At RevelX we want to share the wealth. We want organizations to take advantage of the innovative power of growth hacking – even if they are not our clients, because that will make the world a more creative place to live in. That’s why we proudly present you with this compendium of growth hacking strategies, tricks, tools and case studies, that is based on our many years in this field. Enjoy and share!

Airbnb (case study)

Airbnb struggled to find people to use their platform which enabled people to lease or rent short-term lodging. So, the San Francisco company chose to target the users of Craigslist. By providing an option for homeowners to post to Craigslist automatically, Airbnb reached more potential users resulting in a lot of free traffic and exponential growth. Today, Airbnb has over 12 million rental locations and over 100 million users worldwide.


Alexa (tool)

You are doing great, but never forget to keep an eye on the competition. For example, how is the competition’s website doing? Of course, you have used Alexa to rank their traffic, but did you know this tool can do much more? Alexa can also identify competitors you were not aware of. It will tell you what they are doing better than you and give you the advice you need to fix it. This great tool offers a free, 7-day trial.


Amazon (case study)

Amazon.com stores the search behavior of customers on its website and uses the data to make them a tailor-made offer through email. There are 2 types of recommendation emails that the American online shop sends out. The first is when a customer has viewed a particular product many times but not made a purchase. The second one is a list of products that are related to their browsing patterns. This personalized approach is one of the reasons Amazon has become the biggest bookseller in the world.


Anchoring (trick)

Anchoring or focalism is the tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor,” on one trait or piece of information when making decisions. Usually, this will be the first piece of information that we acquire on that subject.

If the first thing a potential customer sees is the huge benefit a product will provide him with – i.e. thousands euro’s of savings – that big amount forms a mental anchor. A product price of “only” a few hundred euro’s will then seem very low.


Attentional Bias (trick)

This is the tendency of our perception to be affected by recurring thoughts. So the more often a customer sees your ads or messages, the more likely he is to purchase from you.

What does this mean for you? Use retargeting. Blog regularly. Place CTA buttons throughout a landing page, massively communicate your message, often!


Availability Cascade (trick)

The availability cascade is a self-reinforcing process in which a collective belief gains more and more plausibility through its increasing repetition in public discourse. As all propagandists know: repeat something long enough, and it will become true.

So when your website, brand, or product is referenced repeatedly by others, people are more likely to think highly of it. The more social buzz you generate, the better.

You can generate buzz by creating “mini brands” as we do with our Growth Academy and The Growth Hack Daily.


Base Rate Fallacy (trick)

Base rate fallacy, or base rate neglect, is the tendency to ignore base rate information (generic, general facts) and focus on specific information (data only about an individual case).

So don’t just share information about your product (boring statistics, figures, features, etc.). Instead, show how your product works, using specific examples. Use case studies and user testimonials.


Belief Bias (trick)

This is an effect where the believability of the conclusion biases someone’s evaluation of the logical strength of an argument.

So when persuading users to buy your product, show them how it will help them. The positive personal result of the product is going to trump your argument as to why it’s so good.

To be more specific, first find out what people believe, then explain the many benefits of your product starting from that belief.


Bias Blind Spot (trick)

This is the tendency to see oneself as less biased than other people, or to be able to identify more cognitive biases in others than in oneself. To put it more simply, people are blind to their own stupidity.

So do not confront people with their own “shortfalls”, they will not accept them; find workarounds.


Bing Webmaster Tools (tool)

If we are talking about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), people think it is all about Google, but Bing has a 9% market share which amounts to billions of searches. So, if your website is Google-optimized, start getting Bing-optimized!

The search engine itself will help you do this. Being Google Search Console’s lesser-known alternative, Bing Webmaster Tools will help you improve your site’s performance by offering tools to troubleshoot the crawling and indexing of your website, sitemap creation, submission and ping tools, website statistics, and much more!


Booking.com (case study)

Dr. Robert Cialdini’s research showed customers are more interested in products that are scarce or at least seem to be. Booking.com is a master of this kind of persuasion. The platform serves notifications such as “There are 13 people looking at this hotel” and “Most recent booking for this property was 14 minutes ago from the United Kingdom.”

These messages create a sense of urgency in the customer resulting in much higher conversion rates.


BrokenLinkCheck.com (tool)

Dead links on a website result in a bad customer experience. They make a site look outdated. That’s why Google penalizes broken links, and SEO experts warn you to fix them. Have you checked your website recently? Because of the ultra-fast changing nature of the Internet, chances are your site has broken links on it. A free and easy way to check this is BrokenLinkCheck.com. This tool will check your web-pages for dead links and will report bad hyperlinks.


