August 31, 2017 - No Comments!

Growth Tribe used referral marketing to launch the largest Online Growth Marketing Conference7 min read

We interviewed Jim Groenen, Lead Growth Marketer at Growth Tribe.

Like he says in the interview below,

"Growth Tribe is Europe’s 1st Growth Hacking Academy"

Growth Tribe has trained 2000+ people in the last 2 years from 415 different companies.

So let's go straight to the interview.

Hi Jim, can you tell us about what you are working on? What is Growth Tribe?

Growth Tribe is Europe’s 1st Growth Hacking Academy! We’re backed by the University of Amsterdam (UvA), Facebook, StartupAmsterdam. We are specialised in teaching technical growth skills through hands-on workshops. 

We currently do courses ranging from 2 days, 6 weeks or 3 months on Growth Hacking and AI for Growth. Our trainers have a track record of hands-on start-up experience. They have been hustling in the digital realm for years.

Growth tribe interview viral loops

Combining their experience and expertise we’ve gathered a syllabus consisting of more than 6000 slides & 28 hands-on workshops. In total Growth Tribe trained 2000+ people from over 415 companies.

How did you come up with the idea of the International Growth Summit?

We think that companies grow faster through continuously educating their people who are responsible for growth. Next, to our workshops, we’re also organising Growth Marketing Conferences both in London and Amsterdam. People love the content, however, a physical location limits the amount of people that can learn. 

Therefore we wanted to take a different approach this time. By hosting a free accessible live online conference, we could empower much more people to join and learn together.

For the International Growth Marketing Summit, we invited 15 leading growth experts across the entire growth funnel.

Big names in the industry such as Nir Eyal (Hooked), David Darmanin (Hotjar), Josh Fechter (BAMF), Savvas Zortikis (Viral Loops) and much more joined us on an all day, 8-hour content online summit.

How did the summit work out? What were your main challenges?

In the end, we hosted the largest online conference on Growth Marketing up to date. We got 15,000 people that eventually registered for the Workplace growth.facebook.com in which we hosted the summit.

Not all people were able to watch the live event at the same time, however, Facebook Workplace helped us with instantly making the replays accessible and keeping them open for free during the entire weekend.

Some of the challenges we faced along the way:

  1. Coordinating 15 speakers across 6 different time zones on different network connections, with their own computers and slide decks. To tackle this, we partnered up with BlueJeans who are experts on hosting these type of online events. With their technical support, we did a dry run for all speakers and were able to ensure a seamless event.
  2. We went from idea to event in just one month. Since we had to do everything from scratch, search engine rankings were low and time for improving SEO was limited. It put quite some limitations on our organic reach and we had to make this up by engaging with other channels.
  3. Our Facebook Workplace hosted on growth.facebook.com was a new concept too. Onboarding of participants was a challenge itself as people weren’t yet acquainted with the new platform. Also, since this community is limited to 1 account per email address, participants could not log in with their private address. Therefore, we had to create one for every attendee. 

Awesome! Were there any 'growth hacks' that have contributed to the success of the summit?

In our courses, we talk a lot about Other People’s Network (OPN). Which existing network could you leverage right now instead of building your own audience from scratch? For the Online Summit, partnerships were our OPN and brought us at least half of the sign ups.

We partnered up with Hotjar, Typeform, TrendWatching, VWO, Viral Loops, SEMrush and BlueJeans. They were happy to tell their combined 1.5 million users about our partnership for this event.

Next to partnerships, one of our best channels was the ambassador programme. Through Viral Loops, we used the milestone template to reward people with different type of incentives.

After a brainstorm with the team, we picked the 5 best incentives from a list of over 40 ideas.

That's great! Did you generate registrations from word of mouth and referrals?

We got around 5,000 sign ups from our referral campaign. Here’s what went well:

  1. We made our referral incentives both achievable and ambitious. Therefore the first incentive was directly given when people invited only 1 friend. Based on Cialdini’s persuasion principles, starting with a small commitment (inviting just 1 friend) will lead to consistently inviting more friends later.
  2. Since we created 5 different incentives, there was always a next interesting incentive to chase. A number of invites sent, make or break a good referral campaign. This has everything to do with the K-factor about which I’ll tell you more in a moment.
  3. We sent emails after every milestone was reached. This is something that would be a lot of work to manually setup. However, Viral Loops supports this out of the box. 
growth summit milestone Referral Viral Loops

What made you want to run a referral program? What was your goal?

Viral marketing is one of the best ways for product growth. It’s one of the least costly channels to reach both high quality and quantity leads as shown in the graph below: 

By creating a viral engine we were able to leverage a number of sign ups that all summit partners contributed. The great thing is, that in just 2 weeks we got around 5,000 sign ups through the referral campaign.

Can you share with us some results/metrics of your Viral Loops campaign? How did it perform so far?

See answer below 👇

Do you have any core metrics that you measure constantly and are super important for you?

At Growth Tribe, we always measure viral campaigns through the K-factor (K = i *c), where i is an average number of invitations sent by one user, c is an average conversion from received invitation into registration.

In our viral campaigns we were constantly optimising to tweak the viral engine for:

  • Signups per channel (Top of the funnel)
  • Friends invited per ambassador
  • Open / Click rates of invites sent
  • Conversion per invite

In total around 1/3 of the registrations came from our viral campaigns. Referral invites were mainly sent through social and email. Therefore, our focus was to improve the landing page registration which got an average conversion rate of 60%. Also, Viral Loops enabled us to customise the invite that people sent through email and social channels.

One last question, what platform was your landing page built on and what are the top 3 marketing tools you used for promoting the summit?

Our Growth Tribe back-end is based on Ruby on Rails. However, we found that experiments as these are way faster to build on Instapage. This enables us to go from design to landing page in just 1 day, instead of a week with Ruby.

Speed is essential to learn and adapt faster than others in the market. It democratises landing page creation across more team members since full-stack development skills are not required.

Speed is essential to learn and adapt faster than others in the market. It democratises landing page creation across more team members since full-stack development skills are not required.

Other top 3 tools we used for summit promotion:

  1. Sendgrid for sending out announcement emails. They have some great new email A/B testing features.
  2. BlueJeans for hosting the online summit. A powerful tool for online conferences and video calls.
  3. Viral Loops. This is our go to tool for viral marketing. We implemented a relatively complex referral programme in just one day.

Do you plan to run the summit again in the near future?

For now, we host all videos from the Online Summit on Facebook Workplace and ask a small fee for accessing the replays. This enables us to cover some costs of keeping the Workplace in place.

If you want to rewatch all the talks, check growthsummit.io

We’re definitely planning to run a new summit soon. Stay tuned here and via Growth Tribe, so you’re the first to know!

Growth tribe interview viral loops

Final thoughts

If you're interested in learning growth hacking, Growth Tribe has a 2-day growth hacking course starting mid September.

Check it out 👉 here.

If you want to create a referral program like Growth Summit, you can check this cool project harrysprelaunchreferral.com and create a Milestone referral campaign in 4 simple steps, launch like Harry’s did!

The entire process was designed to be as easy as possible!

That's all from us! ✌️

Co-founder & CEO at

Published by: Savvas Zortikis in Stories