Growth Hacking - What Is Growth Hacking; A Complete Guide

Growth Hacking – What Is Growth Hacking; A Complete Guide

Growth hacking is not new to the market, it was defined way back in 2010 by Sean Ellis. The word ‘Growth Hacking’ may make you think it has an illegal, unlawful act, etc. But it isn’t the case, Growth Hacking is a part of new digital marketing methods, which are completely data-driven. 

It is the buzzword of 2021, which has given a boost to many start-ups around the globe. There are many case studies, where start-ups and brands have adopted such as growth hacking Facebook. Looks Fascinating?

Check out the whole content to gain knowledge, learn, and imply! 

What is Growth Hacking? Meaning And Definition

Growth hacking is a strategy built and executed, which mainly focuses on growth. The sole goal of growth hacking is gaining as many customers and users within a little time and to be cost-effective. The agenda that is fully supportive to the start-ups. 

Growth hacking doesn’t literally mean hacking, it is performed with certain ethics and skills set. Growth hacking is the subfield of digital marketing. Which needs the technical skills to be beneficial for the association. However, as per my knowledge, growth hacking considers every aspect of a company like marketing, products, sales, etc.

You must know! Many marketers may be aware of growth hacking, but they might not have appropriate skills to perform it. You need to hire a professional person or agency for rapid growth. Also you get many growth hacking tools on the internet, which might help you as a growth hacker. 

Sean Ellis is the co-author of the book ‘Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success.’ He is the person who coined the term ‘Growth Hacking’ and he is the original growth hacker who helped many companies through consulting. 


Take an instance: You have a start-up invested with a good budget and a product that your target audience was always looking for. But, your audience isn’t aware and you don’t have the huge budget to invest in marketing, ads/commercials, and PR. Here where you start finding cheap and effective ways to grow your product and business by welcoming customers to consume the product. 

This is where Growth Hacking is helpful, to grow within a quick time by making customers buy your product. The technique is not less than magic, but you need the perfect way to do it. There are many examples of start-ups, which today stand as a global brand, where other marketing strategies and techniques (expensive) look possible to imply in the growth of a business, which earlier wasn’t. Dropbox, Instagram, Netflix, Facebook, Spotify, etc. are start-ups, which proves the practicality of ‘Growth Hacking.’ 

These companies have seen the inflating graph and gained many millions of customers/users. Another practical instance can be: if you love an idea or concept, what will you do? Share with a person who is like-minded or friends who love the ideas like this. This is how growth hacking works on the big scale as ‘Word-Of-Mouth.’ 

Case Studies: Growth Hacking As A Powerful Weapon (Brahmastra) 

Nowadays, it takes a night to be viral, good or bad. Growth hacking will help you to go viral with powerful strategies. Here are a few case studies that will help to understand the tactics used by the start-ups to be a brand today. 

We are sharing the best examples that you might have never read before!


Zomato is one of the most used applications in India. The application is based on the concept of ordering food online from various restaurants in their surroundings with a door-step delivery service. It has approximately 31+ million users per month with 5 millions+ downloads in PlayStore. 

It was started in 2008 as Foodiebay and in 2010 launched as Zomato, but you must notice that Zomato has always followed low-cost marketing, and earlier never done the big-budget commercials for TVs, except few billboards, and social media ads. 

Here are the growth hacks used by Zomato in their earlier days: 

Goal: They aimed to make consumers download the application for ordering the food.


  • Activating the web banners with CTA to download the app
  • The mobile web page banner had this CTA and on the restaurant’s pages, inner search, which garnered high traffic on Zomato. 
  • When Zomato was unable to monetize the calls for orders, so they introduced an ‘Order Online’ button next to it on the website and application simultaneously (They already had great traffic on the website and application at this point)
  • Which made the customers shift towards ordering the food online rather than calling the restaurants and tie-up with Zomato.  
  • They introduced gamification to increase the ratings and reviews for the restaurants, and earn points. Which can be used later as redemption. 
  • The team created a leaderboard for the same. This grabbed the attention of many new users and made the old ones revisit the app and website now and then. 

Here we can observe how timely they redefined goals and introduced the new growth hacking strategy. 


Cryptocurrency is the new boom in India, especially in this pandemic. Where applications like CoinDCX, WazirX, etc got the boost. One of the most used applications for cryptocurrency trading is CoinDCX. And it should be the one because the tactics used to grow the customer base have been targeted properly with execution. 

In 2018, the application was launched in India, when the RBI imposed a ban on banking transactions for cryptocurrency. In March 2020, the Supreme Court Of India lifted the ban on crypto exchanges, which gave a boost in crypto exchanges and investment. Again CoinDCX led the race from 150k to 400k in the last 15 months. It has witnessed 4x growth in the trading by the users, 

It is the only cryptocurrency trading application in India that has raised funds in less than a year, which makes it a leading company in India for crypto exchanges. 

