Congratulations! You’ve launched a small company, and you’re ready to make your mark in the business world.
The only problem is, if you really want to achieve great sales, loyal customers, and a strong profit line in this digitally-focused environment, then you need to be willing to create a comprehensive plan for organizational growth.
Growing a business requires a forward-thinking strategy, based on the tips and tricks you’ll need to follow to expand your customer base, and earn the respect of your target audience. The problem is, there are so many things to think about when it comes to making your venture a success, that it’s easy to lose your way.
The good news is that if you’ve been craving a better cash flow, or you simply want to make sure that your brand has the best chances of success for 2018, we’ve put together a collection of 29 of some of the most important, and effective business growth hack strategies for the year ahead.
While you might not use all of the suggestions listed below, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a selection of opportunities available that inspire and invigorate you whenever you need a little help nourishing your growing company.
29. Try Collaborations and Partnerships
First things first, no-one ever said that you had to do this “business” thing alone. Building great partnerships with other people in your network could be a fantastic way to increase your chances of success.
Collaborations come in a range of different forms, including:
- Using people in your network to help you distribute products
- Partnering with influencers to enhance brand awareness
- Running joint competitions and giveaways
- Partnering with a non-profit event
- Integrating products with others to enhance the end-to-end service you give your customers
The great thing to remember about partnerships is that they can help you to put parts of your organization on auto-pilot – particularly when it comes to bringing in new leads. Eventually, you might find that you don’t have to work as hard on developing your own online presence.
28. Give Your Website a Facelift
When’s the last time you updated your website?
Your site is the first chance you’ll have to give your customers a good idea of what your company is all about. What your digital presence says about you could determine whether your customers choose to continue working with your brand, or they search elsewhere for another solution.
For example, if you tell people in-person that you’re all about state-of-the-art software and cutting-edge technology, but your website looks as though it came from 2003, then you’re not going to paint a very reliable picture of your business.
Remember that most people will want to research and learn about your company before they convert, so ensuring that your site is in incredible condition could be the key to success.
27. Develop Free Tools for Your Customers
The easiest way to attract people to your website in today’s competitive landscape is to convince your customers that you have something valuable to offer them. For most brands, this means creating a significant amount of high-quality content in the form of infographics, blog posts, and even podcasts.
However, your value doesn’t have to stop with free content. Instead, you could potentially differentiate yourself from other people in your industry by providing customers with free tools that give them a taste of what they can expect from your brand. For instance, an accounting team might provide a free tax calculator, or a marketing team could give away a free template to help customers build user personas from scratch.
The more value you give from day one, the more your customers can see why they should engage with your brand.
26. Make the Most of Your Blog
While blogs might not be the only way to connect with your target audience, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should ignore them either. Blogs are potentially one of the best ways to communicate with your audience online and help your small business start to grow. When it comes to small business growth hack strategies, blogs are key to search engine optimization.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, simply means organizing your website in such a way that you encourage the search engines to rank your website highly when a customer searches for a keyword or phrase connected to your brand.
The more you develop high-quality and valuable blogs, packed with keywords that your customers are searching for, the more authority Google will give your website. Combine those blogs with backlinks and regular promotion on social media, and you’ll be getting more eyes on your company in no time.
25. Repurpose Old Blog Content
If you’ve already been working on your blog for a while now, don’t allow your posts to simply sit theregoing stagnant. Remember that your posts can benefit from a lot more than just the occasional edit. If you want to make sure that you’re gathering as much content on your site as possible, but you don’t have time to create something new every day, try repurposing your old articles.
This might mean transforming an old article into a video post that you can share on YouTube. After all, marketers who use video grow their revenue up to 49% faster than non-video users. On the other hand, you might consider making your blog into an infographic that you can share with your email list and your social media network.
Remember, while blogs perform better in the organic search results, videos and visuals show more promise when it comes to social media.
24. Create Channels for Social Sharing
Todays consumers spend around 20% of their time actively browsing Facebook, and there are countless other social media channels that are all out there vying for your audience’s attention too. Instead of trying to fight for focus against social media platforms, think about what you can do to place yourself in the heart of the social conversation.
The key to success with any social media marketing strategy is making sure that you create profiles on the right channels. Some small companies in search of growth assume that if they want to get great results, they’ll need to be present on every platform. However, those who know a little more about small business growth hack strategies will tell you that a few valuable platforms are far more effective than countless inappropriate profiles.
