As the year comes to a close I thought it was a good time to put together a comprehensive list of the best customer acquisition content from around the web. I’ve found everything from interviews, discussions, case studies and how-to guides that you can add to your holiday reading list.

10 minutes here and there with a case study or interview can help keep your mind sharp while you’re away from the office; ensuring you’ll hit the ground running after the new year.

How-to’s and Guides

How Ghost’s Onboarding Change Increased Conversions by 1000%

ghost onboarding case study
source: ghost.org

When the team at Ghost looked to improve their trial conversion rate they experimented with their initial onboarding flow. It all started with a very basic premise: Some of their users have a better initial experience than others and – as a result – they are more likely to convert into paying Ghost(Pro) subscribers.

A Beginner’s Guide to User Acquisition

wealthfront growth example
source: wealthfront.com

Nate Desmond goes over the process for creating a user acquisition strategy. He includes great examples from Wealthfront, Mint and SmartWool. He tells us that if we don’t establish the definition of success before running user acquisition efforts, we won’t know whether we’re desperately failing or single-handedly making our company succeed.

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Mobile Growth Strategies Tools and Tactics

airbnb mobile growth example
source: airbnb.com

Adrien Montcoudiol gives a great presentation that breaks down the mobile growth strategies of companies like Mailbox, Airbnb and Tinder. Including how to build virality into your product and conversion rate optimization.

6 Ways to Improve the Performance of Your Call to Action Buttons

call to action button conversion study
source: copyblogger.com

Joanna Wiebe goes over the key conversion elements of call to action buttons. Everything from consumer behavior principles like the paradox of choice and analysis paralysis to a few examples of successful conversion experiments.

User Acquisition From the Trenches

sendwithus growth example
source: blog.hrck.ca

Matt Harris from sendwithus gives us a quick breakdown of their user acquisition strategy for sendwithus. Highlighting their partnerships with email delivery services (Mandrill, SendGrid, MailGun, etc.)  and their integration with Stripe that helps drive quality leads for their business.

How Mention Reduced Churn by 22%

mention growth example
source: kissmetrics.com

Clément Delangue shows us the successful churn reduction experiment they ran at Mention. They noticed that their automated marketing process kind of stopped once they got free trials to convert. So they extended the lifecycle of their emails and in-app messages to these paid clients to further nurture those relationships.

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In Defense of the Popup

made popup example
source: conversionxl.com

Ott Nigulis goes over the benefits of popups and how they can increase the lead conversion rate of your website without sacrificing bounce rates and user experience.

5 Psychological Principles of High Converting Websites

device magic example
source: kissmetrics.com

Nate Desmond goes over the value of studying behavioral psychology and how it can help with your user acquisition experiments. Including the principles of Fitt’s Law, Facial Recognition, Cost/Benefit Analysis, Past Experience and the Law of Pithiness.

Manuel Weiss

manuel wise codeship
source codeship.io

The Co-founder and CMO of Codeship has been releasing great content on how to build a process-driven marketing team. Stay tuned for our upcoming interview with Manuel in the new year.

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Use Estimates, Experiments and Evidence to Understand Your Customers

manuel wise codeship growth example
source: medium.com

Manuel goes over the simple rule they have at Codeship. “Everything you think is only an assumption.” He argues that you need to verify those assumptions by running experiments and delivering evidence.

Look at the outcome of your experiments and keep track of your data it’s the only way you can build a process for your marketing initiatives.

Creating Repeatable and Measurable Marketing Building Blocks

manuel wise codeship marketing example
source: medium.com

In this article Manuel goes over Codeship’s approach to documenting and prioritizing their marketing experiments. He even includes some handy spreadsheets you can use for your own campaigns.

Ryan Gum

ryan gum closing call attach
source: twitter.com

Ryan’s an awesome online marketer who’s been building Attach.io – a sales tool that helps you track customer interactions with sales material. He also manages a new online community for salespeople Closingcall.co

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How to Create a Customer Acquisition Plan for Startups

growth process diagram
source: ryangum.com

Ryan Gum gives us an overview of how to build a process for your startup customer acquisition. He emphasizes the importance of creating a flexible plan and how it’s more about building a strong process than anything else.

How to Find and Track Customer Acquisition Channels

customer-acquisition-chart
source: ryangum.com

Alice Default goes over the strategy she used with Front for vetting and implementing different acquisition channels. Including her process for building relationships with press, creating viral loops and social acquisition.

