Top 4 Growth Hacking Strategies for Established Businesses
Businesses are usually in a state of flux, and this is not a bad thing. In fact, you might call it a necessity. If you’re not changing and evolving to meet the needs of a changing and evolving world, then you may find your business suffering the same fate as the dinosaurs.
Even established businesses are typically in one of three phases – growth, stagnation, or decline. Obviously, we want to avoid the latter two, and since growth likely equals more revenue, let’s focus on the best ways to hack our way to more of it.
Consumers are now drowning in more choices than they know what to do with. To remain relevant, you’ll want to focus on increasing brand awareness, carving out more space for yourself in your market, and finding better ways to reach your audience.
And guess what? That’s exactly what we’re going to help you with today.
What is Growth Hacking?
Let’s begin with a growth hacking definition so there’s no confusion what it is.
Growth hacking is the process of rapid experimentation across marketing funnels, product development, sales segments, and other areas of a business to identify the most efficient ways to grow.
The key to any good hack lies in the word experimentation. By experimenting and measuring the results of those experiments, you’ll be able to find out what works and what doesn’t work. And you’ll be able to take what works and refine it and improve upon it even further.
There are three types of growth hacking strategies that we’ll be focusing on:
- Content marketing
- Product marketing
There are also five areas of your marketing funnel that we’ll focus on optimizing for growth:
- Acquisition of audience members or leads
- Activation – turning those leads into customers
- Retention – keeping those customers
The word hacking tends to imply a shortcut in many instances. We won’t be using it that way. Instead, our focus will be on positive, long-term growth and strategic, big-picture thinking.
So, without further ado …
Top 4 Growth Hacking Strategies for Established Businesses
For any growth hacking strategy to be a great growth hacking strategy, it has to be SMART. As in …
In other words, you’ll create specific goals for your business that will contribute to growth. Goals that can be measured and are also achievable. And goals that can be achieved in a timely manner.
Remember, measuring is key. Otherwise, your marketing and advertising efforts could resemble a game of blindfolded darts.
Growth Hacking Strategy #1 – Attract Your Ideal Audience
Content marketing is a great tool for finding potential customers and engaging with them. It involves a blend of content production (like blogging), social media engagement, and email. Think of it like this:
Social media helps you find new audience members.
Blogging helps you engage with that audience.
Email is how you’ll nurture them.
Content marketing revolves around the production of content and the distribution and promotion of that content. You need to be proficient in both areas to be successful.
Pro Tip: Content can be related to any topics your intended audience has some interest in. The tendency here is for businesses to be too on-the-nose when it comes to the topics they choose, and this is a mistake.
Let’s say you have a natural products business in the beauty space. Your audience is mostly women who are looking for natural ways to improve their skin, hair, and so forth. You may be tempted to create content ONLY around these topics.
One problem is that you’ll run out of topics sooner than you’d like. Another is that your audience will likely get bored reading only about hair and skin, when their interests run much broader than that.
Instead, look at your audience rather than your own products. What is your audience interested in? Clearly they’re into natural health, which is what led them to you. So, why not broaden your topic base to include all things natural wellness related that would be of interest to your target audience – women.
The reasons for doing this are two-fold. One, you open yourself up to a much larger audience base by doing this. And two, you don’t come across as being too promotional with your content creation, which will surely happen if all your content is directly related to your products.
Content Distribution and Promotion
This is where social media excels. You’ll want to join as many social sites as your comfortable with – particularly the best of the bunch when it comes to your business and industry ― build out all of your social profiles, join relevant groups, and put forth an effort into attracting followers. (We’ll get to a great way to do this cheaply later.)
Remember earlier when we wrote that blogging was how you engage with your audience? Well, social media also relies on engagement. That really is the key here. Sure, you’ll want to promote and distribute your own content, but any activity on social media – Likes, shares, etc. – counts as engagement and opens your social profile up to more and new audience views.
According to Forrester Research, only 2% or your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed. What does this tell you? While you produce a single piece of content just once, you need to promote and distribute that piece of content many times.
Pro Tip: Create a posting schedule – perhaps every day for the first week, once a week for the next month, and then once a month after that. And automate these postings as much as possible, which means getting a social scheduling program. It will also help if you have several blurbs or headlines that can introduce each piece of content, rather than using the same headline over and over.
Growth Hacking Strategy #2 – Email Marketing & List Building
OK, you’re creating great content that your audience loves. You’re finding new audience members through social media and driving them to your blog. Now what?
Imagine if you had a list of 1000 people who you knew were interested in your products or services, and who gave you permission to market to them. Now imagine that list growing day-in and day-out. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. It’s called list building.
If you’re not building an email list, you’re operating the way garage sales do, as in temporarily. That’s the opposite of growth. The most important outcome, as in your main goal from your content marketing efforts, will be to get email addresses from those audience members you’ve been targeting.
Remember that stat about 2% of your Facebook followers seeing one post. Well, according to that same study, 90% of emails get delivered.
There are a lot of ways to capture email addresses from prospective customers, but the place to begin – as long your content marketing is working up to this point – is on your blog, and specifically at the end of each post.
The old standard for enticing optins is something along the lines of – subscribe to our list. Not very enticing, though, is it? Maybe even the opposite of enticing. So, how do we entice?
For starters, change the language. How about something like this – Never miss a post! Put your email address in the box below and we’ll send you an email every time we update our blog.
OK, that’s a start. But if you really want to get those email addresses, you have to give to get.
Pro Tip: This is where lead magnets or opt in incentives come in. You offer your audience something in return for their email addresses. It can be a discount or coupon, entry into a contest (which we’ll get to later), or a free product of some kind – perhaps a sample, if that works for your business or an information product.
