Are you looking for growth and marketing strategies and tips to excel your business and cultivate loyal customer followings in 2018? One of our biggest challenges as Business Owners is to get the word out about our product and services. Here are 42 strategies and tips for rapid experimentation across a variety of marketing channels.
As the Founder and CEO of air events global, I often get asked what my marketing strategies for growth are for our startup. I have collated my top 42 marketing growth strategies and tips to share with you and hopefully you will be able to integrate and implement some of these to grow and scale your business rapidly.
3 Questions to answer before we start
To growth hack your brand building, you need to answer the following 3 questions:
- What is your purpose?
- What are your beliefs?
- What is your cause?
Overall, what is the reason your brand exists and why should anyone care? Once you figure this out, you can come to grips with not only communicating your why; additionally becoming the absolute embodiment of it.
#1. Establish a Position
A good place to start is to list your competitors and all that they do well and not so well and then outline how you could differentiate your brand. What do you do well from your customers’ perspective? Are you cheaper, deliver internationally, offer free postage etc.? Take a moment to write down 10 key words to describe your brand positioning or competitive advantage.
At its core, positioning is a statement. It’s a sentence or two that clearly defines the problem you’re setting out to solve and why your solution is compelling. Your positioning statement should remain in-house, but it’s crucial to everything that follows: aligning teams, hiring the right people, developing the best product, communicating the value of your work etc. It all starts with positioning.
You need to position your product or service in the mind of your user. That requires taking your prospective users into account, assessing the product or services strengths and weaknesses, and considering your competition. There are so many products and services out there, and people are busy. You have to know who you are. Before implementing any of the following strategies and tips, take some time to work on and be very clear of your positioning statement. Remember, your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.
#2. Content Marketing
We have all heard the saying, “content is king” and it is so true. Content marketing is an essential factor of the digital marketing strategy. It is a smart investment whereby value grows with time. It can produce value leads that accelerate business growth. Right from the start, your online presence should articulate your value offering to the client. It should work to build your online reputation. Outstanding content, coupled with a smart SEO strategy expands your potential client base and builds a following.
Start with a strategy and before writing; be sure you understand the behaviour, preferences and problems of your target audience. Only then can you deliver content that will capture their attention. A good idea is to keep abreast of what your competition is writing about and focus on the most popular topics, as you will be delivering content you know that your target audience is interested in.
Keyword planning is crucial as the creation of content has the overall objective to bring more probable customers to your website. You can do this by promoting your content through social media, however you need to focus on keywords to ensure you are reaching your target demographic. Two favourites are Google Keyword Planner and Moz Fresh Web Explorer.
It is vital that you choose the most effective medium for your content. Research all of the relevant platforms and choose two to begin with and focus on those two platforms. Once you have successfully delivered content through those two platforms, add more platforms to your content marketing strategy.
#3 Diffusion of Innovation: Targeting Early Adopters
Many marketers make the mistake of targeting the mass market too soon. The reason this rarely works is because the majority of people oppose change, and are not receptive to products and services that are not already recommended by early adopters.
If you want to own the majority market share, your initial launch strategy and messaging must appeal to innovators and early adopters. Once you have a number of case studies, testimonials, and respected innovators advocating for your brand, then it’s time to approach the majority. We integrated #earlyadopters as part of our marketing campaign when launching air events global.
#4. Engage in online communities
One of the Internet’s greatest strengths is its ability to bring together people with similar interests in online communities. This can be an excellent growth strategy for your brand. Responding to questions on Reddit, LinkedIn, Quora etc. to help drive targeted traffic to your website. It helps build credibility for your business and you personally also. Each week I aim to answer between 30-50 questions on various sites to build our online profile.
#5. Schedule social media posts using Buffer
One of my favourite schedulers is Buffer as I can schedule Facebook and Twitter posts for air events global weeks in advance and this saves an enormous of time. There are many scheduling sites that you can use and it is about choosing the one that works best for you, check out Hootsuite, Meet Edgar, Sprout Social and Tweet Deck also.
