• What is Inbound Growth Hacking?

Written by Tobias M. Pasma

What is Inbound Growth Hacking?

  • Last updated: 6 May 2019

Once you have your inbound strategy in place, it’s time to start executing. In this fast-moving era, it’s important that you too are moving quickly. Call it growth hacking, agile marketing or experiment marketing, what matters is the flexibility, mindset and learning ability of the team.

What is Growth Hacking?

Growth Hacking is defined on Wikipedia as “a process of rapid experimentation across a range of marketing channels to identify the most effective ways to grow a business.” A few word choices here are important to pay attention to: ‘Rapid Experimentation’, ‘Range’ and ‘Business’. We’ll get into more detail on these words.

Rapid Experimentation

The idea within growth hacking is to find the most effective ways by testing and experimenting with everything. Come up with ideas that, and test them, as quickly as possible. If something works, keep it. If it fails, learn from it and go on with the next thing.


In an ideal scenario a growth hacker isn’t limited by the range of channels he or she can use for the experiments. One thing that is very different from, say a digital marketer, is that also the product itself can be involved to grow the business. A great example of a growth hack in this area comes from Dropbox in their early days: if you refer a friend that signs up, you get 500MB of extra storage.


A traditional marketeer focusses on a few things; growing brand awareness, generate demand and suppling sales with leads. In growth hacking the focus is on the growth of the business, so a lot of attention can also be spent on preventing customer churn or increasing loyalty; whatever will be most beneficial for the growth of the company.

What is Inbound Growth Hacking?

On this page, we are talking about ‘inbound growth hacking’. How does this differ from normal ‘growth hacking’? Inbound Growth Hacking is an adaption of normal growth hacking, it follows the same process, focus, and aspirations. However, there is a small nuance in the mindset, which might lead to other choices in execution. The mind of a growth hacker is focussed on one thing: Growth. The mind of an inbound growth hacker is focussed on something else: Growth through empathy.

Let make the difference clear with an example. You have a website and your goals are to generate leads. As a growth hacker, your experiments may have shown that you can generate 15 extra leads per month if you put up a wide-screen pop-up on your blog. You do this, because your goal is a growth in leads, and this gives you 15 extra leads. Done. As an inbound growth hacker, you try to think one step further; we have 7500 visitors on our blog each month, 7485 of these visitors will absolutely hate the wide-screen pop-up. Yes, we can get 15 more leads, but is it worth annoying 7485 of the other visitors? You might come up with a better idea; let’s do less intrusive slide-in call-to-action, after a 50% page scroll in which offering an ebook closely aligned with the topic of the blog. Maybe with this tactic, you will only generate 10 extra leads, but you are not annoying 7485 visitors.

The Inbound Growth Hacking process

In two weeks we go through the four steps below. What it all comes done it is that you do what matters most, has the highest impact, is the most effective and that you take time to learn from everything you do.

Gather ideas Write down everything you could think of to optimize your funnel, to improve your process or expand your reach.

Rank and Plan Start ranking your ideas on ease of execution, costs, and potential impact. Plan the work for all your best ideas.

Get Sh*t Done Work hard and work smart.

Learn and Iterate Study the data. Find the wins and fails: celebrate both. Use learnings to fuel the next round of ideas.

Optimizating your funnel

Why would you invest time in getting more traffic, if this traffic doesn’t convert to leads? Or you’re getting in leads, but only a few are converting to Sales Qualified Leads? It’s time to repair a leaking funnel. First, find the leaks. Compare yourself to industry benchmarks and/or your own historical data. Did you find your leaks? Time to fix it. Create an effective process for your potential customers and overachieve the benchmarks. All your other efforts will be much more effective after you’ve fixed your leaking funnel.

Expanding your funnel

Expand your funnel with full customer journey campaigns. Built the new roads for your customer’s journey. We define these journey’s using the following steps:

Pre-awareness Your target customers have some challenges or pain, but they don’t know that solutions are available.

Awareness Your target customers now have become aware of their pain and are taking the first steps to further explore their pain and possible solutions.

Consideration and Education Your target customers are educating themselves on the options they have to solve their pain. As they educate themselves, they narrow down their options.

Evaluation and Decision-making Your potential customer is evaluating his short list of options. Which solution is truly the best? Which solution-provider is the best?

Results The customer signed. Delight them with a great onboarding experience, a fast (indication of) ROI and successful with your product or service.

Retention Make your customers happy. Make them so happy that they want to be up-sold too. Make them so happy that they become an ambassador for your solution.

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