freemium, subscription-based, pay-as-you-go) to find what works best for your target audience and maximizes revenue.

To get started with a freemium offering, see our guide on creating a free trial strategy that converts.

6. Create a Free Tool

Want a growth hacking strategy that’s proven to help people recognize your company? Create a free tool that’s insanely useful.

For example, online editorial calendar CoSchedule created the Headline Analyzer, which you can use for free as long as you sign up for their email list (see tip #1). Once people are on that list, the company can wow subscribers with content marketing, promote the value of their paid service, and offer them the chance to try it out.

best growth hacks -create a free tool

Here’s another example from our own company. SupportAlly makes it easy for anyone to help support team members help them by collecting the information they need in one simple page. When people use the tool, they can see a list of other tools at the bottom of the landing page.


Here are some more examples of free tools for inspiration.

7. Run a Contest

Did you know that running an online contest is one of the most effective ways to raise awareness about your product or service?

interactive content as a growth hack

And it’s a win-win. Not only do you get the word out, building your user base, but if your giveaway prize is also an account, you gain an enthusiastic new user. Let’s face it, if they’ve entered a contest to win an account, they already like you.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Run a simple sweepstake on Twitter, with an account as the prize. Make sure to comply with Twitter’s contest rules.
  • Share an image related to your company on your Facebook page, and ask people to like or comment to enter your contest. Again, pay strict attention to Facebook’s contest rules.
  • Create a competition on Instagram by asking users to post content around a theme, and with a specific hashtag, and to tag your brand page. Here are some more ideas for running Instagram contests.

In all cases, you can also use a tool like RafflePress to allow people to get multiple entries by promoting your contest on different sites.

8. Get Bloggers to Review Your Product

As I mentioned earlier, offering free accounts in exchange for reviews from influential bloggers can be another way to get the word out about your product or service.

Just bear in mind that in order to comply with FTC guidelines, bloggers have to disclose their relationship with you and any perks they’re getting as a result.

We’ve seen a lot of companies use this growth hacking strategy. For example, one web hosting company I know provided a free basic hosting plan for life in exchange for an honest review. And another company offers a premium account for six months in exchange for a review.

This is a smart growth hacking tactic because it lets people really get to know your product or service, and they may then promote it even more, helping you to grow. A spin on this is inviting people to contribute to your blog in exchange for a free account. It’s an excellent way to get content AND free promotion.

To implement this growth strategy:

  • Search Google for bloggers that do reviews and lists of products and services like yours
  • Use a tool like Klear to see how influential they are. Login with Twitter, and you can do a basic search for free

growth hacking strategies - find influencers with Klear

  • Type the URL of their blog into Buzzsumo to see if their content gets shared, as in the screenshot below
  • Reach out to them via email, without being too pushy

buzzsumo search - one of the best growth hacking tools

9. Use Your Email Signature

Want to know one of the simplest growth hacking strategies you can use? Promoting your business in your email signature, or your users’ email signature, depending on the tool.

When Hotmail (the forerunner of launched, every email sent included a line inviting the recipients to sign up for a free account. Unsurprisingly, Hotmail grew fast.

Here’s how you can add a signature to the most used email programs and apps: Gmail, Outlook, and Apple Mail.

10. Get Listed in Relevant Marketplaces

With so many products and services launching every day, it’s important to get yours listed in the right place. One site that’s proved useful is Product Hunt, one of the go-to places for anyone exploring new services. To get your product listed:

  • Join Product Hunt and set up your profile
  • Contribute to the community by upvoting and commenting
  • Network with people on the site
  • Add and promote your product

product promotion - one of the best growth hacking strategies

Learn more in Product Hunt’s guide to launching on Product Hunt.

11. Amplify Reach with Social Advertising

Compared to other forms of advertising, social ads cost relatively little, which is why we’ve included this in our list of growth hacking strategies.

relative cost of social media promotion

And with large audiences in almost every global market, the potential reach is huge. Plus you can really focus in on your core audience.

For example, if you create a post or a video on Facebook, you can press the “Boost” button to enter their ad creation interface. Then you can choose your audience, budget and ad duration before submitting your ad for review. Once it’s approved, you’ll be able to see how it’s doing, and you’ll get an email report on its promotion at the end.

best growth hacks - facebook promotion

PostPlanner’s Scott Ayres gained $2400 in sales after spending just $20 on boosting a post.

