Growth Hack Your Business
Computers + the word Hack + Small Business Owners = Scared
It's common that small business owners hear the word hack and run for their lives. Tell you the truth, I would be doing the same if this topic was actually dealing with computer security.
I'm NOT talking about your typical hoodie-wearing computer programmer sitting in a dark room.
Instead, I'm talking about your savvy digital marketer that knows how to increase their website traffic, social media followers, and online visibility for next to nothing.
Over the years you should be familiar with life hacks. These tips and tricks blow up on Pinterest and Facebook groups.
Life hacks are strategies and techniques adopted in order to manage one's time and daily activities in a more efficient way.Oxford Dictionary (or more commonly known as typing "what is a life hack" in Google Search)
Just head over to Pinterest and type in "Life Hacks". You will see thousands of listicle blogs sharing clever ways to hide money in your house or get the very last ounce of toothpaste from the tube. You can get sucked down this rabbit hole pretty easily.
We are all hackers in one way or form. Remember when you had to wrap your school books in a brown-paper bag? This might have been one of your earliest hacks.
Life hacks and growth hacks are similar. You are finding a strategy or technique to manage your time in a more efficient way.
Before you can start talking about growth hacks, you need to make sure your business has a value hack. During my search for quality growth hack podcasts, I landed this 6-minute gem.
This podcast might be made for start-up companies but I find the information valuable. Value hacking really breaks down to fixing a need and having a unique value proposition. If your business can't get some organic customers through your standard word-of-mouth, are you able to grow this audience? Does this audience exist? Maybe you need to head back to the drawing board and do some market research to determine your target audience.
Trying to hack growth before you find your value will not end well.
What is Growth Hacking?
Growth hacking is a lean, agile approach to growing a business or brand. Growth hacking often involves experimentations with marketing, customer acquisition, and data. Growth hackers use creative, cost-efficient techniques and strategies to grow a following quickly. Growth hacks are used from start-up companies to large organizations.
Effective growth hackers are able to uncover marketing opportunities, test new strategies, and understand the data provided from these campaigns.
Why is Growth Hacking Important?
A business without customers should be considered a hobby. I know all too well the feeling of making a social media post and it drifting away into the void. There is nothing more frustrating or discouraging than creating something and no one seeing it. I can only imagine this is 100x worse for businesses that open and can't pay their bills.
Growth hacking helps you create an audience and customer base quickly. At it's core, it takes small business owners with limited time and teams and allows them to find quick and easy ways to compete against the big boys.
I'm often tasked to help a small mom-and-pop shop in Wheeling, West Virginia to grow website traffic. We fight against other organizations in Pittsburgh, Columbus, and all over the United States. Nine out of ten times we can compete because I embody growth hacking.
Right Brain - Creativity.
Left Brain - Strategy.
At my core, I still believe hard-work and effort win out. When you mix creativity and a plan, you take that #1 spot and leave others in the dust.
Growth Hack Your Website Traffic
"It starts with your website" - says the web designer to an unsurprised audience. Much like a value hack, your website needs to have the fundamentals down. Make sure your website is user-friendly, responsive, and fast.
If growing your website traffic is a KPI that you know will lead to revenue, try the following:
- Hire a freelance content writer. Stop being so picky and let someone else write fresh, relevant content for your website.
- Use Ubersuggest Keyword Tool to find out what people are searching. This free tool helps you find relevant content, saving you time and money on research.
- Create blogs that utilize quotes and statistics. These can lead to quality backlinks that are organic and stick.
- Create a podcast. Seriously, tools like Anchor.FM make it super easy and your name will be spread across tons of RSS feeds on the internet. This can lead to website traffic.
- Give things away. You can use tools like WooBox or even a contact form on your website to drive a ton of traffic. Make sure you capture their email address or have a tracking pixel so you can bring these customers back in the future.
These tactics can be quick and highly effective. Be sure you know the value of your time and your website. If you find yourself taking too long on a strategy, maybe this hack isn't right for your brand.
Growth Hack Your Social Media Following
It's always nice to have more Facebook followers than your competition. What's even better is when you can drive a nicer car than your opposing business owner (if that's your style. I'll stick with my mini-van regardless). Social media followers can convert to customers, so growth hacking your way to becoming an influencer can help your bottom line.
- Find local influencers. No matter how small your town, someone has a large following. Find that person and offer your service or provide value. Barter, trade, or pay them. Influencers can build your audience fast.
- Use Live Video or new features. Find the newest social media feature and use the heck out of it. These get preferential treatment in the algorithm and push you to the top.
- Use Google Trends to create engagement. If the world is talking about it, so is your community. Find the trending topics and ask the questions on social. Be prepared for polarizing opinions, but you might get some new eyeballs.
- Join groups and communities and answer questions. Volunteer your expertise and the right people will follow. If you are the expert, hopping on a community forum and giving some advice might be a quick five minutes and generate your ideal customers.
Every social media is different but most users want the same thing. They want to follow along with people that inspire, entertain, and educate. Once you get them, be sure to keep them by providing quality content.
Growth Hack Your Local Community
Having a strong digital following is great, but sometimes you can't rely on just your website or your social media accounts. Actually talking with living, breathing human beings is important. Some key tips for growth hacking in your local community are:
- Signing up for local chambers, networking organizations (BNI or Rotary), or boards. If you have more time than money, these options help you create organic relationships that can help grow your business.
- Be a local patron. Yes, buy from local businesses and show your face. Have conversations during check-out and leave the business a review. Leave a positive review on Google with your name; that business owner will see it and remember it.
- Like, share, follow, and comment. This might sound like it should be in the social media section, but doing this doesn't necessarily mean they will ever follow your accounts. On the other hand, you might become a "top fan" of their brand and that can stir up some conversation in the future.
- Take pictures. Every business (or location) should have a Google My Business page. Take pictures and upload them to their public account. These pictures help users and owners. Customers know exactly what they are getting and owners can showcase their product without having to hire additional photographer help.
Most importantly, be genuine and honest. Sometimes we love the charismatic, but you don't have to be an extreme extrovert to hack your local community. Some of my favorite people say very few words. The words they say they keep. Do what you say you are going to do, be kind, and be helpful.
This hack wins 100% of the time.
Are You Ready to Growth Hack Your Business?
It's pretty obvious to me that you are ready. You made it past over 1,000 words and several images to land to the bottom of the page. If you've been following along, you also read/skimmed over some other interesting blog topics dealing with building your business.
If you think I can help your business uncover your core values, target audience, and key performance indicators - let's chat.
I'm Eric Hersey:
- a small business
- a digital marketer
- a guy that knows exactly the struggles of a small business and not having enough help to perfect digital marketing
- a guy that figured out how to fix the problem in bullet point #3
I'm excited to talk with you and help you growth hack your way to the top.