Growth Marketing Strategy: What It Means and How to Do It in SaaS [+ Examples]

Growth Marketing Strategy: What It Means and How to Do It in SaaS [+ Examples] cover

Are you struggling with creating an effective growth marketing strategy?

With more players entering the SaaS market and the growing use of digital technology in marketing, traditional marketing alone cannot sustain your business.

Therefore, leveraging growth marketing is crucial to stand out among your competitors. You need to know what in-app communication to implement to attract, engage, and retain a bigger customer base while maximizing revenues.

So let’s see how you can build a growth marketing strategy and check out the strategies involved and relevant use cases.


  • Growth marketing is achieving exponential and sustainable growth by implementing high-impact tactics across the user journey.
  • The Pirate Metrics Framework is a great growth marketing framework – covering the 5 stages of acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue.
  • To create a growth marketing strategy, define objects using the SMART goals framework, use customer journey maps to find improvement areas, implement your strategies, and analyze the results.
  • The following are the best growth marketing strategies you can use:
  1. Create help resources for your target audience – both prospects and existing customers.
  2. Use Product Hunt to extend your audience reach for the new product launch.
  3. A/B test landing pages to increase customer acquisition.
  4. Boost user activation by using onboarding checklists to help users complete core tasks.
  5. Use interactive walkthroughs to guide customers on using key features.
  6. Host webinars to promote new features.
  7. Use growth loops like referral programs to drive potential users to your app.
  8. Offer freemium users limited access to premium features.
  9. Use contextual modals to promote upgrades.

What is growth marketing?

Growth marketing is achieving exponential and sustainable growth by identifying high-impact tactics across the customer journey. It helps growth marketers make significant business gains by implementing targeted marketing strategies and building customer-centric content.

What is the growth marketing framework?

The Pirate Metrics Framework groups SaaS metrics across different stages of the user journey and is thus an excellent growth marketing framework.

This Pirate Metrics, or AARRR framework, is composed of the following five stages:

  • Acquisition: Users sign up for the trial period.
  • Activation: Users realize the value of your product (Aha! moment) and experience it.
  • Retention: Users keep making repeat purchases after their initial subscription payment.
  • Referral: Loyal users become brand advocates.
  • Revenue: Users invest more in your product (expansion revenue) by upgrading and purchasing add-ons.

How to build a growth marketing strategy?

Here are the steps to build a successful growth marketing strategy.

  • Define objectives using the SMART goal framework: The framework provides structured guides on setting goals and clarifies your team’s objectives.
  • Map out your customer journey and identify improvement opportunities: A customer journey map shows how users interact with your product at different stages of their journey. Tracking these interactions at various touchpoints will reveal improvement areas to build strategies.
  • Implement growth tactics: You should ensure your strategies are targeted toward addressing customer pain points and improving user experiences.
  • Measure and analyze results: This involves tracking progress toward your growth goals and revising your strategies, if necessary.

10 Growth marketing strategies to implement across the customer journey

Now let’s look at the 10 best growth hacking tactics you can use.

Create helpful content for your audience

In-app help resources are one of the most effective ways of increasing brand visibility to reach potential visitors and generate leads.

Content formats such as blog posts, newsletters, informative videos, webinars, etc., allow prospective customers to see the potential benefits of doing business with your company.

Moreover, such resources help establish your brand as a trusted source of information. It encourages prospects to engage with your brand and boosts the content’s search engine ranking to draw more inbound traffic.

You can go beyond the initial engagement by updating and expanding your resource library to nurture strong relationships with existing customers. This fosters loyalty and drives revenue expansion through upsells or cross-sells.

In-app help resources for users.

Leverage Product Hunt for product launch

Product Hunt is a popular platform where users can discover new products and discuss them with other users online. Hosting a community of like-minded tech enthusiasts, it’s a handy platform for creating a market buzz for launching your product.

A strategic product launch at Product Hunt will increase visibility and validation from the tech community. It can bring thousands of web visitors, app downloads, and loyal customers.