#6. Conversion Rate Optimisation: Increase your signups with split-test experiments
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the science behind understanding why your visitors are not ‘converting’ into customers, and then improving your messaging or value proposition to increase this rate of conversions.
How to identify customer objections:
The fastest way to understand why potential customers are not converting is to ask them. Below are several tools and techniques that I’d personally recommend.
- Install Intercom, this is a great tool that allows you to talk in real time with website visitors. www.intercom.com
- Ask visitors to fill out a survey using Survey Monkey. Usually, you’ll need to incentivise this with some kind of giveaway. www.surveymonkey.com
- Ask for feedback in a forum your customers participate on.
- Commission some user tests on www.hotjar.com
- Invite someone you know (a customer) for an in-depth interview and have a pre-set list of questions ready to ask them. Ensure that you have a thank you gift to thank them for their time.
- Once you have collated this customer research, hopefully you will have a good idea of what is preventing your visitors from converting. Now it’s time to make changes to your landing page to counter these objections.
The first thing I’d recommend is focusing on the areas with the most leverage. Focus on your headlines, call to actions, and lead capture forms. Use tools such as Leadformly; which will give you a high-converting form without having to spend months split testing different variations.
#7 Facebook Advertising: Finding your perfect audience using segmentation
Most people think of Facebook Ads as an acquisition channel for driving signups. The truth is that it’s also one of the best customer research tools we have available to us.
There is no limit to how finely you can segment a Facebook advert. If you wanted, you could run an identical advert to 50 different demographic and psychographic audience segments. Using conversion tracking, you can see which demographics and psychographics then have the highest conversion rate on your service. For air events global, Facebook ads are a very quick and affordable tool to verify whom our audience is and what our cost-per-acquisition is for each different demographic group.
#8 Twitter Advertising
Twitter Ads can be very effective, however I personally have found them quite expensive within our startup budget. What has worked for air events global through Twitter ads has been promoting our content such as blogs as this launches our content to a large audience, who then introduces and shares this content to an event larger audience.
#9. Using Twitter to connect
When sharing content on Twitter, try mentioning people directly as this will create re-tweets and exposure for your brand. Focus on creating a regular cadence of content that is relevant to your target audience and authentic to your brand. I focus on keeping the tweets short, using visuals, incorporating relevant hash tags, asking questions and running polls. Social media is about building relationships and when someone shares one of your blogs, retweets or shares your content; they are showing interest in you and your brand. Thanking them on Twitter is a great opportunity to connect and encourages them to share again.
#10. Market Penetration
This is a marketing strategy aimed to increase sales of existing products or services on existing markets, with the aim to increase your market share. To do this, you can attract customers away from your competitors and/or make sure that your own customers buy your existing products or services more often. This can be accomplished by a price decrease, an increase in promotion and distribution support; the acquisition of a rival in the same market or moderate product refinements.
#11. Market Development
This means increasing sales of existing products or services on previously unexplored markets. Market expansion involves an analysis of the way in which a company’s existing offer can be sold on new markets, or how to grow the existing market. Market development is a strategic step taken by a company to develop the existing market rather than looking for a new market. The company looks for new buyers to pitch the product to a different segment of consumers in an effort to increase sales.
#12. Product Development
The objective is to launch new products or services on existing markets. Product development may be used to extend the offer proposed to existing customers with the aim of increasing their turnover. This can be done in a few different ways, for example investment in research and development of additional products, acquisition of rights to produce someone else’s product, buying another product and branding it, joint development with ownership of another company who need access to the company’s distribution channels or brands etc.
This means launching new products or services on previously unexplored markets. Diversification involves the marketing, by the company, of completely new products and services on a completely unknown market.
Diversification may be divided into further categories:
Horizontal: This involves the purchase or development of new products by the company, with the aim of selling them to existing customer groups. These new products are often technologically or commercially unrelated to current products but that may appeal to current customers. For example, a company that was making notebooks earlier may also enter the pen market with its new product.
Vertical Diversification: The company enters the sector of its suppliers or of its customers. For example, if you have a company that does reconstruction of houses and offices and you start selling paints and other construction materials for use in this business. Diversification can be carried out using company’s own resources or by acquiring other companies.
