Tips & Guides — 05 Aug 2022
9 Growth Strategies to Try
As businesses and entrepreneurs, we often use growth as a benchmark of success. But it doesn’t have to be an endpoint—forgotten about once a certain level has been achieved.
Instead, by weaving it into your marketing strategies, growth becomes a continuous process for your business, constantly finding new audiences, new ways to market to them, and methods to fulfill their different needs through the customer journey.
Growth marketing aims to continually expand your customer base by providing quality solutions and finding imaginative ways of marketing to people who haven’t discovered your business yet. This gives your business the chance to experiment with products and learn from its marketing campaigns to optimize product development and sales.
It can be tempting to view growth marketing as a bid to grow customer levels quickly, but creating a sustainable growth marketing strategy means your focus isn’t just on acquiring new leads.
Instead, retaining customers as a part of your loyal customer base, increasing revenue, and encouraging referrals are just as important. This prevents a solely top-of-the-funnel content marketing approach, meaning you aren’t constantly having to reintroduce your business to new customers.
There are various growth strategies you can tap into, to bring new customers to your business and keep those you already have.
All of them rely on you having an idea of where you would like your business to be in the future, in terms of what sort of customers you want to be reaching and the products you are delivering. From there, you can compare the current position of your business and take note of the areas where you want to see change.
By identifying areas for change, you can then pick a growth marketing strategy suited to your aims. These generally center around either your market or your products. The former may focus on growing your target market, generating leads, or finding new customer bases to market to. Alternatively, your growth marketing strategies may look at your products, how effectively these solve customer problems, and additional products customers would benefit from.
Growth is an essential part of any business, even if you’re perfectly happy with the customer base you have. It gives a clear focus to where the business is heading, as well as influencing the decisions you make along the way.
Growth marketing helps to communicate this to the outside world, telling your followers and supporters your aims and direction for your business, and inviting customers to come along for the journey.
Without growth marketing, businesses are in danger of falling into a rut of producing the same products, and marketing them to the same people, in the same ways, because “that’s what works”. This may work for a time, but this traditional marketing model is unable to cope with agile markets where the needs and preferences of customers are constantly changing.
Growth marketing creates the opportunity to improve products and get feedback from customers, enabling your business to better provide for your customer base, leading to greater retention, satisfaction, and revenue. When customer preferences change, you are already in good stead to provide for alternative markets with new products, making your business far more flexible.
When devising a growth marketing strategy to suit your business, there are some key components to keep in mind. These will influence your choices in whether you should be opting for influencers advertising your products, investing in partnership marketing and referral programs with the customers you already have, or putting your energy into improving your email marketing.
When planning your growth strategy, think of:
What growth do you want to see?
This can cover anything from increased customer loyalty, having a wider range of products on offer, even seeing certain demographics regularly interacting with your landing page or social media. Think of this as the purpose behind your growth marketing—if the strategies you’re using don’t further this goal or lead you in the right direction, it’s time to stop and reevaluate.
Creating SMART goals ensures the growth you hope to see can be measured, has a time frame, and is achievable. This makes it easier to see how your business is progressing in meeting those goals and highlighting the areas of your strategy that may need adjustment to keep them on track.
Who does your growth goal affect?
This may include employees in your business and their day-to-day roles, requiring their input in getting your growth marketing off the ground. Likewise, it should affect customers, both those you have and those you hope to gain.
Consider how you want these different people to interact with your goal, what the ideal response from them would be, and how they can further share your marketing.
Make use of previous feedback you have received from customers in forming your growth strategy, as well as surveying how employees think your business should aim to grow. This brings people together to plan and innovate new ways of growing the business, getting everyone on board with the same growth goal in mind.
Can your product help you reach your growth goal?
In some cases the answer is no, prompting your business to develop a product that is suited to your goal.
This doesn’t have to be something new—additional features or products that complement those already available whilst facing new customer challenges may be all you need. Alternatively, you may have the products. However, you need to position and market them differently to achieve your aim.
