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Success Hacks — 31 Mar 2022
Growth Marketing Trends to Boost Sales
Today’s marketers have more tools than ever at their disposal. When deciding upon the best digital marketing strategy, it can be helpful to look through the lens of growth marketing.
By taking a data-driven approach to today’s trends, growth marketing helps us make more informed decisions about our broader marketing strategy, accounting for the customer journey and user experience, as well as metrics like click-throughs, number of subscribers and landing page conversions.
This article examines the concept of growth marketing in great detail, as well as some of the most lucrative trends for today’s marketing campaigns and marketing teams.
Growth marketing is a broad term that overlaps with many different technologies. At its heart, though, growth marketing revolves around regular testing and experimentation.
Businesses engaged in growth marketing use tests to determine how best to encourage conversions from their customers. If something works, they keep doing it and build upon their initial idea. If something doesn’t work, they can run more tests to better understand their failure. This kind of careful analysis can help you to grow your business more effectively and achieve results that last years.
Growth marketing also takes a close look at the customers and target audience of a business—what they do, why they do it, and what makes them unique. This in turn allows marketers to deliver marketing messages that are more personalized. The flexible nature of growth marketing allows them to do this in several different ways at once, via many touchpoints.
The most obvious difference between growth marketing and traditional marketing strategies is scope. A traditional marketing strategy sticks to a handful of tried-and-true approaches, like email newsletters and Google Ads campaigns. Strategies like these aren’t bad, per se, but they fail to acknowledge the changing behavior of customers. This can lead to diminishing returns from your efforts, making the approach less cost-effective.
Growth marketing, in contrast, is more daring and experimental. By exploring multiple ways of boosting sales, businesses and sales teams don’t have to worry about any one failure or underperformance. There’s always something else that growth marketers can try out.
Old, Established Ideas
New, Experimental Ideas
Handful of Strategies
Many Different Strategies
Diminishing Returns (usually)
Increasing Returns (hopefully)
Growth marketing has some goals in common with conventional marketing. Businesses engaged in it want to increase their profits and get new customers, without losing the customers they already have.
Indeed, customer retention is often one of growth marketing’s key aims. This is because it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one. The former requires much less convincing of your virtues than the latter.
Once a business has high-quality customer retention strategies, they can start to acquire new customers. This is partially because of the work they’ve done to keep the customers they have.
Happy customers are likely to tell their friends about positive business experiences, which makes a business’ own marketing efforts more successful. This, in turn, makes growth marketing tactics bear more fruit than they would otherwise.
If this still sounds like traditional marketing to you, you would be accurate. The main point of differentiation is the speed at which all this takes place. By considering multiple marketing strategies at once and monitoring success in real-time, businesses engaged in growth marketing can expand their businesses and increase their sales numbers more quickly than usual. When used in conjunction with tools like CPAPI, businesses can grow even faster.
While we’ve established growth marketing is a broad idea, it manifests in a number of specific trends. This guide explores some of the most lucrative in greater detail.
Influencers have been around for some time now. While it’s easy to be skeptical about their value, in practice, influencers are an excellent business partner for growth marketers. As of 2021, the global market value of influencer marketing stands at $13.8 billion.
Influencer marketing is an idea that’s both familiar and innovative. It effectively combines word-of-mouth and social media marketing; customers seek recommendations from a source they intuitively trust.
While these recommendations are usually received in person, influencers foster a sense of intimacy and reliability to make their recommendations more credible. This is especially important when platform features and product features are so easy to replicate; influencers offer welcome differentiation for customers.
Like all marketing strategies, influencer marketing is something that continues to evolve. A key consideration for influencers is the platforms they work on. Historically, Instagram has been very popular for influencers. This is because of the platform’s user reach and capacity for sponsored posts.
However, following the recent blackout of Facebook’s services, it’s possible we may see influencers branching out into a wider range of social media platforms. It’s prudent for any online content creator to avoid putting all their eggs in one basket, and influencers are no different in this respect.
TikTok may be a possible choice for influencers wanting to diversify. It’s highly popular with younger internet users (think Millennials and Gen Z), and brands such as Chipotle have used viral videos on the platform to boost profits. In light of this, we may see more influencers producing content for both Instagram and Tiktok (if not other social media platforms) going forward.