Concentric Diversification: Concentric diversification involves the development of a new line of products or services with technical and/or commercial similarities to an existing range of products. This type of diversification is often used by small producers of consumer goods, e.g. a bakery starts producing pastries or dough products.
*You will need to be very clear about development costs and what your alternatives are. Wherever possible, try and control risk by securing orders or commitments up front.
#14. Subscribe on your competitors’ email lists for daily inspiration
Knowledge is power. We all have competitors, directly or indirectly. I encourage you to go onto their websites and subscribe to their newsletters so you can ensure you know when they are releasing new products, having a sale, hosting social media competitions and the like. Use a personal email, not your business email though.
#15. Use Infographics as part of your content
Infographics are informative and eye-catching and have all of the required information in one quick post. As business owners we are keen for each piece of content to have key takeaways and this means having a concise and memorable message. The use of visuals provides the ideal platform for this and by developing a compelling brand proposition through an infographic; we are increasing our customers remembering our key takeaways. I personally use Canva for my creative; however again there are a plethora of tools that can be used. Other recommendations are Infogram, Visme, Piktochart, Dipity, Info Active and Venngage.
#16. Run an Instagram Hashtag contest
This is a very quick and easy way to generate an Instagram following, generate engagement, and collect user generated content. Instagram is a marketing platform that offers a rich opportunity to promote your business and brand to a very engaged audience in a relatively easy and cost effective way. We use Instagram contests to build our following and brand awareness. A couple of things you do need to consider is what type of content, is it a raffle or competition? What prizes are you going to give away? What hashtags are you going to use, you must ensure that they are relevant to your brand and audience. What time are you going to host the contest and remember to take into consideration time zones. Finally, how are you going to share and promote your Instagram contest?
*User generated content is any type of content that has been created and distributed by unpaid contributors. It can be pictures, testimonials, videos, tweets, blog posts and is the act of users promoting a brand rather than the brand itself.
#17. Use Buzzsumo to find the most shared content for a keyword
This is an excellent tool for seeing what the most popular and shared content is for any topic in your industry. Enter the search term you need information on and Buzzsumo will show you the most shared results. I personally use this tool to determine if there is an SEO opportunity for air events global. It tells us how content performs online and breaks down that performance by multiple metrics across domains, keywords and topics. This data helps us create, optimise and promote content and is an excellent growth strategy.
Influencer marketing is an important tool, however is in the pool of long-term, not short-term marketing strategies and needs to be integrated into your overall marketing strategy. Influencer marketing is the process of identifying, researching, engaging and supporting the people who create the online conversations that impact your brand. It is about finding opportunities to build relationships with people who touch your potential customers in some way. They are the people that will help you achieve more, with less.
Our two favourites are: The Right. Fit and Tribe
#19. Creating presentations on Slideshare
Creating slideshares with useful tips, advice and content will help drive traffic to your website, in addition to helping with SEO, higher Google rankings, lead generations and has free analytics so you can see how you are tracking. Slide based presentations are a great, low-risk way to give your audience the information they need in an eye-catching visual format.
#20. Using LinkedIn
Using LinkedIn is an easy way to share your content and can assist in building a targeted following that is different from your website and social media platforms. I use the advanced search as this allows me to search by industry, company size, demographic etc. It saves an enormous amount of time and introduces me to new connections in a very fast and efficient way.
#21. Using YouTube for video
YouTube is an excellent marketing tool and is a great opportunity to post video tutorials on your business. From high traffic volume, viral marketing opportunities, search engine rankings and worldwide accessibility, YouTube is a resource to be added to your overall marketing campaign. I also like to use YouTube to answer our frequently asked questions and answers via a video link. If you are not using YouTube for your business, jump on today and create a YouTube channel, as it is an excellent way to share content.
#22. Make your emails personal
This is an important tool for air events global, as we want all of our clients and freelancers to feel valued. Personally thank them for doing business with you and ask if there is anything that you can help them with. Making an email personal will help build a strong business relationship and is a great opportunity to ask for feedback and also for reviews about your business. This can be time-consuming, however many of our clients and freelancers have told us how much they appreciated the personalisation.