Information products work well as opt in incentives for two main reasons – you’re giving them something of value, and it isn’t costing you anything after you pay someone to create it.
Using our natural products company from before, you can create a long-form piece of content that your audience will love – a free report, an ebook, a guide. Anything that is much more substantial than a typical blog article will work well here so long as it adds value to their lives.
These information products serve a dual purpose. Not only are they great for building your email list, but they can also be promotional. Not overtly, however. But at the end, you can and should pitch your company’s products or services that are related to the content in the guide or ebook.
In general, content marketing works best when you follow the 80/20 rule, and even 90/10 works better – 90% value and 10% promotion of products or services. And the same holds true in your email marketing efforts.
Once you have those email addresses, you’ll want to create an autoresponder series of emails that go out automatically every time someone is added to your list. The first is usually a welcome message, and the rest simply need to follow the rule from above. Adding value is the key to content marketing. If it’s too promotional, it usually fails.
Frequency of these emails is also important, and there have been a lot of studies that have produced a lot of conflicting results on this topic. As a rule of thumb, however, more than once a day is too much, and fewer than once a week is too few. And since you can measure the effectiveness of your email marketing, you should be able to pinpoint what works best for you in time.
Growth Hacking Strategy #3 – Design Your Website for Conversions
Content marketing will help fill your marketing funnel at the top, and conversions – turning audience members into customers – will occupy the middle of it. And this often takes place on your website, and certainly on services or product pages.
Remember how 10-20% of your email messaging will be promotional? Most likely, you’ll be sending people back to your site, which means your website must be ready to convert.
Pro Tip: In general, the copy on your website must be clear and it must be benefit-centric, which means giving visitors what they want, which isn’t to read about your business. They want to know what your business can do for them. For example, “we are the world’s leading software for generating solar leads…” don’t do this instead do this, “We help solar businesses generate recurring leads without spending a dollar on paid advertising”.
You only have a few seconds to convince visitors that they’re in the right place and that you can help them in some way. Do you know what visitors are thinking when they land on your site? What’s in it for me?
Since we’re sending a lot of visitors there through your email marketing efforts, it’s less crucial because these audience members are already familiar with you. But still, don’t discount the wonderful effects of clear and benefit-centric web copy.
Here are a few tips to get more conversions regardless of where your visitors are coming from.
- Limit choices ― In our modern world, where we have hundreds of drinks to choose from in every convenience store, decision fatigue is a very real concern. Know exactly what you want visitors to do on every page and steer them in that direction. Too many choices will only confuse them.
- Above the fold ― As journalist say, don’t bury the lead. You have seconds to convince visitors to stay, so make sure your important messages are seen without scrolling, and this includes a strong headline that’s benefit-centric and a strong and clear Call to Action (CTA). Also, keep in mind that we scan nowadays rather than read.
- White space ― Since we’re scanners rather than readers, you’ll want to use plenty of white space to help visitors find what YOU want them to find. That white (or negative) space on your site makes every page more readable/scannable and more user-friendly.
- The “F” pattern ― When your visitors land on your website, their eyes will follow this pattern on the page. Knowing this means you can put the most important information along those lines and less important information in areas like the right sidebar or below the fold.
- Color matters ― Good design elements can help create emotion and emotion is that magical land where buying decisions are made. Your color choices should aid in creating this emotion, rather than inducing headaches. Contrast is important, too, and it pays to NOT reinvent the wheel, which means using black text on white backgrounds. And make sure your CTAs and buttons stand out.
- KISS ― Keep It Simple, Stupid is popular in sales and equally important in web design. Simplicity equals conversions, so keep every page clean and uncluttered. KISS can also apply to navigation. Anyone who’s visited several dozen sites can tell you where navigational elements should be. No point reinventing the wheel here either, as it will only lead to frustration, which leads to visitors going elsewhere.
Growth Hacking Strategy #4 – Create a Viral Loop
Remember our marketing funnel? At the top we have content marketing getting visitors and growing your audience. In the middle we have your site converting those visitors into customers. And now, at the bottom, we try to retain those customers and turn them into loyal customers.
But what if we can use them to restock your funnel back at the top?
Growing a community of loyal customers is the key to exponential growth, and there are a number of ways to leverage those customers into referrals and future revenue and growth.
- Get more followers through an ad campaign ― Building a social media audience organically on a site like Facebook can be time-consuming. However, building an audience using a Like advertising campaign, can create a substantial audience quickly and cheaply. In fact, social media advertising, in general, is a great way to market your products or services because you’re able to target your ideal demographic in ways that don’t exist elsewhere.
- Incentivize referrals ― It’s a simple philosophy: give to get. Give your current customers something in return for introducing friends, family, and coworkers to your company. Promote this through email, social media, and your blog.
- Contests ― Contests are a great way to get people excited about your brand. Ask for an email address in return for entering, and get your current and loyal social followers to re-post about your contest. Giving current customers and prospective customers a chance to win something builds likability, which is a strong element of persuasion.
- Be engaged but not intrusive ― Initiate conversations in your social communities. Respond quickly to questions and concerns, especially negative feedback. Show them some love and a lot of appreciation. And in turn, your community will begin to feed itself.
Great customers are your brand’s best ambassadors. Let them tell your story to other interested audience members. When you build a great community, your marketing funnel will always remain well-stocked.
Growth will be best realized by maximizing every part of your marketing funnel and every step in the process of turning strangers into friends, friends into customers, and customers into loyal customers. And it begins and ends with empathy.
If you’re able to think like your average customer and audience member, anticipate their wants, needs, and desires, and let them know you appreciate them and understand them, you’ll be well on your way to steady growth for years to come.