77.84% of respondents to a recent poll stated that a product inspires their loyalty to a brand, so developing high quality products that address customer needs is always going to be beneficial to your company. Identifying what customers are looking for, through surveys and data analysis, can help create a product that meets customer issues, making itself more saleable and adapted to creating growth for your business.
How do you plan to go about achieving your goals for growth?
No two businesses will have the same methods for their growth strategy, because each business has its own style and capabilities. Some businesses are more suited to marketing through word of mouth, by using affiliate marketing schemes or referral programs. Their growth strategy will be different from a company that primarily uses more traditional marketing methods, like adverts and features.
Reviewing your current tactics can pave the way for introducing new methods that improve your growth. With 49% of users saying they use Google to discover or find new items and products, you need to have SEO landing pages and ensure your content is optimized for organic searches.
A quick inspection of your homepage is an easy tactic to massively boost your visibility with search engines, helping your growth strategy.
There are four classic growth strategies that businesses opt for. Depending on the components you have just established as part of your growth strategy, you may find one of the following strategies is more in line with your aims. All four strategies are ways of reaching new markets and growing your business, although how they manage this differs.
There may be different periods of your business lifecycle where different growth strategies are more appropriate for the growth goals of the company. Consider whether you’re looking to expand your customer base, research and develop new products, or simply optimize your strategy within the market you already have.
Whatever season your business is in, there’s a growth strategy for you.
You already have the products you want to sell, you just need to find new ways of reaching your market and increasing those sales. Whether through marketing specific products, creating discount bundles, or providing free trials, the aim is to set your business apart from competitors by making the most of the customer base you already have and the market groups you already reach.
This is probably the strategy closest to traditional marketing methods, as it’s optimizing your sales with the products you already have. Using metrics from previous marketing campaigns can help you create personalized adverts for your customers, as well as email recommendations of other products similar shoppers bought. Or, you can leverage similar data to find what marketing content leads to customer conversions, all helping to penetrate the existing market.
For example, a hamburger business may use the market penetration strategy, considering a buy one get one free offer to draw customers in. Maybe they’ve learned from previous campaigns that students make up a lot of their existing market, so deals offering money off and helping students budget work best at penetrating that market.
If you’re looking to expand your customer base, market development is the strategy for the job. Your products may be ideal for other markets you hadn’t yet considered. By sourcing these customer bases and pitching your marketing at them, you can increase your customer acquisition by framing your existing products in a new light.
Be imaginative when thinking of the ways customers could use your products and where you might find them. Look into supplying industrial buyers or selling B2B, they might not look like your typical users and require different marketing techniques to bring onboard to your products. Nonetheless, done successfully, building partnerships with industrial buyers can expand your reach and lead generation overnight.
Returning to the hamburger business illustration, the business may try marketing to supermarkets or restaurants to stock your burgers, alongside the more obvious pitch at people who want to eat the hamburgers.
Similarly, pitching the marketing at catering companies through food events or inviting them to a discovery call to establish how working together would be of mutual benefit can be really beneficial.
Perhaps you’re ready to redevelop some of your older products or create something entirely new. This is a great way to grow your customer base and encourage repeat purchases from existing customers. Work out what other products your customers might be looking for or the challenges they face, and invest in providing them with solutions.
Create a customer persona profile based on the demographics of your existing customers. Gather data from your landing pages, social media, and email subscribers using Affise BI, to create an image of your typical customer.
While filling in your persona’s details, notice the issues and pain points they face. Use the persona to develop products that your customers will want, as well as highlight key points about your product that will make it more marketable.
Looking again at the hamburger business as a case study, you might start researching and developing an extensive range of sauces to accompany your burgers. This would appeal to the existing customer base, encouraging them to buy more of your products. From their personas, the business might establish that novelty flavors particularly appeal to students willing to try something new, feeding into the sauce development.