#23. Focus heavily on building email lists
You only realise the power of a good email list when you have one at your disposal. Consider a medium that goes straight to someone’s inbox with the message you want and in exactly the format that you want it. Email is still my favourite one to one communication for air events global as it helps us with the following:
- Communicate with our users personally
- Allows our users to opt-in to various notifications
- Send out reminders and updates
- It lets our users know about upcoming events
- Keeps our users engaged with blogs and useful content
- Reaches our audience very quickly
We use Campaign Monitor for our email campaign, however there are some fantastic options available, such as Mail Chimp.
#24. Get in front of as many people as possible through PR
It is imperative to put your business in front of the media if you are to achieve your goals of growth. Selection of the media you would like to share your business with, to perfecting your cold email pitch and building long-lasting media relations is essential. You can outsource your PR to an agency or freelancer, or another option is DIY PR.
There are numerous networks that pair reporters with sources and each day you receive a list of stories that journalists who use the service are working on. If there is a story that is relevant to you, you can submit a pitch directly to the journalist. Make sure you check that you have quotes that they can use in their story, your name and contact details are included and a link to your website and social media handles.
Some of the sites that we use are HARO (help a reporter out), MyBlogU, PRNewswire, Source Bottle, Muck Rack, Media Kitty and Pitching Notes. You can definitely DIY when it comes to PR, but there must be something that can WOW your readers and thus, be a reason for someone to write about.
#25. Perfect your Customer Life Cycle
Understanding our customers and what they need is paramount in business. Talk to your customers and map each interaction (touch-point) that they have experienced with your brand. The best take away from this is finding out how you could improve their experience from one touch point to the next. I focus on how our users interact with our brand and how they make decisions and using various types of user feedback tools such as surveys and feedback forms is highly valuable. One user feedback tool that enables users to poll visitors with short surveys is Qualaroo and it appears at the bottom of the screen as a widget. It also has a feature that can allow you to create different rules about where and when the surveys are triggered and what questions will be asked. Some other tools to look into are Consumer Barometer, Poll Daddy, Web Engage and Kampyle.
#26. Using Case Studies
The use of case studies is all part of telling a story and can be very effective in the eyes of your customers. A case study is a more developed version of the testimonial, however instead of using a quote from a customer, you tell the customers story. We like to begin with the customers problem and by including quotes, the benefits of using air events global and the successful end result weaved into a cohesive story, it is easy for other potential customers to see how they too can benefit by using our shared economy platform.
#27. Build your own database
I set up Google Alerts for key phrases I know are related to my business and my target demographic. I then peruse all the suggested articles as they come in and if I find a piece that is relevant, I reach out to the author to get her/his contact info. I’ll email or tweet them asking if I can add them to our mailing list. Nine times out of ten, they say yes.
#28. Guest Blogging
We have already established that getting quality traffic and creating brand influence are very important when it comes to growing your business and guest blogging can help. Buffer, the social media scheduling app managed to grow it’s customer base from 0 to 100,000 when it’s Co-Founder did approximately 150 guest posts over a short period of time. Blogging websites such as ShoutmeLoud, Outbrain and Hubspot often accept guest blog posts and can help get you the maximum exposure that you need.
#29. Digital Analytics, Click Tracking, and Scroll Tracking
Numbers are an important metric to check the success of any campaign. And this is where the digital analytics, click tracking, and scroll tracking come in handy. Using these tracking techniques, you can optimise your marketing return on investments and content offerings among other things to improve overall business performance. Click Tracking allows you to know the number of times each link has been clicked by your subscribers. You can also track when specific elements on the page are scrolled into view. This analytical approach helps to position text and links in a manner so that they get optimum response. Google Analytics is a great option to track numbers for your business.
#30. Leverage brand advocacy with user-generated content
We are huge fans of user-generated content and this works well for us when freelancers are working at various events and share photos and videos from their perspective. One tip is to encourage your customers to display your products in the best way with photo reviews and also repost social media shared that include visual media. This builds credibility for your brand and encourages others to share also.
