For most businessmen, ‘growth’ stays on the top priority list of their organizational goals. Sometimes back, I conducted a survey among various self-employed marketers and asked the respondents to cite their business goals. Majority of the business owners claimed that their main objective is to achieve a 40-50% growth in ROI this year, as compared to what they had achieved in 2018.
However, for most startups, growth seems to be a farfetched dream, especially due to their budget constraints. Research claims that nine out of ten startups (approximately 90% of the startups) fail to make a mark in this cut-throat competitive market mostly due to limited budget.
But what can bootstrapped startups do to ensure that their business is a part of that 10% that eventually succeed? Well, the answer is growth hacking. Though running a newly established business seems to be a monumental challenge in the initial days, specific growth hacking tricks and strategies are bound to increase your chances of survival in leaps and bounds.
If your 2019 resolution plan had ‘growth’ on the top list of priorities, here are a few growth hacking ideas you must try out immediately.
1. Offer a freemium version of your product
A simple yet effective way to attract a large number of consumers who will spread awareness about your products and company offerings is to offer a freemium (Free+ premium) version of your services and products. Skype, Eventbrite, Dropbox used this technique to achieve immense growth within a very short span of time. To make this tactic work, you must ensure that the free version has a high perceived value from the end-users. Though this strategy of reduced-price offerings might not work for every company, they do provide an excellent opportunity to bring customers in and promote fast growth.
2. Automate as much as possible
One of the vital steps you must take to ensure that your startup maintains high levels of productivity is to implement technology that automates time-consuming, manual processes.
Take some time to assess your company’s needs and decide the types of software that would benefit your business. There are loads of software you can choose from to decrease your overburdening workload. For example,
- CRM Software: The all-in-one-CRM automates sales, marketing assignments and support automation, and also lets you integrate tons of apps in the same platform (thereby improving collaboration and reducing technology costs).
- Marketing automation: In case you are not using CRM, you will need to invest in a separate marketing automation tool to streamline your marketing processes.
With features like lead generation web forms, email marketing, landing page builders and many more, these automated tools will help you to increase brand awareness and attract new leads.
3. Double down on content marketing
Content marketing also costs much less than traditional marketing and will be an excellent place to focus on your growth hacking efforts. For example, a company called Movoto got inspired by the content marketing strategy of BuzzFeed and Upworthy and grew its viewership from “2,000 to 18 million views per month.” by applying them to its real estate blog. Content marketing generally encompass a gamut of things like,
Whichever form of content you write, the key to success with your content marketing strategy will be focus and consistency. Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute, said that it takes almost 15 to 17 months of consistent content marketing (on an average) to observe positive monetization.
Social media deserves special mention when it comes to growth hacking. This vital content marketing tool is capable of attracting large communities of people. As per social media examiners 2017 report, more than 65% of small businesses leverage social media for increasing their marketing leads.
You can promote your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, with a call to action to create a sense of urgency. Active social media presence will encourage your followers to go through your content frequently, which will eventually lead them to your product-purchasing page.
This low-cost, creative and engaging strategy, if done right, helps marketers reach out to their potential audience base instantly (sometimes within just a few hours). A successful viral content can boost your revenues up to 40 million dollars (as happened in the case of Blendtec) if everything goes right. Though this is an extremely useful method of boosting your conversion rates, engineering a viral marketing campaign is no walk in the park. A marketer needs to analyze various successful viral contents to come up with a foolproof viral marketing plan.
It also becomes essential to find the right distribution channels to ensure the content reach the ideal audience. Go through this article to learn the strategies of formulating viral campaigns that are aligned with the context of your audience and triggers an immediate response.
6. Train your employees on the software you use
When you invest in automating your tasks and streamlining operations, it’s imperative that you provide the basic training to your employees (on how to efficiently and successfully leverage that technology.)
Most high-quality technological solutions require rigorous training to ensure that your team fully understands how to use your new systems and is able to utilize them to the fullest of their capacity. If you want to know more about robust on boarding and training program, check out this excellent article about software implementation and on boarding.
Another powerful growth hacking strategy is reaching out to a community where your target audience is already situated or building your own community. Have you ever given a thought about how Tinder, the dating app, grew from 10 million users in January 2014 to 40 million in December 2014 (especially with the already established fierce competition in the market)? It’s because it targeted a specific niche.
Through previously there were several dating apps for all types of individuals, Tinder specifically targeted college students (essentially those in their fraternities and sororities). Starting your growth efforts from a highly segmented user base, then expanding to reach more audiences is a brilliant way of practicing growth hacking.
8. Leverage Referral programs
A referral program is also a great technique for growth hacking. All you need to do is ask the existing customers to refer your services to their friends and acquaintances by offering them some amount of incentive for doing so. The best time to ask for a referral is immediately after you have made a successful sale.
Various businesses give virtual cash, discounts, and extra subscriptions for referring their services to others. This will not only motivate the current users to buy more often from you but provide you with an excellent opportunity to retain the old customers and also get new ones in the process.
9. Leverage Guest posting
Most startups use guest blogging to increase traffic to their websites. You can use guest blogging to sell your products on other brand’s websites as well. This remarkable strategy not only helps you increase traffic through link clicks but also through SEO marketing. The backlinks you generate by posting your content in high-authority websites help you rank higher in Google search results, thereby increasing your traffic. However, there are certain things you must keep in mind to make the most out of your guest post content.
- The guest post should be informative and not filled with promotional content (this will ensure that the readers keep coming back for more content and information)
- Ideally, you must insert only one link of your own website in the guest posting content and use proper anchor text to lick it with your website.
10. Make use of influencer marketing
Do not restrict your growth hacking strategies by doing all the work yourself. Collaborate with the influencers to broaden your scope of generating the ROI you had planned. Almost every marketing expert claims that influencer marking is one of the best growth hacking strategies.
A recent Twitter survey found that more than 40% of users make a purchase, as a result, of a tweet from an influencer. Your influencer can be anyone starting from journalists, celebrities, popular social media personalities, bloggers or anybody who has a dedicated fan following on social media. And since they are greatly trusted and respected by their followers, an endorsement from them will boost your brand credibility as well.
On a final note, growth hacking is not like usual marketing plans that you can implement slowly and gradually into your business strategies. It often demands willingness to experiment and the ability to adapt to change quickly. You must take time to conduct market research on your products to make sure you know what your customers want.
Then prepare questionnaires to get feedback on your products, look for inspiration from other companies that have successfully used growth hacking and most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment with ideas. Once you narrow down on an idea that works, be consistent, commit to it, and growth will inevitably follow.
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