Being a growth hacker became a go-to method for every specialist that wants his or her business to grow. Some would say that it is just an umbrella term for many marketing, SEO, or analytical operations, but no matter what, it uses creativity and is a technique that all ambitious people can adopt in order to achieve success with their business.
We decided to gather an ultimate list of resources that a Growth Hacker needs in their operations. We also reached out to people on Twitter, hoping for their knee-jerk reaction on the question „What is your recommended growth hacking tool?” in order to get some insights. Read on to find out what growth hackers think and what you can do to be an outstanding hacker.
Do your homework
If you are just starting, it would be best if you did some reading beforehand, like you do it right now. As this article is mainly a collection of tools and opinions, you may need to brush up on basics, for example how to grow traffic or how to set up web analytics. Below is a list of reading materials that will help you start with growth hacking.
If you already have some experience, you can safely move on with the list, but I still recommend going through at least few of them – learning never stops.
- 38 Ultimate Mobile Growth Hacks – Expert Tips and Tools to Grow your App – Various experts from top players such as Flipboard, Zynga, Pinterest, Branch Metrics, Yahoo, Box and other tech companies share their tips and tools on how to increase downloads, optimize performance in app stores, engage your users and drive viral sharing. By Dan Kob (@dan_kob) and Branch Metrics (@branchmetrics).
- 10 Personality Traits Of A Great Growth Hacker – An infographic displaying 10 traits of a growth hacker. A nice and shareable piece of content that you might use for growing traffic. By Jean-Luc Brisebois (@jbrisebois).
- Debunking The 6 Most Common Myths About Growth Hacking – An article exploring six of the more common myths about growth hacking that serve to misconstrue growth hacking methods and goals and set false expectations. By Aaron Ginn (@aginnt).
- 21 Actionable Growth Hacking Tactics – A presentation about 21 different areas of startup marketing where you can employ growth hacking tactics, with tricks of automation or hackery that help you squeeze more out of your customer/user acquisition strategy. By Jon Yongfook (@yongfook).
- 22 Ways to Reduce Churn with Growth Hacking – Methods, tactics, techniques, and ways of thinking that will help you keep the customers you already have so you can more efficiently grow your SaaS business. By Lincoln Murphy (@lincolnmurphy).
- How to be a Growth Hacker: Airbnb Case Study – A case study on Airbnb showing how practicing growth hacking looks in real life. By Andrew Chen (@andrewchen).
- Design For Hackers – A great book covering the necessities of modern design, and a great e-mail course showing you the nifty basics that you probably did miss. By David Kadavy (@kadavy).
On to the list!
The hacker’s mindset
As much as I expected to receive a specific name for a service, people shared also their mindsets about growth hacking that could really help realize what GH is all about. Here are some general thoughts from Twitter growth hackers who tell what it takes to be a growth hacker.
@pkkoczorowski "Growth hacking is not a toolkit, it's a mindset" Aaron Ginn— Ryan Holiday (@RyanHoliday) August 18, 2015
Don’t believe in silver bullets
@pkkoczorowski Tools don't solve problems; people do! (Every problem has a different solution)— I Want Growth (@GrowthWanted) August 18, 2015
We all are hopeful for a method that will help us achieve success no matter the circumstances. With growth hacking we cannot expect that at all – we need to use our skills, our creativity, and our analytical thinking in order to determine what our product and/or business needs. Very oblivious hackers looking for a dot com service that will bring 200% more revenue after buying their license won’t be that successful – there is no easy way.
Know what you want to grow
@pkkoczorowski It's less about tools and more about principles. my favorite principle right now is "focus on the one metric that matters"— Nate Desmond (@natedesmond) August 18, 2015
Do you want to grow conversions? Or is it sign-ups and registers? Do you want to grow your audience on a blog? The metrics vary, but you must know right from the beginning what is your goal. Trying to grow everything by a little bit is an effort wasted – set a goal and align all your procedures towards it.
You’d better have a great product
@pkkoczorowski great product 😛— Radek Grabarek (@radekg) August 19, 2015
Obvious and easier said than done. However, having a great product boosts your efforts. It’s like a positive modifier to your actions – with a great product your marketing campaign will have a better effect. Make sure that what you want to grow is worth it.
