growth hackingWhat’s a ‘Growth Hacker’? According to entrepreneur Sean Ellis, it’s ‘a person whose true north is growth’. In practical terms, it’s a coder-slash-marketer who works quickly you grow their business.

And he may have been onto something, since he used that principle to grow businesses such as Dropbox and Eventbrite, each now worth billion-dollar fortunes.

We’re going to give you a quick guide to the key skills every growth hacker needs, and the tools to get you up to speed on each of them.

Key skill 1: Programming
Coding, coding, coding. Understanding how the sausage is made will help you understand achieving all-important conversions on an ecommerce website.

Things to learn, and why:
WordPress. The essential content management system (CMS) tool to maintain and create website content for a website, and also build web apps.
Notepad++. A free code editor supporting most programming languages under MS Windows.
GitHub. A web hosting services for building code and develop software.
Twitter Bootstrap. A CSS, HTML and JavaScript framework for developing mobile-first projects on the web.

Key skill 2: Design
Design is central to user experience. You’ll need to grasp the fundamentals of visual language to develop a website, and an understanding of how users will navigate it.

Things to learn, and why:

WordPress. Popular design tool to develop web pages and blog posts.
Adobe Photoshop. Top of the list for digital image editing; the industry standard for design, photography and video editing.
Balsamiq. Make mockups of web pages and designs.
Sketch. Vector design tool with a simple focus on creating user interface designs.
Unbounce. Powerful tool to build, publish and test landing pages without IT and software.

Key skill 3: Content
Content marketing has topped SEO as the most important marketing tool on the web. It spans e-books, white papers, blog posts, infographics, video… anything that can be read or viewed.

Things to learn, and why:

BuzzSumo. Uncover popular content related to your topic.
Feedly. Compile news feeds from online sources to help research and develop content.
HubSpot. Attract visitors, generate leads and convert customers.
ClearVoice. Highly effective content marketing software connecting teams for efficiency.

Key skill 4: Social media
At least one third of the global population is using social media these days (!), so it’s crucial to understand how popular platforms work, or at least how they can be used in the best possible way for your business.

Things to learn, and why:

BuzzSumo. Quickly identify what content works well on social media.
Buffer. Share with any content onto social media networks.
Hootsuite. Helps you schedule and organise social media posts
AgoraPulse. Manage social media platforms and publish content.
Facebook’s Ad Platform. Reach 1 billion users; use demographics to help identify types of customers.

Key skill 5: SEO
Content needs SEO – no matter how many algorithm changes the flighty Google releases, users are still searching online for your business/brand.

There are five key components of SEO that a growth hacker must know: technical SEO, social media marketing, link building, usability and information and content marketing.

Things to learn, and why:

Google Analytics. Identify how organic search brings revenue to your business.
Google Search Console. Monitor and maintain your website’s presence in Google Search results.
Google PageSpeed Insights. Test loading times for desktop and mobile – this is key if users are dropping off your site.
Google Webmaster Tools. Identify what Google thinks of your website.
Open Site Explorer. Look at a full range of link analytics.

Key skill 6: Email
It’s not all about social media. Email marketing yields the highest return on investment in terms of conversion and retention.

You’ll need to get familiar with list building, writing engaging email copy, automating emails, integrating social media, and using analytics.

Things to learn, and why:

MailChimp. A fully integrated email marketing tool to manage subscribers, send emails and measure results.
ActiveCampaign. A feature-packed email marketing tool; great for small to medium-sized companies.
iContact. Manage subscribers, send surveys, create campaigns and communicate with customers.
ConstantContact. Create effective email marketing campaigns.

Key skill 7: A/B testing
The insight that A/B testing data gives you is vital. Testing two versions of something highlights what’s working and what’s not. That can include anything from creative ad copy to landing pages, brand campaigns and promotional strategies. Therefore understanding testing tools, effective planning, and metrics is crucial.

Things to learn, and why:

Optimizely. Conduct A/B tests and optimise your websites on desktop and mobile.
Unbounce. Carry out effective A/B tests to see whether your web pages connect with customers.
Google Analytics. Test pages with its ‘Content Experiments’ feature.
Visual Website Optimizer. Gather crucial data on website visits to carry out A/B testing.
KISSmetrics. A popular testing tool offering reports and testing data connected to real people.

Key skill 8: Analytics
This one’s key. Being able to push your website further means knowing how to analyse and interpret data.

You need to know how to identify what customers like about your website, how they navigate it, and how effective your marketing campaigns are.

Data is honest, and making evidence-based decisions is essential for growth.

Things to learn, and why:

Google Analytics. Make informed business decisions.
MS Excel. Not fancy, but essential for crunching the numbers.
KISSmetrics. The most effective analytics tool for understanding customer behavior and increasing growth.
Mixpanel. Popular analytics platform for desktop and mobile, giving insight to customer behavior.
CrazyEgg. This visual tool offers insights into how visitors are navigating your website.