30 Useful Tools for Growth Hackers and Startups

Mike DeVerna
Oct 14, 2013 · 5 min read

I’m a startup product growth guy with a social gaming background. I currently work as VP of Growth at Relcy, a mobile search engine.

A few companies I’ve worked with on growth in the past (HIRED $702 million in job offers, grew BranchOut from 0-30 million users, DOWN 2M+ users and Soma). You can follow me on twitter @blobshake or email me at devernamike@gmail.com

I often get asked about various growth tools I recommend for startups so I thought I’d put this list together. I’m sure there are several I left out so feel free to add recommendations…

6 new additions: buffer, sproutsocial, hootsuite, sendwithus, intercom.io and chartio

User Feedback

  1. Usertesting.com — users are provided a set of instructions of pages and flows to go through on your site and provide video feedback on usability, product clarity, navigation and more.
    Pricing: starts at $49/video
  2. Typeform — I recently discovered Typeform. A beautifully designed product that lets you create surveys, add your own branding, is mobile friendly and free
    Pricing: free with premium plans
  3. Surveymonkey — create and publish online surveys
    Pricing: free for up to 100 responses per survey first tier starts at $17/month billed annually ($204)
  4. PollDaddy — embed surveys and polls on your website
    Pricing: free for personal use, business plans start at $200/month
  5. Olark — live chat widget
    Pricing: starts at $44/month

Analytics & Dashboards

6. Google Analytics — a free analytics service that tracks website traffic, inbound traffic sources and conversions.
Pricing: free

7. Mixpanel — event-based analytics framework
Pricing: free up to 15k data points, first tier starts at $150/month

8. Kissmetrics — person-based analytics platform
Pricing: starts at $150/month

Tip: I’ve found Mixpanel is more useful for engineering-driven teams with a strong analytical background while Kissmetrics is more useful for sales/marketing driven companies

9. Heroku Dataclips — tool used with heroku which allows you to query your database and easily export the results to csv, xls and json for email lists or data analysis
Pricing: free with heroku which is a cloud-based application platform that is free to start but quickly scales up in cost

Tip: Combined with Sendgrid’s newsletter tool with some SQL skills and basic HTML & CSS chops you can analyze cohorts and build entire email drip campaigns with a/b testing all without an engineer

10. Gekoboard — imports all your KPI metrics into a dashboard. Works with Mixpanel, Optimizely, Google analytics and dozens more
Pricing: starts at $17/month

Update: I can no longer recommend Gekoboard. It’s ok if you have one or few data points you want to quickly throw up on a board for marketing but not very useful beyond that. I use chart.io instead which allows much more customizability and manipulation of various data structues. The only disappointment with chart.io is there’s no mixpanel integration

11. Chartio — Connect to databases in two terminal commands and authorize data services like Google Analytics in just a couple of clicks.

Pricing: free trial, not sure the monthly pricing


12. SendGrid — cloud-based email delivery service
Pricing: starts at $9.95/month

13. Mailchimp — email marketing provider
Pricing: free for up to 12,000 emails/month

14. Mailgun — a set of powerful APIs that allow you to send, receive and track email
Pricing: free up to 10,000 emails/month

15. intercom.iofits somewhere between sendgrid and mailchimp. Allows you to segment and bucket cohorts of users based on behavior, message them, set up drip campaigns but is not completely automated like a sendgrid.

Pricing: free with plans starting at $49/month

16. Sendwithus — I haven’t used this much but from what I gather it works with sendgrid and allows easy editing of the transactional email templates for the non-technical growth hacker. It also has a/b testing capabilities.

Pricing: free up to 1k emails/month with plans starting at $79/month

Optimization & A/B testing

17. Optimizely — a website A/B testing tool and editor that lets you change copy & layout of pages on your site and just added mobile for private beta signup
Pricing: starts at $17/month

Tip: integrates with analytics frameworks like Mixpanel, Kissmetrics and Google Analytics which is great for measuring for instance how a sign-up page impacts actions further down the funnel such as purchases or next-day retention

18. Apptimize — an A/B testing framework for iOS and Android
Pricing: starts at $50/month for up to 1 million installs

19. Bitly — is a URL shortener and link tracking service
Pricing: free

Tip: Test different headlines on twitter 1 hour apart with a different URL for the same post

SEO & Web Ranking

20. Moz — analytics and competitive analysis dashboard for inbound marketing & social efforts
Pricing: starts at $99/month

21. Alexa — a free global web traffic ranking service
Pricing: free

22. Ahrefs — provides information on external links, referring domains and IPs, top pages, main anchor text, linked domains, and more.
Pricing: $79/month

Social Monitoring

23. Social Mention — measures brand mentions on blogs, microblogs, images, videos, questions, and bookmarking sites
Pricing: free

24. Topsy — twitter searching with links and images
Pricing: free with premium features for results & alerts

25. Commun.it — a free tool for building engagement on Twitter
Price: free

26. Fanpagekarma — monitor the Facebook fan page growth of you competitors
Pricing: starts at $49/month

27. Appdata — provides leader-board rankings & trends for top Facebook applications

Content Posting

28. Bufferthis is the tool I have the most experience with. It allows you to connect FB and Twitter, schedule posts, shortens links and ads tracking. Extremely easy to set up and use and they have a great marketing blog as

Pricing: free with paid plans for multiple accounts

29. Hootsuitesocial media dashboard for posting and scheduling posts

Pricing: free with paid plans for multiple accounts

30. SproutSocial — social media posts, scheduling and analytics

Pricing: free with paid plans for multiple accounts

There are plenty of tools for Growth Hackers and Entrepreneurs to learn and master. Pick a few that make sense for your company and start building, testing and measuring. Growth is a cross-functional discipline, your biggest leverage comes from combining the data from various tools with real user feedback and elegantly solving user problems with good product, design and messaging.

For an excellent comprehensive outline on how to become a customer acquisition expert check out this post by Brian Balfour

If you’re interested in chatting about growth for your startup or project send me an email at devernamike@gmail.com

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