6 Growth Hacking Strategies For Small Businesses

6 Growth Hacking Strategies For Small Businesses


What does it take for a small business to succeed?

Traditional marketing methods require a big budget, extra hours, and a dedicated person— or even an entire department— to focus solely on growing the company. Think billboards and TV ads. Frankly speaking, most small businesses might not have the time and resources for that. But that doesn’t mean that small business owners have no chance for growth, especially in today’s highly digital business environment. 

Growth hacking helps budding businesses grow rapidly and stay afloat. Growth hacking methods are often inexpensive and innovative, thanks to its roots in startup culture.  In this article, we’ll talk about six strategies for small businesses to turbocharge their growth and ultimately be successful. But first, let’s discuss what growth hacking is.

Growth hacking definition

Not to be dismissed as “just another buzzword” in digital marketing, growth hacking has actually been around for more than a decade. In 2010, entrepreneur and startup advisor Sean Ellis coined the phrase “growth hacker” as a new job description. He is the CEO of Growth Hackers, and a pioneer of using low-cost, creative strategies to gain and keep customers. 

Startups need to grow quickly or perish. That is why growth hacking is essential to small businesses. Growth hacking is sometimes called growth marketing. But many digital marketing experts contend that traditional “hackers” and “marketers” are not necessarily the best growth marketers— or growth hackers, whichever you prefer. In truth, a growth hacker needs to do a bit of research and development, social media monitoring, engineering, innovation, and analytical thinking.

Growth hacking tips for startups

So, how does growth hacking work? Generally, growth marketing activities can be divided into content marketing and product marketing techniques. While content marketing includes guest blogs, social media content, podcasts, and email marketing, product marketing involves strategies like referral rewards and affiliate marketing. Of course, holistic growth marketing is the way to go. Specific growth marketing tips are listed below:

  1. Web development

First and foremost, because growth marketing happens online, web development should be part of your growth plan. You want to make sure that your website runs smoothly and has an appealing user experience and user interface, for one. 

Beyond maintaining website essentials, however, you can maximize the power of your site by doing split tests. Through A/B testing, you can compare several versions of your webpage, e.g., your homepage or landing page. Each version’s performance will be tracked so that you can see which has the best conversion rate for your visitors.

  1. Retargeting

Did you know that it takes the average customer 9 visits to a site before making a purchase? That’s according to a 2014 study by Rakuten Marketing. It is important to ensure that previous visitors to your website come back to buy your products. Luckily, Google and Facebook retargeting allows you to show targeted ads to users who have already been to your site. That way, your customers are more likely to return or at least remember you when they’re ready to bring out their purse.

  1. Blogging

Putting up a business blog has a multitude of benefits. First, you gain readers’ trust as you establish yourself as an industry expert. Second, you generate more traffic and reach out to more visitors who can become your future customers. Clearly, small business blogging can aid your marketing plan. 

If users find your blog insightful, they will surely share them on social media and generate more exposure for your business. Plus, you can let readers sign up to your blog and build your email list.

  1. User-generated content

Have you ever thought of using a customer’s comment on social media or a blog post as a testimonial? Why not? Not only is the comment free of charge, it is also most likely to be trusted by other users over your promotional materials. Posting user-generated content (UGC) on your website and social media is an excellent way for you to earn customer engagement, and to convince them to try your products and services.

UGC is social proof and it employs roughly the same magic as traditional word-of-mouth marketing. One, it leverages the trust we put in the people close to us. Two, it appeals to our inherent desire to fit in and our fear of missing out. Simply displaying the names of logos of your clients could attract many potential customers. If you add quotes and photos from your happy customers, that’s even better. Bonus tip: When sharing social proof in articles or social media posts, don’t forget to add a clear call to action.

  1. Creative lead generation

Placing pop-ups strategically can help you convert visitors, or at least build your email list. If it’s a customer’s first time to visit your website, ask them to sign up for your blog or newsletter. When a customer is about to leave, offer a discount coupon code for their future purchase.  Offer a free book when a user enters their email address. Gamify your onboarding process and give rewards to new subscribers. 

This list of creative lead generation tactics can go on and on. The point is to keep a list of your prospects and customers, and to keep  them all engaged.

  1. Giveaways

Who doesn’t love a freebie? Customers surely do. Give them free trials, be generous with discounts, offer free shipping for a first purchase, or distribute entry-level products for free. This allows customers to try your products and then keep coming back for more. 

Earlier, we said that growth hacking should be low-cost, but that doesn’t mean not spending at all. When giving away freemium products, think of the customer’s lifetime value. You’ll only need to shoulder shipping once, but if that client is satisfied, you’ll have a repeat customer who can refer you to a bunch of other people.

Key points: Marketing for small business growth

Overall, there is no singular path to growth hacking success. You’ll need to combine these strategies to skyrocket growth hack: great website, retargeting, business blogging, social proof, email list-building, and freemiums.

Did we miss an awesome growth hacking tactic?

Share your thoughts in the comments.