Pirate Funnel for Startups

Pirate Funnel for Startups

What is Pirate Funnel?

I would say the way to accelerate your growing business.

An easy way to understand, map and stay in control of your customer journey.

1. Pirate Funnel 101

Pirate funnel is simply a model to divide your business operation into different pieces and help you to focus on the right piece. 

Pirate funnel, or as it called AARRR funnel, helps you to find the weakest point of your business and focus on improving it.

But first things first, if you are thinking about implementing a pirate funnel, it means you already know your business model as well as your buyer persona.


2. What is AARRR?

The growth hacking model, also a customer behavior metric blueprint, that allows you to monitor your customer journey and your business growth. This, in turn, enables you to optimize your company’s growth. The model is not only meant for growth hackers but can be applicable for marketers as well. Growth hackers are responsible for all these six stages in the AAARRR growth funnel. Just keep in mind the stages may vary from business to business and can be 5 of them instead of 6!



These stages include: 

  1. Awareness — Make yourself visible. Do people know who you are? What are the different tactics you can make use of to get branding and visibility done to your organization? This will point out the positioning of your company/brand.
  2. Acquisition — How easily can people find you? What is the sign-in percentage? If the answer is anything else than rarely & less, then you’re doing something wrong. Experiment with different channels, tactics and analyze the results. You will figure out soon what works and what doesn’t.
  3. Activation — Do people have a good first experience? Did they like the offering and the UI/UX of the webpage? A/B testing, asking for feedback and creative ideas should work here. You don’t want to see a high bounce rate for your web pages.
  4. Retention — Do your customers come back to you after the initial experience of your product/service? If not, then you are doing something wrong with your retention channels like email, SMS, retargeting, etc. and onboarding. The product features may not be so attractive and hence less interest and fewer click-throughs.
  5. Revenue — Are visitors getting upgraded from a free plan to the paid subscription? The more the number of users that choose to upgrade; the more revenue you make. Make sure the product has amazing value propositions, and you are conveying them properly.
  6. Referral — If customers like what you’re offering, they will refer you to their colleagues, friends, etc. Are they doing it? If not, why not? What lacks the motivation? The growth hackers' job is to figure out the answers for all these, like an investigation. This is extremely important, as word of mouth is one of the most effective growth strategies. You might want to ask your already existing customers to refer others and talk about your product/service through some incentive programs.


3. Here is an infographic

In the infographic, you can see the stages for a project management software, the intended example of customer behavior at each stage, as well as tactics you would implement to improve the stage.


Credit for Growtwithward


4. Funnel Optimization

It's all about the right KPI you see as the most important at each stage as well as the whole funnel.

Ask three questions;

1. Which stage of the funnel doesn't function well?

2. Why!?

3. How can I improve it?

Let's think about the acquisition stage. As an example, I'm running this website and I want to turn visitors to real customers! what should be important for me at this stage? Maybe form completion or contacts from a potential customer? Yes, now I have my metric to focus on, MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead).

How should I improve this now?  Just think about the tactics at this stage and relevant to your business module. How could you add or improve webinars, chat widgets, newsletter subscriptions, landing page optimization, promotions to your toolbox? 

Don't forget, it's not only improving each stage but also how to send more potential customers from one stage to the next!


5. A/B test each tactic

It's the process of testing multiple new designs or ideas in one of your tactics and finding out which one contributes more to your goal (improving the stage KPI). 

A very simple example would be improving your conversion rate on a landing page by changing the CTA button design. You can divide the traffic on the landing page and send half to see an orange button and the other half to a black button. Give it some time and see which color had a better CTR, this is your winner. Just remember not to test multiple changes at once!


6. Apply the funnel to your growing business

Pirate Metrics is simply a guideline meant to help business owners and marketers to find the most important metrics for them. Especially for startups and small businesses. These metrics will help you simplify this complex process and stay on track. Optimizing your funnels will help you to realize the most important stages that customer goes through when it interacts with your business. So, knowing how to act and react is of a key importance. At the very least, knowing these metrics will allow you to sustain and scale your business more efficiently.