The Pirate Metrics Framework Explained

Marketing is hard work—harder than most people realize. This is true whether you’re a small business just getting started or a flourishing enterprise looking to scale. Luckily, we can help. This lesson breaks down what the Pirate Metrics framework is, why you need to use it in your business, and how you can start running marketing experiments today.

What is the Pirate Metrics framework?

Pirate Metrics is a helpful customer-lifecycle framework developed by venture capitalist Dave McClure to help entrepreneurs just like you decide where to focus your marketing efforts and make the most use of your time. It gets its name from the acronym AAARRR, which refers to the first letter of each phase: (A)wareness, (A)cquisition, (A)ctivation, (R)evenue, (R)etention, and (R)eferral.

The six stages of the Pirate Metrics framework:

  • Awareness: how many people do you reach?
  • Acquisition: how many people visit your website?
  • Activation: how many people take the first important step?
  • Revenue: how many people start paying (and how much)?
  • Retention: how many people come back or buy again?
  • Referral: how many people refer friends to your business?

Why use the Pirate Metrics framework?

Simply put, the Pirate Metrics funnel shows you where you need to focus your attention. Let’s take a look at the customer-lifecycle of a lawn care business…

A prospect is scrolling through Instagram when suddenly an educational video about lawn care catches their eye. After watching the video, they click on the “Learn More” link and are redirected to a landing page that explains how they can get rid of weeds and pests, as well as keep their grass looking fresh in the summer.

On that same page, there’s a done-for-you (DFY) option for people who are too busy to take care of their lawns themselves: get a quote online. Without hesitation, they complete the form and are redirected to a thank you page with their quote plus the option to schedule their first service at a discounted rate.

They claim the special offer, and a few days later, the company sprays their lawn. While there, the company checks the gutters, ditches, drains, and finds active larvae populations. So they recommend their bi-weekly mosquito barrier spray.

The customer agrees and, after a few treatments, receives an email that asks them to rate their experience. Since they’ve received such excellent service, they choose 5 stars, which redirects them to a landing page that reads, “Get $25 off your next service when you refer a friend!” They grab their unique referral link, send it to their entire email list, and the process begins again.

As you can see, these stages follow a natural, logical order. This means the Pirate Metrics framework is perfect for helping you find your marketing bottleneck. It’s the place where the drop off from one stage to the next is most significant.

Learn How to Set SMART Goals

Setting SMART goals helps you clarify your ideas, focus your energy, and use your resources wisely. To help you get started, we’ve created a FREE template with all the tools you need to set (and achieve) your most important marketing goals.

Run Your First Marketing Experiment

In order to figure out which marketing channel will work for your business, you need to run experiments early and often. So we created FREE Test and Learn Cards with instructions so you can get started today. Now, running marketing experiments is easy!

Ready to get started?

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