If you believe that your marketing working style can be described as creative, data-driven, agile and risk tasker, then congratulations you are a growth marketer. If you live by the phrase, “that’s the way things have always been done,” then you’re still living in the traditional marketing mindset.
Whichever camp you fall into, this blog has something for you. We will be going through just what growth marketing is and offering marketing strategies that are designed to help your business grow. .
What is growth marketing?
Think, when creativity meets data. Growth marketing is the process of experimenting with marketing activity, messaging or strategy to ensure it falls in line with the ever-changing motives and preferences of your customers, regardless of their position in the customer journey. It’s a long-term strategy focusing on customer relationship building and fostering loyalty.
Rather than fixating on one stage of your funnel, growth marketing focuses on the customer journey as a whole.
Growth marketing vs. traditional marketing
On one hand, growth marketing is skewed heavily towards digital and a data-driven mindset, but on the other hand it can be used to strengthen traditional marketing activities.
Typically, traditional marketing is considered highly opinion based, focusing largely on top of the funnel activities, and evaluated annually. It’s centered around campaign-oriented, short-term goals.
Growth marketing is the exact opposite with strategy-based long term goals being top of mind and using data-driven evidence to build out entire customer journey campaigns. It typically uses tactics like A/B testing and data-driven email marketing campaigns.Once learnings are gained growth marketers will implement changes quickly, whether it’s making slight tweaks to creative or target audience, or abandoning ship altogether and trying something brand new.
Growth marketing vs. growth hacking
Growth marketing and growth hacking have been used interchangeably in the past. But they are not the same. The key difference revolves around their thoughts on brand.
Growth hacking does not give brand the time of day, where growth marketing, which is more focused on long-term growth, does prioritize brand.
This stance on brand comes with an explanation. Growth hackers favor tactics and channels where perfect attribution can be guaranteed, so they can undoubtedly see where the lead has come from, and gain fast data into whether the experiment should be stopped or scaled up.
Growth marketing, on the other hand, focuses on forming a consistent and positive experience for customers each time — making branding of utmost importance. There can be many tactics all happening at once, for example replying to a social media comment, sending out swag, releasing a new podcast episode. This makes it much harder to separate and attribute the business impact per tactic. While it’s hard to attribute, growth marketers stick with it because they know that even if it can't be measured precisely in the immediate term doesn’t mean it won’t eventually pay off in the long term.
At the end of the day both growth marketing and hacking are cut from the same cloth, but growth hacking aims for rapid growth, specifically within the acquisition stage of the funnel, where growth marketing is more well rounded and focused on achieving long-term growth across the full funnel.
What is the AARRR framework?
This funnel is one of the most popular models used in growth marketing, showcasing where the majority of your time and efforts should be focussed. Also known as the pirate funnel, because the first letters of each word spell out AARRR. See, even growth marketers have a few jokes up their sleeve!
The five stages that build out the pirate funnel include:
Acquisition: Turn page browsers into leads and customers. At this stage, you're both getting to know one another.
Activation: Customers need to experience their ‘aha moment’ and realize the true value of your business or product.
Retention: Keep customers regularly using your product, or coming back to purchase or staying subscribed.
Referral: Turn customers into brand advocates.
Revenue: Boost customer lifetime value.
Growth marketing strategies at each AARRR Stage
We’ve broken down the AARRR framework into their individual stages to showcase the best growth marketing strategies that can be implemented today.
Growth marketing strategies for acquisition:
This is all about turning those digital window shoppers into new leads and, more importantly, customers. At this stage, your browsers are learning about your product and whether it’s the right fit to solve their problem. Think of it like matching with someone on a dating site of your choice, and you’re actually using the messaging feature to get to know them.
These growth marketing strategies will help your next customer find out more about you:
Develop your content marketing strategy -
This is where a lead-generating content marketing strategy will shine the brightest. Building an information hub full of blogs, ebooks, how-to videos, whitepapers (just to name a few), will set your brand up as a thought leader in your space. It will not only educate your window shoppers about your brand and product, but also demonstrate expertise, build trust and drive people to your website, making it easier to convert them into leads and customers.
Build a brand community -
Community-led growth is growing hard and fast as a growth tactic in the SaaS and B2B world, and there’s a reason why. It works.
Setting up a hub where other product users can collaborate and share their own experiences or tips and tricks is an incredible way to show social-proof, plus add value to your target audience.
The best case study here is the creation of Notion’s ambassador network. In an interview with the SaaStr Podcast Olivia Nottebohm, CRO of Notion, explained how it all began.
