Growth marketing examines specific metrics and then experiments upon them in order to positively impact your business.
Before you can start experimenting, you need to know what metrics actually impact your company. The types of metrics growth marketers experiment on are called pirate metrics and are split into six categories: awareness, acquisition, activation, revenue, retention and referral.
Step 1. Set Goals For Each Category
Once you’ve identified the pirate metric categories you want to improve, you should set goals for each area.
For awareness, you might want to increase traffic by a specific percent over the next quarter. For acquisition, you might want to generate a certain number of leads. For revenue, you might want to increase revenue by X% over the next six months.
All the goals you set should be SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely)
Step 2. Create Milestones And Checkpoints
In order to achieve your end goal, you need to be able to evaluate your progress along the way to see if you’re on track.
If you’re on track to achieve your end goal by just continuing your current marketing efforts, you probably don’t need to implement growth marketing.
But, chances are there is at least one area that you’re underperforming in. Having checkpoints in place will help you determine where you’re falling behind, and what you should focus on.
To create your checkpoints, you need to have a system of measurement in place to track your progress correctly. For example, if you’re trying to increase your referrals, you need to be able to measure how many referrals you receive.
If you can’t track your progress toward your end goal, then the goal isn’t worth setting.
3. Design And Conduct Your Experiment
Once you’ve identified the areas you want to improve, use the scientific method to design and conduct an experiment to improve those metrics.
Ask a question
The first step of the scientific method is to ask a question. For growth marketing, the question is usually “why are we falling short in this area?”
Do background research
The second step is to do research in order to gain a better understanding of your question. Identify potential factors influencing your current state.
Develop your hypothesis
The third step is to develop your hypothesis, predicting what levers you have available to you that can be changed to enact your desired results.
Conduct your experiment
Next, conduct an experiment based on your hypothesis.
Analyze the results
Finally, analyze the results of your experiment and use them to inform your future strategy.
New Breed’s Blog Growth Marketing Experiment
At the end of 2018, New Breed noticed our site visit numbers were starting to plateau. They weren’t decreasing, but they also weren’t increasing at the rate we wanted them to. Because our awareness category progress was not in line with the milestones we had set, we decided to design an experiment that could increase our site visitors.
We started to do research to try and answer the question “why are our site visits plateauing and what can we do differently to increase those results?” In that initial research, we found that we hadn’t expanded our keyword strategy or changed our blogging frequency in a while, and those two factors are major drivers of our traffic.
We also discovered that some of our higher performing blog posts had started to decline and our newer posts were barely making up the difference.
Our findings shed light on why our traffic was plateauing, and we hypothesized we could fix it by increasing our post frequency from twice a week to five times. This increased frequency would allow us to target new keywords while continuing to create posts on the keywords we had been targeting at a similar rate.
N.B. When developing your hypothesis, choose the potential solution that has the greatest yield to experiment upon. To increase our traffic, we could have focused on our social media, email marketing, paid or referrals. However, we determined the most effective activity to improve upon to reach our goal was our blogging strategy.
We implemented our hypothesis, setting a goal for how much we want our traffic to increase by the end of the year and we built monthly milestones leading up to that.
We’ve seen ups and downs regarding our monthly checkpoints, but we’re starting to see upward trends and we’re only five months into a twelve-month experiment. Organic traffic takes time to build and requires patience — which is an important skill set for growth marketers to develop. The key is to create a plan and stick to it long enough that you can start to see results.
Goals should be aggressive and challenge you and your business. If you don’t immediately hit your goal, that’s okay, and as long as your goal isn’t completely unattainable, it’s a sign that you set a good goal that challenges you.
When it comes to growth marketing, there’s a difference between knowing what you need to change and how to change it.
You might know that you need to increase your traffic, but not how to do so, in which case you’ll delegate that task to a specialist or team with more experience in that area.
More often than not, running an experiment will require some skills you don’t have. For example, I’ve managed New Breed’s blog for a while but did not know all the factors that would come into play for us to hit our goal.
You should be comfortable operating between known and unknown skill sets as you experiment. If you stay in your comfort zone, then you probably won’t change things as dramatically as you’d like. If you’re trying to only do things you don’t know how to, you’ll be like a fish out of water and probably fail.
As we’ve worked on improving our blog performance to increase our site visits, I’ve learned more about different areas, and I haven’t been working all by myself. I have a team that helps out with creating, optimizing and promoting our blog content along with everything else that’s involved in running a blog.
No one ever knows everything in any category. You don’t need to and shouldn’t plan on implementing a growth marketing strategy completely on your own. You can ask for help from other people at your company or hire an agency to do some of the work for you.