It’s vital to successfully launch a product on the first try since Product Hunt doesn’t relaunch for six months. Even after six months, it requires a complete redesign of the initial product.

Launch product in Product Hunt.

A/B test landing pages to drive customer acquisition

A/B testing is an evidence-based method that can be used to optimize the performance of your landing pages.

In A/B testing, you need to set up a goal before running an experiment. Here, the goal is an event, which can be singular or a group of multiple events.

For example, you can A/B test a specific landing page element. The process involves testing a variation of the landing page and evaluating its performance against a control group of selected users. This way, you can check if the current variation gives better free trial conversion rates than the previous one.

Moreover, you can allow the experiments to run until there are enough participants for the result to be considered statistically significant.

A/B testing.

Personalize customer experience for target audience

Personalized customer experience is the key to customer satisfaction. Customers are more likely to pay for a product or service if presented with relevant features instead of being bombarded with ads that present every feature you have.

As a growth marketer, you can use a welcome survey on the welcome screen for new users. The survey allows you to collect basic information on users, such as their user role, company size, jobs to be done, etc. It also shows users you care about their needs and thus sets the right expectations from the beginning.

Moreover, you can use the data from the survey to segment your target audience based on their common characteristics. Then you can trigger personalized in-app marketing messages to introduce them to relevant features and offer contextual in-app guidance.

Welcome survey.

Guide users to the activation point with an onboarding checklist

Onboarding checklists allow you to guide users to the activation milestone faster and, thus, increase the user activation rate.

A checklist breaks the onboarding process into small and achievable steps. It guides users through all the core tasks that should be completed to reach the activation point.

Moreover, you can personalize the onboarding checklist for each user segment based on their customer journey and specific use cases. So customized checklists won’t offer guidance on a feature irrelevant to a user segment.

Onboarding checklist.

Use in-app guidance to drive user interaction with key features

Onboarding is an ongoing process where you should offer in-app guidance at different touchpoints in a customer’s journey. So in-app guides are effective for both trial users and paying customers.

You can increase user engagement with key advanced features during secondary onboarding to drive product adoption. Users may not be aware of these features or how to use them. That’s when you can use onboarding tooltips to highlight features and briefly describe how to use a feature that users may not know well about.

Furthermore, you can group multiple tooltips to create an interactive walkthrough and guide users step by step instead of putting all the information in a single tooltip.

The example below shows how Kommunicate uses such a walkthrough for chat widget styling to guide users as they interact with the feature.

Kommunicate’s interactive walkthrough.

Promote new features with in-app webinar invitations

Webinars are fantastic for encouraging user interactions if you want to promote new features. They combine education and user engagement to offer them the chance to explore the benefits of new features and understand their functionalities.

Moreover, one-on-one interactions show customers that you value their opinions and are willing to give your time to familiarize them with new features. Customers can ask questions in real-time, get expert insights on how to apply the feature to their use case, or let you know if they need further consultation for implementation.

As shown below, you can include a webinar invitation when introducing a new feature only for users who might find the features relevant to their use case.

Webinar invitation to promote new features.

Implement growth loops to drive potential users to your app

You can use growth loops to attract prospective users to your app. A growth loop is composed of three main parts – input, action, and output. It creates a self-sustaining cycle that ensures every user input leads to a new output, which generates more inputs for the next cycle, and thus drives continuous growth.

Acquisition growth loops are a cost-effective means of bringing potential users to your app. You can use referral programs to encourage new user invitations.

For example, Evernote incentivizes users with rewards for inviting others to the platform. This helps boost customer retention and loyalty and increase customer acquisition.

Evernote’s referral page.

Another example is allowing users to create a workspace and invite team members/colleagues to work on the ongoing project using your product. The colleagues will likely sign up for a free trial or even subscribe to a paid plan if they find your product worthwhile.

Offer limited access to premium features to freemium users

A freemium option comes in handy when you can offer limited access to premium features to showcase the value of your paid plans.

When customers experience the added value, it can entice them to upgrade to a paid subscription plan and increase the freemium conversion rate.