Notion's marketing lead Camille Ricketts, “saw that there were a couple of people on Twitter who were very, very vocal about how wonderful Notion was. And she saw this and she realized, 'Okay, this is our community. What do we need to do to embrace these people and bring them in?'”
Notion then came across Ben Lang, who ran his own Notion fan site and offered him a full-time job as Notion’s Head of Community. From there, they grew their ambassadors globally, not only giving them access to founders and Notion employees, but providing investments if they wanted to secure venues for events, and invited them to share feedback on the product — both in real life and online.
This then had the snowball effect where other lovers and users of Notion joined forums and communities or even started their own. The end result being the creation of an extensive resource for all users.
LIst on Product Hunt -
Product Hunt is a community driven tech forum. It’s a great place to list any new products in order to boost visibility to a crowd of people skewed towards your target audience.
It’s free to do but make sure you spend time optimizing your listing by using keywords, visual content, timing your launch and sending out up-vote invitations. Speaking of, here’s Ortto’s.
This is, again, a great way to spark awareness of your product to those who would benefit from it, plus you’ll generate the social proof everyone is now searching for these days.
Growth marketing strategies for activation:
Here your window shopper has now turned into a customer. The next step is for them to experience their ‘aha moment’ and realize the true value of your service or product. Moving back to the online dating analogy, you’ve moved onto the first date and experienced love at first sight… or soon to be a budding new relationship. The sooner the ‘wow’ moment happens, the more likely your customers will keep using your product. You can view the different value realization milestones set from other brands:
These activation growth marketing strategies will help your new customer reach their ‘aha moment’ sooner:
Build a welcome series If you’ve gone to all the effort of acquiring a customer, then spend the extra effort to welcome them to your product and help them start using it.
It’s been well documented that welcome emails result in four times more open rates and even up to five times more clicks. This shows just how important it is to not only welcome your new customer, but also ensure you are putting your core messaging first - what do your customers need to know to set off in the right direction.
Growth marketers can then push it to the next level by including elements of data-enrichment tactics to help build a better understanding of your customer and what they are interested in.
The app Flipboard uses this tactic as part of their welcome series, where new users go through and click on what they're interested in. This will then personalize the customer's experience, so they only see content relevant to them. Not only providing a much better customer experience but also speeding up the value realization process.
The best part about a welcome series is the fact that it can be automated. Ortto has a campaign template already created. All you need to do is login (or sign up) and customize to suit your brand.
Take them on a product tour
This can fit within your welcome series strategy, however it’s based around your customers first time logging into your product, app or website.
You’ll want to make this as easy and intuitive as possible to eliminate any friction for your customer. Aim for a three to five step process, where sequential messaging is used to guide your new users through the product. It’s important to use these steps to highlight the most important features.
In the Grammarly example below, the product tour firstly asks if the user wants to participate in it. Then those who do the walk-through are highlighted with product features, in an interactive experience that helps strengthen the learning experience.
Who said onboarding your customers had to be so serious? Instead of making your new users feeling coerced into completing their onboarding process, think about gamifying it.
Or you may notice that new users tend to drop off at a specific stage of the activation period. Gamifying the process could be the incentive they need to keep going.
Your users can be motivated to finish each ‘level’ of your activation stage, while also learning the features and product layout. Upon level completion, your user can then win an offer, badge or discount. Elements like awards, progress bars and leaderboards can help show the progress and push them to complete the onboarding.
DuoLingo is an exceptional example of this, rewarding users with experience points (XP) gained once they’ve completed a round. This is another way to show the users onboarding process.
Growth marketing strategies for retention:
How do you encourage users to continuously engage with your product and brand? Well, like with any relationship it’s all about communication. Talking to them about topics they’re interested in, celebrating their wins, or offering support when they need it.
These simple growth marketing retention practices can help keep your customers engaged:
The best bit, it can all be automated. Set up a nurture journey in Ortto, create the trigger milestone to celebrate, plus the offer or coupon (if you choose to add one) then it’s just set and forget.
Whether it's a birthday, subscription anniversary, or they’ve reached 100 days straight of signing in to your platform, it’s time to celebrate. Showing your support and acknowledgment of your users experience is a great way to nurture and retain them as customers.
Re-engage those sleepy customers
Unfortunately, not everyone who has subscribed to your platform is going to be as amped about your product and content as you are. While they may be less enthusiastic, it’s important to keep track of the content they have engaged with as well as their point of drop-off.
Tracking this data can help you refine your cadence and content strategy, then adjust accordingly. For example, instead of a weekly newsletter they may be more inclined to engage with a monthly update.