Interviews

Invision’s Growth Strategy with Clark Valberg

invision growth example
source: invisionapp.com

Co-Founder and CEO of Invision goes over the success of their free t-shirt contests and how valuable word of mouth is for their user acquisition. In the interview he says “about 80% of our traffic comes through word of mouth. So anything that’s a catalyst for that, is good…. Right now it’s undoubtedly word of mouth that drives the most paying customers.”

How Yesware Grew Revenue by 1300% in One Year

yesware growth example
source: yesware.com

In this interview Matthew Bellows CEO of Yesware goes over how they got their first 1,000 users and how they plan to continue their rapid growth in the sales software industry. 

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Morgan Brown on Net Promoter Score and Using Referral Programs to Grow ScoreBig

SaaSquatch Radio Episode 1 - Morgan Brown - Growth at Qualaroo

In this interview with Morgan Brown, Head of Growth at Qualaroo, we go over the value of NPS and his experience working on growth with startups like ScoreBig and Qualaroo.

Why Marketers Should Have Their Own Engineers

why marketers should have their own engineers
image courtesy of bplanet/freedigitalphotos.net

In this interview Robbie Mitchell from Knewton goes over how he used engineering talent for his team’s marketing initiatives. He discovered that in-team technical talent was a critical enabler for marketing success.

This wasn’t all about finding other people to do the work, either; he encouraged everyone on the team to gain relevant technical skills, including himself. “I had to get comfortable with version control, front-end templates, deployment systems — really a bunch of tools we were using to support and serve our community, and it’s made a huge difference,” he says.

Casey Armstrong on Taking Advantage of New Platforms for Acquisition

casey armstrong saasquatch radio

In this interview explains the holistic approach he takes to marketing, product and data. As well as specific examples of campaigns he’s run at companies like MavenLink and Pantheon.

Social User Acquisition

How to Master Social Customer Acquisition

 

clarity growth example
source: kissmetrics.com

Shanelle Mullin explains her framework for social customer acquisition and how it’s essentially the art of building and maintaining relationships to improve the traditional customer acquisition processes.

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Facebook User Acquisition

facebook growth example
source: nanigans.com

Carly Rogers  explains why Facebook advertising is fastly becoming a profitable acquisition channel for big brands and startups. How marketers can take advantage of Facebook’s treasure trove of user data to unlock big wins for their company.

Twitter User Acquisition

austenallred twitter growth example
source: austinallred.com

In this chapter of Austin Allred’s guide he goes over how he uses twitter to target, engage and ultimately convert customers on twitter.

Best of CoElevate – Brian Balfour – VP Growth at Hubspot

brian balfour hubspot interview
source: rocketship.fm

Avoiding the Wheel of Meaningless Growth

wheel of meaningless growth
source: coelevate.com

Brian Balfour talks about the problems companies run into when celebrating and pursuing vanity metrics. He explains about how pursuing short term goals ends up sacrificing long term growth and how you can avoid this kind of thinking.

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5 Steps To Choose Your Customer Acquisition Channel

startup marketing channel matrix
source: coelevate.com

Brian Balfour goes over a framework you can use to select and test acquisition channels for your company. By creating a matrix like the one above you can understand the true cost of different channels and how they stack up against one another.

How to Become a Customer Acquisition Expert

t-shape marketing skillset
source: distilled.net

Brian Balfour shows us the unique skillset you have to acquire in order to work on growth. By developing skills in many different but complementary areas you can work across departments with your experiments and create more value for your company.

Traction Versus Growth

traction vs growth brian balfour
source: coelevate.com

Brian Balfour shows us the difference between the stages of growth startup companies go through. He explains that it’s necessary for a team to focus on 2-3 channels when they’re in the Traction phase as they have very limited resources and don’t want to dabble with too many channels at once.

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Referral SaaSquatch

Creating a Process for Customer Acquisition

creating a process for customer acquisition
image courtesy of: bplanet/freedigitalphotos.net

In this post I go over the process you can use to create your own customer acquisition experiments. I even give you 5 examples that you can try out on your own like a Natively Embedded Quiz, Symmetric Messaging and a Sliding Content Recommendation.

Building a Process for Growth Experiments

growth experiments
image courtesy of bplanet/freedigitalphotos.net

In this article I show you the process you can use to run your own growth experiments. I include sample spreadsheets and experiment templates that you can use on your own. I show you an example of an experiment backlog and an experiment doc for a blog footer call to action.

