The Top 7 Metrics A Growth Hacker Watches… and You Should Too

The term ‘growth hack’ is gaining popularity among the technology, start up, and marketing community. And two schools of thought are emerging. What do supporters and skeptics measure when analyzing for growth? Many of the same metrics, it turns out.

A true growth hacker believes theirs is a separate marketing discipline that requires personnel to have specialized skills and savant-level critical thinking. Folks on that team may identify one or more tactics they believe will become a force multiplier for fueling the top of the company’s marketing funnel to help sales reach critical mass.

Skeptics believe growth hacking is a vapor term, a newflangled label for good old-fashioned marketing smarts, engineered by MBA-carrying computer engineers working in SaaS. Simply put, people in this camp believe growth hacking describes classic marketing efforts which accomplish more (as with more trial users, for example) with less (as in, no additional budget spend).

It may not matter which side of the growth hacking argument you subscribe to. The shared objectives of generating interest, driving conversions, and committing customers should have both groups watching SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) metric indicators like the ones listed here.

Average Lead Close Rate

When you examine the sources of your business’ monthly deal closings, what trends are you finding? Industry-wide data indicates that customer and employee referrals are the most influential factor in many lead-to-deal conversions, distantly followed by website and social media referrals. Armed with the knowledge of your primary lead sources, double down on the energy and efforts placed there, like free trials and purchase rewards.

Monthly Goals By Channel

Maybe your business is active on Facebook and Twitter; you’re experimenting with webinars and building an email subscription base. For all the effort and money you invest in building a following across these channels, you need to know the results each yields, month over month. By knowing which digital channels are best connecting with your customers, you can influence where your business concentrates its digital marketing to maximize reach.

The multi-channel funnel reports available through Google Analytics can help you move forward with monthly channel metrics. Want to know historical funnel conversation activity? You’ll likely need a work-around process like this one.

CTA Clickthrough Rate

Calls-to-action are an incredible indicator of the content topics most important to your customers. After all, people don’t click on blog headlines, tweets, PPC ads, or email subject lines that don’t interest them. Whether your content solves a prospect’s immediate problem or tickles their semi-dormant “someday” want or need, the knowledge of which topics drive action can be your secret weapon.

Customer Satisfaction Rate

How happy are your customers with your product or service? In the age of instant gratification and social sharing, the entire experience your customers have with your brand—from the voice and tone of your email to the ease of returns or quickness of Twitter responses—all coalesce into a single brand impression. You’d better make it your business to know whether your users are happy, because you can be sure they’re telling someone about it.

Net Promoter Score (NPS), often measured quarterly, is one method for simply determining if your customers find your product or service worthy of a recommendation to their peer or industry network. Again, referrals carry tremendous weight in purchasing decisions , so it’s easy to understand the significance of a consistently high NPS. A simple survey may be all you need to capture the data.

Customer Retention Rate

Often expressed as churn—data expressing how many customers have been gained and how many have fallen off during a given period of time can be insightful. Year over year, do you spot any trends driven by seasonality, markets, or cultural shifts? If you spot highs and lows, it could help you adjust forecasts and respond faster with plan B. A significant rise in customers lost, for example, could suggest a widespread product issue, poor customer experience, or other problem requiring deeper exploration.

You can’t please everyone. For some, your product will deliver as expected. For others, it will miss the mark. Whether that’s due to their unreasonable expectation or a change in circumstances, you may not know. But you can ask, and you should. If cancellations are forcibly routed through  a telephone contact center, then “Can I ask why you’re leaving?” may be part of a script. Or it can be a trigger email issued when the customer cancels online.

Lifetime Value

Our multi-channel purchase landscape, while convenient for the buyer, can wreck a little havoc for the brand. Purchases made online, in an ideal world, would be connected with those made in brick-and-mortar stores. All actions and transactions would combine to represent an accurate picture of the total cost to acquire and retain a customer, and the value they represent in revenue. There are some resources to help you get close to a number, but LTV is one of the trickier numbers to determine with complete confidence.

Today’s marketing success calls on a blend of marketing know-how and data science. Fortunately, we have the analytics reports and dashboards to support the decisions to implement a new button color or a mildly annoying pop-up.

What You Can Do Right Now

  • Set up multi-channel funnel reports in your Google Analytics account to learn the path customers take to conversion.
  • Sign up for a free trial (growth hack in disguise?) with Now you’ll have another method of identifying where your customers are engaging online. Step into social conversations at opportune times to lend a hand and create awareness.
  • Work on building your email subscriber base with the simple installation of the unobtrusive  (and free!) HelloBar.
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