#31. Social media advocacy
While you can boast your own product and service, using third-party cheerleaders known as brand advocates promoting you through their own social media channels is more effective. Social media advocacy means leveraging the social networks of the people who like and/or are invested in your continued success – your customers and employees. By turning as many of these people as possible into brand advocates, people who proactively talk up and advocate for your company to their own networks, you can extend your reach and generate greater brand affinity.
This is different to influencer marketing, as you do not need to pay for brand advocates to promote your business. By leveraging existing fans and employees, you can increase brand awareness, develop strong customer loyalties and facilitate valuable customer feedback loops.
What is a customer feedback loop?
A feedback loop is a system that you use to gather feedback, learn from feedback and make changes to your products and service based on the feedback. The purpose is to improve your offerings in the eyes of your customer.
Feedback loops are important because they give you a systemised approach to listening to and learning from customers. Your customers are your livelihood – they pay for your products, keep your doors open and fuel your business growth. They are in the best position to give you feedback that you can use to create an even better product or a more amazing customer experience.
Feedback loops provide your customers with opportunities to tell you how you’re doing. You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to tell you when you make mistakes or when you do a good job. By offering multiple feedback loops, you are always in reach when a customer has something to say.
#32. Getting feedback from your customers
Another great way to achieve growth is by providing demos of your product or service. Demos are an excellent way to receive insightful feedback on the quality of your product or service and related user experiences. Listening to the voice of the customer is so helpful when growing your business as customers play a significant role in guiding the marketing and overall business strategy. At air events global, we are dedicated to listening to our clients and freelancers as this ensures we deliver a quality user experience and allows us to map future development based on precise information received through these interactions. A brilliant outcome of these interactions is the ability to predict key features that the customers need in the future.
#33. Cross-promotion and Partnerships/Joint Ventures
Spend some time researching other businesses and brands that you feel would be a good fit and reach out to them to cross-promote. There are many ways you can integrate cross promotion and two that have been successful for us are co-producing a newsletter and cross promoting your brands on social media (we used Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). Partnerships and joint ventures are also helpful to expand your business by joining forces with another company. Successful co-operation can deliver more resources, sharing of managerial load, larger skills and talent base, bigger pool of contacts, increase in markets, diversification and organic growth using increased resources. This can offer both parties significant benefits, including shared experience, skills, people, equipment and customer bases.
#34. Be consistent so that people recognise you
To be remembered and recognised by your target audience, you need to be consistent in your branding. For that reason, you should create a style guide (or brand kit) that establishes a standard for all of your brand communications, including writing and design.
Brand Guidelines (also commonly referred to as “brand standards”, “style guide” or “brand book”) are essentially a set of rules that explain how your brand works. These guidelines typically include basic information such as:
- An overview of your brand’s history, vision, personality and key values.
- Brand message or mission statement – including examples of ‘tone of voice’.
- Logo usage – where and how to use your logo including minimum sizes, spacing and what not to do with it.
- Colour palette – showing your primary and secondary colour palettes with colour breakdowns for print, screen and web.
- Type style – showing the specific font that you use and details of the font family and default fonts for web use.
- Image style/photography – examples of image style and photographs that work with the brand.
- Business card and letterhead design – examples of how the logo and font are used for standard company literature.
#35. Tell an engaging brand story
Every successful brand has a story behind it. Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points.
A brand story is more than content and a narrative. The story goes beyond what’s written in the copy on a website, the text in a flyer or the presentation used to pitch to investors or customers. Your story isn’t just what you tell people it’s also what they believe about you based on the signals your brand sends. The story is a complete picture made up of facts, feelings and interpretations, which means that part of your story isn’t even told by you.
Everything you do, each element of your business or brand, from the colours and texture of your packaging and business cards, to the staff you hire is part of your brand story and every element should reflect the truth about your brand back to your audience.
What is your brand story?
#36. Embrace digital transformation
Staying the same, being reactive, becoming complacent does not support a sustainable business model. The needs of your audience will change, as will the way they want to receive information. Evolving with digital trends and embracing the technologies afforded through digital and experiment with new ways of reaching your customers, will keep your business moving forward at all times.
