Keeping up with growth hacking is not easy.
It is still not well understood by everyone and is constantly evolving. If you’re new or even not-so-new to growth hacking, you want to have a good base before trying every new hack. A classic beginner problem is the overwhelm that comes with looking for growth hacking resources: there are many. Some of them are good, some of them are not but still look good as growth hackers do their job right. Let’s jump in!
Books: Growth Hacking principles
Before you go try every newest hack and start jumping around like a crazy dog, you should understand the basics of growth hacking. I’ve said it before, hacking growth is all about mindset, funnel & processes and building a growth engine. Hacks are what allow you to test acquisition channels of conversion, improve your funnel & process and unlock traction. I find the best way to fully understand how growth hacking works is to rely on fresh books that lay out the basis and the reflection behind it: to understand where it comes from and why. And there are great ones out there.
- Neil Patel’s Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking is a great starter and is also the resource that got me started in the first place. It’s short & sweet, it walks you through the process of experimentation with examples and packs a lot of actionable advice.
- Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday explains well the beginning and evolution of growth hacking as a mindset and practice. It’s a fact: old marketing is dying and shot-in-the-dark marketing like banner ads are often way less effective (and trackable) than a Facebook ad. What I like about this book is that it really puts the focus on the product, users and retention.
- Traction was hard to get in Canada but it was worth the wait. Compared to the other books, this one mainly talks about the 19 acquisition channels and how to determine yours via trial-and-error; something called Bullseye framework. It’s very explicative towards every stage of startup/product development and it’s a must read as it explains deeply how to choose your main channel and unlock explosive growth through it.
- Hooked: How to build habit-forming products by Nir Eyal (whom I’ve had the chance to meet) is the best blend of marketing & psychology backed by researches that you could imagine. The title of the book is pretty clear and as retention trumps acquisition in the long run for growth hackers. It’s a must read, especially if you’re into product development.
Now that you’ve got the basics that won’t change and understand how to put the mindset in action, let’s get the fresh & moving pieces in the mix. Growth Hacking is pretty recent and always evolving into new forms and channels: you have to keep up with that. A good way to do so is to follow blogs about growth hacking (duh!) run by growth hackers (like this very blog) or by known and successful companies. They make for pretty solid growth hacking resources.
People to follow:
- Brian Balfour was in charge of growth at Hubspot (inbound marketing software) until not long ago and shares some great insights every month in his Co-elevate blog.
- Andrew Chen (Growth @ Uber) talks about startups & growth in his personal blog, a golden nugget!
- Sean Ellis, who is the very inventor of Growth Hacking, writes on his blog Startup Marketing, and is another one to follow closely.
Company blogs to follow:
- Quicksprout is one of Neil Patel’s companies and where the Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking is published. There are lots of great guides/ebooks too on topics such as personal branding.
- Kissmetrics is also one of Neil Patel’s companies. Need I say more?
- Growth Hacker TV is also a good resource to check if you prefer video content.
- The Growth Show by Hubspot is a nice podcast to listen to with in-depth interviews with people like Guy Kawasaki or Sophia Amoruso.
- Squirrly is an SEO plugin for WordPress that I discovered recently (great for keyword research by the way). It has a nice blog, as well as email series worth giving up your email to, like the one called “The road to 300 readers”.
- If you’re into mobile, Branch.io’s blog should also be one of your go-to blogs.
Communities (full of growth hacking resources)
Feeling alone in this? No need to. Dozens of growth-oriented communities of people await you. Plus, growth hackers tend to share a lot. Isn’t that their jobs after all?
- Growthhackers.com is the community around growth hacking started by Sean Ellis. It works the same way as Reddit with a weekly roundup newsletter and they recently launched Growth Hackers Project, a neat growth collaboration platform that integrates with your favorite tools like Optimizely or Jira.
- Online geniuses is a Slack channel filled with 4000+ online marketing geniuses eager to interact and share tips. Slack makes it really easy to get in touch with interesting people all over the world and to conduct vivid AMAs.
- Inbound.org is a cool place to ask and answer questions based on your interests and online marketing topics.
- Of courseQuora that you all know is a good place to engage with newbies and experts in growth.
Mentors & colleagues
It’s true that in business as in growth hacking you need to surround yourself with growth mentors. As they’ve been in the business a long time (or been growth hackers before anybody talked about that), they’re not easily impressed by cool new hacks and are rather focused on frameworks, which is awesome for beginners. Also, all growth hackers have specialties of their own and they will allow you to develop yours quicker. They make the best growth hacking resources. You will also be amazed to see growth hackers at different levels of any company and you’ll notice how a corporate growth hacker can be powerful!
Colleagues that are in any field can also broaden your vision about growth, so keep your eyes open. As an example, a good designer that understands growth mechanism can even help you generate ideas on how to increase conversion with design hacks!
You’ve got it: growth hacking core principles can be learned through books but that won’t be enough as you have to constantly stay up to date. You’ll also need to follow updated growth hacking resources and engage with growth marketers to discuss ideas and understand how they hacked growth.
To sum up, here are 4 kinds of resources to look at:
- Blogs & newsletters
- Mentors & colleagues
Any resource to add? Let me know in the comments!