With over 50.000 monthly visitors, Survey AnyPlace is a scale up to look up to when it comes to growth hacking. We had the unique opportunity to talk to Sofie Nelen, who is currently Digital Marketeer at this scale up and has a single goal in here life: make sure people find the website and sign up for the free plan. Her obsession to grow the company has led her to learning about growth hacking and understanding how it works. This is a growth hack they implemented in order to increase their organic traffic by 10.

How would you explain growth hacking to your mom?

“ I remember the moment when I was young and my parents wouldn’t allow me to go to a party.” At that time, I tried climbing out of the window, said I was going to a private birthday party (which I wasn’t) or would say I was sleeping over at a friend’s place (which was true up to a certain degree). The point is, my goal I was trying to reach was to get to the party, but my methods were different. Some more successful than others. This is what growth hacking is to me. You set a goal (going to the party) of something bigger and better, even almost impossible and you try to get there in the fastest way, with the least amount of resources. Some tests will fail (like climbing out of the window) but if you test enough you’ll find a better approach (staying at a friends place) to reach your goal.


What is the most successful growth hack you implemented in Survey AnyPlace?

One of our most successful was the backlink outreach, in other words, getting people to link their post to our website in order gain more organic traffic and rank better in Google. This is precisely how we did it:

  1. We started out with looking at the backlinks of our competitors with tools like Moz.com (why reinvent the wheel if they have done the heavy lifting already?).
  2. We placed all of them in an excel sheet and filtered all the noise, meaning all the blogs that looked outdated or didn’t exist anymore.
  3. We hired a freelancer on Upwork.com, in order to cut costs and not lose too much time, in order to create a list for us with all the relevant details needed to contact these blogs, such as name, email, link to the article, …
  4. When the list was complete, we created a cold email (=reaching out to a prospect that has never heard from you nor your company) template in order to convince them to redo the article and create a backlink to us. Of course, we used a lot of A/B testing in order to see which email had the best conversion rates.
  5. Apply continuous improvement in order to find new opportunities.

“Some were really pissed, and others were really thankful because it made their content better, you’ll never be able to please everybody. The best way to convince people is to provide value to them first, in our case this was helping them with broken backlinks”.

How do you see the role of a Growth Hacking in the overall Marketing team of a company and why would you hire somebody to do it?

As a digital marketer my biggest challenge is to allocate enough time to work on experiments since combining them with our existing channels is just very difficult. I see growth hacking as a part of the overall Marketing strategy to test new methods that could have a far bigger impact than what we are doing right now. Once a method is verified, we can allocate more resources towards it and implement it as part of our overall strategy. The main reason why I would hire somebody to Growth Hack is:


Since it’s not possible to just put everything on hold inside a company (blog posts need to be written, emails need to get out of the door,..), there is mostly not enough time to really run experiments very successfully.


When conducting new research and methods there is a lot of failing that comes to play. As humans we tend to love everything that gives us instant gratification (think chocolate), making it difficult for most of us to really keeping going after some failed results. If your team is not set up to fail fast, it’s not worth even thinking about growth hacking.


The skill sets needed to create growth hacks are very diverse and therefore harder to find. The chances of you having the right skills in-house are pretty small

Why would you advise people to come to the Growth Hacking Conference without knowing anything about growth hacking?

When I first started out, I knew nothing about Growth Hacking because it wasn’t something you were taught in school. The biggest insight I learned was the approach growth hackers use to tackle different problems. Even though I don’t consider myself a growth hacker, it taught me to put current limitation aside and find ways around it. I truly believe that it’s a really great extension of a company’s current Marketing Strategy in order to test new ideas very quickly and allocate further budget when something starts to work, just like we did with our backlinks. In other words, if you are looking to grow your business or find new opportunities, understanding the basics of Growth Hacking and what it can do for your business is just a must.

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