6 Growth Hacking Tips for Small Business in 2017
First things, first.
The world is becoming increasingly mobile and connected. Most of the businesses are exploring newer models and revenue streams with the Internet to meet the evolving consumer demands. Starting a new business has become easier than ever before, thanks to the Internet. Every year many entrepreneurs start their journey with big dreams, some of them are even able to get funding from investors. However, most of these business owners fail to take into account the survivorship bias; some studies show that around 90% of the tech startups eventually fail. While an inability to find sustainable margins and cash flows is a major concern, the prime reason for failure cited by startups who failed is the lack of any market need for their product.
This isn’t a new development. Half baked business models, and lack of proper management has been cited as a primary cause of business failures and bankruptcies since 1930’s (Cover 1933). Having a right product/service, a well planned go-to-market strategy and a sustainable product life cycle planning are essential for running any business which performs consistently. Moreover, identifying the catalysts in growth is as essential as to knowing what usually impedes it. Hence, it’s important to establish proper systems and processes to monitor business performance. Even before you start planning for accelerated growth, take into account any alarming signs. As a small business, you must minimize wastage and focus on strategies that are bound to stimulate growth.
#1 Don’t reinvent the wheel
There is no need to invest too much in getting a bespoke software for your firm. Most of the business applications involved in operations, finance, sales, and marketing are readily available as SaaS on Cloud, which you can avail on a pay-as-you-go model. This can reduce a lot of time and costs involved in the software development and maintenance. Building and hosting servers in-house doesn’t make sense anymore. Still, if your business needs a custom application, you should be able to find relevant APIs to speed up development. On the other hand, if your vendor is building entire technology stack from scratch – it’s a reason to worry.
#2 Continue SEO
As a business owner, you must have already invested a lot of time, effort and energy in getting your website up and running. Coordinating and getting quality work from various service vendors and freelancers is not an easy task. Still, it’s only the start. Getting an online presence is just a small part of the entire exercise – the biggest challenge is to attract, influence and engage customers. Most businesses fail to do that convincingly.
Digital marketing is not magic, and it’s certainly not free. SEO is not only about website visits, but it’s also about improving site speed, freshness, and relevance. If you are doing SEO correctly, you will know it’s an essential and ongoing investment. You need to churn up unique content which can engage your customers consistently. Hence, long-term planning is required to see any returns from your digital marketing initiatives. Further, to make the most of any PPC or mailing campaign, you must have some marketing automation tools to capture leads and push them down the funnel.
#3 Identify the right medium
“The medium is the message” – in 1964, Marshall McLuhan introduced this phrase in his book. With the advent of online social media, the idea needs to be revisited. Leveraging social channels for business benefits is a very exciting idea; however, you need to pick select channels suiting your brand persona. The medium you choose to deliver your message is perhaps more important than your message. Every medium has a particular audience as well as personality. It is this context which makes LinkedIn a preferred channel for B2B marketers while Facebook continues to be the top choice for B2C businesses.
Further, you need high agility to utilize social channels. Commenting or tweeting on latest industry happenings and events is a norm these days. All this activity should not wait for your office hours. Maintaining a calendar and scheduling posts weeks/months in advance will not give you any desired results
#4 Hunt for testimonials and reviews
Word of mouth has always been most effective in shaping consumer opinion and winning more customers. This is why you need to hunt for customer testimonials and feedback (both positive and negative). Do not ignore your customer comments and complaints on social media. This is an issue even for large organizations where social media is adopted as an afterthought, and the teams are not empowered/trained to handle customer complaints. By giving an effective resolution of complaints on social channels or directing them to the concerned department, you can create a positive impact. People will identify you as someone who cares for its customers. Eventually, you can include customer testimonials and reviews in your marketing initiatives.
#5 Think beyond Apps
Not long ago, mobile applications were deemed as the holy grail of customer engagement and increased RoI. The thought has long been put to rest. There is a need to think beyond Apps as even those who started as a mobile-only business (Uber, Instagram, etc.) are now building web apps for larger screens. It is important for e-commerce as Apps cannot be seen as the only channel for engaging customers. Several surveys show that consumers usually rely on mobile for research and prefer completing most of their purchases via Desktop. Hence, an omnichannel approach for engaging customers at all touch points is becoming essential day-by-day.
#6 Keep track of the emerging technologies
AR, VR, and Chatbots have started making an impact in the digital space. While it might be too early to invest in these technologies, if you stay alerted, you can make most of the emerging opportunities. Pokemon Go was one such instance when an AR App helped numerous store owners in getting huge crowds to their stores. From time to time, such Apps will indirectly impact your business. As discussed before, leveraging the latest in technology is always easier with APIs.
Keep these growth hacking tips in mind will not guarantee business profits. You need to get them right and keep them day in and day out. That’s why growth hacking will happen.