Find out where your customers are spending their time and create profiles to join the conversation.
23. Use Social Sharing Links
Speaking of the value that social media has to offer companies today, why not make it easier for your audience to do some of your marketing and brand awareness work for you? By placing social media sharing links on your blog posts, or adding buttons to your website content that allows people to tweet the quotes they like or transport images to Facebook, you’re encouraging them to help you expand your social reach.
Most people are happy to share content that they think makes them look good, so if you combine valuable content with simple solutions for sharing, you’re likely to end up with a free marketing team capable of helping you to hack into an ever-growing network of new customers.
Remember, social sharing links work best with statistics and one-line quotes. Keep the Twitter character limit in mind when deciding where to place your sharing solutions.
22. Curate Content to Expand Your Collection
Content curation is the art of gathering useful information and ideas from other locations within your industry. It basically works on the idea that if you want to become a valuable company in the eyes of your customers, then you need to do more than share your own blogs and marketing messages.
By curating content, you’re showing your brand followers that you value them, by actively saying that you’re willing to track down and share information that’s going to benefit them. Keep in mind that any of the content you curate shouldn’t be actively slamming your brand or anything that you do. Instead, try to look for content that paints your company in a great light, and starts to bring more customers your way.
Remember, when you’re sharing your curated content on social media, give the brand responsible for the original post a shout out to let them know that you’re sharing what they’ve written. They might help you out with a little free promotion in exchange.
21. Use Social Media Insights
Sometimes, the best small business growth hack strategies are the most obvious. If you want to know how you can appeal more to your target audience, and maintain their interest on social media, then one of the easiest things you can do is simply tap into the insights available on your social platforms.
Channels all the way from Facebook to Twitter provide their own analytics information for businesses to use when they want to find out more about how their customers spend their social time. By using these social insights, you improve your chances of finding out crucial information about when your audience is most active, and which of your posts they respond to best.
Once you’ve got a good idea of which social media strategies are working for your brand, and which aren’t, you can begin to refine your strategy and make sure that you’re only using your marketing budget on the techniques that deliver the best ROI.
20. Connect with Industry Influencers
No matter which niche your business might be located in, there’s a good chance that there are a few people in your sector that seem to have a huge amount of sway over the audience that you want to attract. These people are “influencers”, people your customers trust to give them valuable information and insights.
If you can successfully collaborate with the right influencers in your marketplace, then you might be able to convince them to share some of their pre-existing authority with your brand. When an influencer gives your company a shout-out, this can help you to build your following quickly and effectively, while tapping into consumer trust that would have otherwise taken years to build.
Just make sure that you focus on connecting with influencers that are relevant to your brand.
19. Make the Most of Video
According to statistics recorded for 2017, over 500 million hours of video are viewed on YouTube each day. If that wasn’t enough, more video content is uploaded into the digital sphere within thirty days, than the major networks for television in the US have created across three decades.
Video is one of the most powerful upcoming tools for companies in 2018, and it’s something that you should definitely consider tapping into if you want to be successful in the years ahead. Although it’s less expensive and sometimes easier to use written content, it’s hard to ignore the value of video in the current marketplace.
While written content will help you to rank well in the organic search engines, video content and visuals will give you the power you need to connect with your customers on a social level.
18. Embed Videos onto Your Website
Just because social media is one of the most important channels for any business to consider when they’re using video content, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be placing your content on other platforms too. If you’re planning on producing a Live stream on Facebook, or YouTube, consider embedding it on your website.
There are plenty of ways to embed live video onto your website, which means that you deliver an easy point of reference for your customers to tap into if they want to tune into what you have to say, but they didn’t have time to enroll in advance.
Remember, you don’t just have to embed live video either, you can also embed countless videos like “brand introductory” messages that share information about your company, or product videos with “How-to” guides.
17. Test Your Conversion Points
All companies love getting plenty of leads for their business, but brands don’t always know where their best customers are coming from. If you’re not sure where your leads are likely to convert – for instance, whether they’re more likely to come from pricing pages or product pages, then you might want to do some testing to refine your strategy.
Non-intrusive popup messages could be a great way to test your conversion points for instance, and you can download free plugins that allow you to create these solutions online as quickly and easily as possible.
