As part of my old growth marketing consulting job, we had to conduct two big growth case studies - one on Xero and one on Airbnb (which I talk about below). This case study has been viewed thousands of times and took 5 consultants to write a combined 16,000+ word article. I wrote about Community marketing and event marketing. It was a lot of fun to write.
We conducted a detailed growth case study on Xero’s growth and how they acquired 350,000 users in 12 months. Not only is the number is impressive but the fact that accounting software isn’t the most exciting choice of software in the world, Xero did a great job at marketing.
Xero is definitely a master in my opinion with community marketing, content marketing and event marketing. They've done well in other channels, but these are the standouts when it comes to growth. There's a lot to learn from Xero for startups and growth.
Without a doubt this will be one of the best case studies you will ever read.
This case study by Web Profits goes into detail of how over 7 years Canva acquired 7,000,000 users and 300,000 of those becoming paying customers (and rising each day).
Incredibly, Canva reached over 2 million users in the first 2 years.. Just insane!
This case study breaks down website UX + UI, product pages, social ads + much more in incredible detail, with plenty of screenshots and graphics.
I love Semrush and use it nearly everyday as a growth marketer.
It got me curious using the product everyday for so long “I wonder what the growth journey was for Semrush”. I knew they had been around a good period of time, but didn’t hear much about their growth journey aside from typical “Series A, etc” type articles.
This case study breakdown by SaaS Marketer is definitely one of the better articles I’ve read in a long time.
Semrush made huge gains in growth due to a strong affiliate program and amazing product expansion, which totally makes sense. The product is amazing which naturally will unlock more referrals.
I love this article on Autopilot which is an amazing marketing automation tool.
One of the best things I love about this article is the graphics - especially the “Acquire, Nurture, Grow” framework, which then highlights the 9 key strategies Autopilot invested in with their growth.
Another key thing I do like about this article is they go straight to the point around their key strategies. It’s a nice change from the other gigantic case study reads.
The level of detail on ClickFunnel’s growth in this article is impressive, especially around the numbers and stats. I was engaged right away before reading into the detail. Content done right in my opinion!
Not only does this article share the growth strategies used by ClickFunnels, but also a great narrative on ClickFunnel’s and Russell Brunson’s amazing success.
The strategies used by Russell and his team to build such a strong community is incredibly impressive. Definitely a lot to learn from.
The illustrations and imagery are also really good.
Buffer is another favourite tool of mine which I use for my own projects or projects I am working on.
One of Buffer’s growth strategies that worked wonders was their content marketing strategy and execution. Buffer gets content marketing, especially in the competitive world of social media scheduling tools.
This article goes into great detail of Buffer’s content marketing growth strategy that ultimately help them generate revenue from $0 to $5million (and still going up!) through content.
Also a great incorporation of imagery and graphics to illustrate and show key points.
I love the story of ConvertKit. Nathan the founder of ConvertKit hustled hard in his first 6 months with a $5k investment to achieve a $2.4k MRR - which is not bad for a new product and a one-man army. Fast forward a few years later and ConvertKit does over $1.7million MRR.
This article by SaaS Hacker covers 10 growth levers used by Nathan and his team to achieve incredible growth.
Some really good lessons to learn from Nathan and his journey.
Who doesn’t love Slack? From $0 to $5 BILLION. In just 4 years, there’s a very good reason why Slack has won the hearts of many startups and growing companies to interact with their internal teams and even customers.
In another amazing article by Chris Von Wilpert, he covers 13 in-depth marketing strategies used by Slack to generate over 100 Million visitors to Slack’s website each month.. Yes, each month.
This article was originally written in 2018, but the strategies outlined are evergreen and valuable to read for any growth marketer or startup founder.
I love Quora and really wanted to share growth case study, but it was quite hard to find anything of quality and substance, until I came across this article.
Similar to the Viral Loops case study for Dropbox (coming up next), this article gets straight to the point and the strategies used by Quora to gain early traction and continuous, strong growth.
I really, really love the illustrations + examples used to explain the features, UX and gamification that Quora implemented within their product. There’s lots to learn here if you’re looking for more ways to build more growth into your product.
If you’re working in Startups or have a background in SaaS, you most likely know the story on Dropbox’s early traction.
This case study by Viral Loops isn’t as big as some of the other growth breakdowns but very much still rate this article to gain key takeaways around referral programs, which the Viral Loops product does a very good role in producing - great referral programs.
Read the four key points and you will see how Dropbox did this so well. Hard to execute but can works wonders for early traction if you can pull it off.
Another favourite blog of mine is Product Habits and this article doesn’t disappoint.
One of the main reasons why I love this case study is due to the timeline which gives an overview of the key marketing strategies and focuses for Pinterest with their growth journey.
The “2009—2012: Building a ‘Human Indexing Machine’” is a great read and really does show how Pinterest nailed their UGC and SEO strategy.