Buffer (case study)

This app was developed to help people manage and schedule their social media posts. How did they acquire around 100,000 users within the first 9 months? The unexpected answer: through guest blogging on other websites. Within the space of about 9 months, Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich wrote around 150 guest posts.

“Of course the early ones barely drove any traffic, and only very gradually did things improve. I think that’s very important to understand. It will take a while until you can find the right frequency of posting,” Widrich explained in an interview.


Buzzfeed (case study)

The news site Buzzfeed is the poster boy of click-bait. But, there is more to it than just celebrity gossip and nice pet pictures. Buzzfeed A/B tests pretty much everything. The website shows multiple versions of articles to website visitors, not just the headline or the thumbnail that’s rendered on Facebook or Twitter, etc.

After a couple of hours, the website visitors’ clicks decide the winning combination of copy, image, and headline. It really works: Buzzfeed ranks in the top 100 of US websites, with many articles going viral.


Cheerleader Effect (trick)

The cheerleader effect is the tendency for people to appear more attractive in a group than in isolation. So never show people just one testimonial. Display groups of testimonials.


Choice-supportive Bias (trick)

This is the tendency to remember one’s choices as better than they actually were.

So if your customer makes a choice, praise them. They will forever think that they made the right decision. Pepper your conversion funnel with affirming messages, and email them to congratulate them on their purchase.


Click to Tweet (tool)

To drive more traffic to your website, it will help when site visitors tweet your content. Through Click to Tweet, this process will become frictionless. This tool helps you embed on your website the copy and link you want to be tweeted. The result is website visitors will be more likely to share your message. Furthermore, the tweet will be written the way you want it.


Convert (tool)

The easiest way to increase revenue is by selling more product to your loyal customers. A delightful tool to help you accomplish this is Convert‘s A/B testing tool. This is an affordable, user-friendly optimization tool. Especially useful are Convert’s personalization features which allow you to be more persuasive by matching specific pages to specific people with rich geo-targeting.


Crowdfire (tool)

So, you don’t have enough Twitter followers? Just try this: every day follow 100 other users of Twitter. A considerable percentage will follow you back. A great app to do this is Crowdfire. This app will accelerate the growth of your Twitter reach.


Crystal App (tool)

How do you communicate with someone you are going to meet for the first time? If you want to sell something to this person, you will want to have a little indication of what sort of person you will be meeting.

The Crystal app shows you the best way to communicate with any person based on their unique personality. Crystal analyzes public data to tell you how you can expect any given person to behave, how she wants to be spoken to, and perhaps more importantly, what you can expect your relationship to be like. Of course, talking to someone is the best way to get to know a client, but Crystal is a great way to prepare that conversation!


Decoy Effect (trick)

When we are talking of the decoy effect, preferences for either option A or B change in favor of option B when option C is presented, which is similar to option B, but is in no way better.

For example, you can sell an e-book for 9 euros, a hardcopy of the book for 20 euros, and the combination of both also for 20 euros. This proposition makes the third option seem inexpensive.

So if you have different variations of the same product (e.g., small vs. large, or 8GB vs. 16GB), insert a third option in the middle that makes the choice that you don’t want people to buy seem foolish.


Dropbox (case study)

Dropbox tried Google AdWords in the early days, but the cost to acquire new customers was higher than the average customer lifetime value. Then, the cloud-based service for file storage introduced an easy-to-use referral program: invite your friends and get extra storage space. This approach was cheaper than ads and proved very effective. In 15 months, the company went from having 100,000 users to having 4 million users.


Empathy Gap (trick)

The empathy gap is the tendency to underestimate the influence or strength of feelings, in either oneself or others.

What does this imply for you? Try to establish a real connection with a person first. Get a feeling for his personal and business needs first, sympathize, and only then start working on business issues.


Focusing Effect (trick)

The focusing effect is the tendency to place too much importance on one aspect of an event. You may have noticed that customers tend to focus on one aspect of your product or service, rather than lots of things.

So instead of just spewing a list of benefits and features at the customer, focus on one thing — most importantly, something that will substantially improve the customer’s quality of life. In other words, you have to explain why your product is fantastic, without being too subtle or balanced!


Forer Effect (trick)

The Forer effect is the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are, in fact, vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people.

The Forer effect is also known as the Barnum effect. Yes, that Barnum… (I knew you would like that tidbit of information.)

