The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking
by Neil Patel & Bronson Tayler
What is growth hacking?
- Marketers are important, but early in a startup you need someone with a narrower focus on growth.
- The nature of internet products has produced a new way to think about growth. Product features can now be directly responsible for growth.
- Distribution channels are being redrawn, and those that understand the movement of people online will have control over where they end up.
- Growth hackers, using their knowledge of product and distribution, find ingenious, technology-based, avenues for growth that sometimes push the bounds of what is expected or advised.
- AirBNB is a great example of a company that embodies growth hacking.
- Growth hacking shows us a trend that will infiltrate more than the marketing department. Growth matters and multiple roles within companies will someday reflect that.
- Growth hacking is primarily found in startups, but it will eventually be found in larger organizations.
The profile of a growth hacker
- You don’t have to be a programmer to be a growth hacker.
- Traditional marketers can become growth hackers if they narrow their focus and deepen their skill set.
- Most growth hackers are not unethical.
- Growth hackers rely heavily on analytics.
- Growth hackers are proficient at a number of disciplines, but must excel at some of them in order to do their work effectively.
- Despite their reliance on analytics, growth hackers are also right-brained, as they use creativity, curiosity, and qualitative research at times.
- Growth hackers are obsessive about growth. This allows them to persist until they uncover the tactics that will work, and it allows them to build upon minor successes as they slowly move their product forward.
The growth hacking process
- Step 1: Define actionable goals.
- Step 2: Implement analytics to track your goals.
- Step 3: Leverage your existing strengths.
- Step 4: Execute the experiment.
- Step 5: Optimize the experiment.
- Step 6: Repeat
The growth hacker funnel
- Funnels help guide things which are hard to control, like liquid or people.
- The growth hacker’s funnel has 3 phases:
- Get Visitors: finding ways for people to land on your product;
- Activate members: helping people take predefined actions in your product;
- Retain Users: helping people become habitual users of your product.
- It’s hard to know what good conversion rates are for your product, but the following things help:
- Always be improving relative to yourself;
- Find companies online who have published their conversion rates;
- Find allies that will let you see their numbers (and vice-versa);
- Conversion rates affect each other within the funnel, so view the funnel as a whole.
- You should place your energy into places where you have weak conversion ratios.
- You need to grow some in order to find product-market fit, but you shouldn’t focus on growth exclusively until you find product-market fit.
- This funnel is a simplified version of Dave McClure’s framework.
Pull tactics for getting visitors
- Don’t just focus on traffic. It’s important, but it’s not everything.
- There are three ways to get traffic to your site:
- Pull: You entice them to come to you;
- Push: You coerce them to come to you;
- Product: You use your product itself to bring them to you.
- There are 12 pull tactics that we covered:
- Blogging or Guest Blogging;
- Podcasting or Guest Podcasting;
- Ebooks, Guides, and Whitepapers;
- Conference Presentations;
- Social Media;
- Deal Sites;
Push tactics for getting visitors
- A push tactics usually involves interrupting the content that is being consumed.
- Push tactics usually cost money.
- Since money is involved with push tactics you must understand the lifetime value of your customers (LTV), so that you don’t spend more money on a customer then you’ll make from them.
- We covered 4 push tactics:
- Purchase Ads;
- Promo Swap;
- Direct Sales.
Product tactics for getting visitors
- Most products don’t go viral.
- Product tactics have an amplifying effect on other tactics.
- We covered 6 product tactics:
- Network Invitations:
- Phone Contacts;
- Email Contacts;
- Social Contacts.
- Social Sharing;
- API Integrations;
- Getting traffic is a recipe, not a single ingredient.
- Getting traffic is a recipe that is always changing.
- Don’t just copy the traffic recipes of other startups.
How to active members
- Getting visitors to your product is not enough. You need to activate them.
- Activation is when someone takes an action that you decided was necessary for the success of your product.
- You should only have one activation goal for any given section of your product.
- Activation goals will vary based on your product.
- We covered 6 activation tactics:
- Landing Pages;
- Calls to Action;
- Pricing Strategies.
How to retain users
- Retention might be the most important aspect of your funnel.
- We covered 8 tactics to retain users:
- Staged Traffic;
- Speed to Aha;
- Don’t Fear Email;
- Alerts and Notifications;
- Exit Interviews;
- The Red Carpet;
- Increase Value;
- Community Building;
- Make Them Happy.
Tools and terminology
- Growth hacking is a process, not just a set of tools, tactics and terminology.
- 7 terms were defined:
- Key Performance Indicator (KPI);
- Viral Coefficient (K);
- Multivariate Testing;
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC);
- Lifetime Value of Customer (LTV).
- 4 Kinds if tools were covered:
- General Analytics;
- Event/People Based Analytics;
- Niche Analytics;
- Custom Analytics.