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Unconventional Growth Hack Strategies for SaaS: A Guide for Product Teams

Donald Ng
May 28, 2023
5-star rating
Reviews on Capterra
Unconventional Growth Hack Strategies for SaaS: A Guide for Product Teams

Are you scratching your head for ways to improve your conversion and grow your SaaS product?

As a product manager or marketer, you're constantly seeking fresh, innovative strategies to drive customer engagement, acquisition, and retention. The concept of growth hacking emerged as a savvy response to this challenge by focusing on unconventional methods to achieve rapid growth – all within a limited budget.

If you're tired of the same old marketing strategies and looking for something fresh to amplify your SaaS success, this is the perfect article for you. We will explore some unconventional growth hack strategies that can help accelerate your SaaS product's growth and boost your marketing efforts.

1. Turning Free Trials into a Win-Win Scenario

The free trial model is a popular growth hack strategy in the SaaS world that allows potential customers to test your platform with no strings attached. But why not make it more unconventional?

Instead of a simple time-bound free trial, consider offering a performance-based trial where participants unlock premium features through the achievement of specific milestones. This approach incentivizes users to actively engage with your product and leverage all its functionalities. After experiencing the benefits, they'll be more inclined to make a purchase.

Case Study

File:Wrike logo 2020.png - Wikimedia Commons

Wrike, a project management software, offers a semi-free trial. Users can access some of the premium features while using the free version. As they complete tasks and unlock milestones, they are granted access to other premium features. This approach encourages users to explore Wrike's full capabilities actively, leading to a more successful trial-to-paid conversion rate.

2. Turn Customer Success Stories into a Viral Content

Publishing customer success stories is a great way to showcase the value of your SaaS product. But to make it unconventional, turn it into a series of engaging content pieces in different formats, such as videos, podcasts, interactive infographics, or social media posts. Doing this will enhance the shareability of your content, amplify your reach, and captivate potential customers’ attention.

To pursue this hack, work closely with your sales and customer success teams to identify compelling stories worth sharing. Craft a content plan illustrating these stories and help your prospects visualize your product's benefits and versatility.

Case Study

Fail:Slack Technologies Logo.svg - Wikipedia Bahasa Melayu ...

Slack, a team collaboration tool, created an interactive webpage titled "Stories" to share captivating narratives from different business segments and industries. Coupled with vivid illustrations and engaging animations, their success stories became a viral content piece―driving significant traffic towards their platform.

3. Gamify the Onboarding Process

A successful onboarding process sets the stage for long-term user engagement. However, getting users interested in learning your platform's ins and outs can be challenging. Gamifying your onboarding experience is an unconventional tactic that makes the process fun and drives user engagement.

Introduce interactive activities, quizzes, and in-app rewards for users who complete the onboarding tasks. Gamification will not only make your solution visually appealing and engaging but also create a sense of accomplishment that motivates users to keep using your product.

Case Study

Logos - Duolingo Brand Guidelines

Duolingo, a language learning platform, uses gamification during the onboarding process by offering milestones, levels, and badges when users complete lessons with high scores. The platform also utilizes leaderboards to enhance the user's competitive spirit and keep them engaged.

4. Establish Strategic Partnerships

Collaborate with non-competitive, complementary businesses to expand your reach and enrich your product offerings. Strategic partnerships enable you to tap into each other's customer base, cross-promote, and share resources. An unconventional hack in this regard would be to initiate joint content creation efforts and co-branded promotions, ensuring both partners share mutual benefits.

Case Study

File:HubSpot Logo.svg - Wikimedia Commons

HubSpot, one of the leaders in inbound marketing, offers its users a wide range of integrations with complementary products. Instead of competing with CRM providers, email marketing software, or website builders, HubSpot partners up with them and incorporates their functionality into its ecosystem, enhancing customer loyalty and providing a holistic experience.

5. Use Unconventional Channels for Customer Acquisition

Most marketing strategies focus on standard channels like social media, email marketing, and content creation. However, to truly stand out and reach a wider audience, tap into unconventional channels where your target customers spend time. Let's take a closer look at how to effectively use unconventional channels to acquire new customers for your SaaS product.

Example for unconventional channels

A. Engage in Niche Forums and Platforms

Traditional platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can be overcrowded, making it challenging for your product to gain visibility. Instead, focus on niche forums, online communities, or specific platforms (like Reddit, Quora, or Stack Overflow) where your target audience is most likely to be found. Actively engage in discussions related to your industry, answer questions, and subtly promote your product, while refraining from hard-selling tactics. Building a reputation as a knowledgeable, helpful member of these communities opens doors for liaising with potential clients and growing your user base.

B. Participate in Industry Events

Many SaaS marketers overlook the power of networking at industry-specific conferences, trade shows, and meet-ups. These events offer a unique opportunity to build in-person relationships, share professional expertise, and introduce your product to potential customers.

Furthermore, consider speaking or hosting webinars at industry events or publish your presentations on platforms like SlideShare. Showcasing your insights and thought leadership not only builds your personal brand but also drives interest in your SaaS product.

C. Explore Less Popular Social Media Platforms

While Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn dominate the social media landscape, other platforms like Discord, Telegram, or Clubhouse offer a new space for customer acquisition. These platforms often have more engaged, focused, and loyal user bases, providing your product with an audience receptive to innovation. Establish your presence on these less popular platforms, targeting groups and communities relevant to your product, to engage with potential customers.

D. Collaborate with Industry Influencers and Thought Leaders

Instead of typical social media influencer campaigns, opt for a more unconventional approach. Identify influencers or thought leaders in your industry who genuinely resonate with your product and would potentially advocate its value. Arrange exclusive interviews, guest posts on their blogs, podcast features, or joint webinars. Leveraging their reputation and audience will increase your credibility and drive traffic to your platform.

Here is an example of how Howuku have partnered up with an influencer to promote their own experience using Howuku on TikTok:

@thewizardmarketing improve your website using heatmap and visitor experience data with howuku. #heatmap #webdev #marketing #digitalmarketing #uiux #magicmarketing #datascience ♬ Storytelling - Adriel

E. Harness the Power of Crowdsourcing Platforms

Crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo aren't just for tangible products. Offering up innovative software solutions or features by utilizing these platforms can pique the interest of early adopters, beta testers, and enthusiasts. Raising funds and awareness through crowdfunding can lead to exponential user growth and the formation of a loyal user base.

Appsumo is also another very popular platform for SaaS product to offer up a lifetime license to gain exposure and large amount of early adopters to get you enough product feedback and iterating with real users.

6. Direct Involvement with Online Communities

Build relationships with the core audience and form genuine connections by directly engaging in conversations. Use honest communication, express gratitude, and show humility by actively seeking feedback and addressing criticisms. This sincere demeanor results in long-term customer loyalty and increased word-of-mouth marketing.

Case Study

File:Moz logo.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Rand Fishkin, the co-founder of Moz, regularly engaged with his followers on social media, industry forums, and conferences to collect feedback and answer questions about his product. This personal touch fostered lasting relationships with key customers and industry influencers, paving the way for growth.


Unconventional growth hacking strategies can transform your SaaS business and give it a competitive edge. As an innovative marketing leader, think outside the box, experiment with different approaches, and be prepared to adapt as you learn what works best for your audience. The strategies mentioned above are a great starting point, but the key to your success lies in your ability to stay agile and continuously ideate creative growth hack strategies tailored to your SaaS product.

Last, but not least. You should be using Howuku to understand your user experience and extracting user journey insights in under a minute using AI! Learn more about Howuku at our homepage.

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