Grow your business with these simple hacks you can start today
Growth hacking is about looking right across your business and finding things you can do to increase your revenue. It crosses over multiple disciplines, to find the fastest and most efficient ways to grow your revenue. It covers marketing, sales, product and more.
This guide provides 50 growth hacks that you can start implementing straight away. Some might produce only a tiny increase in revenue but others will produce much more and what works in one company may not produce the same results elsewhere. Part of the process of growth hacking it trying, measuring and adjusting, and all done quickly.
If you apply one or more of these fifty growth hacks to your business you will see an increase in revenue.
The growth hacks in this guide are tried and tested, they will produce results, and you will find some that fit exactly where you are now and where you want to be.
1. Drive engagement through content
You may have read about content marketing and thought it’s not for you but it is, it has to be, you need to be doing it and doing it now. You need to provide your potential audience with high-quality relevant information, it isn’t about product push, it’s about informing and educating. The way customers buy has changed, you need to change too.
2. Encourage Advocacy
In 2009 Uber had a great idea but it was just another taxi firm. They had a platform to take payment and scale up and down with demand, but no customers. Taking advantage of their San Francisco location and the tech community, they organised events and crucially gave free rides to the attendees. These attendees became their advocates and spread the word. They then replicated this in other cities. Find advocates who will champion your business, whether industry influencers, bloggers or journalists.
3. Capture the visitors to your website
Not everyone on your website will fill in an enquiry form. So you need to find other ways to know who they are. http://www.sumo.me/allows you to create an email collector. For example a pop-up box to enter your email for a free 50 growth hacks for your company. Tracking the silent visitors is easy to use a tool such as http://www.traffictruffle.com/ which will identify the visitors to your website from their IP address.
4. Put up your price
It might seem like an obvious thing but few of us are prepared to do it to new customers let alone existing ones. If your home broadband is from a company like Virgin or BT you will be familiar with fairly regular price increases. Over time, your operating cost increases so you are losing margin on your existing sales. European MSP Claranet introduced an inflation-based price increase across its customer base. No one likes paying more, but people around you are putting up their price and you should consider it too.
5. Contract length
Some services are sold on a monthly rolling contract; take a look at how many customers cancel during the first 12 months. Change your standard terms to 12 months (or longer). The number of people who are deterred from signing up will be outweighed by the extra guaranteed revenue. Mcloud, a London based software firm applied this simple hack and increased revenue by 8%.
6. Weight pricing towards longer contracts
If you want to offer monthly rolling pricing, weight it so that if you are using the service for more than 4 months, it’s better to sign for a year. Biteable, an online animation firm, offers a model where the monthly option is $29, the annual, $99.
7. Keep marketing into your existing base
Don’t wait until it’s time for renewals to contact your existing customers. Keep them engaged with high-quality relevant content. You can upsell to this base at any time but they don’t want to get pushy sales messages. Nurture these customers, make them love you, make them advocates of your company. You could set up a quarterly webinar talking about relevant industry trends for their vertical and ask your customers in that space for their input. Everybody loves to be asked for their option.
8. Keep marketing into your old enquiries
Don’t forget all your old enquiries. You have built up a database over the years, use it. Market into this base but don’t send glossy special offers, send high quality engaging content and it should be relevant. As with any database, you should segment this list and send the right content to the right segments. If you aren’t using your existing database of prospects, do. Today.
9. Make it hard to cancel
Make it easy to buy your service but make it hard to cancel. You don’t need to go to the extremes of Sky or the companies who hide the ways to cancel the service but you don’t need to make it too easy. We all have stuck with services because we think changing is a hassle. Don’t allow people to cancel over email, it’s too easy. Try cancelling Spotify you’ll see how they have got multiple hurdles that you need to jump before you finally get to cancel. If you have an account management team then make the cancellation route through that team, they will have a chance to save the account.
10. Offer alternatives to cancelling
Cancelling should be a last resort. Offer a downgrade or a temporary suspension of a service as an alternative. Audible do an excellent job of this approach. You have the option to suspend the service for 3 months, you can keep subscribed at a lower cost, you can get an extra book for free if you stay. Think about what alternatives you can offer rather than a complete cancellation of a service.