Here is the strategy that was a part of rapid growth 

Goal: To increase the user numbers and trading exchanges of cryptocurrency in the app. 


  • CoinDCX started delivering the free Bitcoin worth ₹100 for every new user’s sign-up and using the referral code. (Bitcoin holds the value of approximately ₹30 lakhs+, the value may change with time)
  • Also, a new sign-up has the lucky chance to win Bitcoin for free worth ₹1Lakh.
  • The start-up made purchasing the high-value Bitcoin easy for users, starting at a low price of ₹100, which made the citizens look at crypto as a good investment. Also, you can purchase different cryptocurrencies starting from ₹100. 
  • Another strategy that attracted the traders was they can trade on the values of Indian currency. 
  • CoinDCX brought in the recent referral campaign, where the user referred will earn 25 USDT for him/her and the referral friend. 
  • The commercials mentioning this CTA and social media ads that contained such growth hacks helped the start-up to reach the value that it holds today. 
  • We don’t recommend following the same hacks as above, you can make the original strategy or hacks, according to your audience and business. 

Note, Cryptocurrency has a financial risk. Above is just an example of growth hacking and not a recommendation of investment. Invest at your own risk. 

Growth Hacking Vs Growth Marketing 

Sharing the core difference of both fields will help you segregate them into two and never walk with misconceptions. Here is the detailed information about both terms. 


Growth hacking is not about using Google Ads or just conducting the A/B tests. Sean Ellis tries to say that any experiments that result in rapid growth and revenue growth can be considered as Growth Hacking. 

Growth Marketing is the systematic process, which is an amalgamation of strategic brand marketing with tactical performance through marketing to acquire loyal customers, who successfully buy the products again, buy more, and spread to others. 


Growth hacking has nothing to do with the brand, how, and what it is! It focuses on increasing the growth of customer band and goal of business

Growth marketing focuses on the brand completely, such as performance of the brand in the market, perception of consumers about the brand, etc. Hence, growth marketing lives for the brand. 


Do you still look for differences? It clearly showcases the difference! 

Growth hacking as the name suggests ‘Hacking’ which sounds here as the tactics performed for the rapid growth of the goal. And the goal can vary according to the business needs such as increasing app downloads, retaining customers, etc. That doesn’t mean growth hacking is helpful for a limited time, but it says to keep exploring, changing, innovating, new in the business to attract the customers. 

What is the life of a successful brand? Timely it may be decades, centurial, etc. growth marketing, which completely focuses on the brand. Hence, it tries to build sustainable growth in the market. 


Growth hacking gives you the quick result with the hustle, also it is carried out with a purpose, that it is cost-effective, time-saving, etc. 

Growth marketing needs time, and it tries to maximize the audience’s happiness. You need time and budget to go with growth marketing, where it uses marketing types like content marketing, etc. 

4-Step Guide Of Growth Hacking (Including Funnel)

Growth hacking is simple if you follow these simple steps, based on the funnel of growth hacking. Here is the following 4-steps list that might change your company’s future. Checkout growth hacking guide

  1. People’s Desire Must Be Your Product
  2. Analyze The Target Audience 
  3. Growth Hacking Funnel And Usage
  4. Innovate, Change, Discover 

Step 1: People’s Desire Must Be Your Product:

No doubt, it is the priority of every company or start-up, but you must know that every now and then a new product enters the industry. So the competition is always high, to make your product stand out among your competitors. You need to innovate or change your product according to what customers want! It must follow as a solution for the customers. Which will make them buy it at a particular time interval. 

These two steps will help you to develop the product, that will have a great impact: 

First, you need to build the product by answering the questions and not the market-fit product. 

Second, when you have an idea, start taking feedback. It will help you to understand the pros and cons of the idea and product. 

Hence, the product is the first stage, where your growth hacking strategy will pull off the growth of the product, revenue, etc. 

Step 2: Analyze The Target Audience 

You can’t target everyone in the initial stages to reach the majority of people, your product needs to be accepted by early adopters and innovators. Once your product successfully crosses these small community groups, then your product can start growing in the market. 

There is no way that a growth hack will work out when you target everyone. Since you don’t even know whom to target. 

Again, the question arises of how to target this minor community and create awareness about the product? For this, you need to create a product profile, considering all the aspects of it. 

Be descriptive while you are describing the person who is most beneficial from the product. Then, start with the category they belong to, in terms of demographic data, such as age, gender, etc. 

Step 3: Growth Hacking Funnel And Usage

Growth hacking has a funnel of five stages, which will help you to understand growth hacking and implement it according to your business. Read the five funnels and usage in this growth hacking guide

  • Acquisition 
  • Activation
  • Retention
  • Revenue
  • Referral 
Funnel Stage 1: Acquisition 

Eric Ries is the man behind the Growth hacking to be popular among the masses. He helped all the companies irrespective of size, category, etc. It was possible through the book ‘The Lean Start-up’ where he mapped the growth hacking usages. 

