Growth Hacking, Retention, Acquisition, Conversion: Growthmint

Day 13: Acquiring Customers

Acquisition is the top of your funnel. It’s the most visible stage for any business, so you will recognize many concepts. This is where most marketers work.

Below are important Acquisition metrics. While there are many more you can follow, start here.

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) - This is the amount it costs you to acquire a new customer. Some channels can give you lots of customers, but at unsustainable costs. Often with SaaS, you’ll have to operate at a loss for customers because it takes many months for customers to become profitable.
  • Payback period - This is the amount of time it takes you to recover your CAC from a customer. The shorter the period, the faster you can reinvest in more marketing.
  • Customer Lifetime Value - There are different ways to calculate this. For the guide, this is the profit you get from the average customer over their lifetime with your company.


A channel is the path a customer takes to find your product. Search engines, social media sites like Facebook and ads are all channels.

The major online acquisition channels are:

  • SEO
  • Email
  • Content marketing
  • Organic Social Media
  • Search ads (aka PPC, SEM)
  • Social ads
  • Partnerships
  • Retargeting and Display ads
  • Affiliates

Customers come in through these channels to find you. Depending on what your are selling, some channels will be better than others. For example, most consumer apps would not get customers from Linkedin.

Each channel has its tradeoffs. There are many factors that go into determining your success with that channel, including your competitor’s performance in some cases.

Resources are very limited in early stage startups, so you can only run campaigns through a small number of channels at the same time. Each channel requires a minimum time investment to produce results. You’re far better off putting a quality effort into 2-3 channels than a low quality one into 6.

Use research and data from third party sources and, most importantly, data from your own successful and unsuccessful campaigns to determine the best channels for your product.

Pro Tip

One reason it's hard to do multiple channels well is that a lot of processes and tactics don't carry over from one channel to the next.


Identify three channels that you think will work best for your product.


Touchpoints are the interactions you have with a brand. Tweets, ads, and emails can all be touchpoints. Some brands you interact with often, especially those with more expensive products.

For products where a brand is trying to convey that customers experience a certain lifestyle when using the product, it takes a long time for potential customers to buy in and accept that. Apple's advertising is a great example.

Pro Tip

Be consistent - every touchpoint affects how your customer perceives your brand. You need to keep this in mind and be consistent with your brand with every interaction.

Emerging Growth Opportunities

As channels become more competitive, your growth with that channel will slow. To stay competitive, it’s very important that you stay on top of new features in the channels you're using.

Sometimes new growth opportunities come in the form of entirely new channels. Messaging apps are a relatively new channel from a growth persepctive and it's likely that VR will become a major channel once it approaches mainstream adoption.


Set up a twitter list and follow the accounts of major internet companies for feature launches that open up new growth opportunities.

Quality traffic

Not all traffic is created equal. Some may stay on your site for long times, visit often and never buy, while some buy right away.

And you're not just looking for new customers, but customers who will stick around long enough for you to make a profit off them.

You’ll want to pay close attention to the quality of traffic your different acquisition channels and campaigns on those channels are sending to make sure you're attracting quality customers.

Pro Tip

You want to find a balance with your messaging - specific enough to maintain a certain level of quality but vague enough to capture enough of the market.

Relevance is key

The more relevant something is to someone, the more likely it’s something they want to see. Good marketing is about seeing and hearing with the eyes and ears of your customers.

Your potential customers are all unique in their own way. They work at different companies, some have kids, some are married, some might live in across the world and some might have never left the city they grew up in.

By knowing how your customers act, think and behave your marketing is more likely to be relevant in their world