In 2007, Dave McClure coined the term Pirate Metrics to describe the various growth levers available to companies: Attention, Acquisition, Retention, Revenue, Referrals.
Together, these levers spell AARRR. Like a pirate, get it?
Gotta get thatThe Black Eyed Peas
Gotta get that
Gotta get that
Gotta get that that that
Two years later, in 2009, The Black Eyed Peas released their then-futuristic song Boom Boom Pow. I just showed my 14 year old son the video and he sarcastically pointed out that they predicted a future when everybody uses autotune. Ha!
They also wrote a great anthem for growth hackers – gotta get that!
Get their attention – Acquisition
How do users find you? Before we explored the world through a web browser, getting people’s attention involved setting up shop in a location with lots of traffic, posting billboards, sending out flyers, or running print, television and radio ads.
Today acquisition is often a matter of getting somebody to visit your website. How do we get people to visit our site?
The techniques of web acquisition include search engine optimization (making your site and its pages useful to people who search through Google or Bing), using social networks, blogs, and affiliates.
Get them inside – Activation
They’ve locked eyes with you across a crowded internet, and walked up to you. You need to make your case clearly and quickly. What service do you provide? Does it appeal to them?
Can you hold their attention, or do they bounce? They key metrics here are how many seconds (yes, it can be that fleeting) do they stay on your page? Do they follow the links on your page, indicating interest? Do they visit a key page, e.g. your contact page, or a newsletter sign up?
To optimize your activation, do lots of landing page split tests. Where does the information need to sit to hold their interest? What colours and pictures do you use? What copy?
Get them to stay – Retention
Now you need to keep the conversation going. Offer them new material on a timed basis through an email newsletter. Alert them to offers or events you hold. Post content that will lure them back,
Many consider retention to be the most important growth lever. You can’t grow if you are losing more customers than you attract. Furthermore, it takes time for a customer to break even, to pay more than it cost for you to attract them in the first place.
Churn, losing customers at a rapid rate, is a killer.
Get them to pay – Revenue
It’s been fun, but now you are asking to make things official. Do they see what you have to offer as having enough value to pay for?
It’s not a single event. This ties to retention – focus some of your energy on finding new value for existing customers, not devoting all your attention to new customers.
Get them to invite others – Referrals
Some products are naturally viral. Facebook is a perfect example. If people want to see your posts, they need to sign up, and they in turn post, which attracts their friends.
Not all products can go viral this easily, but good service and value can cause your customers to spread the word. You can also encourage this with simple calls to action on your site or emails (e.g. If you value our service, please let your friends know) or with contests or rewards (e.g. one referral in a thousand wins a free trip, every referral upgrades your service).
Your call to action
You have to get get get get get. But before you do, make sure you have metrics in place. Know the statistics, e.g. the ratio of people you acquire vs activate. What you measure, you can improve.
Growth hacking is about the process of producing hypotheses, guesses, about what will improve the metrics that contribute to growth. Will a contest improve your referral rate? Why speculate when you can run a small experiment?
In future posts I will delve deeper into each growth hacking lever, and outline the use of growth sprints to quickly come up with actionable growth experiments. Join my mailing list and never miss a trick.
One characteristic of growth hacking that many find daunting is that it needs a vast supply of new ideas to run new experiments on a regular basis. SCAMPER can be a big help.
Boom graphic from Pixabay.