The advent of hacking
As the previous point stated, you must know whether your product is worth it. There is no point spending huge amounts of money for a website or for marketing efforts, and that is why you can quickly validate whether your product shows some signs of being cool by setting up a quick landing page.
Unbounce is a great service allowing you to create a quick landing page for your product – you can easily overcome any programming obstacles if you do not have any experience, as it is rather intuitive. It’s also amazing for A/B tests and is integrated with plenty of analytics (we use it ourself and add our tool script to the landing pages for our e-books, nifty!)
QuickMVP is solely dedicated to testing ideas – as their copy on the front page says, „QuickMVP is the easiest way to test your ideas, without wasting time or money.” The service goes step by step with you over the process of validating an idea, therefore it is a great option for product success research.
LeadPages is similar to the two above, but also focused on getting leads with your perfectly optimized landing and optin pages – no technical experience required.
If you do not want to play around with those landing pages and other mumbo-jumbo, you might start by selling your product (or it’s minimum value version) directly through a sales platform – Gumroad is a service allowing you to sell your wares and products immediately to your audience, with a small fee per transaction. If the minimum value version works, the higher value should as well.
Lander is a fresh pick for me, as I haven’t known it before, but I’m glad that I now do! It’s a very user-friendly platform, which lets you set up a quick landing page thanks to the versatile templates available. Other than that, you can A/B test your pages for their effectiveness. Finally, they let you add your landing page on Facebook – great for social media aficionados.
Once you have your product (or website), it’s worth it to A/B test it and check which variant of your page is most effective. Although some of the above allow you to create a landing page AND A/B test it, the services here allow you to A/B already created ones as well.
User and market research, and customer management
Through knowing your audience and your target market, you are able to narrow your sales funnel and direct your product’s development in the right direction, so it will be marketable and profitable in the long term. You can achieve that by studying the target audience of your product and monitoring the general response to your brand.
Validatio basically does the market resarch for you – all you need to do is enter your ideas, and they will survey the customers in order to give you great feedback about your product.
This is a great service for brands that already started with their marketing efforts. Monitoring your social traffic will allow you to better determine your marketing plan on social media, and will let you to gather a general overview how well you are received.
Choose your audience and direct it to your page with your product to see how well they receive it and what is their feedback about the product – you can specifically mention what the goal of the study is, so it is also good for other tasks, such as usability testing.
Po.st is a clever service that works as a url shortener that drops a cookie on your computer after the click and shows ads targeted towards the link that was clicked. New brands can use it to create audience segments for better targeted adds.
‘The easiest way for web and mobile businesses to see and talk to their users.’ Intercom is a great service operating as a collection of customer management methods. With a script added to your site you can contact your visitors on your product website and inquire about feedback on the product or the site in an easy and well organised way.
Don’t be a hacker – be a spy. Provide and e-mail of a person and receive all their social media profiles available – great for doing research on your potential clients or persons you are about to have a meeting with. With their API, you can integrate FullContact with any application or website you want.
Other mentions worth checking out:
- Totango – Nurture, protect and grow your customer base. You can identify the best prospects among the normal users.
- GoodData – Big Data-ready ETL/ELT, data warehousing, advanced analytics and visualization, even self-service data discovery, all in one cloud analytics platform.
- Survicate – targeted insight surveys, offers and lead capture forms. Great for reaching out to your visitors for feedback.
- Survey.io – Prepare surveys, gather feedback, manage customer development.
- Customer Barometer – ‘The Consumer Barometer is a tool to help you understand how people use the Internet across the world.’ – research and data on customers by Google.
- Olark – customer contact widget.
- PollDaddy – stunning polls and surveys to gather feedback about your service.
Advertising and social
Once you have a decent knowledge about your product possible success and about your audience, it’s best to being advertising. You usually begin with sharing on social media – here are the tools to help you with further advertising.
Obvious choices for starting first ads campaigns. The first two allow for tracking product click-through rates thanks to the geo specific advertising.