I also like the section of the 3 ways Pinterest could go next. Personally, Pinterest had a huge opportunity if they focus more on small advertisers/small businesses, especially with what’s happening with Covid. As Facebook + Google and their advertising networks become increasingly crowded, I see a lot of advertisers + small businesses startups using Pinterest Ads.
This article is a bit dated now but still very much a “goody” written by Morgan Brown (Co-author of Hacking Growth with Sean Ellis).
It’s an interesting article which goes into detail their existing and future growth levers.
The early traction and freemium business model sections are very interesting to read. There's a lot of good learnings based on their initial early stage growth strategies.
Wild Audience is one of my favourite blogs and this is certainly a case study worth reading, especially if you're a growth marketer or digital marketer.
This breakdown goes into great details around ActiveCampaign’s messaging, copy, positioning, their funnel (in awesome detail) and integration marketing.
The structure is really good and comes with a lot of images to show off proof of their strategies and examples. Great for readers to become inspired and implement new growth marketing initiatives into their pipeline.
We all know Hubspot and if you may not recall who they are, there’s a very good chance you’ve landed on their website before.
Hubspot is an inbound marketing machine with anything lead-gen related. Personally, Hubspot is #1 when it comes to learning anything inbound marketing related and generating leads in a clever way.
This case study by Chris Von Wilpert on the Appsumo blog goes into incredible detail of some of the growth strategies of Hubspot in acquiring leads.
There’s A LOT of very valuable strategies and tactics that startups and founders can take away and work within their existing and future growth strategies.
If you’re doing email marketing (or have done so before), there’s a great chance you’ve dealt with Mailchimp before. This article is a few years old but still a very valuable read.
Despite the huge brand and success they have now, the product has been around for nearly two decades. They didn’t raise huge capital in the beginning, but rather experimented and continuously trialled and tested new strategies to develop a robust product.
Whilst a mature company now, this article shares a lot of awesome growth strategies Mailchimp use that any startup or fast-growing company can learn from and them implement into their growth strategies.
My new favourite blog is by the amazing guys at Growth.design - check them out, they do simply amazing content. Hands down best growth blog going around right now.
Speaking of favourites, welcome Zapier! This tool is unreal and use part of my workflow every day for the various clients and projects I’m working on.
Zapier nails their UX overall within the product, but does a very good job around getting their customers from freemium top paying users. There's certainly a lot for SaaS founders and marketers to learn from Zapier. Highly recommend.
Similar to the Xero case study, I wrote close to 6,000 words out of this monster 29,000+ word growth case study on the Web Profits blog (I wrote about referrals and community).
It was a huge team effort putting this together with other talented growth consultants and can say it’s certainly worth reading. There’s so many clever growth strategies that Airbnb did.
Whilst the key channels breakdowns into search, paid social ads, organic social, email marketing, community + more are amazing, the detail of the website breakdown is second to none. That section alone is a great read to understand Airbnb's UX decisions whilst focusing on conversion. A lot to learn from also in regards to copy + messaging throughout key stages of the website's UX.
The overarching takeaway of the whole case study is the artform and technical execution around personalisation from Airbnb. Seriously, it’s impressive.
If you’re reading this from Australia or outside of the US, you may not have heard of Lemonade before, but you will now.
Lemonade is an insurance company who have crushed it with millennials and experienced strong growth over a long period of time.
Their primary growth channels for success has been using the likes of Chatbots and AI, whilst also ensuring a seamless UX experience.
A wonderful breakdown with great visuals to explain.
Another SEO tool similar to SEMRush I mentioned earlier is Ahrefs.
Amazing breakdown again by SaaS Marketer, this breakdown covers 19 strategies that Ahrefs have used and are using to this day to help spur hypergrowth.
I am a big fan of their content marketing, especially their YouTube channel. Really, really good content for all levels of SEO experience.
A great content strategy combined with a great product has definitely helped these guys grow fast.
In addition they are smart with acquisition with their 7-day $7 Trial as well as recently releasing a Free site audit tool.
Note: The original link isn't working for some reason after I wrote this, so I have linked to a podcast featuring the CMO Tim Soulo.
Noah Kagan is one of my favourite marketers and this case study on OkDork’s blog does is fantastic.
This article covers 8 reverse-engineered breakdowns on what Intercom has engaged with to achieve over 17,000+ paying customers and over $50Million+ in revenue (and continuously growing strong).
A key takeaway out of the case study was Intercom's landing page strategy with various landing pages for alternative/competitor-based pages, to paid ads, content & overall landing page experience. Lots to learn from them.
This post nails it on the head. Notion is one my favourite tools and I have been trying to find out more about their success with growth and this case study shares key takeaways in terms of strategies + tactics they have used.
This is an awesome case study by the team at Foundation Inc on Notion’s growth success which has been predominantly attributed through executing templates & community. Of course other channels contributed to their growth success, but they are a benchmark to follow in terms of community growth + UX.
Their community growth strategy, including growing a subreddit to over 70k+ members, is pretty impressive. On top of that, a streamlined UX with the templates + onboarding really does make it an enjoying experience using the tool as a proud user, but also to admire as a SaaS founder & marketer.