Have you ever noticed that no matter how much time and money you invest, you're not seeing the rapid growth you want? It's frustrating.
It's easy to drive incremental growth, but rapid growth is a different challenge.
How do I know?
I've worked with 50+ high-growth and turnaround businesses over the last 15 years, and I've distilled the best eight growth hacks I use for rapid results. Not only that, we're using these ideas to scale up RosterElf. We've increased web traffic by 395%, New users to the site by 607%, and signups by 356%. Not only do these ideas work... they work well.
So read on to unlock my best-kept secrets and how to implement them.
Follow the 80-20 rule
20% of your customers will often generate 80% of your business – Identify who these customers are in your business. Chances are they are the quiet minority you never hear from, whilst the vocal 80% delivering 20% of your revenue have you running around daily.
Once you've identified customers that are not right for your business, part ways with the most difficult of them and decrease your efforts with the others, otherwise, you'll end up wasting valuable resources on customers who are not the right fit.
Once you know who the right customers are, determine which characteristics define them from the other 80%. Demographic, Psychographic, Time / Day of purchase, Industry, you name it, data is everything here. Find out what defines them and where to find more of them.
Next step? Target these customer types and optimise your offering and marketing for their needs.
Get people to say nice things!
Google Reviews, Product Reviews, and Testimonials are all critical to building trust in the market around your brand. We're more connected than ever, and creating a cloud of positivity around your brand will pay dividends for years.
You'll also benefit from a large pool of positive reviews that can defend against the occasional negative review. For example, a 1-star review for a business with only three reviews can be terminal; a 1-star review for a company with hundreds of other reviews is a drop in the ocean.
Don't feel bad asking customers directly, especially if you've gone over and above. People are generally willing to help you on your journey, and writing a positive review affirms the purchasing decision they've just made. Win-win.
Reduce churn before it happens
Offer a money-back guarantee to encourage refunds from unhappy users. That's right, it sounds completely mad but make it simple and entice them to claim a refund.
Once they're in touch, find a way to fix the problems they face and keep them as customers. If you need to, offer discounted rates or account credits to encourage a second chance.
If you can't keep them on board, thank them politely and fix the underlying issue ASAP. Generally, if a customer leaves because of a problem, they're not the only ones affected. And although you've lost a customer, you'll be able to stop it before you lose anyone else.
Reduce the number of products in your product line
Focus on what you do best and cut out mediocre items that don't drive much business. Extensive stock inventories can be hard to manage and expensive to hold; money in slow-moving stock is left on the shelf.
If you'd like to keep the appearance of an extensive range, keep the products available and extend their delivery timelines. When you get an order, bring them in as required from suppliers. You can take a deposit or full payment from the customer before buying the item.
Money-back guarantees will help the customer feel safe in the purchase, and the whole process will free up large amounts of cash you can invest in faster-moving products.
Manage your best assets and biggest costs better
People are both your biggest asset and your most significant cost. Implementing electronic rosters and time tracking systems can help you maximise output and minimise costs.
On the business side, automating your employee award interpretation and using a system that connects straight through to your accounting program will be a game-changer.
Try before you buy
Use a freemium model or offer a signup trial with no credit card required. This way, they can see if the service will meet their needs before they commit. If it doesn't work out for them, fine, but at least you've got another data point or a person to market alternate offers to in the future.
For a service or product business, take the risk out for the customer with money-back guarantees. You'll find that the increase in sales is far more significant than the occasional return.
Build authority and exposure
Establish authority by writing blog posts about industry news or pain points for your market segment (Or share some of your insights!). This exposure leads potential customers to believe you know what you're talking about and builds a level of trust with them.
You'll become an industry leader rather than just another business trying to sell them something.
Use online tools like Google's keyword planner tool to identify the questions people are asking and google search to see which articles are ranking.
Once you've got the ideas, you can get to writing.
If you're not a writer, you can easily find great content writers on fiver. Alternatively, AI-based writing tools like Jasper.ai will quickly turn you from a literary disaster to a literal master. Simply seed the AI with your ideas and let the system handle all the heavy lifting of writing.
Too busy to write? Keep in mind you can always outsource the content creation to experts and sit back and wait for the articles to arrive.
These blog posts provide excellent content for your website and social media. Not only will you build exposure and authority, but you will also strengthen your business's SEO rankings.
Incentivise others to promote your products
It's nice to think people will go and promote your business. Still, you managed to wow genuine referrals outside of happy customers and anyone.
So, make your product part of someone else's business.
Affiliate and referral programs are great ways to get others talking about your products and services. They promote you, and in return, you give them a slice of every sale they bring in.
If you are running an e-commerce business, off-the-shelf plugins or custom-built affiliate systems will have you up and running in no time.
Once it's running, set and forget.
For offline businesses, find partners already dealing with or selling to your target market. You'll get a significant increase in immediate exposure, and they'll do the leg work for you (at a cost).
The results will be much stronger than any advertising or word of mouth could ever deliver.
There are many more growth hacks around, but these are my top low-cost / high-impact tips that you can quickly implement in your small business.
Have a go at implementing one in your business this week, and make sure you track your results. Good data leads to great decisions.
Have any growth hacks that you'd like to share? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org; I'd love to hear your growth secrets too!