Are you struggling with scaling your business? Do you sometimes look at your to-do list and think “I need something that’s going to help me grow”. Then check out our 10 growth hacks below which WILL speed up your business scaling and scaling fast.
Use a system to record, measure and test ideas for growth
You’ll no doubt have hundreds of ideas on how you can grow. Some will come from this book, some from books like Traction by Gabriel Wienberg, or 10x by Grant Cardone.
But whatever ideas you have, the reason some businesses grow and scale, and others don’t, is because they stick with an idea and exhaust it.
The breakdown is as follows.
We have a high level, big purpose. Something like, “our business wants to help 100 businesses generate $1 million each by 2020”.
Then we have a mission. This is HOW we’re going to achieve that goal, at a high level. “We’re going to do that through 3 coaching programs on sales training”
Then we have goals. Goals are what we need to do, in order to get to that mission, so we can fulfil our purpose.
Goals might include-
Get 100 customers
Build an email list of 10 000 people
Build our social presence
Write blog content every day
Increase traffic to our website
Call 5 customer a day
Finally, we have tactics. HOW do we achieve those goals? Now here’s the hard part. Sometimes you HAVE to pick just one goal to work on. The priority.
If you have 3 priorities, you don’t have any priorities.
You need to choose a goal and brainstorm all the tactics you can think of to achieve that goal. Your priority should be to get customers, frankly.
But lots of times, we feel we want to do content marketing or list building. Maybe you feel you CAN’T get customers until you do those things.
But businesses don’t grow without customers. My advice, unless you already have customers, would be to focus on getting customers before anything else.
Brainstorm all the tactics you can think of to achieve your goal. Write down each step and title.
For example, to get more customers, we might have-
Start paying for traffic to come to a sales page
Attend more networking events
Call current network for referrals
Set up live webinars
Send free content to clients
Grow an email list
Now here’s what successful people do, they choose a tactic and EXHAUST that tactic until it yields NO MORE results.
Most businesses will try and complete all tactics. Or when they hear of a new tactic or method, they’ll jump on that, without ever exhausting their first tactic.
Growth doesn’t come from jumping from one idea to the next. It’s about taking an idea, trying it and running it into the ground until it doesn’t give you anything more.
“We need more backlinks! Backlinks are a key part of our strategy!” Awesome, tell me how you’re going to do that. “We’ll email out every day, asking our network for backlinks with a piece of structured content or pointing out a broken link on their site”.
Now if I check back in a few weeks-time, most businesses will say “yeah we tried that, but we stopped after a few days. It was too hard.” (This usually means it was boring and not exciting, so they quit).
Did you exhaust that option? Did you REALLY push for it? Most businesses will admit that they didn’t.
In order to keep track of all this, write down your ideas in a spreadsheet, or use a tool like growthhackers.com, and keep ideas and tactics in an “idea” column until they’re being tested. Then test them and move them to the “test column”. Give yourself a time limit and do everything you can to drive that tactic.
Once you’ve completed that test, MEASURE the results. You can’t possibly measure growth unless you know what works and what happened.
Take a look at what you wanted to achieve and if it worked. You don’t have to look at complicated metrics or numbers. Just did it work or not? Did it move the needle on the speedometer?
That’s all we’re interested in. You can put in some numbers if you want. For example, $1000 on PPC advertising got you 500 email addresses. So $2 an email address. Did the PPC work then?
Well if you wanted 499 email addresses, then yes. You smashed it.
Measure your results and keep referring back to your growth document. It’ll provide proof of where you need to try your efforts in future.
We’ll go over a series of tactics, that help your goal and mission in this chapter.
Find influencers who your customers look up to
Shared influencers are a powerful, fast and easy way to find more of an audience.
We’re going to start by making a list of all the people your customers look up to.
Getting in front of a brand new customer, who doesn’t know you exist, is difficult.
However, getting in front of a shared influencer is much easier. Often, we don’t really know where our customers are. But we can see who they look up to.
Shared influencers are people who your customers look up to. They might be on Twitter, YouTube, book authors, business owners, celebrities, businesses, Facebook groups or podcasters.
You need to make a list of those influencers and write down where they are. You also need to write down as much contact information as you can.