You can tag premium features and limit feature usage to offer controlled access. You can also trigger upgrade messages when customers reach their usage limits to give them a gentle reminder. It’s advisable to add a visible call-to-action button so that users can take immediate action.

Feature tagging.

Nudge existing customers to upgrade using contextual modals

Modals are a form of in-app guidance that can be used to boost account expansion. Contextual modals enable you to send targeted in-app messages to active users who are more likely to upgrade.

To discover upsell opportunities, you should segment active users based on their feature usage level. For example, you can trigger a personalized upgrade modal when users exceed their current plan’s usage. Successful upgrade results in increased revenue and business growth.

Trigger flow to prompt upgrades contextually
Trigger flow to prompt upgrades contextually.

Important growth marketing metrics to track

Here are the 6 key growth marketing metrics you should track to analyze the results of your growth marketing strategies.

  • Customer acquisition cost: CAC is the cost of acquiring a customer in a specific period. It’s important to improve your marketing budget so that you don’t spend a lot on acquiring new users relative to the revenue they generate.
  • Conversion rate: The rate at which trial users sign up for a paid account after the free trial period ends. It helps you determine if your product generates enough value for users and whether they are willing to invest.
  • Activation rate: The percentage of new users who reach the activation point and experience the value of your product for the first time. The more effective the primary onboarding, the higher the user activation rate.
  • Product adoption rate: The percentage of customers who become regular users of your product to achieve their goals. It helps you track the number of customers who actively use your product instead of just downloading it once or completing the activation stage.
  • Customer lifetime value: LTV is the revenue you can expect to earn from a customer throughout their business with you. The LTV needs to equal the CAC at least to prevent losses. However, the optimum LTV:CAC ratio is 3:1.
  • Retention rate: The rate at which a company retains its customers over a given period. The more satisfied your customers are, the greater your retention rate. A high retention rate is even more critical for subscription-based SaaS business models that depend on repeat purchases.

Examples of effective growth marketing strategies

Let’s briefly discuss an effective growth marketing strategy used by each of the following businesses.

Userpilot helps users reach activation with onboarding checklists

Userpilot is a powerful product growth platform that has personalized onboarding flows to optimize the user experience. It offers onboarding checklists with critical steps to help new users reach activation.

Moreover, it includes a progress bar to checklists to let users track their progress in real-time. Tracking progress toward goals creates a sense of accomplishment and thus motivates users to complete the remaining steps to the activation point.

You can use Userpilot to create such onboarding checklists to guide your customers through essential steps needed to complete their jobs to be done.

Checklist progress bar
Checklist progress bar.

Calendly drives account expansion with contextual modals

Calendly is an online scheduling platform that allows teams to schedule and follow up on meetings. Calendly uses contextual modals to encourage users to upgrade to promote account expansion.

The upgrade modal below is triggered to appear only to relevant users who have reached a limit on their current plan and need to upgrade to access unlimited event types. It doesn’t force users to upgrade and even offers a hint about an alternative option to upgrading if a user doesn’t want to pay more.

Calendly’s contextual upgrade modal.

Asana lets freemium users try out premium features

A work management platform, Asana lets freemium users try out a feature only available in the premium plan to increase conversion rates.

For example, customers can use the premium feature, as shown below, that also comes with feature guidance and lets them track progress toward their goals. Users are more likely to become paying customers when they experience value from premium features.

Asana’s feature guidance prompt.

Slack Connect function helps drive potential users to the app

A product of the instant messaging platform Slack, Slack Connect lets users invite prospects outside their workspaces, not just teammates or co-workers. It allows other people to use the platform and experience its value. As a result, they might subscribe to a paid plan afterward.

Slack Connect inviting prospects.


A strong growth marketing strategy is essential for sustaining a SaaS business. If you don’t have a strategy yet, start with the SMART goal-setting framework and go step-by-step until you’re ready to implement your strategy and analyze your progress.

Want to get started with your growth marketing strategy? Get a Userpilot demo to boost customer retention and achieve product growth.

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