More serious platforms—such as LinkedIn—play host to influencers too. However, these influencers operate in a slightly different fashion to the ones on other platforms. LinkedIn, for instance, counts the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson amongst its top influencers. These kinds of figures are certainly influential, but it may be more difficult to work directly with such figures for your own ends.
In light of this, it’s worth working with an influencer that has a comparatively smaller reach. It may even be beneficial to do so; in some cases, working with a lower-profile influencer can give greater reach to your marketing message.
Micro and nano-influencers are influencers whose follower numbers top out at 50,000. (The latter has less than 10,000.) They also tend to have very specific areas of interest, and more personal contact with their audience.
This mix of factors results in extremely high rates of engagement with the content these influencers produce. 92% of customers trust a micro-influencer over a traditional advert or celebrity endorsement.
This means that if you’re operating in the same niche as a micro or nano-influencer, it’s likely that working with them can significantly boost interest in what you’re selling. This in turn can inspire more sales of your products.
However, make sure you fit properly into an influencer’s niche beforehand. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to work together otherwise.
Partnering with an influencer (in a similar way to Affise Reach connecting brands and publishers) presents several questions about content format and ownership. However, they can offer vital legitimacy for your marketing messages.
Video marketing is an excellent way of driving interest and investment in what you have to offer. It’s popular across industries, with 93% of marketers citing it as a key part of their marketing strategy. The percentage of businesses using video as a marketing tool has seen steady growth from 2016 to 2019, followed by a very slight dip in 2020.
The benefits of video marketing are obvious. It’s an easily digestible form of communication; people watching a video can process key selling points with very little difficulty. It’s also highly versatile. Videos of different lengths and subject matter are possible, depending on your broader goals.
The rise of mobile devices has also given videos a new lease of life, and made the case for growth marketing more broadly. Marketing techniques such as emails and long-form sales pages don’t play nicely with small mobile screens. Since mobile devices are here to stay, marketing needs to adapt—and video marketing is a solid strategy as a result.
Of course, video isn’t the be all and end all of digital marketing. It’s possible to take a video and rework it for a very different format.
For instance, a business could rework audio from their video into a podcast episode. With over two million active podcasts, there is clearly an audience for such content among today’s customers.
If your audience prefers to read content instead of watching it, creating a video doesn’t cut this audience out of your marketing plan. You can transcribe a video and place the text in a variety of locations, including dedicated blog posts or even under the video it came from.
With exciting formats like 360° videos—as well as potential SEO applications—video marketing is both flexible and lucrative as a marketing path.
Just as video makes it easier to consume content, voice search makes it easier to find it. The rise of global smart speaker sales (more than 150 million units in 2020) shows that people are eager to search for things online in more intuitive ways.
Voice search isn’t the newest trend, but it’s gaining momentum thanks to the advances in the technology underpinning it. Since the early days of Siri and similar digital assistants, voice search has become much more intuitive and much more popular. This is likely to explain the increasing number of smart speaker purchases over time.
The rise of voice search means businesses have to change the way they attract customers. This is because voice search doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It inevitably overlaps with other facets of a broader marketing strategy.
For example, a business might want to add more long-tail keywords to their written content. This reflects the way people use voice search today; rather than using a single keyword, they will phrase queries as a question.
By anticipating a question and providing a detailed answer to it, businesses can push their pages into the featured snippets in search results. This in turn increases the chance of digital assistants reading them out.
We also need to reconsider keyword research. The words that people say aren’t necessarily the same as the ones they type. Factoring this into our keyword research will increase the visibility of our content.
Of course, voice search can also help to make sales directly. Domino’s Pizza, for instance, allows customers to order food through an Amazon smart speaker. In a similar vein, customers with the Paypal smartphone app can send money via Siri.
With other uses for voice search on the horizon (including ads in voice queries) understanding voice search is a solid strategy for any growth marketer.
Continuing on the topic of friction-free searching, visual search is another emerging trend at the moment. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Customers searching for things with pictures instead of words.
