Nov 18, 2022
Growth Marketing Tips
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 min read

The best growth marketing course is not a course

Without customers, there’s no business. And how do you drive new customers or keep existing ones engaged? Simple. Growth marketing.

It’s no secret that growth marketing is a valuable skillset to possess, from new startups to 30,000-employee behemoths like Uber alike. Take a look at available jobs with the search phrase “growth marketing”, and you’ll see more than 50,000 openings on LinkedIn as of October 2022.

But how does one learn growth marketing? I’m here to tell you that the best growth marketing course, actually isn’t a course.

How I learned

Back in 2008, I was a YouTuber, before an influencer was called an influencer. I grew my YouTube channel to a sizable following, with 40 million views across 700 videos during a five year period.

My channel’s growth was all self-motivated and self-taught. I learned Google AdWords and AdSense, by being exposed to ads across the platform. I took what I learned and promoted my channel through ads and learned how to make money through ad revenue. I also took my knowledge and created a website with ads, as I further learned about metric measures like click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate (CVR). 

My work created a direct pipeline to my first internships in college, where I helped tech consumer startups who needed help with their growth strategies. The initial experience of growing something on my own, created a different path forward for me. Without these experiences, I might have chosen to pursue medicine instead. 

This is why I think the best course for learning growth marketing is simply by doing. But before I lay out the foundation for how to do so, let’s discuss the traditional courses which are available.

Currently available courses

There are a multitude of course options which you may have considered, to learn the craft of growth marketing. I’ve bucketed a number of key options below:

  • Growth-founded programs (i.e., Reforge, Demand Curve)
  • College-driven programs (i.e., Cornell’s Growth Marketing Certificate Program)
  • Generic and crowdsourced (i.e., Coursera, Udemy)
  • Small-scale programs (i.e., Growth expert’s 2-week training package)

You might be asking what the difference is between these options. The largest difference would be the instructors and curriculum. 

With growth-founded programs such as Reforge, you typically have ex-growth folks that are writing and teaching the programs. In contrast, a college-driven program may be taught by a professor whose research is focused on businesses growth on a broader scale. 

If taking one of these courses sounds appealing, use the following criteria to determine if it’s right for you:

  • Course curriculum 
  • Faculty teaching the course
  • And price point. 

But! Before you take one of these courses, let me tell you why there’s a better option.

The best course is doing 

As a growth marketer who has practiced the craft for the past decade and been exposed to countless courses, I can confidently attest that doing is the best form of learning. But I’m not saying you need to join a series-A startup and learn growth marketing on their dime. I’m also not saying that you need to attempt to land a growth marketing role at a large corporation, which can afford to teach you.

Instead, I’ve broken down how you can learn growth marketing in five easy steps.

  1. Set up a landing page

Whether you’re offering dog treats, custom printed t-shirts or consulting services (e.g., fitness training or social media management), it can all work for the purposes of learning growth marketing. Success begins by learning how to market your new product or service. For increased ease, there are services such as Shopify, which can help speed up website creation.

  1. Launch a paid acquisition channel

Consider launching one of the duopoly channels – Facebook or Google. If you can learn one of these channels, every other channel has modeled their ad platforms and setup structures in similar ways. E.g., If you can run a Facebook campaign, it’ll feel straightforward to you to launch a Snapchat campaign. There are a certain nuances to set up tracking for your website which you’ll need to dig into – but again, services such as Shopify will streamline the process. 

  1. Learn metrics

This is probably the most vital of all the five steps, as it’s the foundation of growth marketing: learning how to become immersed in the metrics displayed on the paid acquisition channel you’ve now launched. What’s CTR, CVR, CPA, CPM, etc.? These are all metrics you’ll want to learn, as they are relevant outside of paid acquisition, including with lifecycle (email) marketing, conversion rate optimization, and more. 

  1. A/B testing 

Once you’re comfortable with the paid acquisition campaign you’ve launched, it’s time to start A/B testing. This is one of the most foundational growth strategies which helps move the needle on performance. An easy A/B test to start with, is with your creative assets on Facebook. 

Does a female or male in the asset perform better? Does a light or dark background perform best? This is a great opportunity to learn more on the best practices of A/B testing, and what makes a clean test versus one which isn’t. There are thousands of columns on the web about this process, and I encourage you to seek them out.

  1. Launch email marketing

I’m a firm believer that growth activation is the most important step of the growth funnel, and email marketing is a huge lever for activating users. 

During my time at Uber, we had hundreds of emails and push notification campaigns set up, to activate users to take a ride, order food and more. For your purposes, you can test an email campaign for users through something like an e-commerce store – e.g., assessing who enters their details, but don’t complete the checkout.

And with that, you’ve learned the fundamentals of growing revenue in the form of customers to your store. This is just as applicable to users on an app, or for leads for a software business. Of course, there are nuances and hundreds of strategies to employ based on the growth medium or startup vertical, but these foundational skills are applicable anywhere. 

These five steps take less than $500 to learn growth marketing in the real world. This is why I think doing is the best (and most cost effective!) way of learning.

If you’re just looking to learn the basics of growth marketing, this may be where the buck stops. 

But if you’d like to continue learning more advanced tactics for your startup or a prospective growth role, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest growth trends. Strategies and channel features are constantly evolving, which makes the craft of growth marketing an ongoing one. It’s a fun ride – and you can steer it to one stop or continue the journey to thousands of future stops. 

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