So use personalization as much as possible in your marketing efforts. For example, communicate, “You will have noticed,” “You may experience,” etc., rather than, “It is generally known,” or “It is scientifically proven.”


Forward to a Friend (tool)

One of the main KPIs in email marketing is the percentage of forwarded newsletters. To be more shareable, be sure to always include a nice “Email to a Friend” button or link in your marketing emails.

We recommend MailChimp’s Forward to a Friend tool. Your campaign report in MailChimp will show how often your campaign was forwarded and how often those forwarded emails were opened.


Gmail (case study)

When Google launched Gmail in 2004, it was accessible by invitation only. By making the product scarcer and more exclusive, people became more interested in the service. This is in line with Dr. Robert Cialdini’s research on persuasion. It worked: Gmail has 1.2 billion users today.


Google Tag Manager (tool)

If content is a big part of your website, you have to measure scroll depth: how far users are scrolling down your site and which subpages they visit. This gives an indication of how they use your content, and what wishes and interests they have. You can track scroll depth through Google Tag Manager, a tool that also adds and updates AdWords, Google Analytics, Floodlight, and non-Google tags on a website. This tool is a great way to really understand your website visitor’s behavior!


Google Trends (tool)

You don’t need to hire a trend watcher if you use Google Trends! Based on Google Search, this tool shows how often a particular search term is entered relative to the total search volume across various regions of the world and in multiple languages. This enables Google Trends to give insight into the subjects the population cares about and alerts you to emerging developments. The tool is also used to explore financial markets. Just try it; it’s free!


Growth Hack Daily (tool)

This tool is especially made for you by RevelX. Sign up now for The Growth Hack Daily and we’ll send you a quick-read-daily-growth-hack-tip. It’ll take you just a few minutes to read but it will have a major impact on your business’ growth. And, best of all, you can do it all yourself without knowing all that die-hard code!


Hemingway (tool)

Do you want to write better content in less time? Use the Hemingway App to optimize your copy. It’s like a spellchecker, but instead of checking your spelling, it checks your style. It makes sure that your reader will focus on your message, not your prose.

Hemingway judges the “grade level” of your text using the Automated Readability Index and highlights the words and sentences you should change to make the copy more appealing. This free app is like an automated proofreader that will make your content more persuasive.


Hotmail (case study)

Free email service Hotmail snowballed by using one single trick. Starting in 1996, each email message had the following signature at the bottom: “Get your free email at Hotmail,” with a link to the Hotmail homepage. Within 18 months, 60% of internet users had a Hotmail account.


HubSpot (case study)

HubSpot had extensive, but costly features, so their challenge was to find users for their platform. The trick they used was a “lock-in” strategy. The CRM product became 100% free, and for smaller companies, there was a 90% discount. A lot of businesses found this an appealing proposal.

Consequently, all their contacts, landing pages, analytics, and so on were “locked-in” in HubSpot. Migrating to another solution was almost impossible. This way, HubSpot became one of the most popular, all-in-one marketing platforms on the web.


Illusion of Control (trick)

The tendency to overestimate one’s degree of influence over other external events is called the illusion of control.

If you can give the user some degree of choice or influence over the conversion process, he will be more likely to have a self-inflated view, and therefore be empowered to complete the conversion.

So, use status updates, tick boxes, process charts, decision flows, etc. all the time. Always show customers where you are in a process and what their degrees of freedom are, guided by you.


Instagram (case study)

In 2009, 27-year-old Stanford University graduate Kevin Systrom built Burbn, a location-based, social network. The app was well received, but attracting new users was much harder. Looking into the user data, Systrom found out Burbn was mostly used for sharing photography. So, the app was stripped of most of its extraneous features and was renamed Instagram. Today, Instagram competes with SnapChat as the leading social network for teens.


Instagram (tool)

Did you notice many models on Instagram have their settings on private? At the same time they allow thousands of people to see their “personal” pics.

It seems weird, but is in fact a growth hack to get more followers. It works like this: changing your settings to private will trigger a feeling of curiosity in other Instagram users: “What is there to see?” Hence, they will ask to follow your account.


Netflix (case study)

Executives at Netflix knew director David Fincher’s TV series House of Cards would be a hit. Of course, the viewing public’s preferences are fickle, and in showbiz, nothing is certain. But Netflix had extensively analyzed its data.

For example, they knew that many customers had streamed Fincher’s movies from beginning to end. Moreover, the British version of House of Cards had also performed well on Netflix as had films featuring Kevin Spacey. The Netflix executives had analyzed the data wisely. House of Cards became a hit series and their biggest showpiece.


