These are the best Growth Hacking books that have been rated by growth hackers and other experts across CNN, Forbes, Inc, blogs and book review sites.
Experience counts, but arming yourself with the past experience of some of the best growth hackers is invaluable.
First of all, it will help to spark ideas about how you use can use their strategies and techniques. Second, they offer up some remarkable good case studies, techniques and tips you can use in your business.
Besides that, reading is one of the best ways to expand your knowledge and learn new skills. And growth-hacking is a hot skill you’ll need to learn if you want your startup to skyrocket.
The overriding philosophy is of continuous improvement. Even if you think it is done, the world moves and changes. You are by default left behind if you do not change as the world changes.
Growth hacking is the philosophy of optimizing for continuous progress.
The Best Growth Hacking Books To Fuel Your Marketing
The following growth hacking books are, for the most part, written by leading growth hackers. As a matter of fact, they offer up growth hacking examples based on their own experience. As a result, you get the inside track on their techniques.
1. Hacking Growth
Hacking Growth takes you through how companies like Facebook, AirBnB, Hotmail and lots of other rapid growth examples. Sean Ellis himself was the growth marketer at Dropbox and subsequently went on to become founder and CEO of Qualaroo.
In the book, you will learn about growth hacking, the north star metric, growth hacking cycles, experiments and how to form a growth marketing team.
Traction dissects how some of the most successful and fastest-growing businesses achieved growth beating their competition. They show you some of the more counter-intuitive strategies used to achieve high-velocity growth. As an example, how to annoy people on Twitter to get traction.
In the book, you also learn the importance of focusing on the marketing strategies that give you your early ‘cohort’ of raving fans.
3. Growth Hacker Marketing
Growth Hacker Marketing is another great book on growth hacking. This book shows how growth hacking is a major shift from traditional marketing practices. In essence, growth marketing relies heavily on the use of user data + analytics, smart product design and psychology to achieve exponential growth. The case studies in the book illustrate how top technology companies, such as Instagram, have used growth strategies to gain millions of users.
4. Viral Loop
Viral Loop looks at a range of markets and companies is that they grew on back of people who passed-on the product to others and they passed it further creating a Viral loop.
The Viral Loop for any product starts with it being so good that the users pass it on to their friends. The book also covers a lot of concepts about virality, such as the viral coefficient, viral loops, RockYou’s model for calculating virality, etc.
5. Growth Hacking: Silicon Valley’s Best Kept Secret
The book Growth Hacking: Silicon Valley’s Best Kept Secret examines the growth hacking tactics used by Silicon Valley’s fast-growing tech elite.
Raymond and Chad’s provide an easy to understand blueprint that guides you through how to apply growth hacking. The ASP™ was developed through their work in the tech community and used to produce high-leverage, scalable growth for companies in a variety of industries including several companies featured on ABC’s TV show Shark Tank.
Out of all the growth hacking books in this article, this book gives you a simple growth hacking frameworks to use. If you want to take a look at another then go to Growth Marketing Blueprint.
6. Lean Analytics
Lean Analytics offers key advice on how to successfully build your own start-up. It follows a data-based approach to explain how you can use effective metrics to help your organization grow.
No one wants to fail, yet over a third of all startups do. Out of all the growth hacking books, this one is the most data-focused. The book shows you how to use metrics to understand at an early stage your customers and how to chart your success. Key points highlighted in the book are how to avoid data overkill (using too many measures) and what metrics actually matter.
7. Explosive Growth
Explosive Growth is the story of Cliff Lerner’s online dating startup, Snap Interactive. It was running out of cash when he bet the company’s fortunes on an unknown platform called Facebook. The rest as we know it is history. Subsequently, stock prices of Facebook went crazy and so begins a story with plenty of lessons related to growth hacking.
The book is inspiring because of its honesty and ‘lessons learned’ narrative. It delivers a step-by-step playbook on how to achieve explosive growth. In addition, there are plenty of case studies with useful growth strategies and tactics.
8. Scaling Up
Scaling up helps you to avoid many of the pitfalls that young startups face and how to avoid them. This a growth hacking book that covers why growth doesn’t happen, why focus matters and why cash is king. Additionally, they cover why growth itself is painful and how more people, systems and complexity can lead equally to failure even with a successful product.
The book focuses on the four D’s – drivers, demands, discipline and decisions. Tools such as habits checklists and OKR’s are covered along with vision and culture.
