You can’t deny that digital is BIG today.
It is no longer a way to communicate or stay connected but it has also become a quintessential way of doing business. Companies like Uber and Whatsapp are good examples of how digital can be used to disrupt existing businesses and create a new business model.
Whether you are a digital business or a traditional one, you can no longer ignore your customers and employees who stay hooked to the digital channels, both at work and at home. This requires businesses to rethink their traditional marketing-strategies and leverage digital marketing to attract right audience and promote and sell their products and/ or services.
Digital Marketing is not only an economical way to do business but it is more targeted and data-driven as well.
Thus, in order to understand critical marketing-trends and create impactful and consistent digital-experiences for our clients, we, at Net Solutions, try to keep pace with shifts in digital-marketing space.
We recently organized workshops on ‘growth hacking for startups‘ and ‘digital marketing for businesses‘ in collaboration with NASSCOM, a trade association of Indian IT and BPO industries. Key speaker was Navneet Kaushal, CEO of Page Traffic, a content marketer, and a search evangelist. The two sessions were attended by entrepreneurs and digital marketers from in and around Chandigarh.
Following are the highlights of the event, suggesting ideas to design a startup’s growth-story and to take a business to the next level with search and social:
Growth Hacking for Startups
For any startup, implementing growth hacks, distinctive to its business, is crucial. It is the key to stand out of the noise and win customer loyalty.
Growth hacking is about doing the simple things brilliantly and driving growth at every opportunity. It is a methodology and a way of life for the new era of marketers in this fast-paced digital world to quickly scale products and gain exposure.
Product has to be a growth hacker too
In order to succeed, you have to focus on real growth. And, it primarily comes with product development rather than marketing.
Growth-hacking technique of Hotmail is probably one of the earliest and the most successful examples. It simply shows how designing your product the right way, you can build an insanely fast-growing business from scratch.
Its growth-hacking trick was simple – they encouraged people to sign up to their product with the following message: ‘PS: I Love You. Get Your Free Email at Hotmail’. This eccentric yet unobtrusive request was present in every email sent by Hotmail’s users. Thus, it used existing users as a free resource to fetch new customers.
Result: The service grew to 12 million accounts in just 18 months. It, then, sold for $400m in 1997 after it raised $300k to start in 1996.
Next, check out other iconic growth-hacking examples and get inspired with this magically creative yet cheap growth-methodology.
Iconic growth-hacking examples
- Facebook: It started off as a closed network, thereby giving a sense of exclusiveness to its users. It also ensured remaining at critical mass at every stage of growth.
- LinkedIn: It allowed people to create public profiles, which makes their profiles as well as company pages shown organically in search results.
- Instagram: It made it quick and easy for users to cross-post to another platforms like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and more; thereby reaping free advertisement.
- AirBnB: Its platform hack enabled users to cross-list their postings on Craigslist with one click. It, thus, took advantage of Craigslist’s large user base.
- Dropbox: It ran a low-cost and high-impact growth hack, in which users were awarded 500MB of free storage space under its referral program.
- Twitter: To make their users permanent ones, it started making them follow 5-10 accounts at the time of account-setup on the platform.
Approach to growth hacking
In order to make growth hacking work for you, follow the A2R2 approach. This involves creating awareness, fetching initial customers and making them try your product/ service, retaining them, and spreading the love, henceforth.
- Attract: A startup doesn’t only want awareness; it wants customers, users, and clients. Means to attracting right audiences are posting content on paid and earned channels; and distributing content via content-distribution channels.
- Activate: To activate the interest of a user, use targeted emails, videos, tutorials, webinars, and demos. When your user visits your website to try out the offering, welcome them to a minimalistic home-page, like Quora and Twitter.
- Retain: It is not only about retaining the customers you have, but also optimizing and upselling the ones you have got. For example, holding networking events for your initial users.
- Reap: After pulling in your initial users, you must make them get in more users to give a virality lift to your product. This can be done through incentivize sharing, as done by Dropbox.
Search and Social for Businesses
For any established business, following best practices in search and social is crucial. It is the key to develop a more robust online presence and nurture customer loyalty.
A typical user, when looking out for particular product or service, starts from enquiring with friends on social media to searching about it on search engine. Thus – search and social – both are necessities for a thriving business.
Investing in search, the right way
Around 61% of consumers use search engines before making a purchase. This helps them in product research, including specifications, price comparison, and reviews. This means that if you want to get discovered, you will have to rank well for your target keywords.
Here is how to do it:
- Keyword Search: For this, you can use search tools, like Google Keyword Planner, to analyze what people are searching for, the most. It’s good to weave your content addressing most frequently-used keywords, while taking care not to overdo it. Remember – you don’t do SEO anymore, it’s simply a result of doing other things the right way. Thus, stay natural and informative, and you will be able to fetch the right audiences.
- Organic vs. Paid Search Results: If you are not able to make your way into organic search results, you can pay and get featured in sponsored links section of Google. Still, you must know that organic search results are the most qualified ones, for which you have to write relevant and SEO-friendly meta-descriptions which are less than 150 words, URLs with right keywords, alt text that is relevant to a particular image, and unique title tags for each page on your website.
- Useful Content: As far as your content goes, focus on right audiences, write a fetching title, give an engaging introduction which goes above-the-fold, mention proof and reasons for your title, and close with a proper call-to-action. Remember – people are looking for facts, data, and useful information in today’s world. If your content is valuable and tells a story, there is no stopping it from getting right audiences. A useful piece of content can be repurposed in the form of whitepaper, case study, image, infographic, newsletter, video, and/ or blog.
Investing in social, the right way
In today’s world, social is a necessity and not a luxury. Around 75% of people in 18-26 age group use recommendations on social sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and Quora, to research for a product before making a purchase. This means that if you want to get an exposure and a positive word-of-mouth, you will need an encouraging and widespread social image.
Here is how to do it:
- Social-media Channels: It is good to know which platforms can work the best for the promotion of your product/ service and brand. Facebook has majorly become a paid media-channel. Twitter can help your brand build a personality. LinkedIn is essential for B2B marketers. Google +1’s can determine your SEO. Instagram and Pinterest can prove to be really useful for posting beautiful photos or intriguing inforgraphics. While Instagram needs to be about real life, Pinterest needs to be utility-based.
- Engaging Content: Social-media channels provide a good opportunity to build a community. Thus, keep your focus on it rather than promoting your brand. You can achieve this by posting useful content that is both entertaining and informative.
- Social-media Advertising: To buy your way in front of your target audience, you can opt for promoted tweets or Facebook advertising. With these, you can ensure higher website visits, better exposure in social media, and enhanced promotion of your social-media postings.
As a part of our digital-transformation initiatives and efforts, we, at Net Solutions, predominantly focus on customer goals. Hence, we have a more customer-centric view and focus on creating a cohesive customer-experience.
Workshops on growth hacking and digital marketing helped us gain better understanding on how to implement sustainable and consistent digital-experiences for our customers, with digital marketing being a crucial part of it.
We are better geared for you! To know how we can help you create holistic customer-experiences using our expertise in digital transformation and knowledge in digital marketing, drop us an Email at [email protected].