This idea currently manifests in a few different ways. One is uploading an image into a search engine. The search engine then shows search listings and visually similar images to help you find what you’re after. Some search engines even let you search for a specific object within a larger image.
Furthermore, there are multiple smartphone apps that allow for visual search. For example, Pinterest allows customers to take pictures of items to get further inspiration. It also incorporates shoppable Pins (i.e., results with a direct purchase link) into search results. The app can now recognize over 2.5 billion items.
Unsurprisingly, Google offers similar features through its Google Photos app. By activating its Google Lens feature, users can get information in a variety of contexts. They can scan a product to find similar ones online, for instance, or scan a book for a summary and reviews. They can even take pictures of a building for opening hours, historical information, and so on.
How can digital marketers capitalize on this trend? One option may be to have businesses develop their own visual search functionality, or incorporate existing tech into their own products. IKEA’s Place app is an example of this in action. It allows customers to view something through a smartphone camera, and have the app suggest a similar IKEA product. The app also offers other features like augmented reality and AI suggestions.
Unlike visual search, chatbots offer a clearer, broader path to adoption. They can be easily integrated into a range of websites, and they’re very popular with customers at the moment. Global chatbot market revenue is projected to increase dramatically over the next few years, rising to over $450 million by 2027.
Chatbots come with a number of different advantages for businesses. They’re available 24/7, so customers don’t have to wait for conventional business hours. They also provide responses to customer queries at a faster rate than a human customer service rep.
However, the biggest benefit might be the ways chatbots streamline messaging. A chatbot can answer simple questions without customers feeling embarrassed or self-conscious. They can also—potentially—access customer purchase history more quickly and easily than a human counterpart.
This doesn’t mean that all the benefits are on the customer side, however. Chatbots allow businesses to automate repetitive customer service features. This frees up customer service teams to tackle more complex customer queries, whether they’re using a cloud-based contact center, a traditional on-premises one, or in a small business’s back office.
Growth marketers can easily capitalize on chatbots’ popularity. There are many ways to add one to your website, including integrating one into your existing chat software and using an out-of-the-box chatbot.
While they are typically used to address customer queries, chatbots can also help you make sales more directly. For instance, a chatbot can help guide a customer towards a specific product that you sell. They can also funnel customers towards a broader product category, albeit one that displays the most relevant products to a specific customer.
With strong popularity and multiple uses, chatbots are an excellent choice for many of today’s businesses.
This phrase refers to buying a product from within a social media app, say on Twitter or via Facebook Messenger. It’s a highly effective new approach to ecommerce. Just as ecommerce merchandising best practices include guidance on appearance and information, removing barriers to a sale (like switching apps) makes it more likely that people will follow through on their purchase.
We’ve touched upon social commerce already with Pinterest’s “shoppable Pins” feature. Another example of social commerce in action is Instagram Checkout. Introduced in 2019, this allows Instagram users to buy something within the Instagram app. Shopping in this way allows customers to select size and color options. The app also saves payment information, and keeps customers updated on shipment and delivery details.
With other platforms like Snapchat and TikTok introducing similar features, social commerce could be seen as a natural confluence of social media and online shopping. As such, it’s likely we’ll see more platforms introducing it in the next few years.
In some parts of the world, for example, South East Asia, social commerce has seen great success. 42% of shoppers in this area use social media to make purchases one to two times per month. 35% use it more than three times a year.
That said, it’s not enough to simply offer social commerce as a feature. Consumers across the SEA region report various problems with social commerce as they receive it. These include high shipping charges, a lack of return/exchange policies, and poor customer service. Having an awareness of social commerce (and employing it properly) is essential for growth marketers.
This is something that should underpin all growth marketing efforts. A website (or app) can be flawlessly designed, with products and offers to whet every appetite. But if people don’t trust your security, you simply won’t get the sales you’re looking for.
Customers are right to be concerned about data breaches, even if the number of people affected by them has dropped over the last few years. Almost 281.5 million people were affected by data breaches in the first half of 2021.
2021 alone played host to several high-profile data breaches, in fact. For instance, in August 2021 we saw 40 million T-Mobile customers hit by a data breach. There have been similar stories about companies like Twitch, which leaked earnings of some of the platform’s top streamers.