We all need to make use of today’s digital technologies for a change in business prowess. Deeper customer behavioral insights, faster adaptation to change, and re-thinking business models for greater reach are requirements for businesses to succeed in today’s world. How a company decides to embrace digital depends on the company and where it is in its business cycle.
Among the digital needs and challenges shared by most companies, these three often stand out:
- Improving customer experience on multiple platforms and devices and at every customer touch-point. Mobile and cloud presence is expected for most companies, but at the level of a great user experience. Few companies meet this expectation at all touchpoints, human and self-service.
- Improving customer knowledge. Companies today need to understand and interact with their customers at a deeper level. What influences them? How do you ensure access to the “buy button” wherever they might be? How do you understand purchase patterns for improved upselling? The goal is clear but achieving it is a challenge.
- Hiring the right talent. A company’s challenge may be simply getting the right talent for new technologies. Data scientists are needed to make sense of big data. Social-media savvy Millennials may be your means to tap into that brilliant market.
#37. Reward Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty reflects a customer’s willingness to buy from or work with a brand again and again, and it’s the result of a positive customer experience, customer satisfaction and the value of the products or services the customer gets from the transaction. Loyal customers convert and spend with brands they like more often, they spend more and they tell their family and friends about positive experiences. Word of mouth marketing is more effective at driving new customers than branded content and advertising, and in turn, these referred customers become loyal customers that are likely to spend more than average.
Customer retention isn’t just about meeting customer expectations, but rather exceeding their expectations so that they become loyal advocated of your brand. There are a plethora of ways that you can reward customer loyalty, such as create a loyalty card scheme, give away free items with multiple purchases, team up with an another business to offer reciprocal discounts, invite customers to trial developing products and services for free, offer additional products and services at a discount, reward introductions and referrals by giving customers a reason to recommend you to family and friends by offering them discounts and free gifts in return for every new customer they introduce to your business.
#38. Re-publish your content to content platforms
This is a great way to share your content to a much larger audience and our top picks are: LinkedIn Articles, Medium, Tumblr, Ghost, Typepad and Post Haven.
People want to feel like they are part of something special, which is why exclusive invitations or offers work extraordinarily well as a growth hacking strategy. Building exclusivity around a product or service makes it more desirable for a lot of users. Exclusivity can be built by making the usage of the product or service invitation only (which has been used by many companies) or based on strict profiling of users. When this happens, users feel the product or service is for a limited audience, thus leading to the urge to be part of it.
#40. Platform hacking
Capitalising on the success of another platform or business is a great way to grow your own. Try to find a way to work with other relevant platforms, businesses, products or services to cultivate your own business. An excellent example of a platform hack, a simple yet brilliant bot allowed users listing their properties on the fledgling rental space Airbnb to cross-post them to Craigslist in one click.
Taking advantage of Craigslist’s well-established user base not only allowed Airbnb to get its name in front of as many new users as possible, but it also helped to ensure that the properties they listed for rent were booked more often, making listing with them more lucrative for users.
#41. Set up a referral program
1. Build referral strategy (audience and incentives)
2. Send an email asking for Advocates to share
3. Build the landing experience for the Friends
4. Track the Referrals
5. Send Rewards
Be sure to define your audience before emailing everyone on your email database. You have to make sure you ask the right people to share. You can’t ask too early in the journey. This is why referrals are usually a bigger opportunity for companies that have a bigger audience. If you simply have an email list that hasn’t yet transacted with you, asking them for referrals will not be productive. Choosing the right audience to ask is crucial to the success of your referral program.
#42. Our favourite Traffic Growth Tools
There are many traffic growth tools that can help you get involved in conversations, gain insight into your competitors and help identify which areas of your website that should be optimised to increase traffic and we have our favourite 5: Colibri, MixRank, Pay with a Tweet, Click to Tweet and Twilighter.
And that’s a wrap…These are just some of the marketing growth tools that I use for air events global, however don’t be afraid to try new hacks. The name of the game is experimentation to see what works for you and your target audience. Growth is the destination and growth-marketing strategies are the journey. Let the #hustle begin.