Growth Hacking
Jan 8, 2021

Growth Hacking Strategies for Your Business Going into 2021

Nicolas Lucente

First of all, what exactly is growth hacking? Growth hacking is the term to describe strategies that people use to focus on the growth of their company. Typically, the term refers to early-stage startup companies that need to experience a lot of growth in a short period of time, while also doing so on a small budget. In order to do so, companies look to acquire several users or customers quickly while spending little money doing so. The term “growth hacking” itself was coined by the founder and CEO of GrowthHackers, Sean Ellis. After doing some research, we have discovered strategies that experts in the field vouch for in order to hack your business’s growth effectively. Thus, we will discuss these strategies that way you can implement them and see your business cover significant ground in 2021.

Why is Growth Hacking Important for Small Businesses

Starting a business from scratch can be difficult, especially when you are trying to join a competitive market. A big reason why 90 percent of businesses fail is because they are unable to grow at a rapid rate in their early stages. In a study conducted by CBinsights, they revealed that “29 percent of startups that failed ran out cash, 19 percent were outcompeted, and 14 percent of failures resulted from poor marketing.” Rapid growth in a business prevents this from happening. The rapid growth of a business will provide financial strength, allow you to lead successful marketing, and bring in enough money to give you the opportunity to expand. Now, rapid growth is not an easy thing to come by, but the strategies that follow may help you get there.

Strategies for Growth Hacking

Referral Marketing

This is one of the more important strategies to be used by smaller businesses. It is easier to use existing customers to expand your customer base instead of trying to secure completely new consumers. In a study done by Nielsen, they discovered that people are four times more likely to purchase a product from a business after a friend refers them. Or course, for this to work, you need to at least have some customers and that they are satisfied with the product or service you are providing. After you have achieved this, you can ask these customers to refer their friends to your business and even offer discounts to them when they do get someone to come in under their referral. Companies such as UBER and betting apps like DraftKings have done this where when you refer a friend or they use your referral code when they sign up, the person who refers the new consumer receives a discount or in app currency to be used as they please.

Prioritize Branding

Gardner conducted a CMO Survey which supported the fact that “brand strategy has become one of the top three strategic priorities in the coming year.” Understanding your brand and making sure that customers understand your brand is very important. That sounds like a simple task, but you cannot assume that your customers have the same vision for your business as you do. It is important to understand what your coming stands for and that your consumers also know. This is where slogans and mottos come into play. Universities around the world, for the most part, have mission statements. A mission statement is a promise by the school to ensure students what they are signing up for and those students follow that mission statement in order to reach their goals. This is similar to the concept of brand strategy, making sure your customers know what your business stands for and strives to accomplish builds trust with a consumer base.

From one consumer to another, influencers can help spread the word for your business to all of their loyal followers. Image courtesy of Advertising Week 360.

Influencer Marketing

Social media is everywhere. Whether you like it or not, using social media properly is another key component in growing your business. According to Techopedia, using social media gives you the opportunity to change the opinions and behaviors of customers. This concept is important to use to your advantage, especially when you are competing for customers in a market full of other options. However, starting your business’s social network accounts from scratch and expecting immediate attention is difficult. So, it is also a good idea to invest in the help from popular social media influencers. Influencers have a wider reach and have tons of loyal followers that will trust their opinions. When an influencer uses a product and tags them on social media, their followers will see that and then check out your business’s social media account.

They might even order the product that their favorite influencer vouched for since they trust their opinion, giving your business and generous return on the investment. When picking an influencer to contact, look for who has the largest following and how relevant their brand is to your business. If your business is selling skin treatment products, look for models on social media to shout out your product. If you are running a business that sells top of the line computer keyboards, look to find professional video gamers to advertise your product. You get the gist.

Online Appearance and Presence

Having social media is a great first step in creating an online reputation for your business. However, online services are more important now more than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic forced more and more customers to shop and purchase items online. When the pandemic is over, this trend does not seem to be going anywhere. With big companies that have perfected their online services and make it more convenient to order products straight to the consumer's door, customers will most likely not feel the need to go out and purchase these things in person as often. Why go out and purchase stuff when it can be delivered right to their doorstep without wasting any time in their days? In order to stay ahead of the curve, building a consumer friendly website that is completely functional is dire. An effective website will also help you avoid the middleman as you go directly to the customer yourself.

Online presence is also just as much needed for your business as your online appearance. “Nearly 30 percent of companies have dedicated their budget to digital marketing even before COVID-19 happened. According to the same survey by Gartner, companies have directed 80 percent of their multichannel budgets to digital advertising.” Advertising online is the best way to reach people that may be interested in purchasing your business’s product or service. However, before diving into the world of online advertising, it is key to create a digital strategy for your business. Weigh the investment alongside the potential profit and try to understand how much the appropriate amount is to invest in this field. Investing in anything to benefit your company, including online advertising, will have to be a well-calculated risk and not a gamble. Yes, there is a difference.

Properly planning your business’s budget is key to making sure you are investing time and money efficiently. Image courtesy of Logic Manager.

Prepare for Budget Cuts

With everything that has happened in 2020, it is easy to look forward to 2021 and hope that everything will go back to normal. As a business owner, you cannot afford to think so optimistically. Preparing for the worst is a huge part about being a successful business owner. You never hope that it comes down to this, but you have to plan ahead. To plan ahead you have to assess where your company is spending money and understand what is the most important to your business’s success and what is not as important.

Understanding this will help you see where money can be saved and where it needs to be spent in order to keep your company operating. Much like how when you are tight on money and your car gets into a little fender bender that does not affect its performance at all, you would typically choose to just live with it until you can afford to get it fixed or replaced. When you are running a business under these current circumstances, it is important to understand when you actually need to spend money versus when you would like to, but do not necessarily need to since the business can continue to operate just fine without the purchase.

The 4 Growth Hacking Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Firstly, the lack of focus on your company’s product. Your product is what makes your company great and is what makes customers happy. You do not want to spread yourself too thin by releasing numerous products that steer attention away from your big winner.

Secondly, make sure you do not follow trends without paying attention. Do not just follow what other companies are doing because they are seeing success doing so, your business might not see that same success. Know your target audience and go from there.

Thirdly, do not try to hack your business’s growth by yourself. This process is a difficult one and it takes a supporting cast to get the influx of consumers you desire. Influencers, as mentioned before, is a great example of reaching out to others for help-- even if you are paying them. It is a “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” kind of scenario.

Aiken House works with a lot of “indy” growth hackers and marketers, and we are more than happy to link you up with one - just contact us here.

And fourthly, try not to target too large of an audience at one time. Keep your consumer base tight and connected at first before trying to expand. Targeting a lot of people at one time will not attract the masses you expect. This goes back to the referral marketing strategy and the importance of a social media presence.

Good Luck

Hopefully the pandemic comes to an end soon, but either way, hopefully you can implement these growth hacking strategies to your business and watch it grow rapidly. Good luck in all of your business ventures and we hope you have a successful 2021.