30 Customer Acquisition Growth Hacks that work!

Thinking about customer acquisition in traditional ways is a battle plan only for the brave. When companies in the same sector adopt a ‘sheep mentality’, differentiation becomes harder. Prospects are reached by a variety of different channels, so smart companies continuously adopt and juggle.

To discover the right approach for your company, you need to experiment. We have created a list, based on our work with startups and discussions with growth hackers like Morgan Brown, Sean Ellis and Ryan Holiday. Startups are a fertile ground to explore, as they experience most difficulty in acquiring new customers.

The table below outlines newer and more traditional methods to consider.

Customer acquisition channel


1. Search engine marketing

Advertise on Google, Bing and other search engines

2. Search engine optimisation

Make sure your website comes up when keywords are searched for

3. Advertise on social media

Display adverts on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter

4. Content marketing

Content marketing via blogs, webinars, Slideshare

5. Email marketing

Email marketing to a database that you create or buy

6. Engineering driven marketing

Free tools (like a security checker) or widgets that can be downloaded and then drive leads by capturing email addresses

7. Focus your products on a big existing platform

Target Amazon, SalesForce or Facebook and promote your products on their platform

8. Join the right LinkedIn groups

Find the right LinkedIn groups and promote your point of view to build contacts

9. Link your products to larger companies products

Create application programming interfaces to other companies products or websites. For example the larger company gets lots of traffic to their website, you put your product or app onto their website to deliver value for their users and email addresses for you

10. Affiliate marketing

A company with a big newsletter readership might be paid a commission for every lead they drive to your website

11. Thought leadership

Carry out industry surveys and publish them in a nice infographic to get downloads, helping to secure credibility and email addresses

12. Analyst reports

Get the leading analysts to write about how great your product is and use this as the basis of your customer acquisition

13. Public relations

Get to know the journalists and provide them with interesting content

14. Unconventional PR stunts

Paddy Power, Ryanair, startups who turn up at events run by major companies, like SalesForce and pull off a PR stunt

15. Offline ads

Local radio, television, newspapers, trade publications

16. Field Sales

Create a sustainable and scalable sales process

17. Tradeshows

Show your products at the right tradeshows and meet the right buyers

18. Inside Sales

Set up (or outsource) a well run inside sales function

19. Sponsor events

Sponsor events like conferences

20. Community building

Build a community around your cause and then sell the product solution afterwards

21. Speaking engagements

Opportunities for the CEO to speak at conferences and drive traffic

22. Industry Associations

Focus on infiltrating industry associations or standards groups to build the right relationships

23. Advocate or referral marketing

Build an advocate or referral marketing strategy, using your existing customers

24. Business Development

Build longer-term relationships that allow for bigger joint opportunities, maybe through partnering

25. Partners

Persuade someone else to sell your product to their existing customers

26. Complementary partner

Pursue the same channels as a company who sells complementary products or services

27. Agents

Recruit agents who only earn commission

28. Cold calling

Hard but sometimes it’s the right approach

29. Give away approach

Give away your product for free and sell services based around it – Red Hat!

30. Buy another company’s customer base

Buy the customer base of a partner or competitor and upgrade them to your product

Hopefully the list provokes some thinking around possible new options. Why not experiment with a few to find out.

Insight in Brief

New customer acquisition is the driver of revenue growth. The choice of ways to acquire customers grows wider and more complex every year. There are so many marketing, sales and distribution channels to consider. It can be hard to choose the right option.

Insight in Action

  • Consider new ways to acquire customers
  • Review the list of 30 with your team
  • Prioritise based on ease of implementation and business impact
  • Carry out a small test
  • Review the results and refine your approach


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