The book included an important set of topics, which will help you get started with growth hacking. You are one step back to take off with growth hacking! Since you have found the product that is appealing and you have analyzed who your target audience is. Thus, this stage has three reliable paths such as: 

  • Viral: 

It is time to hit the mass customer base. Here you are not targeting everyone, but increasing the platforms and target customer band. For eg: if you are supplying the product within your local surroundings. Now, it’s time to grow the base a little bit or nationwide. 

One of the viral path usage examples is CoinDCX, which started with a referral code, where new sign-ups were offered with free Bitcoin worth ₹100 (explained in detail above.)

  • Sticky: 

The name has the path, you need to retain the customers, for which product needs to be sticky. Where you must know the product’s do’s and don’ts. Through this, you can manipulate your customers in the right way, which will bring attractive figures. 

For example: Zomato has 5+ million downloads, but the daily users are 31+ million. This shows how eager the users are to use the application. The reason may be any service, offers, discounts, or time management. These things have bound the customer band for Zomato. 

  • Paid: 

Paid is suitable for companies, which can’t go viral or the company is not much suitable with an online business. 

They can opt for paid growth hacking, where they can make out commercials, PR, etc. Which will help them to grow rapidly. However, at a point, you will double returns over the investment. It will help to re-invest in the same for more growth and exposure. 

Funnel Stage 2: Activation

The activation stage is to eliminate the field through which customers bounce back. 

Yes, it is a simple task but hustle to test, think, and implement the idea, which is working successfully to convert the customers (conversion leads) for the company. This is why growth hacking needs a sound person with critical thinking ability. 

For example: If you own an OTT platform in the form of a website. Also, you offer a free 30-days trial for all the users but ask for credit card details. This will be the point where customers will sign-up, but won’t enter credit card details and bounce back.

What may work will be, eliminating this field for new users’ registration, or changing it into Debit card details, etc. 

But the point is, it will leave the customers halfway, which has no sense and no impact on growth. For example: people will enjoy the shows for 30 days and leave the platform once the trial period is completed. In this condition, you need a growth hacker, who can find the best path using the funnel stages. 

Funnel Stage 3: Retention

Remember, there are hidden mantras behind success. Which I will be revealing today. Some of you might know or have not known before. 

Many start-ups try to bring in new customers. This is not wrong, but for quick growth and development of business, retention of customers is important. 

Retained customers are the best, and the best customers are ready to spend the most. There are many examples that companies still today find profit in the old customers. In India, you might have heard about ‘Regular Customers’ . This is what I’m talking about. They are loyal and come back to you frequently. 

For example: Swiggy, which is a food delivery application. It has competitors like Zomato, Uber Eats, etc. Customers travel through these apps, and then they may or may not reach Swiggy. Attracting new customers is difficult. But, to recall the customers, who have first-hand experience using Swiggy will be a lot easier. Email Marketing format Swiggy uses, it sends the registered users, emails and SMS, with innovative copy and offers frequently. And these customers have kept the business revenues growing. 

Funnel Stage 4: Revenue

Generating revenue will help the company to develop, grow, and spread. Also, the smooth working of the company happens due to revenue generation. 

However, for that, you need to retain customers and above retention is explained in the simplest form. You need to invest in something that will attract the target audience to buy products. 

For example, Amazon offers free shipping over ₹500+ purchases of products. This makes customers buy more products. 

Likewise, you can opt for the best way to generate more revenue. Amazon earns more revenue by offering free shipping and making customers buy more products. So, they can re-invest the cost of shipping. 

Funnel Stage 5: Referral

Let me give you an instance: If your friend refers to or recommends some company’s product to you. Then, suppose you use the product and have the same experience as your friend (optimistic). How much is the chance you will re-buy the product and recommend the company’s product to your near and dear ones? Highly, right? Yes. 

But, it isn’t that easy, how it sounds. Many brands like Facebook, Whatsapp, still have referral invitations. It works very simply, you ask your retained customer to bring new customers. For this, you need to make customers happy, and build a strategy to retain them. Which will help you to use this funnel stage of growth hacking. 

Referral can be in the form of reward points, etc. But, it must include some benefits for both the customers (new and referrer). Where the chances increase. Referral can be performed based on A/B testing to achieve better results. 

Step 4: Innovate, Change, Discover 

Lastly, at whatever stage your company is at, always try to innovate the products, keep discovering your surroundings, and change timely. Since the world is evolving rapidly and to be in competition, you need to evolve at the same speed. It’s like a treadmill. 


As said, growth hacking is a mindset some may say, it won’t work. Also, there may be many reasons they tell to avoid growth hacking. But it is not! You may learn from many companies, which have seen growth in quick time and you have been part of the hunt. Likewise, CoinDCX took 15 months from 150k users to reach 400k. Zomato was launched in 2010, and in 2020 it had a valuation of $394 million. A decade has brought growth. 

Use the best brains and tactics to execute the growth hacking.

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