11. Offer a money back guarantee
When you are selling, people look for a guarantee. Removing risk for a customer is extremely powerful, and there is little stronger than a money back guarantee. If you are confident about what you do, this shouldn’t worry you too much, and your prospective customers will love it. And if you do give money back once or twice, the loss will be far outweighed by the extra customers you win because of the guarantee.
12. Offer frequent discounts and offers into your base
It’s hard to know when a customer is ready to buy. The companies on your historic long list of prospects are the easiest source of new revenue as they have already expressed an interest in your company. Segment this list, maybe by vertical, company size or whatever makes sense relating to the profiles of your customers. Offer discounts and offers into this base, and offer them regularly. They will bite when they are ready. They will become your future customers.
13. Ask for referrals
Ask for referrals, and ask again and ask again. Referrals are a fabulous source of leads for your business. But we don’t ask often enough. You can set up a formal referral scheme that incentivises customers to give you referrals but many will give referrals just by asking. Ask for a referral at any point where the customer has had a great experience. That might be when you delivered the service ahead of schedule, when they renew, when they add another service or when they have a good service review.
14. Stop salespeople offering needless discounts
Sales people drop the price for the customer ahead of their initial quote. The sales people feel that the customer will more likely buy if the price is lower, so they lower the price but often the customer is unaware that the sales person has already discounted the service and therefore the discount has no value. If the price is lowered the customer must be aware that they are getting a discounted rate or they will simply start negotiating from the new lower price. This simple step can stop price erosion.
15. Make customers aware of discounts and free work
If you give your customers a discount, make sure they are aware that you have discounted the service for them based on a reciprocal action, such as signing before the end of the month. They will then know that the next time they approach you that you will not simply give a discount when asked. This is especially true of any free work you do. Raise a full invoice for the work and a corresponding credit note. Let them know that it was worth £1,000, not nothing, and that the next time it will be £1,000.
16. Rip apart your pipeline
Nothing is as scary as an empty pipeline. But a false pipeline is actually worse. Understand what is in your pipeline, be extremely tough on yourself and pull out anything that isn’t definitely going to close. You now have a true idea of what business you can forecast. Your pipeline will be smaller but it will be true. The reality is better than vanity. And you will now have identified if you need to increase the number of leads into the top of your funnel.
17. Know who your customers are and where they hang out online
If you don’t know who your target customers are you will never find them. Find out where they hang out online. If on Linkedin, what groups do they belong to, if they are involved in a particular area find the forums that relate to that. Finding your customers online is quicker and cheaper than any other medium.
18. Find out how your competitors get their customers
Your future customers are all pretty much customers of someone else right now. Find out how your competitors are getting their customers. To find out where they are getting them from use www.similarweb.com, it’s free, there is a Chrome plugin. For example, from this, we can see that UK-based cloud provider Cobweb get 22.1% of their leads through paid traffic with their top paid keywords Office 365 Enterprise Plans
19. Stuck for Ideas
If you are stuck for what to use for adverts, look at what your competitors do that gets engagement and copy it. Chances are, one of your competitors will be great at attracting new business. If they get a lot of response on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook, do the same thing. Take advantage of their hard work, their AB testing, their audience is your audience.
20. Remove everything but the call to action
If your customers sign up online for any service, remove any distraction on the signup page that might mean they click away. This is what the masters of e-commerce Amazon do. You might want to include a small back button but if you have got them to the signup page you want to get them to sign up and nothing else.
21. Know your prospects before meeting them
You will already do research on your customers before you meet them but there are tools that will give you incredible insight without you having to do any work. http://www.charlieapp.com/ will check your calendar and find out all public information on the company and person you are going to meet. Its algorithm sorts out what is important so you see the good stuff that will help you build rapport and get the sale.
22. Find who to talk to quickly
Using a tool like http://www.emailhunter.io/ will enable you to find the emails for people within your target prospect companies. It will look for any email addresses on any given domain. You can look up 150 records for free every month and 1,000 for just $39.
23. Find out if you are connected
Before you meet someone you might want to find out if you are connected and share any mutual contacts to give you a warm intro. Linkedin is the first place you should look. If you want to see if someone is connected through mutual friends on another platform such as Facebook, use a tool like discover.ly.
