Learnings from Sean Ellis, the Father of Growth Marketing

Sean Ellis is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and startup advisor, often known as the father of growth hacking. Ellis started his career in 1996 with internet marketing. He has years of experience building and working with brands like Eventbrite and Dropbox in their initial years. 

It’s safe to say that Sean Ellis has a lot more insight into growth marketing and successful selling strategies than you could ever fit into a conversation.

Our podcast with Sean Ellis gave us a lot to think about. We’ve turned these ideas into an article to make them accessible for anyone looking for a few brilliant sales and marketing ideas for their business.

 

5 Business Learnings from Sean Ellis

1. It takes 6 months to know if a business is working or not

The first 6 months are the most important part of any business. This period is the make or break time, helping you understand what you need to focus on, what is working, what isn’t, and whether you can scale up.

Due to its importance, you need to ensure that your first 6 months are intensely focused on digging out the biggest problems in your business and solving them.

Ellis said that most of the valuable work they did at any of the companies he worked at was in the first 6 months. The learning from the first 6 months impacted how well they later scaled up.

2.  Get deeper into the customer and how they interact with your product

According to Sean Ellis, your goal for a successful company is to acquire as many passionate customers as well. To do this, you need to understand how customers interact with your brand.

Tou can take one aspect of their behavior on your product, monitor it, and improve how they interact with it. For instance, you can pinpoint— what is the first thing they did when they first used the product?

Once you’ve figured out the behavior of these loyal customers, where they came up, and how they stay on, you can then replicate this to bring newer passionate customers and ensure better retention. 

3. Understand comparative advantage

Every business has an advantage over its competitors. Whether it’s the feature sets, customer experience, interface, etc/ What is your biggest advantage as a business? Once you’ve found your advantage, you can position your brand better.

One method that Ellis suggests to put yourself in a position of advantage is to pinpoint the department that makes your product shine. You can then use their talents to amplify the features you have or the benefits you have as a business.

4. Success isn’t just dependent on how good your marketing is, it is also impacted by product and design

Many businesses fail to understand that having a synchronized team and departments is crucial to succeeding. Departments are interdependent and you need to work with different teams to provide a better experience and increase revenue. Here’s what Sean Ellis has to say – and you should pin! 

sean ellis growth marketing quote

In one instance, Ellis found that one of his first businesses had a hard product to use, causing 95% of users to drop off and not return again. He worked with different teams— product team, engineers, designers— to solve this user experience. This collaboration paid off because they saw a 1000% improvement in the sign-up-to-usage rate.

5. Every part of your marketing funnel is interdependent 

Your acquisition strategy doesn’t matter if a customer doesn’t return to your product. In fact, acquisition is impossible if you aren’t good at converting those users, engaging, monetizing, and driving referrals from these users.

Every part of your marketing funnel is interdependent with each other. 

What’s more, your activation or referral strategies are not even controlled by marketing. They are actually controlled by design and a good product. 

“Your goals need to be aligned (across different departments) before your process even matters”

We hope this helps you plan your business better and smarter.  What ideas would you add to this list of learnings about growth marketing from Sean Ellis? Is there something we didn’t cover and should be a part of this post? Tell us now! 

PS. If you’re wanting to learn more about growth marketing and are seeking some good reads, do check out our list of the best growth hacking books!

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