As 2018 swiftly approaches, starting a new business has never been easier. All you really need is a product or service to sell and a way to get the word out to your audience. However, it’s never been harder to effectively scale and grow your business. This is where a strong growth marketing strategy comes into play. Below I’ll highlight what it is and how to implement this approach so you see the business results you’re looking for.
Defining Growth Marketing
Growth marketing is the process of attracting higher quality customers by shifting your marketing messages to align with where they are in the marketing funnel. Instead of only focusing on top of the funnel tactics, a growth driven strategy uses lifecycle marketing to nurture high quality leads into lifelong customers.
Then What’s Growth “Hacking”?
Have you ever heard about someone sing praises about a certain marketing tactic that grew their business exponentially? They may have explained it as a growth hack or tried to tell you that growth hacking is the way to instant, massive success.
While the tool they used might have dramatically helped their business, the success depends on the other tactical elements of their overall marketing strategy.
Growth marketing is not a one-click solution. It takes time. It’s a long-term strategy that focuses on increased retention rates and takes extensive testing and data analysis. It’s holistic approach to your marketing strategy, and doesn’t rely on one tactic to grow your business quickly.
Growth Starts with Your Customers
If you own a business, you understand that without your customers, you wouldn’t be where you are today. You’re also probably well-aware of the fact that business success isn’t a straight line that goes up and to the right. To achieve this optimal trend line, you need customers that stick around for more than just a single purchase.
So, who do you want to attract? Who are your ideal customers? We like to call these people buyer personas. They’re representations of the people who are interested in the value you offer.
It’s important to remember that they’re people and not just dollar signs for your business. People like to do business with people, and don’t want to feel like another name on a list in your database. It’s all about personalizing your brand experience by providing context in your marketing.
It’s not easy and you need the right information to reach the right person at the right time, however this is where traditional marketing fails and where your growth comes from.
Traditional vs Growth Approach
We’ve all seen traditional marketing. The TV commercials we tune out during halftime of the big game. The radio ads that ramble off terms and conditions on our daily commute. Speaking of commute, have you seen the latest billboard?
These are all examples of traditional marketing tactics and they all have one thing in common: They’re forgettable.
While there are some ways you can get creative with these tactics, they’re broadcast messages that don’t really mean anything to the people you’re targeting.
Instead of taking this shotgun, spray and pray approach with your marketing, take the time to understand your audience. Know their pain points. Know the solutions they’re actively searching for. Speak their language. Give your marketing some meaning.
The biggest difference between these two marketing approaches is that growth marketing focuses on the continually providing value to their customers. Not only is it easier to get a past customer to buy from you again, but it’s much less expensive than trying to go out and get new ones.
Know the Pareto Principle
Also known as the 80/20 rule, this principle was derived from Vilfredo Pareto when he noticed that about 20% of his peapods in his garden produced 80% of the peas. As an economist, he also noted that a similar connection between land ownership in Italy, with 80% of the land being owned by around 20% of the population.
The same thing goes with your business and your marketing. Unfortunately, not every email you send, social post you publish, or product update you make will cause a drastic increase in revenue. Instead, you’ll notice that a few of your tactics gain traction and bring massive results compared to the rest of your efforts.
Knowing this can help you learn what your audience is looking for, and you can tailor your messages accordingly.
Implement Lifecycle Marketing
The best way to make sure your marketing aligns with where your audience is in your funnel is to implement lifecycle marketing. Lifecycle marketing is a marketing tactic that identifies how far along in the marketing and sales funnels your audience is, and adapts the message to speak to their needs.
Assigning your contacts lifecycle stages allows you to keep your marketing effective as people move through your funnel. These stages can vary based on your business, but there are a few stages that we like to make sure we have covered.
Visitors: These are the people that haven’t converted into contacts in your database….yet. They’re the general audience you’re trying to attract and ultimately convert on your website. I’ll talk more about this in a little bit.
Leads: Congrats! These are the people who have converted on your website and are contacts in your database. They’ve shown their interest in your company, and you should aim to engage them with relevant content.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL): These are the people your marketing team should focus heavily on. Don’t over-market to them, but they’ve let you know they’re aware that you could provide them with a solution to their problem. Keep the conversation going.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQL): When someone converts into an SQL, your job as a marketer is complete! Well, sort of. These people are typically ready to speak to salesperson, so they can be provided next steps. It’s important you keep your sales team accountable for following up with these people to report an ROI for your efforts.
Customers: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Once your sales team closes the deal, these people become customers. However, this is where most people stop…but not a growth marketer like yourself!
Evangelists: Growth hinges upon people spreading the great word about your company. While traditional marketing typically stops once you close a deal, it’s important that you continually drive value to create customers that not only come back, but sing the praises of your company.
Lifecycle marketing will look different for each business. There could be an extra step in between MQL and SQL, or even eliminating the MQL entirely. It all depends on your process, and how effectively you can deliver an exceptional customer experience at each stage.
Align Marketing and Sales
One of the most common problems for marketers is reporting an accurate return on investment. However, it’s not because they don’t perform well, it’s the gap in communication between lead generators and the lead closers (aka marketing and sales).
A successful growth strategy hinges on the efficiency and effectiveness of the communication between these two teams.
To make sure you don’t run into this problem, sit down with both teams and lay out a communication plan. Plan around a common goal of increased revenue and set up a process that clearly defines what is needed to create quality leads for your sales team.
Once your marketing team understands what your sales team needs, they’ll be able to adjust their tactics to acquire this valuable information and pass it off to a salesperson at the right time.
Automation: Make Your Job Easier
Marketers are only as good as the tools they have, and if 2017 has taught us anything, it’s that people want things now! You can check out all our digital marketing trends here, but automation is a key ingredient to growing your business.
Automating your marketing will allow you to respond to the people who matter most in a quick and effective way. Did someone fill out a form on your website? Send a follow-up email. Did they recently purchase something from you? Send them a chance to give it a review.
Marketing automation allows you to focus on analyzing how effective your overall strategy is instead of worrying about repetitive tactics that take up a huge amount of your time.
Not only this, but with the right software, you can automate your sales process as well. You can set criteria for determine lifecycle stage, assign leads to salespeople, and create tasks so you can have your team stay on top of the leads that matter most.
I could go on and on about growth marketing and all the different moving parts in your digital marketing strategy. It’s important to remember how it differs from growth hacking. Instead of focusing on drastic short-term growth, keep your goal centered around sustainable long-term impact. Keep it focused on your audience, and continually learn about what they’re looking for so you can keep your customers, your customers.