OK Cupid (case study)

In 2007, OK Cupid integrated with Facebook. This dating site enabled its users to participate in quizzes and linked the interactions to their personality type and profile. Facebook’s massive reach worked miracles. The users of OK Cupid grew from 600,000 active users in 2007 to 1 million now.


Owler (tool)

Keeping an eye on your competitor is a fascinating activity, but it is not very cost-effective. There is an excellent solution: with Owler you can keep track of the companies you want to follow. Is there any news? Have they found new investors? Owler will deliver you all these updates and more right to your inbox.


Paddy Power (case study)

Paddy Power is an Irish bookmaker founded in 1988. Before the 2014 FIFA World Cup, they posted a photo on their Twitter account, allegedly showing an overhead view of a Brazilian rainforest with the message “C’MON ENGLAND PP” spelled out by the former locations of trees that had been cut down. Following major criticisms over the advert from users, it was revealed that the images were fake and part of a campaign by Paddy Power to promote its anti-deforestation charity effort.

The company stated that “we knew we’d drop off a fair, few Christmas card lists yesterday, but we couldn’t resist a bit of fake Twitter mischief to highlight an important issue to football fans as our World Cup warm up. At least it gave people something to get animated about during last night’s England-Honduras bore fest.”

The company didn’t measure the ROI of this hoax and other stunts like these, but they certainly made Paddy Power a household name in betting.


Pay With a Tweet (tool)

Consumers love free stuff, and you like exposure. So, how do we combine these two facts of life? Ask customers to reward you for sharing valuable information by tweeting about it! A great way to accomplish this is Pay With a Tweet. With this tool, customers get access to your content once they post on social media about it. Virality is almost guaranteed.


PayPal (case study)

In 2000, online payment solution PayPal tried to figure out the lowest cost per acquisition of a new member. The solution was an invite-a-friend email campaign; people would get paid real dollars when their invited friends joined PayPal. PayPal’s user base grew from 1 million to over 5 million within the space of around 5 months.


PDFill PDF Tools (tool)

PDF’s can be a nightmare! Without expensive software, it seems impossible to change anything in these documents. Wrong! Take a look at the fantastic PDFill PDF Tools website. It offers free PDF functions to merge, split, reorder, delete, encrypt, decrypt, rotate, crop, and reformat PDF pages — and much more. From now on, PDF’s will be fun!


Piktochart (tool)

A picture is worth 1,000 words. But you may not be an artist or a designer, and don’t have the budget to hire one. There is a growth hack for that! Piktochart is an easy, infographic design app that requires minimal effort to produce beautiful, high-quality graphics. Save on designing costs, and make your infographics here.


PPC Keyword Tool (tool)

If you are looking for new ways to optimize your Pay-Per-Click campaign and get the most out of every euro spent, our friends at SEMrush can come to the rescue. Their PPC Keyword tool helps you create and edit keyword lists for search campaigns. The current version has recently graduated out of beta status. SEMrush has added one more perk for paid users: improved local keyword metrics.


Readability Test Tool (tool)

Chances are you are a decent writer but need a little help to be excellent. The Readability Test Tool provides a quick and easy way to test the readability of your work. Make merciless edits in your copy, and make texts that are effective!


SERPSimulator.com (tool)

If you had to make one change to your blog today to drive more traffic, we would recommend you should write great snippets. These are short text descriptions that Google shows to describe your page. Snippets are usually taken from your blog page’s meta description tag.

SERPSimulator.com enables you to see how your organic listings will look in Google search results. You can adjust meta title, meta description, and more to make your listings attractive in order to drive more traffic to your website.


Shazam (case study)

Shazam is a mobile app that helps users identify songs. They encouraged users to hold their smartphones above their head and near the speakers because the software would function better this way. But this also raised questions from bystanders about what the user was doing. A brilliant kind of digital marketing in the real world! Today, there are over 1 billion Shazam app downloads.


Spotify (case study)

Spotify was looking for tactics to increase its user base. To accomplish this, the online streaming service created a Facebook integration in 2011. It allowed users to post the tracks that they’re listening to on Facebook. As a result, Spotify was placed in front of everyone on Facebook, and its user base grew exponentially.


Tinder (case study)

Dating app Tinder is among the first “swiping apps,” whose users employ a swiping motion to choose pictures of other users, swiping right for potentially good matches and swiping left on a photo to move to the next one.

The secret of its success: the swiping movement transformed dating into an online game. After being launched in 2012, Tinder was registering about one billion “swipes” per day 2 years later.


