Growth

Sep 23

10 tools to run growth marketing experiments at early stage start-ups

Trevor Sookraj

A crucial part of any business in its early stages is growth experimentation. As a start-up, in order to grow, scale, and succeed, you’ll need to run growth marketing experiments that grant valuable insight into your audience and what they want. 

Growth marketing experiments take time and effort—there isn’t a one-size-fits-all, and each start-up will have to figure out the processes that work best for them. That being said, there are some growth tools and channels that are widely used by startup founders across industries because the learnings from these channels are universally applicable. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best tools and channels you can use to run growth marketing experiments as an early stage start-up. 

What is a growth marketing experiment?

Before we dive into the “how”, aka the list of tools and channels that will help you run a successful experiment, we need a good understanding of the “what”. That is, what is a growth marketing experiment? 

A growth experiment is a method for testing a strategy to conduct research and scale your business. Every growth experiment consists of a hypothesis and a channel to test the hypothesis on. For example: an increase in outbound emails will result in more purchases, because the more emails the customer receives, the more likely they are to buy. 

For a full rundown of how to run a growth experiment, read our step-by-step article.

Why growth experiments are important for start-up growth

A growth marketing experiment provides you with information that will help prioritize your next moves based on learnings about your own product and your customers. It allows you to optimize, form a clear, data-driven product road-map, and maximize start-up growth. Without a solid growth experimentation framework, businesses will make blind decisions that could end up being very costly. Testing strategies saves time and money—two things that are crucial at an early stage start-up. 

Best channels to start testing for early stage start-up growth

Selecting the right channel to test on comes down to knowing where you best communicate with and acquire your customers. Here we list the 5 channels that are most commonly used by start-up founders at the beginning of their growth marketing journey.

Social media advertising 

The impact of social media is no secret. Social media platforms can be found on almost every mobile phone and desktop browser globally, making social media advertising a great channel for testing during start-up growth. Advertising on social media helps your start-up get in front of your ideal customers thanks to the sophisticated targeting capabilities of most social media platforms.

The key is to find the right social media channel for your business. Typically, B2B companies do best on LinkedIn, while B2C companies do better on other platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and Snapchat. Instagram and Tiktok specifically are best for eCommerce companies. But this might not be true for your start-up—the best way to find out advertising on which social media platform gives the highest return on investment (ROI) for your business is to test-test-test.

Influencer marketing 

Both B2B and B2C companies can benefit from experimenting with influencer marketing. This is because customers love to be inspired and informed in their purchases by people they know and trust, such as celebrities and content creators. Influencer marketing creates a culture amongst your customers that builds social proof and brand awareness. What influential personality is driving maximum potential customers to your business, how frequently you should partner with celebrities, what type of influencer marketing suits your start-up—these are some of the ways you can start testing the effectiveness of the strategy for your company.

Organic social media 

Organic social media is a great channel for testing because it is free. Posting organic content (anything that isn’t a paid promotion), replying to comments, using hashtags, participating in trends; these are all examples of organic social media that is free, yet effective. Engaging with your customers in this way also cultivates a sense of community. Similar to social media advertising, you should test various channels to find out which one works the best for you for organic promotion. 

Content marketing

Content marketing is a tried-and-true way to generate growth and conduct growth experiments. It consists of blogs, videos, forums, infographics, and other informative content that provides value for your customer by helping them solve a problem relative to your field, or by simply entertaining them. To understand what content resonates the best with your target market, you should constantly keep testing different formats and distribution channels.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of raising your website’s ranking on a search engine’s results page, encouraging users to click on your website more. This is a great channel for growth experimentation because these users show the most intent, as they’re already searching for something related to your business. To generate any significant business from SEO, you should run tests to determine what keywords bring in the most high-intent traffic to your website.

Tools for running growth experiments

Here are a few tools that are great for early stage start-ups looking to run growth experiments.

Social media advertising tools

  • Meta Business Suite is a free tool for managing your accounts on Facebook and Instagram. It assists with publishing organic posts and ads, expanding your audience reach, and monitoring/reporting on key insights, analytics, and metrics that will help you understand your customers. It even has a free ‘Experiments’ tool that runs tests to help you research and optimize your campaigns. 
  • Sprout Social is a paid social media analytics tool that helps you track performance and metrics across various platforms. The data collected with this tool can be used to inform critical decisions and plan strategies to grow the business. 

Influencer marketing tools 

  • Influencity is a paid influencer management software that helps you find the best influencers for your business using predictive analytics. It provides detailed reports to ensure you get the most insight out of your experiment.
  • Post For Rent is a free influencer marketing platform that connects brands with influencers, and provides detailed analytics into campaigns and experiments.

Organic social media tools

  • Hootsuite is a paid social media analytics tool that provides deep insight into performance data from various social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook. This tool breaks your data down into digestible reports, so even beginner marketers can use it.
  • Google Analytics is a free analytics tool that you can use to track which social media platforms drive you the most traffic, and which campaigns/experiments work best with your audience. It also helps you calculate the ROI of experiments so you can ensure you’re making decisions that generate the most profit. 

Content marketing tools

  • Parse.ly is a paid content analytics tool that helps you analyze your content performance and understand how your customers experience your content, to help you optimize and get a clear picture of performance.  
  • WatchThemLive is a free marketing analytics tool that provides you with valuable information such as heatmaps, session recordings, and web analytics, to provide insight into how your customers are interacting with your content. This data can help you improve and optimize your content. 

SEO tools

  • SEMRush is a paid SEO tool that is used for keyword research, link building, rank tracking, and more. Its features assist with SEO research, optimization, and most importantly, analytics. 
  • Google Search Console is a free SEO analytics tool that helps you understand how Google crawls your website. It assists with discovering which keywords or content are ranking for your site. 

Final thoughts

Running a growth marketing experiment is key to your start-up growth. It starts with forming a hypothesis, then choosing the right channel, and finally, executing your experiment with the right tools. A successful experiment will provide you with indispensable insight and data that you can use to inform strategic decisions to scale your business.

Confused about where to start? Divisional can help—get in touch below and we’ll help you navigate your growth goals by connecting you to the people you need to achieve them.

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