A very nifty tool that allows you to put a call to action on every link you share. Great for spreading content while directing attention towards your product.
Encourage your users to spread your content. This service asks readers to share in order to get access to the content you provide.
Great monitoring tool that covers various social channels (if not all of them) and allows you to participate in a relevant conversation – this will allow you to get publicity with the content you produce (answers, reviews, comments).
Favoriting tweets works wonders – people who receive a favorite are more likely to follow you back in response. Great for creating a followerbase.
They cover the manual part of managing your social network – TribeBoost grows your follower bases so you can increase your reach, elevate your authority and generate more interest.
An audience favorite tool for scheduling your posts on various social media. Keep your Twitter and Facebook feeds live after you leave your computer – this will ensure a steady stream of followers.
Great Twitter search tools that allows you to track tweets about various topics and trends. See if something has traction on Twitter, and optimize your content based on that data.
If you ever wanted to have a collection of tools in one place, AnyGrowth is a good choice. It’s a dashboard for Growth Hacking, where you can automate most of your marketing actions – twitter follows, emails, Linkedin posts. It’s fresh and cheap, therefore a good option to check out.
Other cool mentions:
- Famebit – create great visual content for your website in collaboration with popular YouTube stars.
- Twilighter – highlight text and tweet it – great widget to include on your website.
- How To Create a Twitter Bot – learn how to create a twitter bot to automatize most of the mundane actions.
- VisiStat – a service for gathering leads and optimizing your conversions.
- discover.ly – a tool to navigate your social data on the go, making you more productive personally and professionally.
- BuzzSumo – learn what content is popular and who is an influencer in social media, and use that data to create great content for your website.
Marketing and automation
Along with advertising you need to have a good marketing campaign. Here are some services to help you with that:
Lightweight Marketing Automation That Doesn’t Suck. Easy and fast service that allows you to add widgets, popups, email forms, calls to actions and such in a breeze.
Great automation service that works on a principle already known from IFTTT – there are triggers, and actions coming from these triggers. Whereas IFTTT is focused on social media, Zapier allows you to use other services such as Trello, Slack, Gmail etc.
A major player in the marketing and business management industry. ‘HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing software helps you optimize your website to get found by more prospects and convert more of them into leads and paying customers.’
Great platform for marketers and growth hackers to create automated campaigns which result in long-term relationships with consumers across various channels. With Marketer you can respond to individual behaviors in real-time with personalised content, which will result in increased click-through rates and such.
A service to promote your content on the best, largest , and most respected media properties – your content will be seen on the most premium websites. A ‘vibrant content marketplace.’
User retention and traffic
Since you already gathered a customer base, it would be great if you could make those customers stay and bring more. Here are one of the leading services in the customer retention area:
SumoMe is basically an app store which features tools to grow your online traffic. On top of that it features a list builder to increase your daily email signups by even 20% and heatmaps to show which parts of your website receive attention.
OptinMonster allows you to convert visitors into subscribers and customers by stopping their exit with a personally handcrafted popup that attracts their attention.With other tools featured you can stop that exit and turn a bouncing visitor into a subscriber.
An easy service that allows you to add for free a bar at the top of your webpage with any CTA you want – you can ask people to sign up for newsletter, sign up for the trial etc. You can also track stats coming from these clicks.
In a fashion similar to OptinMonster, craft a popup that will stop a leave. You can segment your visitors and prepare a popup that fits their persona.
Bounce Exchange predicts what your visitors need in real time to convert at a higher rate. Their behavioral automation proceeds with visitors down the conversion funnel based on their unique action pathways. Not only a customer retention service, but also a great marketing automation software.
A huge, huge area – big enough to cover a separate article. You need to know what exactly happens on your website and between the pages, and you need to track statistics on your website – bounce rates, traffic, clicks, sign-ups, etc. Since that area is that important, the market is pretty well saturated with various services that offer similar tools – I’ll describe only few, and just list the rest – you are free to make a choice (probably based on the price).
The best way to track stats of your website. Tracks, bounces, exits, customer acquisition, segments – everything you would need number-wise. Basically a must in the industry, and it’s free.
