Tried and Tested Growth Hacks for SMBs

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growth hacks

It goes without saying that every small business owner out there is looking for ways to grow their business. It translates to finding more customers, making more sales, and in turn making profits.

With the onset of digital commerce, a business is not limited to the customers who walk through the doors of its physical store. So, entrepreneurs can leverage digital marketing along with their offline marketing campaigns to enhance the growth of their business.

No wonder veteran marketer, Sean Ellis named this phenomenon “growth hacking”.

And what is growth hacking? It’s the art of implementing new, creative marketing techniques and coming up with different product development strategies to identify and implement the most efficient and effective methods to grow your business.

In this post, I’m going to show you tried and tested growth hacks for small and medium businesses.

Growth Hack #1: Leveraging a “sense of urgency”to increase sales by 332%

Using basic psychology in your marketing campaigns is vital, and Marcus Taylor – award-winning entrepreneur and founder of Venture Harbour adopted this to increase his sales by 332%.

He created a Groupon-like deal for musicians where he gave away $1250 worth of products for just $69. And here’s the bit about creating a sense of urgency: the offer lasted only for 100 hours, and there were only 5000 packages that were available.

His ad copy reflected a sense of urgency too. It had a clock that was counting down 100 hours, with convincing CTAs.

He A/B tested the ad on platforms such as Reddit and other forums. One of them went with the limited offer plan, and the other didn’t. Surprise, surprise, people responded to the limited plan.

He secured his offer with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

What you can do?

  • Leverage limited offers to build your offers,
  • Make sure you research your target audience thoroughly to effectively place your ads when you are A/B testing them,
  • Creating a ‘sense of urgency’ doesn’t have to be limited to your ad campaigns. You can use it for your email campaigns and your content strategies as well.

Growth Hack #2: Creating content to increase search traffic by 110%

This growth hack by Brian Dean, founder of Backlinko, is almost legendary in growth circles. He calls it the ‘skyscraper technique’.

He leveraged this technique when he published an article titled ‘Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List’. This single article increased his search traffic by 110% in 14 days, and brought him over 300,000 referral visitors to his site.

He realized the Skyscraper Technique consists of three steps:

  • Find link-worthy content,
  • Make something even better,
  • Reach out to the right people.

He found great pieces of content and using it to your advantage by writing new, improved and more actionable piece of content.

Then, he whipped up an email outreach campaign packed with the link to his article and sent it to sites that had added links to similar content.

What you can do?

  • Start by finding a keyword and the corresponding article that is ranking high on SERPs (search engine results page) that will be relevant and lucrative to your business, and build content around it. Make sure you don’t compromise quality over quantity.
  • Focus on your research and the backlink analysis for the ranking article. Make sure that your article is an informative one on the topic. (Read more about doing a Backlink Analysis here.)
  • Promote!

Growth Hack #3: ‘Mint-Giving’ increased waiters’ tips by 23%

You’re probably thinking, “How is that even a growth hack?” Well, this growth hack is a part of this compilation because it provides a different solution to approaching your customers.

This growth hack is based on an experimental study conducted by in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology titled ‘Sweetening the Till: The Use of Candy to Increase Restaurant Tipping.’

This study was conducted to test the effects mints had among two groups of waiters. One group was given mints (let’s call them ‘Mints’), the control group (let’s call them ‘No-Mints’) was not. They, therefore, measured the correlation between ‘mint-giving’ and its effectiveness in increasing tips as the waiters interacted with the customers.

The first Mints group had waiters just leaving mints along with the checks without making any mention of it. The tips increased by 3% against the No-Mints group.

The second Mints group had waiters who left two mints on the table along with the check. They were asked to enquire if the customers would like some mints before they leave. The tips increased by 14% as compared to the No-Mints group.

The third Mints group was asked to give the customers their check with a few mints. The waiters were asked to return after some time and let the customers know that there were more mints in case they wanted some more. This test group saw a 21% increase in the tips against the no-Mints group.

On completing the experiment, it was found that a waiter’s follow-up action can greatly affect the customer’s perception of their service, and accordingly, the tip that they leave them. The third Mints group’s gesture was a personalization that triggered the increase in tips. Post-purchase follow-up with genuine concern for the customer makes a difference.

What you can do?

Keep in mind that your customer’s journey doesn’t end when the sales transaction is completed. Make sure that you can implement “mint-giving” in your campaigns. Well, not literally, of course! Here’s how you can leverage this:

  • You can collect your customers’ contact details and create a follow-up email campaign just to let them know that you appreciate them.
  • Translate “mint-giving” to its closest equivalent in your industry. Make sure that customers don’t just visit your store, but they experience it.
  • Once you’ve discovered your “mints”, you can personalize this, and even leverage this to build your online reviews.

Growth Hack #4: Quant-based marketing gathered 1 million users from scratch

Noah Kagan, the founder of Sumo wrote about how he helped Mint get one million users by starting from scratch.

His experience is based on a concept he titled ‘quant-based marketing’. As a new Marketing Director for Mint, he was given the task of building the number of users from zero to 100,000. In the end, he came up with quant-based marketing which gave him 10x of his target.

Quant-based marketing is a technique for increasing your customers. It is purely based on quantitative results that must be achieved within a certain timeframe. But the thing is, Noah reversed the marketing process. Instead of starting down the barrel of a single enormous goal, he set the goal (100,000 users in six months) and worked his way back from there.

He did it in five steps:

  • He established his goals with a workable time frame,
  • He worked on preparing a target list,
  • He created a strategy around where his users were found online,
  • He tested the message to his audience through which he was able to determine what features and benefits were most important to his customers,
  • He ardently tracked and measured the progress to proceed with the campaign and progress it.

What you can do?

This method is a great way to ideate your marketing strategies when you’re stuck in a rut, unable think of the right way to design a plan to reach your goals. Reversing your strategies will help you figure out better ways to implement it.

(You can read about quant-based marketing in detail here.)

Growth Hack #5: Embracing testing to build your CTAs

Joanna Wiebe, the creator of Copy Hackers and expert marketer, wrote a piece of content that gives some amazing insight to building CTAs.

She improved CTAs on their pricing page by making them stand out to its users. The original copy consisted of three CTAs for three kinds of plans. Two of them were paid plans that had the copy-text, “Start Free Now” on them, and the third one was a completely free one with two lines of copy-text. The paid conversions were reduced because everybody opted for the free plan and did not opt for the paid plan.

She A/B tested the original copy (the control version) with two variations (B and C) to see which worked out better. This is how they looked.

growth hacks

She further added two lines of copy-text to Variation B and C. She then chose the middle-of-the-road plan that was between free and most expensive. And changed the color of the copy to green, and the other two to green in Variation B; in Variation C, the button color was changed to a bright orange with the others remaining gray.

Joanna found that these were huge improvements even though these were trivial. The green button in Variation B received an “81% lift” and the orange button in Variation C received a “95% lift”, as compared to the control.

What you can do?

Here are the most important rules of testing:

  • Run one test at a time,
  • Test one variable at a time,
  • Test minor changes, too,
  • Don’t stick to copy only, test also colors and the size of the font.

The icing on top of your growth cake

When trying to implement growth hacking strategies in your business, you need to remember about the below steps:

  • Go with the actionable growth idea,
  • Find ways to implement it,
  • A/B test your ideas to find what works best,
  • Analyze your results.

Hopefully, the above examples will help you to come up with the new ideas of improving your website, bringing you more customers and growing your business.

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