21 User Acquisition Growth Hacks You Need To Know

user acquisition

If you are reading this post, most probably the first step to online success is already behind you – your product is live, congrats! Unfortunately, that’s half of your way. Remember, even a great product is not enough to win over the crowd of customers.

Although gaining new users requires time and a lot of effort, it’s easier when you know exactly what to do. What’s more, you don’t have to spend loads of dollars.

You better start working – here you’ll find 21 awesome ways to growth hack your online business!


1. Run a blog

An obvious and fundamental building block of inbound marketing that really works (not even sure if I could call that a growth hack). Produce content that represents real added value for your customers or their influencers (or any other group you want to reach). Focus on a specific area and deliver quality content, regularly. Set a schedule for publishing posts, and stick to it. Remember, your overall aim is to increase your active user/customer base, but the main goal of your blog is to help your readers become successful. Build a community of loyal readers, and they will bring you revenue, sooner or later. Don’t be afraid to share your company secrets. Don’t write about yourself – write about problems and solutions that are relevant to your customers.

2. Write guest posts

If one blog is useful, also getting your message out there via other people’s blogs has got to be better. Writing for other blogs puts your message in front of a whole new audience, some of whom can become your readers. Remember to ask your host to share a link to your blog in the description of your post. This drives people to your blog, and provides some good link juice for SEO. Guest posting also helps you build a relationship with other bloggers, enhancing your influence and repute in your field.

3. Invite guests to your blog

Get the opinions and thoughts of notable figures in your field on your blog. Other bloggers understand the benefits of guest posting – invite them to write a guest post for your blog, or interview them, or repost and comment on something from their blog. The more good, diversified content you can get, the better. It’s good for the guest (see number 2.) and good for you too. Ask your guest to share a link with their audience to their post on your blog. A guest post from a well-known figure can be a huge boost.

4. Write an ebook

An entire book! It’s not as scary as it sounds. You probably already have a lot of good content about your niche topic on your blog. Pick the best ones, add some connecting structure, and turn it into a coherent piece long enough to make a short ebook. No content and the writing skills of a sleepy gorilla? Hire a ghost writer! Just make sure you carefully outline the contents to make it valuable to your target audience. Find a graphic designer to put it together (99designs.com, elance.com) and voilà! Now all you need to do is create a nice webpage with huge CTA saying Tweet to Download (use paywithatweet.com) and make it roll.

5. Monitor the web and react with relevant content 

Pay attention to what people are saying about your brand and, most importantly, what is going on in your industry. It’s impossible to manually find every relevant article, post and comment but, thankfully, there are tools that will do it for you. All you need to do is react. Start with the free and simple Google Alerts. Set up a bunch of relevant queries and receive an alert every time someone writes about them. Tweet Alarm does the same thing for Twitter, as Hyper Alerts does for Facebook. I personally recommend Colibri Tool, which crawls all of the above, plus Quora. Once you are on top of fresh content appearing around the web, you can react with relevant answers and comments and build a reputation for having your finger on the pulse.

6. White hat comments

Establish a list of online places you want to be seen in, and take the time to post replies/comments on these blogs and platforms. Always use your real name and photo so that people get to know you. Bring real value to these conversations – don’t just pitch in with something meaningless for the sake of it. Don’t be afraid to disagree, but do so respectfully and give good reasons. This can be a lot of work, so get the rest of your team engaged too.

Pro-hack: When posting a reference to your website or blog, don’t post the whole link – it looks spammy and will usually be set as ‘nofollow’ anyway.

7. Teach classes

Build up your credibility and a loyal audience by creating genuinely useful guides and lectures and uploading them to online educational platforms such as Udemy, General Assembly and Skillshare. Sharing your knowledge builds a community and demonstrates to people that you really know what you’re doing. Afraid your industry is too boring and no one will be interested? Great! Your competitors probably think so too. This is your chance to prove them wrong by creating useful and engaging content.

8. Use free channels

There lots you can do with the content on your blog (What do you mean you don’t have one? Didn’t you read number 1!) Reuse that content by posting it in other places around the web. Create a note, presentation, infographic, video or short animation and upload it to platforms such as Facebook, Quora, Snapguide, Slideshare, Wikipedia, Meetup, Youtube, Vine and many others. Good, interesting content and links will provide traffic to your website.

9. SEO

Incredibly, a lot a websites still neglect SEO, or don’t do it properly. To start with, check these basic elements:

  • Use keywords in the title tag and H1, H2, H3 tags – the most important tags on your website.
  • Use a meta description that sounds good and uses keywords sparingly, but effectively – one or two naturally in a sentence, not everywhere.
  • Add ALT tags with pictures names containing relevant keywords
  • A good 404 error page can not only help to keep visitors on your website, but is also good for your SEO results.
  • No Flash content
  • XML sitemap is in place

There are hundreds of tips and tricks for optimising SEO, but content is always the most important factor. If your content is valuable and relevant to the keywords you’re using, your rank will rise.

Try this awesome tool from Quicksprout that will analyse your website for free tools.quicksprout.com

10. Link building tools

Great content is vital, but it’s not enough if you want to build an audience. You also need links. If nobody knows you’re there, they won’t come. Google still loves links, because they mean your content is being shared and mentioned around the web. Lots of good quality links are not so easy to get, but there are some smart people who have created tools that can help. One is Buzzstream, which helps you find contact information, manage your WOM campaigns, build links, create buzz and makes you visible via inbound marketing channels. You can also try Link Prospector.