Perhaps your customer has dropped off completely and this is where a reengagement campaign would prove to be very helpful.
In Ortto, you can create a journey that is triggered when the customer's engagement starts to drop. Emails, SMS, or in-app messages can be used to educate these customers on new or lesser-known features that will help ensure they’re seeing the full value of the product. Sharing other customer stories or case studies has also proven to be very beneficial in inspiring these customers to reengage with your platform.
Say the customer engagement continues to drop, then it might be time to ask for feedback in a survey, pop-up, or via your customer support team to hone in on why they’ve become less engaged. When they respond, you can then offer some support, or take action to ensure their customer experience is improved.
If they don’t respond, then it’s recommended to offer one last final email (after 120 days for example) that gives lapsed customers one last chance to engage with the product before their account is made inactive. This is best practice for list hygiene
Build a customer support information hub
Ensure your customers have all the information they need to excel in your platform. Take the next step up from blog articles and social media posts and move into the realm of learning and education.
Any feature or update should come with a set of documentation so your users can go ahead and self learn.
On top of that, try building out a knowledge base where customers can access online webinars, interactive courses, ebooks or whitepapers to build out their knowledge of your product and the industry in general. Including a community forum in your knowledge base proproves to be a great resource where power users can help each other out.
Asana has built an incredible resources hub where users have access to extra learning, support needs, upcoming events and much more.
Growth marketing strategies for referral:
Time to turn your customers' loyalty into advocacy. If your customer has ticked off certain achievements within their account, for example they gave a high NPS, completed an upsell, or continue to have high engagement levels, then it's time to leverage this enthusiasm into marketing for your brand.
Here are the best referral growth marketing strategies for you to try today:
Develop a referral program
The impact of a referral is clear: give a little incentive and you will gain it back ten-fold in new subscribers. The first step to take when building out your referral strategy is to segment your audience and know exactly who your loyal customers are.
Then you can start strategizing the offers provided. You may have a tiered system where your most loyal customers are given more rewards with each referral.
Dropbox’s referral marketing example is one for the ages. By understanding the needs of their customers, they set up a referral program offering 500MB space for free to both the advocate and their referred person. The more a customer refers to people the more space given in their Dropbox account.
Use early adopters
Leverage those customers who have stuck with you since the beginning. These brand loyalists aligned with your company for its core values, and the initial platform. Their growth alongside your company is incredibly impactful.
Whether you’re simply asking them to leave reviews on third party sites, inviting them to join your referral program or creating meaningful case studies to share their journey and achievements with others, it's definitely time to reach out to your brand loyalists.
Growth marketing strategies for revenue:
The general rule of thumb for increasing revenue is to triple your customer lifetime value (CLV) against your acquisition costs. Enhancing your CLV can be done by implementing simple strategies to drive better customer experiences, increase the average order value and improve retention rate. For example:
Focus on repeat customers
While it is important to keep bringing new customers into your funnel, it is far more effective to focus on the customers you do have. These customers are already well acquainted with your brand, product and services, so the likelihood of them to do business with you is increased.
Upselling and cross-selling to your current customers is a cost-efficient way to increase your revenue stream, while also adding value to your customer.
For example your customer support team received a message from Customer A, looking to include SMS as part of their onboarding journey, but the customer will need to upgrade to use your SMS feature. Your customer support agent can talk them through this and the cost, and if they decide to not go ahead, they can move on to a customer journey that highlights all the benefits of SMS as a marketing channel, prompting them to change plans.
Refine your pricing strategy
Pricing is one of the tricker things to get right. It’s all about finding that sweet spot between value offered and revenue.
Overcharge and customers may be deterred or think it’s not worth the investment. Undercharge and you could be setting yourself up for an unsustainable business. If you’re working a tiered system, you need to ensure there are enough features within each plan for the user to see the value, but also provide a dangling carrot to give customers a reason to upgrade.
Before embarking on your pricing strategy, answer the following questions:
Where do you want your company to be in one year’s time? Five years?
What do your customers value?
How much value do you provide to your customers?
How does your value measure up against your competitors?
Growth marketing has proven itself to be a sustainable and replicable pathway for business longevity.
Its data-driven and holistic approach is a necessary evolution from its traditional marketing counterpart. This new outlook helps companies focus on customer retention, supercharging scalability, and optimizing for better customer experience. Growth marketing will help you build sustainable growth and attract engaged customers.
Continue to experiment, test, learn and focus on telling a compelling story through your data, and you will see success in growth marketing.