Design Your Growth Story by Leveraging Digital Marketing
You can’t deny that digital is HUGE today. It is no longer a way only to communicate or stay connected, but it has also become an ideal way of doing business. Companies like Uber and Whatsapp are excellent examples of how going digital can be used to disrupt existing industries and create a new business model.
Whether you are a digital business or a traditional one, you can no longer ignore your customers and employees who are hooked to the digital channels, both at work and at home. This requires businesses to rethink their traditional marketing strategies and leverage digital marketing to attract the right audience and promote and sell their products and services.
How to Design A Startup Growth Story
Let’s dive into a few pointers suggesting ideas to design a startup’s growth story and to take your business to the next level with search and social.
Growth Hacking for Startups
For any startup, implementing growth hacks distinctive to its business is crucial. It is the key to stand out from the noise and win customer loyalty.
Growth hacking is about doing the simple things brilliantly and driving growth at every opportunity. It is a methodology and a way of life for the new era of marketers in this fast-paced digital world to scale products and gain exposure quickly.
The Product has to be a Growth Hacker Too
To succeed, you have to focus on real growth. And, it primarily comes with product development rather than only marketing.
The growth-hacking technique of Hotmail is probably one of the earliest and the most successful examples. It simply shows how you can build an insanely fast-growing business from scratch by designing your product the right way.
Its growth-hacking trick was simple – they encouraged people to sign up for their product with the following message: ‘PS: I Love You. Get Your Free Email at Hotmail’. This eccentric yet unobtrusive request was present in every email sent by Hotmail’s users. Thus, it used existing users as a free resource to fetch new customers.
Result: The service grew to 12 million accounts in just 18 months. It then sold for $400m in 1997 after it raised $300k to start in 1996.
Next, check out other iconic growth-hacking examples and get inspired with this magically creative yet cheap growth methodology.
Iconic Growth-Hacking Examples
- Facebook: It started as a closed network, thereby giving a sense of exclusiveness to its users. It also ensured remaining at critical mass at every stage of growth.
- LinkedIn: It allowed people to create public profiles, making their profiles and company pages shown organically in search results.
- Instagram: It made it quick and easy for users to cross-post to other platforms like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and more, thereby reaping free advertisement.
- Airbnb: Its platform hack enabled users to cross-list their postings on Craigslist with one click. It, thus, took advantage of Craigslist’s large user base.
- Dropbox: It ran a low-cost and high-impact growth hack, in which users were awarded 500MB of free storage space under its referral program.
- Twitter: To make their users permanent, they started making them follow 5-10 accounts at the time of account setup
Approach to Growth Hacking
To make growth hacking work for you, follow the A2R2 approach. This involves creating awareness, fetching initial customers and making them try your product/ service, retaining them, and spreading the love, henceforth.
- Attract: A startup doesn’t only want awareness; it wants customers, users, and clients. Means to attracting the right audiences are posting content on paid and earned channels and distributing content via content distribution channels.
- Activate: To activate the interest of a user, use targeted emails, videos, tutorials, webinars, and demos. When your user visits your website to try out the offering, welcome them to a minimalistic home-page, like Quora and Twitter.
- Retain: It is about retaining the customers you have and optimizing and upselling the ones you have got. For example, holding networking events for your initial users.
- Reap: After pulling in your initial users, you must make them get more users to give a virality lift to your product. This can be done through incentivizing sharing, as done by Dropbox.
Search and Social for Businesses
For any established business, following the best practices in search and social is crucial. It is the key to develop a more robust online presence and nurture customer loyalty.
When looking out for a particular product or service, a typical user starts from enquiring with friends on social media to searching about it on search engine. Thus – search and social – both are necessities for a thriving business.
Investing in Search, the Right Way
Around 61% of consumers use search engines before making a purchase. This helps them in product research, including specifications, price comparison, and reviews. This means you will have to rank well for your target keywords if you want to get discovered.
Here is how to do it:
- Keyword Search: For this, you can use search tools, like Google Keyword Planner, to analyze what people are searching for the most. It’s good to weave your content addressing the most frequently-used keywords while taking care not to overdo it. Remember – you don’t do SEO anymore; it’s simply a result of doing other things the right way. Thus, stay natural and informative, and you will be able to fetch the right audiences.
- Organic vs Paid Search Results: If you cannot make your way into organic search results, you can pay and get featured in the sponsored links section of Google. Still, you must know that organic search results are the most qualified ones, for which you have to write relevant and SEO-friendly meta-descriptions of 150 words. URLs with the right keywords, alt text relevant to a particular image, and unique title tags for each page on your website.
- Valuable Content: As far as your content goes, focus on the right audiences, write a fetching title, give an engaging introduction that goes above the fold, mention proof and reasons for your title, and close with a proper call-to-action. Remember – people are looking for facts, data, and valuable information in today’s world. If your content is valuable and tells a story, there is no stopping it from getting the right audiences. A useful piece of content can be repurposed in the form of a whitepaper, case study, image, infographic, newsletter, video, and blog.
Investing in Social, The Right Way
In today’s world, getting social is a necessity and not a luxury. Around 75% of people in the 18-26 age group use recommendations on social sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and Quora, to research a product before making a purchase. This means that you will need an encouraging and widespread social image if you want to get exposure and positive word-of-mouth.
Here is how to do it:
- Social-Media Channels: It is good to know which platforms can work the best to promote your product/ service and brand. Facebook has majorly become a paid media channel. Twitter can help your brand build a personality. LinkedIn is essential for B2B marketers. Google +1’s can determine your SEO. Instagram and Pinterest can prove to help post beautiful photos or intriguing infographics. While Instagram needs to be about real life, Pinterest needs to be utility-based.
- Engaging Content: Social media channels provide an excellent opportunity to build a community. Thus, keep your focus on it rather than promoting your brand. You can achieve this by posting helpful content that is both entertaining and informative.
- Social-Media Advertising: To buy your way in front of your target audience, you can opt for promoted tweets or Facebook advertising. With these, you can ensure higher website visits, better exposure in social media, and enhanced promotion of your social media postings.
As businesses are becoming more digitally oriented, employees face several key challenges around their digital transformation process.
Digital transformation is not only the adaptation of the right tools and processes; it is more about getting practice and expertise to implement and refine the tools successfully.
Therefore, the key to successful transformations lies in understanding and preparing for the roadblocks ventures stumble upon. Below are the prominent key challenges of digital transformation.
With a continuous improvement and innovation mindset, all of the benefits of a digital transformation are achievable. Just ensure to tackle the challenges as they come and do your best to prepare in advance.
Digital marketing initiatives and efforts should be predominantly focused on customer goals. Hence, giving a more customer-centric view and focus on creating a cohesive customer experience.
The more you are able to listen, adapt and improvise, the better will be your results. Put your best foot forward, and see your digital marketing strategy drive results for you.