Of course, data breaches don’t just affect large companies. They affect smaller ones, too, and the threat of this can deter your potential customers. Businesses must be prepared to take website security into their own hands.
A simple way to inspire customer trust is to enable the HTTPS protocol for your website. Not only does this make your website safer, but it also makes your site more likely to rank well. Google has long decided that HTTPS is a ranking signal, with sites that ignore it flagged as unsafe for visitors.
It’s also a good idea to have some kind of banner on your site that shows your commitment to security. This is more noticeable than enabling HTTPS protocols, and is a great way to encourage trust amongst site visitors. While strong website security doesn’t drive sales directly, it’s a bedrock upon which other marketing tactics should be developed.
This refers to the practice of automating a number of ad-related tasks. The most obvious application is buying ads, but it also covers where they appear (on websites, apps, and so on). It’s been around for a little longer than you might expect, although it’s something you may have overlooked before now.
Programmatic advertising has a number of benefits. By automating the ad buying process, you make it faster and more efficient than conventional methods. The practical upshot of this is higher conversion numbers, as well as lower costs for the business overseeing it.
Programmatic advertising also allows for more accurate ad targeting. This is because it uses many more targeting signals than manual advertising campaigns (which typically employ a handful of targets). This allows your advertising to make a much greater impact, particularly if you can factor customer data into the process.
It’s important to understand that this advertising strategy comes with a few different considerations. There can be significant costs involved upfront, as some programmatic vendors require minimum spends and contract lengths. It also benefits from outside data (such as CRM data and persona insights) to work effectively.
If you sell a lot of different products (or you feel the need to target specific people) programmatic advertising can be a big help. It allows you to hone in on a specific customer for a product, and show ads that appeal to them on a deep level.
As with some of the other trends we’ve discussed, programmatic advertising continues to grow in popularity. Global spend on it rose to $155 billion in 2021, compared to $68.2 billion in 2017.
A good way to alienate customers is with something that feels generic and impersonal. It makes them feel like they’re little more than a number on a spreadsheet, and that you’re not as interested in their business as you say.
Today’s customers have high expectations of the marketing materials they’re exposed to. 80% of customers are more likely to do business with a company offering personalized experiences. This personalization can take a number of different shapes.
A familiar example is streaming services such as Netflix. These services recommend different movies and TV shows to users based on their viewing history. Other businesses like Easyjet take a similar approach; by drawing on their customers’ travel history, they can send unique emails with further travel recommendations.
Personalization is one of the most flexible and lucrative digital marketing trends. There are many ways to approach the concept, including dynamic website personalization. This involves tailoring websites to meet a customer’s behaviours and demographics, and helps you better meet their unique requirements.
Another solid strategy is email marketing. Since nurturing partner leads with email marketing is a great idea on its own, it’s worth pushing email marketing to its maximum potential.
By asking simple questions of customers visiting your website, you can send them emails more closely tailored to their requirements. You can also create customer personas based on the actions each customer takes.
The time you send an email can also affect how a customer receives it. One customer may prefer evening emails, while another may be a morning person. If you have international customers, tailoring email delivery times can be especially impactful. You can use data like past open history to guide your decisions.
Personalized video content is another great strategy. There are a few different approaches to be taken with these. You can invite initial discussions, with the aim of making a sale in the near future. You can also highlight products on an ecommerce website, depending on if a visitor is a new or returning customer.
You can use personalized video content on social media to great effect, and take a few different approaches to creating it (simple animation and elaborate live action are both legitimate choices). However you approach personalization, though, the key is being accurate with personal details. Missing the mark on this will diminish your efforts elsewhere.
This is the process of taking some manual work out of common digital tasks. We’ve already touched upon it with programmatic advertising, but combining marketing automation and artificial intelligence (particularly machine learning) has many other applications. For instance, Affise is one company that offers a range of automation possibilities for performance marketing.
One area in which AI automation can make a big difference is in cost-per-click advertising. Smart Bidding—a service offered by Google—puts this into practice.