Remember, the more you can learn about what prompts your customers to buy, the more you’ll be able to streamline the path to conversion.
16. Cut, Scale, and Evolve
When you want to be successful in the world of business, it’s important to remember that you’ll need to do more than simply learn what makes your customers tick. Once you know why your customers buy from you, and what prompts them to make a purchase, you’ll be able to make changes to your strategy accordingly.
Make a list of the strategies that you currently have in place for developing your business. Where possible, you’ll be able to place a few important metrics into the mix to measure along the way and determine which strategies work and which don’t. Cut the ones that aren’t performing from your plan, and focus heavily on the options that are giving you the most return on investment.
15. Embed Your Social Media Posts
We mentioned the value of embedding videos onto your website above, but that’s not the only thing you can do to improve the appeal of your online presence. Remember that social media posts are designed to be shared – across a range of different channels.
If you really want to get the most out of your social campaigns, then, you should be looking for ways to embed your posts into your web content too. For instance, if you’re writing a how-to post about how customers can use your latest product, you might embed comments from customers that outline what they like most about the item.
Make sure that you don’t embed your social posts too close to your CTA, however, as this might distract customers from the ultimate goal of your copy.
14. Turn Customers into Advocates
One of the best small business growth hack strategies you can tap into for 2018, involves figuring out how to transform your most valuable customers, into advocates for your brand. If customers love everything that your company has to say and share, then they’ll naturally want to help spread your message on social media and through valuable comments.
The key to turning customers into advocates involves convincing your clients that you’re worth their marketing effort. This might mean setting up a referral program where you ask people to refer new customers to your organization in exchange for rewards and discounts.
13. Embrace Social Advertising
Today’s small businesses seem to have a lot of trouble breaking up the relationship between their brand and traditional advertising methods. While there’s nothing wrong with a little old-fashioned marketing from time to time, it’s important to remember that ignoring social strategies could mean that you’re throwing money away.
The key to success with social advertising is remembering that you need to get it right if you want to see results. Many organizations jump into social media the wrong way, then give up on the opportunity entirely.
If you’re not sure how to use social to transform your company and give your business the extra boost it needs in 2018, then it might be time to start working with a social media marketing expert or a social manager.
12. Create Custom Audiences on Facebook
Speaking of advertising on social media, one of the easiest ways to focus your advertising budget on a carefully specified audience is to use the custom audiences option on Facebook. This feature allows you to create a segment that you want to advertise to based on key demographics and criteria like interests and location.
The first step is identifying who your most valuable customers are. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to determine whether there are any common denominators out there that might make it easier to determine what people in your group are looking for.
When you create your ad, make sure that your current customers are excluded from the audience that you’re searching for. You can find instructions on how to do that written by Facebook here.
11. Split Test Ads
Successful advertising is all about learning from your successes, and your failures. One of the best small business growth hack strategies you can keep in mind as you move into 2018, involves knowing when to test and refine your marketing efforts.
Split testing involves comparing two similar, but different examples of the same thing. For instance, if you were split-testing a Facebook ad, you’d post both versions online, and track the metrics that are important to your business to determine which option gives the best results related to your goals.
Split testing can be a simple process, but it’s something you need to commit your time to frequently. Just because one version works well now doesn’t mean that it will continue to perform in the same way next month.
10. Be Active with Email
In today’s fast-paced digital world, it’s easy to look at email as something of an “outdated” solution for marketing. However, the truth is that email content is just as valuable as ever in the online marketplace. In fact, email is the third-most influential source of information among b2b audiences.
The key to getting the most out of your email marketing strategy is knowing what to send to your customers, and when to send it. For instance, Tuesday is apparently the best time of the week to send emails according to studies.
Once you know when you’re going to send your marketing messages, make sure that you customize your message according to the needs of your audience. That might mean breaking your target market up into segments so that you can send different content to different types of customer.
9. Ask for Testimonials and Reviews
Let’s face it – these days we all look for the reviews about products and brands that have been written by previous customers before we invest in something new. After all, it’s so much easier to trust the opinions of someone who’s tried and tested the product, than a company who’s desperately trying to make a profit.
This demand for review-based information means that if companies aren’t doing everything they can to collect information from their customers, they could be losing out on sales to competitors that are willing to make the extra effort.
There are a lot of sites around the world today that allows you to leverage their platforms for review purposes, try to find one that’s relevant to your industry.