11. Rich snippets 

Rich snippets are a great way to get your content noticed. Rich snippets are those little add-ons beside your link that appear in search results pages – search engines just love them. Give your users detailed information about your website and why it is relevant to their search. Rich snippets mean you can add a picture, a review, a list of songs or a video that will help users find exactly what they’re looking for and increase your CTR. The result – higher rankings. Not everyone is using them yet, so get on the bandwagon early by being the first to implement them in your niche.

12. Get value from PPC ads

Statistics show that 98% of paid ads are a waste of money. Why? Because the content of landing pages is not relevant to what the ad promised. There are two vital considerations when creating your PPC ads – attention ratio and message match. Clear your landing page from any distracting links and actions that might drive your visitor away from the one desired action. When user get to your landing page from an ad, it must be crystal clear what they need to do to pursue the interest further, and it must reflect what your ad said. Sure, you can come up an exciting headline that will attract clicks, but then you’re just investing your money in increasing your bounce rate. Create a specific landing page for your ad with matching content that makes it super clear to users that they’re in the right place. If your campaign is targeting differing client segments, make sure each segment lands on a page with a dedicated value proposition.

13. Remarketing

Remarketing is a great way to increase traffic on your website, and the best part is that it brings in people who have already shown an interest in your site, not random users. Remarketing is a cheaper way of achieving conversion than using regular ads. Some marketers think that remarketing can be annoying to clients, but the truth is that if you target your campaign well and the frequency isn’t be too high, users genuinely find it useful. The sooner you implement the pixel, the more data you will collect to tailor your campaign perfectly. Btw, when you design your graphic ads, remember to make them a little creepy, it creates amazing CTR!

14. Hook early adopters

Betali.st and erlibird.com are platforms listing startups that are, or soon will be, in beta. Interested parties can subscribe to get notifications and updates when a startup goes live. Both platforms list hundreds of startups, and provide a great stage for attracting interest from the kind of people who are interested in innovation and like to adopt early.

15. API integrations

There are dozens of big platforms with millions of users. Why not leverage their success by finding a way to buy into their user groups? Many successful applications got where they are today purely thanks to finding a place to root in the rich soils of these mega-platforms, from Facebook games to payment services.

Use APIs to integrate your product with as many popular platforms as possible (ask your users what to integrate, they will know). It’s not only good for acquisition purposes and for introducing your product to a big audience, it will also make your product better.

Try the power of integrations by checking out Zapier. 

16. Partner up!

Find partner companies that will help you sell your products. For example, you can get your product featured on AppSumo.com, DailyWorth.com, Thrillist, DailyCandy, Groupon and other promotional sites. In B2B, ask your suppliers to invest in mutual marketing campaigns. Brand gathering allows you to join forces with other entrepreneurs to multiply your efforts. You can reach new customers and spread the word by working together and promoting each other for free.

17. Free press

Use HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to get free publicity and publish your expertise. This service notifies you when journalists are looking for a source in your area of expertise.

HARO, and other similar services, connect experts like you with time-pressed media types. Not only do you get quoted as an expert in top-flight media, you also get great, genuine links back to your website.

18. Speak up

There’s a real world out there! Don’t just concentrate on digital outlets, considering standing in front of people IRL and speaking about your passions and expertise. If you run a successful blog and have an established brand, you won’t be short of invitations. If you’re still building your presence, search meetup.com for relevant meetings or go to open mic events.

When you get a speaking spot, remember to prepare a presentation that refers to your webpage and content. Intrigue your listeners, tease some topics and tell them how to find out more on your website.

19. Organise a conference

If you want to shine in your niche, why not organise a conference yourself? Invite industry experts who will attract the attention of your target audience (and maybe some press). As the organiser, your name or company name will appear in articles, posts and social media mentions about your event. Start with small, low profile meet-ups and build by inviting more people and more prominent speakers as recognition grows.

20. Crowdfunding

Funding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are not only great for rising the money to develop a product, but also for introducing it to people who might be interested in buying-in even before it is launched. You don’t just raise money, you also raise awareness. If your product gets noticed, you can be sure that it will be promoted by industry press. Check this source and learn how to make the most of your crowdfunding campaign.

21. Chrome Webstore

Google Chrome is now one of the most popular web browsers. Millions of people use it every day on their desktop or through a Chrome Book. Chrome now has a marketplace similar to the Google Play Store. It allows you to put a short-cut to your web application right on the front page of people’s browsers.

Adding a web page to the Chrome Store is uncomplicated and almost free (just 5$). It probably won’t be your major source of traffic, but the benefits can be huge, because the store has a vast numbers of visitors. When a user adds your web app to his Chrome, he will see it every time he uses the browser app page and is more likely to revisit.

Base CRM has done it, and they already have more than 30 thousand downloads. 30k users for 5$ and couple of hours of setup is not a bad result!


PS. This is a lot, but definitely not all. Creativity doesn’t stop here.Are there any other user acquisition growth hacks that you’d add to this list?

PS2. It was just Acquisition. We still haven’t covered the rest of growth hacking funnel. Stay tuned!


Image credits – Flickr

  • Christian Habermann

    Great stuff & thanks! I’ve found using LinkedIn Groups to be quite useful. One can start their own group focused on their niche and geographic location which is pretty cool.
    Reddit, Inbound and of course GrowthHackers work well too.