9. Startup Evolution Curve
Startup Evolution Curve is a manual for startups. Over 1,447 startup founders from all over the world shared their experience and nearly 500 additional in-depth interviews were done to write this step by step manual for startup owners. This book has been highly evaluated by 30 experts around the World!
The book covers the five stages of startup growth. From the early idea and how to find investors through to growth strategies and dealing with growing pains. Overall, this is one one the best-researched books you can buy.
10. From Impossible To Inevitable
From Impossible To Inevitable is a book I relate to because of my experience in running outbound call centres for big brands like Hp. This book has a distinct focus on BtoB businesses that are looking to scale and need to scale their lead generation and conversions. Whereas most books focus online only, this book brings into play outbound calls and prospecting for customers.
Personally, I think many businesses that want fast growth can learn a lot from this integration of people, departments and processes to harness growth. Awesome read.
The Psychology of Growth Hacking
Growth hacking requires a blend of skills. Often referred to as T-shaped skills. Undoubtedly, marketing psychology is critical to the success of growth hacking.
First of all, you need to deeply understand the pains, goals, interests of your target customers.
Second, you need to know how to persuade customers – conversions. In other words, apply customer knowledge.
Third, you need to understand what makes people adopt and use products – what makes them ‘sticky’.
Fourth, in order to grow every startup has to retain customers, as many as they can.
Finally, go viral, getting shared and building the brand is an essential ingredient in spreading the word about your product.
These books are some of the best books on the psychology of marketing.
Contagious by Jonah Berger, a professor at the Wharton School, explores how and why some information goes viral while other info does not. His work has become a seminal marketing book and a must-read for any growth hacker trying to figure out how to get ahead of the curve.
In this book you will how the majority of very popular products and ideas are the result of a combination of savvy planning and execution.
Pre-suasion is written by the famous Robert Cialdini. This book is squarely aimed at the art of influencing people. In particular, it reveals how to use influence by using emotions. In Pre-suasion you learn how subtle changes to the words you use can massively impact your results. Furthermore, how to seed an idea and then strategically nurture how it spreads and grows to influence others. The important factors for success are timing, redirection and the right combination of words. Read how you can use these techniques for growth hacking.
Hooked looks at the habits we form around products. We all do the same things, maybe not exactly, but we do all have habits. Some products quickly become an integral part of our day. We use them multiple times a day and feel like we can’t live without them.
Because habits are tough to break, we become very loyal. As a result, of habit-forming products businesses can grow faster. Customer retention goes up as well as referrals. In order for your competitors to steal your customers, they have to break your customer’s habits. Habits don’t change easily.
Finally, customers of habit-forming products are not very sensitive to price changes, which means the creators can charge a premium and increase prices as they go, without losing a lot of business.
4. The Psychology of Influence
The Psychology of Influence is a classical book That explains the psychology of why people say “yes”, and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research, along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior; has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.
You will learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and how to defend yourself against them. Perfect for people in all occupations, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.
Buyology is a book about neuromarketing, the science of how we buy products. How much do you think you know about why we buy? What you will discover by reading this book is how our subconscious mind influences our buying decisions.
In Buyology, Lindstrom presents the astonishing findings from his groundbreaking, three-year, seven-million-dollar study. A cutting-edge experiment that peered inside the brains of 2,000 volunteers from all around the world as they encountered various ads, logos, commercials, brands, and products. The results will change what you believe regarding what sparks our interest and what drives us to buy.
Marketing Books To Hone Your Growth Hacking Skills
1. This Is Marketing
This Is Marketing in true Seth style opens provocatively by claiming that although marketing has shifted, we haven’t updated our thinking about it and how it needs to change. The classic model still places advertising at the centre of the marketing system. However, in a digital age, that no longer makes sense. A new philosophy and approach is needed.
Godin that stories and the narrative of the brand are the main ingredients. He is scathing of marketers who cut-price and race to the bottom as the value pit. “Low price is the last refuge of a marketer who has run out of generous ideas.” Or maybe never had any to begin with.
2. Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Digital Distraction
Hit Makers set out to study what makes things break big. This is an important topic for marketers whose main goal is to make their products known and loved by as many people in their target market as possible. He covers many media over the last 2 centuries, including Impressionist art, winning political speech and speakers, movies, music, fashion, books, Etsy hit products and mobile apps.