8. Have Multiple Opt-In Opportunities
Want people to pay attention to your brand and buy your products? Then you need to give them a chance to get involved wherever possible.
“Opt-ins” come in many different forms, and one of the key small business growth hack strategies you can keep in mind for 2018, involves remembering that just because you have a newsletter, doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the widest selection of potential customers on the market.
Instead of just giving your customers a single way to get involved with your brand, make sure that you provide value in countless different ways, and develop various opportunities for people to share their information with you.
7. Don’t Guess, Research
Part of achieving success in the business world today involves learning how to rank for the most important search terms and phrases in your industry. However, if you want to do that, you can’t simply guess what your customers are searching for. Instead, you should be doing your homework and making sure you know what you’re getting into.
Try conducting a search in an incognito window that could help you to access unbiased results for your sector. This process will help you in numerous ways. Not only will it help you to pinpoint search engine terms that you want to rank for, but it could also give you some inspiration if you’re looking for insight into what kind of content you need to create.
6. Survey and Segment Your Audience
If you’re not sure how to best serve your audience, then one of the easiest ways you can make sure that you’re giving them the ultimate online experience, is to simply talk to them. Your customers can be some of the best sources of information in your network, particularly when it comes to figuring out how you can grow your product and brand.
Try inviting your existing customers to offer feedback in the form of a survey. Remember, those surveys should also allow you to tap into demographic information about the people you’re targeting. That way, you’re more likely to have the information you need to segment your customers and personalize your marketing messages in 2018.
The more carefully you can segment your current clients, the more chances you’ll have to delight your customers both now, and in the future.
5. Create Viral Content
Viral content is an absolute goldmine for any company in today’s highly-competitive marketing world. In today’s completely saturated advertising environment, viral content earns the attention and love of your audience because your customers share it for you.
Of course, creating viral content is easier said than done. Usually, the best way to get started is to look for a way to resonate with your audience on an emotional level. People are far more likely to share content that appeals to their feelings, so if you can tap into fear, anger, sadness, or happiness, you may end up with better results.
Additionally, make sure that it’s incredibly easy for your customers to share the content you produce with buttons and links.
4. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
Most of the searches conducted in today’s online world are done on a mobile. According to some reports, by 2019, mobile advertising is expected to make up around 72% of the money that digital companies spend on marketing solutions.
Optimizing your website for mobile basically means ensuring that your customers can get the same experience of your website whether they’re logging on from their desktop, or they’re browsing through your products with their smartphone.
A responsive design should be enough to help you accomplish this, but it’s worth speaking to a digital designer if you need a little help.
3. Ask Your Team
Not sure what to do next when it comes to small business growth hack strategies for 2018? Why not turn to your team for a little inspiration? After all, the chances are that they know your business just as well as you do, and you might find that they can offer some insights that you hadn’t thought of yourself.
Remember, you don’t have to implement all the changes that your team suggests, but you will need to make sure that you’re building a collaborative group where everyone feels as though their opinion has been heard. You need everyone in your organization to be moving in the same direction if you want to reach your goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.
2. Perform an Audit
Sometimes, when it comes to achieving success in any industry, it’s not just your planning problems that are holding you back, but your ability to innovate according to the technology that’s available for your brand, or your business.
There’s a good chance that your company utilizes at least a few different telecommunications services, regardless of whether you’re invested in video conferencing services, audio conferencing, or team collaboration applications.
One of the easiest ways to make yourself more profitable in the year ahead is to have a free audit conducted on your behalf. We currently have a team of communications experts available that can perform these audits for small companies, and give them a free report with plenty of great suggestions on how to reduce costs, and improve productivity.
1. Know Your Tax Requirements
Most companies agree that taxes are an important part of what keeps their business running as smoothly as possible. Of course, paying your taxes isn’t always the most fun and exciting part of managing a company.
We believe that brands should only have to pay their fair share when it comes to giving something back to the government. Unfortunately, many small business owners unknowingly over-pay on their tax bills each year. That’s because instead of preparing with a solid plan, business owners simply send their tax documents to their CPA at the end of the year, without thinking about the future.
The good news is that we’ve partnered with a team of tax experts this year to make sure that our clients are as efficient as possible when it comes to managing their expenses. We can work with you to instantly increase profitability for your company, and give you the resources you need to invest in the growth of your brand.