24. Use communities
Don’t underestimate the value of forums and communities to sell your product. You could set up an open Facebook group focusing on the issues your service resolves. If you build this community you will be the first company that the members come to buy from. Netflix initially started as a DVD rental business. It quickly reached 1,000 rentals a day without any spend on advertising. They just spent time posting in film fan forums, saying they provided films that were not available elsewhere.
25. Make waves
In business, we can be wary of doing anything that may upset another. But sometimes to get noticed you might want to be a little provocative. ISP Easynet ran full page adverts in the London Evening Standard featuring a boxing ring with a business woman punching a businessman and the headline “When your employees discover that their Internet connection could be 140* times faster” It was provocative and it got more coverage based on its nature than the advert alone. Betting company Paddy Power use this approach constantly.
26. Going Viral
Without a doubt, the most successful viral campaign of recent times was the ice bucket challenge. It wasn’t just about making a funny video, it was about joining in, it had a strong participation and offline element. If you were nominated, you had little choice but to follow through with it. Not all virals have to be online, you can get things going at a local level in the real world.
27. Capitalising on your personal brand
We all have a personal brand, Google yourself and you will see it, it might be limited to your Linkedin but it is there. So harness it for your benefit. Build it up, make sure you are the first person people think off when they think of your type of product or services. When you think of Virgin you think of Richard Branson before you think of the products and services they sell.
28. The little things
To grow their market, Hotmail added a small sign off strap line to the end of every Hotmail that was sent. Get your Free Email at Hotmail. The link took you to the Hotmail sign up page. They went from 200,000 sign ups to over a million in six months. Is there any call to action in your email signature?
To grow Airbnb they capitalised on the popularity of the existing site Craigslist. When users listed on Airbnb they could list on Craigslist as well with one click so they took advantage of the existing large base. They also directly contacted people listing on Craigslist to get them to list on Airbnb. Are there opportunities to piggyback on another company’s base? (Although unlike Airbnb we’d recommend you work with them rather than taking a black hat approach.)
Using another company’s customer base, as shown in the Airbnb example, can quickly grow your own base. Partnering takes many forms, from simple reselling to product integration. Partnering will take more work and longer than you than you expect, it’s unlikely that both companies have exactly the same priorities. Explore partnering but appreciate that each company will have their own agenda.
31. Make sure your customers are using your service
Once a customer has bought your service it is important that they use it. Twitter recognised that if people followed 5-10 people straight away they were more likely to become regular users of the service, so they present users with suggestions who to follow. Make sure your users are using your service and getting the full benefit of the features. This will increase your renewal rate.
32. Get People into a room
When we think of Tinder we think of a phone app. But they grew by running face to face events in US colleges. To gain entry you had to download the app. Events are a great way to get in front of your audience but it is unlikely that simply hosting something about your company is enough. Run an event about a topic and invite other speakers as well as yourselves. Google Campus in London provides a free space for events and Microsoft partners can host events free of charge at Microsoft sites.
33. Create a need
You might have the most fantastic product and you might have some great customers but to get to a wider audience you may have to create a need for your service over others. Famously De Beer’s created the need for a diamond engagement ring and every year or so they tell people how much they should be spending on an engagement ring in relation to their salary.
34. Grind, spam or pay
If you are on Facebook you no doubt will have at some time been invited by a friend to play a game. Zynga’s model makes people playing games either take a long time to move on to the next level, pay to boost or get other people to play to move on in the game. Getting your customers to actively promote your service in return for a credit or new service will drive your growth.
35. Find out what your customers are talking about
http://www.buzzsumo.com/ lets you see the most popular and shared content based on any word. Enter the search term that you want to examine and Buzzsumo will give a list of the most shared results for the past year. You can then use this as the basis of your own SEO work and content creation planning.
36. See who has read your emails
Not the dreaded read receipt but Sidekick from Hubspot. It’s free. Hubspot also provides a free CRM. Hubspot’s business is in providing marketing automation and these free tools feed into their larger product offering. If someone has not opened your email, email them again, and then email them again.
37. Create a free tool
Creating a free tool that is really useful to your target audience will enable you to connect with more prospective customers. Capture their email address when the sign up for the free tool and bring them into your lead nurturing process. Internet security firm Solarwinds provides a dozen free tools to bring customers to their brand.
Tuesday is the day with the highest engagement on social media, so if you are launching a service, product or even just new content Tuesday is your day.