In the end he concludes there are no hard and fast rules on what makes things pop, but there are some reliable patterns: 1) simplicity, 2) familiarity, 3) frequency, 4) influential supporters, 5) close-knit supportive groups, 6) rhyming and catchy copy, 7) logical balance and intriguing inversion in messaging, 8) cross-channel support, 9) gradual innovation, and 10) ad hoc random influences.
Thomson is a good, young writer and fine storyteller, and he has put together a useful treatise on a nebulous topic.
3. Building a StoryBrand
Building a Brandstory s a practical guide to effectively marketing your company or product. By showing the power of a seven-part story-telling framework, these blinks help you and your company create a clear message that no customer will ignore.
You are probably already imagining that your business would be the main character in a story? Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. Read this book and you’ll understand the power of ‘narrative persuasion’, the art of improving marketing results using stories.
4. Marketing: A Love Story
Marketing A Love Story explains how stories are a powerful way to connect your brand in a genuine way with what people want. I personally am a big fan of the approach taken in this book. With so many Me Too’ or lookalike products in the market, it’s hard to stand out. You need to find a way to connect with your customers and the best way to do this is through storytelling. In Bernadette’s words, “Buying is no longer about getting things we need. It’s about reinforcing a set of beliefs we hold and share. Marketing is not about finding new ways to sell more of something. It’s about affinity more than it’s about price— feelings more than facts. Marketing is about giving people frames of reference and context. And above all, marketing is about becoming part of peoples’ stories.”
Positioning is one of the most renowned, best-selling books of all time in marketing. It outlines the concept of placing your brand in a ‘position’ relative to the market and your competition. The position refers to the values and attributes of your brand and has they can be differentiated from the competition. If it is clear how you are different from your competitors then you are more likely to stand out. Positioning focuses on how to position your product in the market to become an industry leader. you are in for a face-paced, pithy, master class on everything from how to find weak spots of competitors, to finding the right name for a product, to identifying the right market niche to attack.
Notable other books related to Growth Hacking
1. The Lean Startup
In The Lean Startup, Eric Ries explains how a startup has a true north, its vision. It employs a strategy that includes a business model, a product road map, and a view of partners, competitors, and customers.
The product is the result of the strategy. Products constantly change (engine tuning). Strategy changes occasionally (pivot). Vision rarely changes. The book focuses on fast experimentation and validation of results as a method to test product-market fit and subsequently marketing tactics.
SmartCuts is about thinking and acting smart. In other words, how you can create save time, be more effective and drive for better results. You can do incredible things in a short amount of time. The book presents five main ideas. First of all, momentum is the single biggest predictor of business and personal success. As an example, using 30-day goals, not annual goals helps people to stretch what they can achieve. Second, finding mentors because all high achievers throughout history have had them. Last of all, the ability to say no and stay focused on a few things not spreading yourself too thin. Lateral thinking doesn’t replace hard work; it eliminates unnecessary cycles. Leverage is the overachiever’s approach to getting more bang for her proverbial buck.
Rework throws out the traditional notions of what it takes to run a business and offers a collection of unorthodox advice. As an example, long-term business planning is guesswork. Don’t get clever when making products. Instead, create a great product or service based on what you want to use, or your customers want to use. Sounds simple, right! Other pieces of advice include instead of one 12-week project, structure it as 12 one-week projects. Overall, there is some brilliant advice on how to systematically improve and grow.
These lessons are based on the authors’ own experiences in building, running and growing their company to a point where it generates millions of dollars in profits annually.
4. Play Bigger
Play Bigger is a book for marketers. In it the authors describe the process of category creation and how to become a category king. They cover how to discover a category, the power of a point of view, creating a flywheel, continuous category creation and how to overcome the innovator’s dilemma, and finish with category definition and creation for your career.
Though marketing plays a big role, category creation has to be embraced throughout the company to succeed.
5. Zero To One
Zero To One explores how businesses can remove risk and make the future more certain. The focus here is on ensuring that a startup survives and thrives. Peter Thiel provides lots of takeaways from his own personal at PayPal and Palantir to offer ideas and suggestions for technology startups.
This book is likely to challenge anyone’s opinions, no matter where they may fall on the political spectrum. Groundbreaking ideas have a way of doing that.
Final thoughts on Growth Hacking Books
The growth hacking landscape is evolving at a fast pace and is splintered in terms of views and opinions.
If you have read any inspiring growth hacking books then add them to the comments.