Trendiy (case study)

Trendiy designs, manufactures and sells window-decoration products to end users via the larger DIY (Do-It-Yourself) retail chains. The company was facing severe price pressure from its key clients, the DIY retailers. Branding, product features, and designs had had an insufficient appealing effect on their buyers who kept increasing the price pressure.

RevelX researched the buying structure at the DIY retailers and the criteria for success of the buyers. They found out that the financial performance of shop space was of greater importance than product design, brand, and other factors. Logistic processes largely influenced financial performance. The new value proposition addressed this logistic performance much more prominently than competitors did.

The result was that the remaining customers were delighted and impressed with the new proposition. Lost customers returned, and revenues started to grow again. Trendiy is now in its best state ever.


TripAdvisor (case study)

Hotel recommendation and review site TripAdvisor wanted to outsmart the competition by being on top of the SEO game. Their growth hack was to ask hotels and restaurants to display TripAdvisor badges on their websites and offline in their venues. By doing so, visitors to their websites and places were made aware that they could review the venue on TripAdvisor resulting in more relevant content and thus in better findability.


Twilighter (tool)

Do you want to grow your website traffic? Make sharing and commenting on your contents easier. Twilighter will help.

With this tool, any visitor on your website or blog can effortlessly highlight any part of your content and share it immediately on Twitter. Ultimately, the more your readers engage with your content, the more new traffic your site will get.


Uber (case study)

Founded in 2009, taxi platform Uber’s base in San Francisco was the key to its initial success. Here, the ridesharing network company organized events for the tech community. More important, they offered free rides to those attending. News of Uber has spread word-of-mouth among early adopters of technology and worked miracles.

Now, Uber serves 633 cities the world over. The revenue for 2017 was €7.5 billion.


Unbounce (tool)

If you start running a new marketing campaign, you don’t have to build a new website every time. A new landing page for each new campaign is sufficient. Of course, you want this page to be awesome and effective. A great tool to accomplish this is Unbounce.

The Unbounce Builder empowers every member of your team to rapidly build custom landing pages, popups, and sticky bars for any campaign with no coding needed. With Unbounce’s suite of lead-gen and conversion optimization tools, you can maximize the conversion potential of each visitor on both your website and landing pages.


Unsplash (tool)

Do you run a website and need great pictures to capture the attention of your audience? One option is buying high-quality stock photos from iStock or Getty’s ThinkStock. If your budget is a little tight, use Unsplash, a site with amazing free pictures for you to use.


Upwork (tool)

Don’t get distracted by non-critical processes. The business of the future is lean and agile. The platform economy will help you accomplish this. Use online workplaces like Upwork to hire freelance writers and designers. It is an excellent way to save on hiring costs, avoid the administrative hassle, and give great workers from around the world a chance!


WP Engine (case study)

WP Engine is a provider of hosting and optimization for WordPress blogs. Their referral program is very generous: $200 per new customer or 100% of the customer’s first monthly payment (whichever is higher). This trade-off seems expensive, but it has been cost-effective in finding valuable, paying customers.


Yoast (tool)

Optimizing your website for search engines is mandatory today. Did you know part of this immense task can be automated? The great WordPress plug-in Yoast helps everyone optimize their web page.

SEO experts as well as newbies use Yoast. The tool walks you through all SEO steps, so there is no need to hire an expensive SEO expert.


YouTube (case study)

YouTube wanted to make their platform the number 1 go-to solution when it comes to video sharing. The answer was to make sharing frictionless. YouTube made it very easy to post videos on any website with an easily adjustable frame, making it possible to “embed” videos by simply pasting code into your website or blog. With the launch of this function, YouTube exponentially grew its reach via millions of other sites creating an enormous awareness of their brand as a video sharing solution.


YouTube Analytics (tool)

Undoubtedly you know how to use Google Analytics. But did you know there is also YouTube Analytics? It supports targeted, real-time queries to generate custom reports in response to user interaction. Some questions that can be answered by YouTube Analytics are:

  • How frequently have your videos been viewed?
  • How long do viewers typically spend watching a video?
  • Are the numbers different for female viewers between 25 and 34 years old?
  • How do viewing patterns differ in countries you’re focused on?

YouTube Analytics is a great way to target your audience better!


Zappos (case study)

Online shoe store Zappos is famous for its excellent customer service. Take for instance their 365-day return policy, and free, two-way shipping. The policy can be looked upon as a little bit too lenient, but in fact, it is a growth hack. Some customers may have returned half of their orders, but they are also the ones that spend the most money with Zappos and are their most profitable customers.

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