How to Improve the Performance of Your Referral Program

how to improve the performance of your referral program
image courtesy of bplanet/freedigitalphotos.net

In this article I go over different approaches you can take to improve the performance of your referral program. Including tactics for increasing program visibility, participation and conversion.

EquityFeed Case Study

equityfeed referral program example
source: equityfeed.com

In this case study we go over the success of EquityFeed’s give 10%, get 10% referral program and how it is giving them an 18% increase to their paid subscriber userbase.

GrowthHackers.com Growth Studies

Airbnb

airbnb growth study
source: growthhackers.com

In this growth study Morgan Brown gives us a comprehensive look the growth of Airbnb; from everything like the initial traction story all the way to their international expansion. He shows us that Airbnb’s new referrals program has already resulted in hundreds of thousands of nights booked by referred users in 2014. Which shows us how valuable word of mouth referrals are for the growth of this company.

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Uber

uber growth engine matrix
source: growthhackers.com

In this growth study Morgan Brown takes us through the initial traction story of Uber all the way to their current international expansion. Their city-by-city launches coupled with the power of experiential word of mouth has helped Uber establish a foothold across the globe.

HubSpot

hubspot growth study
source: hubspot.com

In this growth study by Morgan Brown he shows us the power of HubSpot’s inbound marketing machine and their internal culture of innovation that puts them on a high-growth trajectory for years to come.

LinkedIn

linkedin virality
source: growthhackers.com

The value of active users isn’t just in their engagement—active users also play a critical role in both re-activating inactive users and bringing in new ones, making virality one of the biggest keys to LinkedIn’s growth.

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Evernote

evernote growth study
source: growthhackers.com

In this growth study Morgan Brown shows us the initial traction story of Evernote and how valuable timing can be for the launch of a product. Evernote’s initial traction was was due in large part from their product taking advantage of early distribution in relatively new App Stores.

GitHub Part 1 + Part 2

github growth study
source: growthhackers.com

One of their first engineering hires Zach Holman believes that adding “Tweet” and “Like” buttons doesn’t create word of mouth. Rather, word of mouth comes from content, thoughtfulness, solved problems, and ease of use—in short, the whole experience of a product or service.

Square

square growth study
source: growthhackers.com

In this growth study of Square, Morgan Brown shows us the growth engine that helped the company expand rapidly. Their unique value proposition and high visibility to consumers all helped contribute to building a raving fan base for the company.

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Belly Card

belly card growth study
source: growthhackers.com

Belly takes advantage of word of mouth through their deep Facebook integration and ease in sharing check-ins/rewards claimed. They also have a well thought out gamified rewards experience that keeps user engagement and retention high.

GrowthHackers.com Discussions

Key Tips for Finding Profitable Customer Acquisition Opportunities

Sean Ellis creates an engaging discussion by asking the community – What are your top tips for being able to uncover profitable paid marketing opportunities?

What’s a Great Example of a Customer Acquisition Roadmap?

A great discussion on how to build a customer acquisition roadmap with a few intriguing examples from Anuj Adhiya.

What’s a Good Conversion Rate From Visitor to Registered User?

This is an interesting discussion on the industry-standard conversion rates that companies have for visitors -> to registered user.

How Would You Grow Spotify?

An amusing discussion on how companies would look to grow Spotify.

Hack of the Month – ‘Powered by’ Increases Signups by 474%

A great growth study by Stuart from Gleam.io on the placement of the ‘powered by’ tagline on his product and how it increased their signup rate.

How Much Money Should a 2-3 Year Old B2B Startup Invest in Paid Marketing?

A discussion by growth marketers looking back on their experience running paid advertising campaigns.

How to Find and Track Customer Acquisition Channels That Work for You

A great discussion on the article by Alice Default from Front on the value of finding and tracking customer acquisition channels that work for your company

Feel free to suggest your favorite content from 2014 in the comments below and I’ll happily update the piece.

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Brandon GainsBrandon Gains is the VP of Marketing at Referral SaaSquatch. He leads growth initiatives at the company using a mix of content, design and web development tactics. Brandon also contributes articles to publications like SocialMediaToday, CustomerThink and Business2Community. You can connect with him via email brandon at referralsaasquatch.com or on LinkedIn