There are a variety of ways of implementing a diversification strategy. At its core, all types of diversification involves taking a risk and diving into new markets with new products and services.
Often, these products or target markets are still somewhat linked to your current business, either by creating products to go alongside your existing stock, expanding your portfolio, or meeting different needs in similar markets to those your business already exists in.
Whether you’re looking at horizontal, vertical, conglomerate, or concentric diversification, use your existing market to build up research into how customers respond to different products and where they look for them.
Again, your customer personas may come in handy, informing your business of other products your customer base often makes use of, alongside the ones you produce. This can prevent your growth strategy from becoming a leap into the entirely unknown.
Diversification could look like all sorts of different things for the hamburger company. From developing a vegan burger or producing a burger recipe book including handy tips for students learning to cook, to something entirely different, like producing barbeques to attract a new market and create a new product.
The latter’s a risk, and may not necessarily be appealing to the existing market of students, but potentially could bring in different demographics of customers.
We’ve looked at the different types of growth marketing strategies that aim to grow your business. This is done by not just focusing on marketing at the top of the funnel, which singles out brand awareness and customer acquisition, but rather encouraging customer retention, building revenue, and enabling referrals, too.
However, how these growth strategies look in action can vary from business to business.
Whether you’re used to digital marketing, onboarding your customers through your apps, or are more comfortable with traditional marketing, there’s a growth strategy out there for you.
We’ve collated nine product growth strategies to inspire you and help you to stand out from the other startups and entrepreneurs in your niche. Integrating these into your overall strategy will help with your growth hacking and soon see the business growth you’re aiming for.
As the first step in your new customer’s journey with your business, your onboarding process needs to be slick, whatever growth strategy you intend to implement. It’s a chance for you to reduce churn from the off and lead new customers towards making their first purchase.
This is most likely to come into play when attracting new markets, so it’s important to make use of customer data, helping to shape a personalized experience for the new customer.
Automate a welcome message to reach new customers, avoiding overwhelming them with information, while providing signposting to the variety of platforms they can interact with your business through.
Follow up later with more information about your products, services, and where customers can find assistance when browsing. This welcomes new customers and already makes the customer experience more familiar and easy for new users.
Using the right software for the job can make the whole onboarding process simpler for you and the customer. Particularly when acquiring customers from affiliate schemes, using the right SaaS platform can help with tracking, customer data privacy, and reduce the IT issues you face.
Migrating your affiliate program to the right SaaS platform gives you the tools you need to optimize every aspect of the onboarding process.
There are numerous case studies of successful companies using introductory offers to help with customer acquisition. The idea is that although customers may come for the offers, they stay due to your great products and user experience.
For existing customers, you may want to utilize this when launching new products, encouraging them to subscribe to a new service or product having established their trust and loyalty to your business previously.
Introductory deals can also integrate with your affiliate marketing, providing new users through referrals with a unique deal after using a code or link. This gives customers time to become familiar with your brand before paying full price. However, be wary of your customer retention, as providing great offers upfront can lead to higher rates of churn once customers are faced with the full prices.
CPAPI can help synchronize your marketing data across the various agencies and networks you use to advertise your products with, ensuring the same deals and offers are available on all channels.
Whether setting up specific rules for deals to come into play, such as being only available for first-time customers, or automating the process of triggering an offer, CPAPI puts everyone on the same page with the same marketing data.
If you want to continue marketing to new customer bases and get them to buy your products, you need to be looking after them. Customer service is key to boosting your revenue, as 89% of consumers are more likely to make additional purchases after a positive experience.
Remembering that growth strategies shouldn’t be focused at the top of the funnel, but should consider revenue and referrals too, caring for your new customers should be a given.
Ensure you signpost customer service throughout the customer experience—on your landing pages, social media, subscriber emails, or apps. This may be a website chatbot with answers to common questions, links or buttons that take users to your company knowledge base, or a phone number to your customer service team.
