meet the father of Growth Hacking – WAU

Sean Ellis coined the term “growth hacking” in 2010, when he worked to optimize the growth of several companies, including Dropbox, Eventbrite, LogMeIn and Lookout, which, by the way, are worth billions of dollars – each of them – today. He is co-author of the book “Hacking Growth”, which is a phenomenon in the area and has been translated to 15 […]

Sean Ellis coined the term “growth hacking” in 2010, when he worked to optimize the growth of several companies, including Dropbox, Eventbrite, LogMeIn and Lookout, which, by the way, are worth billions of dollars – each of them – today.

He is co-author of the book “Hacking Growth”, which is a phenomenon in the area and has been translated into 15 languages. In addition, world-renowned publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, WIRED, Fast Company, and others are always replicating Sean’s ideas.

In addition, Sean Ellis is the founder and CEO of – the world’s largest content portal on Growth Hacking. in this text we will highlight some of its main teachings. Follow!

Sean Ellis career

Sean Ellis is no ordinary marketer. The truth is that he built a career in a very different context. He is the world’s first growth hacker.

Sean did sell advertising, but he found his purpose when a friend built an internet company. Despite not knowing much about this universe at the time, he recognized the opportunities and potential of digital marketing.

He even claimed that he liked the idea of ​​targeting certain ads to specific people. However, instead of focusing his efforts solely on marketing, Sean started experimenting with a method he called “growth hacking”, which would revolutionize the way startups looked at marketing.

He has tested his techniques over the years and was instrumental in countless companies that were looking to grow as quickly as possible. So, as we showed in the opening of this text, some of these organizations are currently worth billions of dollars.

Growth Hacking Parent Lessons

Growth hacking is a technique much more connected to processes than to certain tactics. It is a way of working on the growth of a specific business with a focus on best practices, which are built through experiments and hypotheses.

In this sense, it is important to say that it is not something that will change the paradigms of a company in a magical way. Below, we will highlight some of the main growth hacking lessons taught by Sean Ellis.

Getting First Users

According to Sean Ellis, this depends on the type of business category, but he prefers to start with strategies considered free, such as SEO and content marketing.

For him, when investments start through free strategies, the maturity of both the team and the strategy will be greater. So, when you start testing paid media stocks, the project is likely to have more results.

How to become a growth hacker

For Sean Ellis, there are numerous possible paths that can be followed. One of them is to deeply recognize the particularities of a new channel. One of the great benefits of this type of approach is that few professionals will have experience with an emerging media or tool.

In this context, it is important to say that smart companies work with professionals hired to explore channels that have growth potential and high return on results.

This type of professional is generally called a growth master or growth product manager (growth masters or product managers of growth). For Sean, there will be a great demand for this over the years.

How Growth Hacking ideas come about

In Sean’s team, each professional is responsible for presenting their own ideas. The essential thing is that people are encouraged to contribute to some issues. In his case, in particular, his ideas happen as he maintains a very close relationship with his products and customers.

In addition, he constantly researches Growth tactics that are used by other organizations. When Sean finds something interesting, he thinks of the different ways to apply a particular idea to the context of his business and customers.

Almost always, your best ideas come from combining other ideas. There is no specific method for this, but as Sean is fascinated by the fact that companies generate exponential growth, he keeps looking for interesting things.

One of the areas in which your team focuses is on understanding some reasons that lead experiments to work and, thus, it is possible to apply the knowledge acquired in a new project. This kind of experience has some of the best success rates in Sean’s business.

How to structure a Growth team

According to the father of growth hacking, to build a team in this area, you need to start with a product and growth manager and leave the rest of the team totally focused on experiences and experiments. One of the first steps is to establish a weekly experiment target and record problems, if they exist.

When you hire fully dedicated professionals for the Growth team, try to count on people with dynamic profiles so that they are responsible for any problems that have arisen. The best teams are usually made up of people who can do everything – and who are able to learn and solve some very specific problems.

Banner Marketing Teams

Tools and hacks

Now that you know some of the main ideas and teachings of Sean Ellis, let’s highlight some of the main tools and hacks of growth hacking. Implementing them is important, mainly because of four issues:

  1. Time saving;
  2. Team autonomy;
  3. Low costs (almost all have free or very affordable versions);
  4. High return on results.


These tools are used to measure data and experiments. Among the main and most used in the market, we can highlight Google Analytics, HEAP and Mixpanel.

By far, Google Analytics is the most popular tool and it is very likely that you already use it on your website or on your blog. The other two, in turn, are entirely focused on the funnel of the sites, so that you understand how the user’s navigation happens.

Among them, it is worth saying that HEAP has the advantage of being easier to use.

Complete Google Analytics Guide

Pop-up / email collector

Pop-ups can be very effective when they are used strategically on certain pages, as they generate many good results.

They were created as an alternative to banners and are great to advertise a product in an organized and punctual way, for example.

But always remember that this feature should be used with a focus on the user experience. The goal is for a visitor to have access to the information they want in an easier way.

Understand user behavior

There are some tool alternatives to map user behavior like Inspectlet and LuckyOrange. To put it into practice, you can, for example, take a free trial landing page and manage user behavior on the page.

Depending on the results, you can create visually cleaner pages, with less text and more visual elements, in case this increases the conversion on the Landing Page.

A / B test

Some tools, such as Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) and Optimizely, are simple to use and there is no need to understand any HTML to perform A / B testing, as all you need to do is drag the elements to effect the changes.

In addition, this tool already has data analysis functions, which indicate when the number of visitors becomes relevant. In this sense, some small changes, such as changing the color of a particular form, can bring more prominence and consequently more conversions.

As we said, the ideal is to test hypotheses and experiments, so that you achieve your goals and beat your goals.

What did you think of this teaching by Sean Ellis? One of the first points to understand is that Growth Hacking is much more than a methodology, as it is a way of thinking and acting. With that in mind, you can take the concept to be applied in any areas of your enterprise.

For Sean himself, Growth is related to the work of a professional “whose goal is the real growth of the company. Therefore, everything that is done must be examined for its potential impact on scalable growth ”.

In other words, a grotth hacker must work on growing a business through testing, with the help of technology, marketing and creativity.

Do you want to understand more about the subject in depth and know all the details of this universe that may be essential for your project? So, check out our post on data-based content and learn how to guide your strategy through data!

Content and Data Marketing