If you’re going to boost a post, treat it like any other piece of marketing. In other words:

  • Have a defined goal, such as increasing engagement
  • Know the audience you intend your post to reach
  • Know what metrics will mean you’ve succeeded, such as more people visiting your site or contacing you

Here’s one way to implement this strategy. If you have an article that includes a content upgrade, you can share that article on Facebook, and then boost it, so the people most likely to be interested see your promotion. AdEspresso’s guide to creating audiences can help with this.

12. Use Data Analytics for Decision Making

Utilize data analytics to understand customer behavior, preferences, and feedback. This can help make informed decisions about product improvements, marketing strategies, and customer experience enhancements.

Utilize tools like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, or Amplitude to track user interactions on your website or app.

I recommend Monster Insights, the best analytics plugin, which three million+ professionals trust.

Monster Insights - Analytics Tool

Analyze this data to identify patterns, such as the most visited pages, user drop-off points, and conversion paths. Use these insights to optimize your marketing strategies and product offerings.

Netflix uses data analytics to understand viewing patterns, which helps recommend personalized shows to users, increasing engagement and retention.

13. Implement Chatbots for Enhanced Customer Engagement

Chatbots can respond immediately to customer inquiries, improve engagement, and collect valuable feedback. They can also guide users through the sales funnel, increasing conversion rates.

Use platforms like Intercom, Drift, or Chatfuel to create and integrate chatbots into your website or social media platforms. Design the chatbot flow to answer frequently asked questions, collect user information, and guide them through the sales funnel.

Dom - Dominos Chatbot

Domino’s Pizza uses a chatbot named Dom to allow customers to order pizza directly through Facebook Messenger, simplifying the ordering process.

14. Utilize SEO for Organic Growth

Focus on advanced SEO (search engine optimization) techniques beyond keyword optimization, such as voice search optimization, featured snippets, and local SEO strategies to attract more organic traffic.

Conduct keyword research and content gap analysis to identify terms and topics your competitor covers and ranks for. Always keep tabs on the updates coming from Google and stay ahead of the competition.

We, at OptinMonster consistently ranks high in search results for marketing-related queries due to our comprehensive SEO strategy that includes in-depth blog articles, free tools, and resources.

15. Develop a Mobile App

If applicable, developing a mobile app can open new channels for growth, improve customer engagement, and provide valuable data on user behavior and preferences.

Identify features that would provide value to your users in a mobile app. Use development platforms like React Native for cross-platform app development to reduce costs. Promote the app through your website, social media, and email marketing.

myfitnesspal mobile app

MyFitnessPal’s mobile app is an excellent example of a mobile app that complements its web platform, allowing users to track their diet and exercise on the go.

16. Host Webinars and Online Workshops

Hosting educational webinars, podcasts and workshops can establish your brand as an authority in your niche, attract a targeted audience, and generate leads.

Identify topics of interest to your target audience. Use platforms like Zoom or GoToWebinar to host your events. Promote these events through email marketing, social media, and partnerships with influencers in your industry.

OptinMonster live free webinars

At OptinMonster, we host live free webinars every Wednesday on topics ranging from lead generation to email marketing, providing valuable content to our audience.

17. Implement Viral Marketing Campaigns

Create shareable content or campaigns that encourage users to share with their networks. This can significantly increase brand visibility and attract new customers.

Create content or campaigns with strong emotional appeal or significant value. Encourage sharing by making it easy and rewarding for users to spread the word to their networks.

Dropboxs referral program

Dropbox’s referral program offered extra storage space for both the referrer and the referred, leading to viral growth.

18. Explore Affiliate Marketing

Develop an affiliate program to incentivize bloggers, influencers, and other partners to promote your products or services in exchange for a commission on sales.

Set up an affiliate program using platforms like ShareASale or Commission Junction. Offer competitive commissions to attract bloggers and influencers in your niche. Provide them with all the necessary resources, such as banners and tracking links.

Amazon Associates - Referral Program

Amazon Associates is one of the largest and most successful affiliate programs, allowing website owners to earn commissions by referring customers to Amazon.

19. Optimize Website Speed and User Experience

Ensure your website is fast and offers a seamless user experience across all devices. This can improve SEO rankings and reduce bounce rates.

Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to identify areas for improvement. Optimize images, leverage browser caching, and minimize CSS and JavaScript files to increase speed. Ensure your website design is intuitive and navigation is easy.

AirBnB - Page Speed Optimization

Airbnb focuses on a simple, user-friendly design and fast loading times to enhance user experience and increase bookings.

20. Take Advantage of Influencer Partnerships

Partner with influencers who align with your brand values to reach a wider audience. Influencer partnerships can enhance brand credibility and drive targeted traffic.

Prime - Influencer Marketing

Prime Energy Drink, co-founded by YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI, has utilized influencer marketing to skyrocket its brand presence and sales.

In conclusion, growth hacking strategies are important for any business aiming to achieve unprecedented growth.

All the growth hacking strategies we discussed offer a unique route to improve your customer base and drive your business forward.

Empower Your Growth Hacking Strategies with OptinMonster

While we discuss growth hacking strategies, remember that the ultimate goal is to find scalable and sustainable methods to grow your business. It’s not just about quick wins; it’s about setting a foundation for long-term success. This is where OptinMonster can play a pivotal role.

OptinMonster stands out as a powerful tool designed to convert and monetize your website traffic.

With features like exit-intent popups, targeted campaigns, and detailed analytics, OptinMonster enables you to capture leads more effectively, engage your audience, and, ultimately, drive conversions.

Whether you’re looking to amplify your email marketing efforts or improve user experience on your website, OptinMonster provides the tools you need to execute your growth hacking strategies with precision and efficiency.

In the world of growth marketing, where every interaction counts, OptinMonster helps you make the most of your digital presence.

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Growth Hacking Strategies FAQ

1. What are growth hacking techniques?

Growth hacking techniques are creative, low-cost strategies aimed at helping businesses acquire and retain customers.

These techniques often involve using data analytics, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and other digital marketing methods to increase a company’s growth rate more quickly than traditional marketing methods. Examples include:

  • Viral marketing campaigns.
  • Leveraging social proof.
  • Content marketing.
  • Referral programs.
  • Implementing automated email sequences to engage users.

2. What are the 4 stages of growth hacking?

The 4 stages of growth hacking can be summarized as follows:

  1. Product/Market Fit: Ensuring the product meets a strong market demand. This stage involves understanding customer needs and refining the product to satisfy those needs better.
  2. Acquisition: Finding efficient ways to attract users or customers to the product. Techniques used in this stage often include SEO, content marketing, social media campaigns, and paid advertising.
  3. Activation: Convincing users to take a desired action, such as signing up for a trial, subscribing to a newsletter, or making a purchase. This often involves optimizing landing pages, onboarding processes, and user experience.
  4. Retention: Keeping customers engaged and using the product over time. Strategies include email marketing, feature updates, customer support, and community building to encourage loyalty and reduce churn.

3. How to growth hack a platform?

To growth hack a platform, follow these steps:

  1. Identify Your Target Audience: Know who your ideal users are and where to find them.
  2. Optimize for Product/Market Fit: Ensure your platform offers unique value that meets your target audience’s needs.
  3. Leverage Viral Coefficients: Encourage existing users to invite new users, possibly through incentives or referral programs.
  4. Utilize Content Marketing: Create valuable content that attracts users to your platform and encourages sharing.
  5. Optimize User Onboarding: Make the onboarding process as smooth as possible to convert visitors into active users quickly.
  6. Implement A/B Testing: Continuously test different aspects of your platform to improve user experience and increase conversion rates.
  7. Engage with Your Community: Build and maintain an active community around your platform to foster loyalty and encourage feedback.

4. What is the principle of growth hacking?

The principle of growth hacking is to prioritize growth above all other metrics and to achieve this growth by any means necessary, as long as they are cost-effective and scalable.

It involves a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective and efficient ways to grow a business.

Growth hacking focuses on achieving measurable results, using data and analytics to guide decisions, and being willing to pivot strategies quickly based on what the data shows. The core principle is leveraging creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain minimal cost and effort exposure.

5. What is growth hacking strategy?

A growth hacking strategy is a marketing approach focused on quickly finding and leveraging the most effective techniques and tools to grow a business’s user base, revenue, or market presence with minimal expenditure.

Related to Growth Hacking Strategies

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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