39. Repurpose Long Form Content
Take your content such as Powerpoints produced for webinars and turn them into other forms of content such as Slideshare. Every piece of content produced should be considered for other formats and used for further reach through social media. It is possible to produce many pieces of content from one larger piece.
40. Email drip campaigns
Nurture your leads through the sales funnel using a series of automated emails that drive towards a sales email at the end. Marketing automation tools will do this such as Hubspot or http://www.gmass.co/ which is a low-cost option for Gmail and the Gsuite. Drip email campaigns can be used right across the marketing funnel. Ensure that you segment your data so that the email messages and content being delivered to your customers is consistent with their place in the buyer’s journey.
41. Use third party validation
61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision, so without customer reviews you will have a lower conversion rate. Whether you show your reviews from third party sites or use a testimonial from your customers, third party validation of your product or service is powerful. If you have landing pages, put the third party validation on these. You can pull through customer comments and feedback through your social media channels.
42. 33% scroll popups on content
No one wants to be hit with a pop up when they land on a site but if someone is engaged with your content and reading it, you should capture them. Add a pop up at a third of the way through your content. https://sumo.com/ can provide this less intrusive popup for your website.
Use video on your site. People engage with video far more than plain text. Create your Youtube channel and publish content that is useful to your potential customers, from case studies to how to guides. Youtube is the second most used search engine with 3 billion searches a month. Make sure you are found.
44. Email from a real person
Don’t use “no reply”, “marketing”, “sales’ etc for outbound emails. People respond to people. Don’t confuse the from address with the signature, this is the address that people will see who has sent the email. If you are sending to a Gmail account this will help you avoid being directed to the promotions tab. Ensuring that you send from a real person is often consider even more important than crafting a great subject line.
45. Facebook Lookalike Audiences
If you use Facebook for marketing harness the power of your existing data by creating a Facebook lookalike audience. You can target people with similar characteristics to your own list on both Facebook and Instagram. You can choose the size of a Lookalike Audience, smaller audiences more closely match your original source audience. Creating a larger audience increases your potential reach, but reduces the level of similarity between the new Lookalike Audience and source audience data.
46. Content Extensions
If you have free content that you are giving away, produce an extension to that content, maybe a video guide, or another 50 examples of something, in exchange for an email address. Put the new content behind a wall that requires the customer to give you information. A simple email capture might suffice but if they have already engaged with a piece of content you can reasonably expect to gather some additional information at this stage, such as the person’s name, company name and may be even a phone number. The amount of requested data should not be so much as to put off the person from completing the form.
47. Try and Try again
Not all growth hacks will work the first time. You need to measure and repeat, AB testing and a lot of learning. Some things will work straight away others will need a bit more time. Don’t give up. Keep measuring and repeating. If you increase an email open rate by 5% look at what worked and get that increase up to 20%.
48. Create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey
The buyer’s journey starts a long time before they speak to you, they may be 60% of the way through the journey before they make direct contact. Ensure you have high quality engaging relevant content for every stage. There will be influencers you never speak to so make sure your content isn’t just aimed at the final decision maker as they may not join the buyer’s journey before you do.
49. Find what works and do it again
Look at what is working. Concentrate your efforts on your best returns and double down on them. If you are producing 10 leads from one source what would you have to do to produce 100?
50. Work with a growth marketing company
Find a company that understands more than just traditional marketing and that can identify the growth hacks that will work for your company. Many of the growth hacks in this guide can be implemented quite simply but it is important that their success is measured and that the hacks are tuned and reworked. Not all hacks will work for your company so an experienced growth marketing company will save you time and make you more money by getting it right first time.
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The guide provides 50 fantastic ways to grow your business, with real world examples and some special insider tips.
If you are serious about growing your business you need to read this guide.
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Doogheno are specialist in growing businesses. Combining fantastic content driven marketing and solid proven sales tactics with the energy and philosophy of growth hacking, Doogheno will grow your business.
You will close more sales, your pipeline will be bigger, your sales cycle will be shorter and you will retain more customers as a result of adopting the growth marketing program.
The way companies buy has changed dramatically over the last 10 years, we all have to work far harder to get a qualified lead. Buyers are more knowledgeable and competition comes from companies you’ve never heard of. Simply doing the same as you always have done will not work anymore.
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