There are several benefits to the service. It offers more accurate predictions about the impact of bid amounts on conversions, factors many different identifiable attributes into your bids, customizes targets and settings to specific goals, and easily troubleshoots problems with its reporting tools.
Elsewhere, companies like Facebook are using AI for audience segmentation. It uses customer data to find common traits between people, before targeting people with adverts more accurately.
However, when it comes to AI automation these kinds of things are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many different uses for the technology going forward, many of which improve customer experience with your services.
You may also improve customer experience by better understanding user behavior, which AI can facilitate. It allows you to reduce cart abandonment, suggest content to visitors automatically, and measure the performance of your marketing campaigns. You can even use AI to find leads with greater ease, whether you generate them from “thank you” pages or identify potential ones based on user behavior.
While AI is a little unpredictable, the potential it offers is enormously exciting. If nothing else, AI will—in several ways—save businesses both time and money in the long run.
SEO (search engine optimization) has been a key business concern for some time now. Today, there are several strands of it that businesses can consider to best satisfy Google’s algorithms.
As a starting point, content marketing is still a major component of SEO. While it’s wise to track broader SEO trends, businesses can boost SEO success in simpler ways. Ensuring your site loads quickly—while offering useful links and quality content—is a solid way to boost credibility.
Quality written content takes time to produce, but it’s still worth pursuing. In 2020, 89% of marketers used blog posts in their content creation strategy, with longer articles getting more traffic, shares, and backlinks. While there is obviously strong interest in video, written content allows you to delve into a topic more deeply, and establish an authority that Google finds appealing.
Content marketing also allows you to maintain audience reach. The last quarter of 2019 saw over 763 million people using ad blockers around the world, across both desktop and mobile. It’s difficult to advertise a new product or service conventionally if people never see your ads in the first place.
SEO can also be approached from other directions. One such direction is SEO A/B split testing. Just as we can use split testing for affiliate programs, applying the process of A/B testing to on-page SEO elements can be hugely beneficial.
There are many such elements to choose from including meta titles, meta descriptions, headlines, calls to action, and even URL structures. By testing elements in this manner, you can isolate different variables and better understand what’s working for your website. It’s especially worthwhile if you only have a small SEO budget to work with.
Another SEO angle you might have overlooked is structured data. In simple terms, this refers to data that search engines can crawl or categorize easily. You may want to organize information in tables (labeling columns and rows as you go). You may also want to look into schema markup—a set of tags you can add to HTML—as it performs a similar function.
If undertaken properly, structured data can give you a significant boost in search rankings. It makes your business more likely to appear in knowledge graph boxes, which are highly visible in search engine results pages. Structured data also helps you generate content for rich snippets (search results with images, reviews, and pricing). These are very attractive to mobile users, which long ago became the majority of people using the internet.
In light of all this, SEO is very much a going concern for businesses. While some aspects have remained fairly static, emerging ideas like structured data demand your attention.
As this list makes clear, 21st-century marketing is a many-faceted entity. New approaches to the concept are always coming into vogue as our relationship to technology shifts and evolves. Analyzing trends in this way helps you respond to any shifts (sudden or gradual) in the way businesses market themselves.
The flipside of this is that certain marketing tactics can lose their efficacy (as the rise of ad blocking demonstrates). By exploring different marketing trends, we can avoid a loss of customers or broader brand awareness more easily.
If you work in ecommerce, it’s likely you keep a close eye on ecommerce trends. If so, you can appreciate the value of watching growth marketing trends more easily.
Growth marketing can seem like a double edged sword. The sheer number of trends to consider may feel overwhelming if you’re simply trying to boost conversion rates. But this also means there are plenty of different things you can try.
If you’re keen to embrace growth marketing, don’t be afraid to take things slow at first. Have a clear goal and growth targets you feel you can meet. Start with a small budget and a handful of complementary strategies.
If something doesn’t work, see what you can learn and try something else. There’s no shame in failure if you can learn from your mistakes. Moreover, tools like Affise BI allow you to manage data from multiple marketing channels at once. This helps to make more ambitious marketing plans a solid prospect.
By approaching growth marketing like this, and ramping up after successes, it’s sure to have a positive impact on your sales figures.
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