Integrating an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system can help your phone team to identify problems quicker, providing customers with more first call resolutions and leading them directly to the correct expertise for the subject matter.
This all helps give customers the support they need, empowering them to make informed purchases whilst feeling confident in the information that your business has delivered them.
We know growth isn’t solely about the acquisition, especially regarding market penetration or product development strategies. Both require an existing market for your business, which means building up your customer retention.
Unfortunately, the average churn rate for general retailers is 24% and online retail is 22% of customers. Focusing on retention means you can grow your customer base without having to do the hard work of acquiring them first.
There are plenty of ways to encourage customers to stick around. This may be through your marketing team’s campaigns promoting new products, or equally via consistent interaction through social media or reaching out in subscriber emails.
This keeps your business fresh in the customer’s mind, providing further support and products to tackle additional challenges, alongside rewarding them for recommending your business to others.
Likewise, keep previous customers on your sales radar. If your product can integrate with software updates or new features installed throughout its lifecycle, look to start existing customers as new sales leads regularly.
Having quality sales training techniques in place for your team means they nurture the skills necessary to help customer retention and feel equipped to provide a consistent sales experience every time they engage with the customer.
Whether you’re aiming to show off your new product or want to extend your customer base, influencer marketing is something to make use of.
Followers take influencers seriously, with 90% of survey respondents believing influencers to be an effective form of marketing . In this way, influencers can help with your market penetration strategies, alongside generating leads for your business out of their existing following.
Influencer marketing is also very flexible, with many different methods of promoting your products depending on the influencer you partner with and your business.
From presenting product demonstrations, working alongside your affiliate marketing strategies with referral codes, hosting giveaways, or providing honest reviews of your products, it’s sure to boost your social media profiles and the customer interactions you receive.
Making use of tracking and attribution technology can provide your business with insights into how effective influencer marketing is for you.
From identifying the types of posts that generate the most impressions, gathering user demographics, and tracking their patterns, to seeing how this translates into your conversion rate, these tools help you to finetune your influencer marketing even whilst the campaign is ongoing.
It seems counterintuitive—surely growing other businesses risk losing your patrons? However, partnering with other businesses can actually grow customer bases and pool expertise on products and marketing techniques across your network.
Airbnb has mastered it, providing external property owners with short-term renters and holidaymakers. The property owners receive the direct benefits, then pay a fee to continue marketing their services through Airbnb’s website.
Partnering with other businesses and marketing together can have a massive impact on your company. Take the case study of Estée Lauder, whose average ad click share rose by 70% when they partnered with another retailer. This increases your exposure to other customer bases, provides a sense of accountability between the two businesses, and halves the cost of your shared marketing campaigns.
Growth marketing provides a great opportunity to build your partnership marketing schemes, collaborating with other businesses to provide incentives and deals to your combined base of loyal customers.
By recommending their services, encouraging your customers with free trials and discounted products, ecommerce partnerships provide personalized suggestions, as well as strengthening relationships between your business, other startups, and entrepreneurs in your field.
We’ve mentioned the dangers of only looking for top-of-the-funnel engagement. However, there is a reason that so much marketing is focused at this point.
Having a secure marketing strategy that builds awareness and acquisition is an essential part of making a successful company. Without it, your business isn’t going to see new growth in customers or conversion rates, limiting the effectiveness of your growth strategy.
Raise awareness of new products and features through product marketing, taking to social media, email campaigns, and digital advertising, while making use of A/B testing. This method uses multiple marketing tests to identify which approach raises the most awareness and engages customers best.
With this in mind, you can optimize your marketing strategy to bring in new customers and reach them effectively with your messaging.
Making proper use of statistics analysis also means you can more effectively engage at the top of the funnel, raising awareness and acquiring new customer leads. Not only can data inform you about the customers you already have, but statistical analysis can also help to create business goals and identify trends, allowing your business to make informed decisions and better target potential customers.
