What Do All These Companies Have In Common? (Growth Hacking)

Written by Joseph Lazukin
September 7, 2018

It’s time we had a conversation about GROWTH HACKING.

It’s that MYSTERIOUS label that everyone has heard about, and if you haven’t been paying close attention to all the companies coming out of YCombinator, then you are OVER LOOKING a major strategy that ALL of the these companies have in common, and are leaving THOUSANDS on the table.

So what do ALL of these companies have in COMMON?

They ALL have GROWTH HACKING campaigns that strategically engineer word of mouth, driving exponential TRAFFIC back to their product or service.

Let’s start off with the most familiar example, Dropbox, who as you all know, gives away additional storage space when you refer a friend who signs up. They combined a FREE service with an additional FREE offer to allow their customers avoid paying money by paying with their SOCIAL CAPITAL.

Social capital is your network of influence, if you have ever heard the saying “Your network is your net worth”, that sums it up. There is VALUE in your network, and your customer’s network, and as a business you SHOULD take a step back and understand that money is not the only currency you should be dealing with.

So above, when you sign up for Dropbox you get a FREE service (which they do to acquire market share), and then they make you either PAY with MONEY – something you earn by spending hours, days, weeks doing a valuable task…


…with your SOCIAL CAPITAL – something you earn through your personality, how you treat and engage with people on a day to day basis, and how you add value to other people’s lives…

Which hurts MORE?

Coughing up your hard earned cash, or making a referral?

It is INCREDIBLY important that you understand the above, so take a moment and grab your notepad because this will help you structure both your company and your personal brand for GROWTH and help you form the foundation of a VIRAL growth hacking strategy…

Now in one column, I want you to write the services that either you or your business provide ( I do this for both myself as an individual brand and my companies on two separate sheets ), now add a star next your most usable valuable services you provide.

In a business setting, these are typically the services that either save your clients the most amount of time, make them the most amount of money, or have the greatest utility (typically the most used service).

In a personal setting, these are typically your areas of expertise, the resources you have access to, and personal traits that contribute in the form of value to others ( like being enjoyable to be around, knowledgeable, hard working, etc ).

Now in the second column I want you to write down YOUR COST. What does it cost you or your company to produce that good or service? Does it cost you time, money, or both? Write the dollar amount and estimated time.


You now have the foundation of your growth hacking strategy!

The foundation to any GREAT growth hacking strategy is finding the intersection between the HIGHEST VALUE to the customer and LOWEST COST to you as the business.

Going back to the Dropbox example, they are giving away 500MB server space which costs them less than $0.01 cents to provide.

If you’ve ever done Facebook ads, how far will a penny get you?

How many new customers will you get for that one penny?

…and that is the point of GROWTH HACKING campaigns.

It’s to identify what VALUE you can give away for LESS than the COST of acquiring a new customer through other means, whether it be social media marketing, printing business cards, direct mail, or from a commissioned sales individual WHILE (pay attention) adding value to the referring customer’s SOCIAL CAPITAL.

90% of business owners who fall short on setting up a SUCCESSFUL growth hacking strategy, either giveaway too little value to incentivize referrals (ie : giving a $5 off a $100 product), do not have proper analytics setup to determine the value of that referral vs other marketing mediums and LOSE money, or (and this is the most common) DO NOT make it easy enough for customers to make a referral and see that their efforts earned them anything.

When you pay for something online, you expect a tracking number or communication from the seller on the status of where your goods are, right? Why would a referral program be any different?

( Note : INVEST in good user experience, it pays dividends )

So what VALUABLE good or service can you giveaway?

Before you choose, ask yourself the MILLION dollar question…

Is this good or service EASY to explain?

The sound bytes your customers say about your business during the referral process are as EQUALLY IMPORTANT as the good or service you choose to base your growth hacking campaign around.

If a customer can’t explain it, or if the referral doesn’t come across as VALUABLE to the person they are talking to, it will DETRACT from the SOCIAL CAPITAL of your customer, and they will NEVER refer for you again.

With Dropbox, the pitch is easy, get FREE storage for your family photos, videos, etc. – everyone can relate and it’s a VALUABLE referral to the person receiving it.

With AirBnB, the pitch is easy, I know you love traveling and if you haven’t checked out AirBnB you should, saved me a bunch when I traveled, I’ve got a link that gets you another $40 off your first stay – everyone wants to travel and finds VALUE knowing how to do it for cheaper, plus $40 is quite a bit to people who are trying to save in the first place – seems like a bargain.

With DoorDash, the pitch is easy, “hey do you know someone who delivers chinese?” – “No, but you can use DoorDash (UberEats, Postmates, etc) and they’ll have someone deliver it for you, here’s a link so the delivery is free” – which is VALUABLE to the person who’s hearing about it for the first time because it saves them TIME, the headache of driving/traffic, and saves them money.

You want to make sure that what you are giving away is so EASY to describe that it feels NATURAL to add it into a conversation.

In a world where there are a million things competing for your time and attention, referring your good or service should be EASY, inherently VALUABLE, and feel NATURAL to bring up in conversation.

Incorporate the above and your GROWTH HACKING campaign will become your #1 lead source and overtake your lead generation from any other source, drastically reducing your customer acquisition cost.

Keep it SIMPLE, lead with VALUE, and your customers will become your #1 sales force, and you can dedicate those marketing dollars towards infrastructure and GROWTH!


Thank you for reading and hope this helps you get greater results from your internet marketing efforts!


Joseph Lazukin
Joseph is a CRO specialist, marketing strategist, and public speaker that works exclusively with medium to large brands focusing on customer experience, cart abandonment recovery, international branding strategies and viral growth campaigns.

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