How to market during the growth stage of your business

When your business is thriving and growing, marketing may not be top of mind. You might be more focused on keeping up with business and ensuring customer satisfaction.

But even in the growth stage of your business, you need to work on marketing — specifically, how you can sustain and further expand during this stage. Here are some growth hacking strategies to help you do just that.

Pursue social media recommendations and reviews

Now that you have an established customer base, let those customers do some of the growth hacking on your behalf. Happy customers make great brand champions and influencers because they get their social circle to try your products or services.

While some of this growth marketing may take place through word of mouth, today’s digitally focused customers share their feelings on review sites like Yelp as well as through social media posts. Encourage your customers to take on this influencer marketing role by giving them a coupon for sharing their opinion on a review site or sharing their experience on social media.

It also helps to monitor your reputation on these sites and acknowledge both good and bad reviews with a response. Once others see that you’re actively involved in this online discussion and that your company shows a high level of concern for their customers, they may want to learn about you.

Experiment with different online advertising tactics

Online advertising has a highly targeted approach, which can help you reach your specific audience in a way that some other digital marketing tactics can’t. Options include search engine and social media advertising. 

For example, pay-per-click (PPC) lets you place ads in search engine results for keywords that relate to your business offering. You only pay if someone clicks on your ad. That means you have a better chance of winning customers without blowing through your marketing budget. Use a tool like Google Ads, which can guide you toward top keywords so you can get the best return on your investment.

Content marketing is particularly popular with startups these days. Companies devote considerable budget dollars to building their blogs, optimizing their posts for SEO, and buying ads. The strategy is to produce quality content that will reach large numbers of readers and help acquire new customers.

Ads on social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook offer good reach. They will appear in the news feeds of users who match your target demographics for potential customers. Aside from specialized targeting tools, the advantages of this type of online advertising include low cost and useful analytics information.

Focus on customer service, including personalization and loyalty rewards

Any growth hacker will tell you that building your startup isn’t only about viral marketing, conversion rates, or adding new users. A big part of your marketing should focus on nurturing existing customers so they continue to buy from you.

Holding onto customers today often hinges on the type of experience you provide. Spend time getting to know your customers so you can provide them with a personalized experience beyond email list tactics like wishing them a happy birthday or reminding them when they’re due for a reorder.

You can also deliver personalized promotions, include them in product or service testing, and invite them to special events. Share your case studies with them. Consider creating a loyalty program and then offering further personalized rewards that recognize their loyalty and keep them hooked.

Add features to your product or service to attract a larger audience

The growth stage of your business is a good time to put more effort into product development. Perhaps you want to build a complementary product or service, or simply add new features.

Many successful companies have proved that this marketing strategy works. For example, Apple gets their user base to upgrade their smartphones each time new features and functionality appear.

The same goes for other brands that study what surprises and excites customers. For example, Universal Studios saw rising attendance and sales overall after building the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

Talk with customers, and build what they want

Just as with early-stage companies, product-market fit is still important. Digital marketers need to conduct in-depth research to understand what their current customer base wants from the brand. They may have a new problem to solve or want a different type of experience. While secondary research may reveal some insights, the better approach is to reach out directly to your audience and conduct primary research.

This can be an online and offline marketing effort. Tactics might include email marketing, surveys, focus groups, interviews, A/B testing, and pilot programs.

Involving customers and asking for their feedback not only shows that you’re interested in giving them what they want, but it also creates products and services that resonate with audiences, incrementally increasing revenue for further growth.

AUTHOR
A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked for TV, newspapers, radio, and Internet companies for 25 years. He’s written for Inc.com, Fast Company, NBC, Entrepreneur, USA Today, and Business Insider, among others.

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