According to me the best way to track behaviors on your website in combination with Google Analytics. Whereas GA tells you what happens between the pages, UsabilityTools gives you an insightful overview what happens WITHIN the webpage with visual analytics such as heatmaps, form testing, and visitor recording. Heatmaps show the density of clicks on the website, so you see the most interesting areas, form testing allows you to optimize your form and remove the problematic fields causing drop-outs, and session recordings record all events on the website during a session of a given user –perfect for determining problems in context.
A big shot with elaborate, similar to the above heatmap tools – scroll maps, areas of interest and more. Pretty much a standard choice among various large companies.
A wide range of analytics: Funnel Report, Cohort Report, Path Report, People Search, A/B Test, Revenue Report, and Power Report – great for optimizing your sales funnel and traffic.
Other interesting choices:
- Inspectlet – Record and watch everything your visitors do with Screen Capture, that records videos of your site visitors.
- SessionCam – product focused on elaborate visitor recordings.
- Maptive – a massive mapping tool transforming raw location data into visuals with lots of useful demographic and location statistics.
- Clicky – real time web analytics.
- GoSquared – similar to the above real-time customer analytics.
- Woopra – like the predecesors, but somehow my favourite.
- ClickTale – another visual analytics specialists with amazing and highly detailed click maps.
- Moz Open Site Explorer – analytics to create campaings tracking links and optimizing their effectiveness.
- MixPanel – not only web, but also visual analytics for mobile – a recommended choice for app developers.
- Heapanalytics – like the choice above – also a great choice for both web and mobile. Good service, but a little bit pricier than MixPanel.
- Yahoo Analytics – previously known as Flurry, now acquired by Yahoo (I’m suprised as well!) – analytical mobile experience optimizer.
- Localytics – everything to grow your app. Attribution & Remarketing, Real-time Analytics, Personalized Messaging, and Omnichannel Profiles.
- Adobe Analytics – a novelty for me, just like Yahoo Analytics – worth checking out.
- UpSight – identify and measure KPIs unique to your business and product and use that to apply targeted marketing.
- FoxMetrics – a powerful suite of customer analytics and targeting tools that lets you see user data.
- Segment – a powerful data hub integrated with many services mentioned above – Google Analytics, Marketo, Intercom, Optimizely, Mixpanel etc.
- Keen.io – another source of analytics that lets you control your data.
E-mail campaigns and Sales Managment
One of the best marketing methods is promoting your product and service through e-mail. It has proven to be unbelievably effective, that is why many services offering e-mail and customer management were brought to life. More than that, sales processes are often conducted through mail – it’s best to utilize it properly.
- Rapportive – LinkedIn profiles visible inside your Gmail inbox.
- Mailgun – Powerful APIs that enable you to send, receive and track email effortlessly.
- Aweber – Easy email marketing tools that allow you to grow your business.
- Emailfinder – Get a valid email address with only a name and organization domain (company URL).
- Toofr – Find out business email addresses using only the first and last names, and the website domain.
- Yesware – Email tracking integrated with Gmail – see open rates, click-throughs and other events live.
- Klaviyo – Best practice emails that are proven to work in ecommerce.
- Send With Us – Managing and tracking email-driven revenue and engagement.
- SendGrid – First an API, Sendgrid lets you send email over SMTP or HTTP, and even use one of their official client libraries.
- MailChimp – a classic in the industry for managing your e-mails and e-mail campaings.
- AppSumo List Builder – a free and super easy way to collect the email addresses of anyone visiting your site.
- SellHack – find emails and phone numbers for prospecting.
- Mandrill – a reliable, scalable, and secure delivery API for transactional emails from websites and applications.
- UserFox – drip email campaigns.
- Customer.io – powerful e-mail service with flexible segmentation, comprehensive reporting and A-B testing.
Being a Growth Hacker requires constant growth of your skills. The services provided above will surely fit some of your needs, but as it has been said in the beginning – know what you want to achieve. This list of growth hacking tools serves as an inspiration for your hacking endeavours, in which you’ll surely find interesting websites that will be the right tool for you. Hope you enjoyed it! Spread the word and share the list so other hackers will know what to do.