Everyone loves something free. This strategy is particularly suited to SaaS companies, enabling them to provide a basic service to customers, whilst reserving more specialized features for paying customers.
This growth hack can assist your market penetration by attracting new users who make use of your free service, thus expanding the potential customers you can market to with campaigns promoting your product development and new features.
Your business can also use the freemium software model as part of your partnership marketing, providing customers of partnered businesses with the use of a free version of your services and products. Again, the free aspect provides acquisition of new users, whilst the high-quality features encourage customers to pay for the premium content. Alternatively, freemium may provide revenue by selling advertising space within your free software to partner businesses.
When managing your partnership marketing, your business needs to be using software that makes things easier for you. Often, businesses put up with SaaS solutions that aren’t suited to their needs to avoid migrating to a new platform. However, this is counterproductive.
Having the right tools in place, whether offering freemium or another partnership deal to customers, is essential, and platform migration isn’t something to be feared.
Effective ecommerce marketing strategies rely on making the most of the resources you have available to you.
Particularly as a startup or solo entrepreneur, you may not have a highly trained marketing team to work with. However, your campaigns and overall growth strategy doesn’t have to suffer, as making use of automation within your digital marketing can tackle common tasks, whilst the workforce you do have can focus on more nuanced responsibilities.
From automating your onboarding email communication, having chatbots appear on your landing pages, or even automating your homepage metrics, growth automation can reduce your workload whilst maintaining the high-quality customer experience you give your customers.
Using the available metrics can also optimize your automation, making sure it reaches customers through the right channels and provides them with personalized suggestions.
Sales automation software can be particularly handy for small businesses, taking care of the admin by tracking leads with clients and communicating important information with other members of the team, while measuring KPIs and identifying trends at the same time. This leaves your sales reps to focus on pitching and building up relationships with clients.
Regardless of whether you’re a startup business or a highly successful company, your business relies on your continuing to sell products, earn revenue, and have some form of customer base.
Using growth marketing strategies makes these processes far easier, as well as making your business more agile and able to cope with changing circumstances.
Growth strategies focus your marketing with a clear purpose in mind, clarifying your campaigns for you, your marketing team, and your customer base. They also have measurable results such as more customers, a higher conversion rate, or more interactions on your landing pages in aiming to reach your business’s growth goal.
Particularly when starting out as a business, these elements help to establish you in the market and create a solid foundation for your business.
Optimizing growth strategy relies on learning from your customer base and making your products as effective and fine-tuned to customer needs as possible.
If growth isn’t naturally coming to your business, it’s a sign either that the products you sell aren’t needed or you’re targeting the wrong demographics. Growth marketing switches your usual strategies up, to see where you could improve your campaigns and products.
So, what have we learned? Growth marketing is essential for any business that wants to see their business… well, grow. Having a strategy behind this helps to focus you and your team on your end goal, as well as discerning the best way to go about it.
Creating a growth goal and recognizing how it interacts with the people and products in your company affects the tactics you use to market products and reach your customer base.
There are various growth strategies that successful companies make use of, centered around market penetration, market development, product development, or diversification. All of these either adapt and develop products to existing markets, or adapt the market to their products.
Having a strategy in mind as you look to carry out your growth marketing can help filter out the different approaches to ensure the ones you invest in will work for your business.
From creating introductory deals and offering freemium access to your products, to helping other businesses to grow and engaging with influencers through your affiliate marketing, growth marketing can come in all shapes and forms. Depending on your aims, resources, and customer demographics, different strategies will work best as part of your growth marketing.
Growth marketing strategies are all about learning, and it’s unlikely you’ll perfect it instantly. By gathering data from different campaign strategies, receiving feedback from customers, and observing the strategies in motion, your business can optimize its marketing to engage a wide range of customers.
It requires some flexibility but, in return, it provides your business with sustainable growth patterns and the understanding of how to achieve them.
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