Even if you yourself are not a marketer, it's critical to know what growth marketing entails so you can facilitate it in your company.
If you want to attract customers to your website then get them to buy, you’re in the right place.
If you are skeptical of online marketing or sales advice, you are not alone! The internet is wrought with bad advice and marketing clichés.
The information in this pst is based on various industries and is applicable to virtually any company. This is professional level marketing and sales information that gets results. Frankly, it could be packaged and sold for thousands of dollars.
But, let’s also be totally clear on this point, the information in this post is not a magic pill. Implementing the five keys takes hard work and patience.
Even if you yourself are not a sales person or marketer, it's critical to know what growth marketing entails so you can facilitate it in your company. You don’t want to leave growth in the hands of “experts” without proven frameworks or a track record of success. Many companies unknowingly hire marketers who are great with photoshop and writing flowery copy, but lack any tools to measure and optimize growth.
In the coming pages, you are going to be introduced to The Growth Loop.
The Growth Loop is made up of five phases: acquisition, conversion, engagement, revenue, and referrals. These are in order of the typical customer journey as the customer interacts with your company or brand. The phases are all connected and related to each other, in that, when you change your approach in one phase, it effects the other phases. The end goal of a for-profit business is REVENUE. So, the way one maximizes revenue, is by optimizing the other four phases of The Growth Loop to operate at peak performance.
“The way that you maximize revenue is by optimizing the other phases of The Growth Loop.”
These phases are not listed in order of importance, they’re in the order of the typical customer journey. The order of importance is tricky because of the interconnectivity of the phases. However, if you can only read one section, don’t miss the “Phase 5: Referrals” pages.
Note: There are different models of sales/marketing funnels, cycles, systems out there in the marketing world, but this is the one that I think communicates the customer journey the best.
How do people notice you?
Acquisition is the moment in the customer journey when a person first becomes curious about you. There are many places that this can happen. When talking about ways to get people to notice you online, you talk about channels.
Paid Channels include advertising, paid sponsorships, and affiliate marketing. Here, "paid" means you're paying for channel performance as it scales. For example, for every click, ad impression, or referred sale, you're paying.
Unpaid Channels include content marketing, offline networking, sales, viral media, and PR. Here, "unpaid" doesn't mean these channels are free to setup, but rather you're not paying more as performance scales. For example, you'll pay for the labor to have a blog post written, but the resulting SEO traffic doesn't cost you on a per-visit basis. For this reason, unpaid channels can have amazing upside.
There are so many options for acquisition. The best advice I can give a small company is to choose one strategic channel and master that channel. We’ve all seen the company that has every type of social media profile possible, but they don’t take the time to keep them all current. I don’t like to make guaranties, but this scattered approach is guaranteed to not work.
Devote your attention to one channel and master how it works. If you take the energy that you would put into multiple channels and put it into your one channel, you will see tangible results.
You probably already know the one or two channels that would best serve your company. The top three channels for small businesses are Facebook ads, email marketing, and offline marketing. But, just because a lot of businesses use it doesn’t mean it is right for you. In fact, sometimes the best ideas are found completely away from the normal approaches.
My best advice for medium to large companies is this: Do not ignore the attention per dollar you get from social media advertising. The more targeted you can get, the better. Obviously every business is different, but I think most companies are putting too many dollars into old media. Social media is king, I don’t care about your demographic.
How do you help people to buy in?
Notice that this says “buy in” not just “buy” because the next phase is not about a purchase. (Although, it might be about a purchase for some businesses.)
This is about people being intrigued enough to test you out as an authority. Are you worth following on social media? Should people subscribe to your list?
Any business-critical events along the customer journey can be conversion events. For example, a website visitor may first convert into a email list subscriber. Then, after receiving emails for a while, they might then convert to buy your product or service.
Here is a rule to play by with conversions: never run a campaign without a dedicated landing page. Why? Let’s say a bank runs an ad for a new kind of checking account, but and it directs me to their homepage instead of a landing page. Now, the burden is on me to dig deeper and find the information about the new product. Do I dig deeper? Probably not.
It is important to take people on the journey they signed up for. If they clicked on your ad, deliver information that backs up the promises made in the ad.
How do you add value to customers’ lives?
What do you do with all these people you’ve converted into followers, but they aren’t yet paying customers? (In my mind, they are still called customers even though they haven’t paid.) You get to engage with them by adding value to their life and helping them understand how you can help make their life better.
Customers typically spend the longest time in this phase of the Growth Loop. This is where you have the opportunity to understand and address the obstacles customers have in becoming a paying customer. You do this through content like blogs, articles, and videos distributed via social media and email. Focus on being educational and enticing, avoiding friction and sales-heavy language.
Educated users are more likely to become engaged, repeat purchasers. So, the more information about your product or service you can give away, the better.
You can help you customers engage by offering them a plan. The purpose of a plan is to create a clear mental path your customers can take from where they were when you found them to the point of purchase which should provide a resolution to their conflict.
Imagine a hiker standing on the edge of a shallow creek, looking for stones to step on for an easy crossing. Your plan will serve as those stones. By offering them a plan, you’re pointing out the stones in the creek bed that will help them cross safely.
The plan doesn’t have to be very complicated, in fact, it is probably best that it is only 3-4 steps. You want to break your plan down into bite-sized information to help your customers quickly understand.
For example, if you are a retail shop selling grills and smokers, you probably would have a plan like this: (1) Visit our store. (2) Talk to a grill expert to get the perfect setup. (3) Throw a backyard barbecue for your loved ones.
You see, if the customer follows this plan, they end up overcoming obstacles like not knowing what grill works for them, and they’re envisioning their own success in throwing a backyard barbecue.
How do you maximize revenue?
In short, you can maximize revenue by optimizing the other parts of The Growth Loop. I wish there was more to do from a marketing perspective, but I believe that hyper-focusing on revenue leads to decisions that don’t usually add more value to the customer. Focus on the rest of The Growth Loop and revenue will take care of itself.
Outside of The Growth Loop, you can maximize revenue by reducing costs, optimizing pricing, and cross-selling other products. These decisions and their execution are individualized to each business and business model.
How do you get customers to sell for you?
How often have you first been introduced to a product simply because you were prompted by someone into checking it out. It happens everyday, right? If not in person every day, certainly via our online social networks. We are constantly being referred to products.
Along this line of thinking, one of the best ways for you to establish authority is to include customer testimonials in your marketing material. Testimonials can be used on websites, in keynotes, in email campaigns, and in sales letters.
Customer feedback is the most powerful business tool you possess. Period.
You must build customer feedback into your business process. This is not optional and here is why: It's the most cost-effective way to scale your business in the long-term. With customer feedback, you have the opportunity to make your product so good that customers do your selling for you.
By soliciting feedback, you aren’t simply collecting marketing material, you’re learning how to better run your business. Every piece of feedback shows you, in the customers own words, how you made their life better (or not better). You can use this customer feedback to improve your business processes, tweak product features, understand add-on product opportunities and clarify your brand message. Pretty powerful, huh?
Many companies grow exclusively (and slowly) through word-of-mouth. Imagine how powerful referrals cab be when amplified via the power of the internet.