Ever heard of growth hacking? If not, then it’s about time you learned more about it. The term itself may not be attractive and may be misconstrued as a black-hat SEO trick, but the concept is actually quite simple and effective. Simply put, it involves the use of free marketing strategies for purposes of growing a business. Following are some tips on how you can use the concept of growth hacking to acquire more customers and ultimately grow your business.
Like many other modern businesses, you probably have a company website. Naturally, you’ll have to make sure your website is helping you grow your business. It is therefore important for you to keep abreast of how your site is performing and make adjustments wherever necessary. One tool that can help you measure your website’s strength is SEOzio.
All you need to do is provide your web address on the SEOzio dashboard and then click on the Submit button. Within about a minute, you’ll get a report on your website’s performance. You’ll see your site’s overall ranking along with rankings based on specific metrics—link analysis, branding, crawlability and site code. On the top right portion of the report, you’ll also see the top issues the tool has identified.
Let’s say, for example, your website has an overall rank of 60/100. The score may not be that bad, but there’s certainly a lot of room to improve. Let’s take this example further and assume your branding score is a measly 32 percent. There’s a link that allows you to view your branding results in detail; that link lets you figure out what aspects you can improve on.
One of the realities of life many people find difficult to accept is change. The problem with not accepting change is that change is inevitable. If you panic at the mere thought of change, you’re likely to suffer the biggest losses. Let’s assume you’ve been maintaining a website for years using a combination of white hat and black hat SEO tricks. Then here come Google’s algorithm updates. You could panic and start removing all of your links and maybe even changing your URLs with the thought of getting a fresh start. You just might end up doing more harm to your business.
Instead, audit your links to identify the ones hurting your business, and then start getting them removed and/or disavowed on Google Webmaster Tools. You should also review your online content and remove any stuffed with keywords without really providing valuable information. Replace them with content that’s truly relevant, informative and unique. Accepting the reality that SEO is a mercurial industry lets you flow with the changes faster every time the major search engines alter the playing field.
When the first people who patronize a product or service are well taken care of, they tend to become the business’ staunchest allies. One excellent way of making your first customers feel appreciated is to send out thank you emails. Make sure the emails are personalized and include an offer of help anytime they feel the need for your services. Perhaps you could send out these personalized thank you emails to your first 50 or 100 customers.
After that, you could send out a generic email that still offers some value and makes people feel appreciated. For example, you could send out an email thanking a customer for making a purchase on your site and then include a link to a page where they can claim a free gift. The gift can be as simple as a shirt with your company logo on it. You’ll be surprised at how much this small investment can help your business.
Every business website needs to have an FAQ page. You probably already know this, but do you realize you can use this page to acquire more customers? The aim is to target queries that lead to purchases. This strategy can help get your page on top of search results for specific questions your customers want answered. Make sure that each answer on your FAQ page includes a clear call to action, so people are encouraged to sign-up or make a purchase.
Businesses have long used referral programs, but many people don’t really know how to take full advantage of this strategy. In a lot of cases, referral programs don’t really offer much of a value, which is why they only work for the short term. To make your referral program work for the long term and encourage existing customers to keep referring their family and friends, make sure the value you offer in exchange of the referral directly addresses at least one of their needs. For example, if you’re running a spa, you could offer a free massage or facial for every new customer referred.
This is a fairly simple concept. It involves distributing products and/or services through partner businesses at discounted rates. Let’s say you’re in the business of selling ladies’ footwear. You could partner with a site selling women’s clothing as well as with someone selling accessories. Perhaps you could offer a 20 percent discount to those who click through to your site from your partner sites. The best thing about this strategy is that you don’t have to pay for the opportunity to advertise your business on your partner sites. Many businesses will allow you to advertise on their site for free as long as you return the favor.
Some people refer to this strategy as social prospecting while others call it comment marketing. Whatever you call it, though, the key is to market your brand by reaching out to your target customers in the comments section of social platforms.
One effective tactic is to run a search on Twitter for keywords related to your products and/or services. When you see people looking for help with something your business directly addresses, give a helpful response and then subtly ask them to click on a link “for more information” on the subject.
You could also simply name-drop your brand after giving helpful recommendations. When you offer value first, people are more likely to grant the favor you ask or take the action you recommend.
Why do you need to check where your competitors are being mentioned? Well, the simplest answer is that the places where your competitors get mentioned are among the best places to find link prospects. Think about it.
Your competitors basically address the same needs you do, which means the people who mention them are likely interested in what you have to offer. Every mention of your competitor is therefore an opportunity for you to give these people an alternative (hopefully a better one, of course).
Tracking competitors’ mentions can be as easy as signing up for a Moz Analytics account and then using the Fresh Web Explorer mentions tool. This tool allows you to check and compare your competitors’ mentions against your own. Mention is also another excellent tool, as it helps you track mentions on both social media and the Web in general. Even better news is that you can sign up for free!
People are more likely to patronize your brand once you’ve established yourself as an authority in the industry. Conducting a survey and then publishing it on your company website as well as a few of your social media pages is one of the best ways to establish authority. Of course, you have to make sure your survey offers impactful data people can use as points of reference. A project such as this may take a lot of time and effort, but if you do it right, it will be worth it.
Making people feel important is one of the best ways to earn their loyalty to your brand. There are many ways to make people feel important, and one of these ways is to reach out to them even after they’ve shown disinterest in what you have to offer. In most cases, businesses simply forget about the people who discontinue their accounts after a free trial or cancel their account for whatever reason. Don’t make the same mistake.
Just because these people aren’t interested in what you have to offer now doesn’t mean they’ll never be interested. Send them an email asking about their experience with your brand and then make an offer bound to encourage them to give your brand another try. For example, you could extend their free trial or offer a free gift or a discount on their first purchase.
There you have it—some of the top ways to acquire more customers and successfully grow your business. If the list seems overwhelming, step back a little, take a deep breath, and go through it one at a time. You don’t have to do everything at once. In fact, you shouldn’t try to do everything at once. In any business, slow but sure always does the job.
What are your top tips for growing your business? Share in the comment section below!
Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America. If you would like to invite the author to write on your blog too please contact www.pitstopmedia.com