Hack a Distribution Channel 🕴️ to Reach a New Audience and Boost Your Sales 💸

In the very early days of your startup, you need to find an existing distribution channel to hack. What is a distribution channel? It's a place where your target customer is already going to find what they need.

Hack a Distribution Channel 🕴️ to Reach a New Audience and Boost Your Sales 💸
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Finding a Distribution Channel to Hack

From the start, identifying a channel where your target audience is already active is crucial. It can be a forum, a social network, or a specific website. This strategic choice can be the springboard for your rapid growth.

  • Channel assessment: Identify where your ideal customer is spending their time and looking for solutions.
  • Direct contact: Test different messages directly with your target audience to assess their effectiveness.
  • Thoughtful automation: Once a manual method is validated, consider automating it carefully to avoid negative impacts.

This process requires fineness. Poorly managed automation can not only fail but also damage your reputation. The objective is to find a balance between efficiency and respect for ethics.

Expected results

The successful implementation of this strategy aims to achieve high traffic and an improvement in acquisition and activation metrics. It's a tactic that, well orchestrated, can radically transform your market presence.

  • Increase in traffic: Attract a considerable volume of targeted visitors to your site.
  • Improvement of acquisition and activation metrics: Efficiently convert this traffic into active and engaged users.
  • Type of marketing tactic: This approach is above all a strategy for increasing traffic, with a direct impact on acquisition.
  • Expected result: Increase in Metrics acquisition and activation

Hacking an existing distribution channel can offer a powerful lever for startups looking to accelerate their growth.

However, this tactic must be used carefully, taking care to maintain an ethical and respectful approach to the target audience. The potential results are significant, but they need to be pursued with a thoughtful and responsible strategy.

How do you do this Growth Hack?

  • Create a marketing persona
  • Evaluate the channels/websites/forums/etc... where they spend the most time and where they are looking for answers to their questions
  • Contact them directly to experiment with your messages and only keep the ones where you have the most results (traffic to your website, responses from them, shares, etc.)
  • Continue to experiment with your messages to increase results
  • Study the limits of the platforms where you can send messages (number of messages per day, need to be authenticated, maximum number of connections per day, etc...)
  • Once you are sure of the right message, tone, and results, consider sending that message across the board.
  • In your approach, remember to offer value to prospects. If they have no interest in your messages, they will be more likely to respond and more motivated to flag you as spammers.


  • Automation of social networks and in particular of LinkedIn if your target is B2B
  • Python scripts allowing you to authenticate and send messages to users,
  • Choose the good tool for cold email if you use this channel
  • Emailing (use a dedicated IP and subdomain only for this type of sending. NOT YOUR MAIN DOMAIN under the risk that your recipients will no longer receive transactional emails if you have too many SPAM reports. That's why at this point you need to be SURE of your messages!)
  • Etc...

PS: for social networks or certain websites with “anti-bot” technologies, it can be useful to arm yourself with proxies so as not to alert social platforms to your “automated” activities.


For example, when launching Airbnb, the company found two ways to take advantage of Craigslist, which at the time was the site most used by people to find temporary housing.

First, Airbnb attracted traffic to its listings by encouraging new users to post their ads on Craigslist with a link to their Airbnb page.

Growth Hack - Airbnb Emailing

This allowed for 2 important things.

First, as a new startup, few people went directly to the Airbnb site to find temporary housing. They could have paid thousands of dollars to advertise on their site to find people looking for housing, but instead, they created their own traffic for free by asking their users to post messages on Facebook in a few clicks via the Airbnb app.

Of course, they had to invest a bit of time in creating this technology, but it allowed them to instantly generate a lot of traffic to their site.

Once there, someone interested in the property would register on Airbnb to contact the advertiser.

This allowed them to increase their customer base AND website traffic without spending money on paid advertising!

Then it addressed the problem of creating and expanding the inventory offered on their site by contacting people who post directly on Craigslist and asking them to sign up on Airbnb!

Growth Hack - Airbnb prospection
At the start, they hired people who contacted the new Craigslist ads (before automating it later) to tell them about Airbnb as well. This allowed the startup to recover traffic and registrations directly from a competitor!

This is a form of spam, but it is useful spam because, thanks to cross-posting, the owner gets more views of his property.


Hacking a distribution channel is not something to be taken lightly.

It requires a deep understanding of your target audience and the ability to communicate in an authentic and engaging way.

Only after manually validating your approach should automation be considered, always with a critical eye on potential side effects.

It's a bold strategy that, if executed well, can propel your startup to rapid success.

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