You only need 20 or so. But don’t skip this step. It’s vital that you have a list of influencers and niche-celebrities to target and use.
They’ve built an audience of your customers already, so we’re going to help them and reach more of their audience.
Read and research what those influencers produce/write/say
You’ll need to be in research mode for this exercise.
Every influencer has a few stories, mantras and viewpoints that they share over and over. In fact it’s a great lesson to yourself, by observing people who are where you want to Be.
Most influencers who your customers look up to, will share material, content, videos, products and services that support THEIR purpose.
If you look closely, they’ll only really say a handful of things over and over. Most of them even have a slide deck with the same story on it.
That story is the one they’ll tell over and over. It has a hero (usually them), a driving force and need behind their journey (a catalyst), a roadblock or barrier preventing them from making that journey, a big change that changes them and the world and finally a resolution.
They’ll tell this story over and over and it’s your job to understand that story.
Create a list of links to the content, products, stories, videos, posts, tweets and clips that support what your influencer says.
Whatever their purpose or goal is, create a document that summarises everything they’ve put out to the world.
You don’t have to do this for every influencer on your list of 20 straight away. But as you go along, document what they talk about and what they produce.
This is going to become influencer fuel soon.
Create a list post of those influencers and their content
One of the easiest methods to gain exposure is to create a list of post with influencers.
You can divide this up in two ways.
Either you can select a topic or view point, and create a list post of 7 – 10 (or more) influencers who have contributed towards that cause.
Or you can select one influencer and write a list of 7 – 10 things they’ve done, said, published or created.
For example, if we choose landing page design. We might select Jeff Bullas, Andy Clarke, Smashing magazine, Seth Godin, Ryan Deiss, Brian Gardner, Unbounce and Russell Brunson on what they’ve said about landing page design.
If we say we’re going to show you how to increase landing page conversions, how powerful would it be if we said “8 experts share their advice on increasing landing page conversions”?
Find a quote, video or resource on what those influencers say about your topic and embed the quote or tweet etc. in the blog post.
Include links to their blogs, write up a short summary of what they’ve said and publish that post.
Posts like this are fast to produce, easy to share and your audience wants to read about people they look up to.
Reach out via Twitter to those influencers and tell them they made your list
Once you’ve made your list, use Twitter (or any social platform) to notify your influencers of you creating a post.
Thank them for their insight and advice and tell them that they’ve made your post of “advice on landing pages from the experts”.
Use any method you can reach out to those influencers and get them to notice your content. It’s flattering to be shown that other people are quoting you. Particularly if you’ve got a niche market who the influencers might not be that well known outside of that market.
If they retweet or thank you, send them an email with your blog post and ask them to send it to their list
If you get any response at all, thank them and keep the conversation going.
This is where your research for your influencers comes in. Send whoever thanks or retweets or acknowledges you an email.
Tell them you appreciate them taking the time to share your post. Then send them an email asking them to share it with their list.
Thanks for the retweet earlier today. Your quote on blog posts acting as pages really resonated with my audience.
As you did retweet my post, I thought your wider audience might like to read the post.
I’ve included a link below. It’d mean a huge deal to me if you shared it with your list. I’ve even written up a paragraph for you to just copy and paste.
Thanks again, love your work.
Mike at Sell Your Service has written a post about landing page design (and kindly included me as an expert!). If you want to see what they experts say about landing page conversions, you should read this post.”
This is how you reach out and build an audience, via influencers.
Use smoke tests – one blog post on Outbrain with loads of different titles, keep the most clicked on
When we look at building audience growth, it’s important to know what TITLES resonate with our audience.
Websites like Uproxx and Buzzfeed have made millions from clickbait, sugar water horse-shit sensationalist titles.
However, something we CAN take from them, is their knowledge that a title is a headline. That’s what gets people interested, clicking and visiting a site.
You might have the greatest, most useful guide to money management in the world. But if your title sucks, no one is going to read it.
That’s why we use a “smoke test”. This practice can be used for videos, books, products, blog posts, talks and more.
Use Outbrain as a platform to perform very cheap traffic tests. Outbrain is itself, a paid traffic platform. Frankly, the quality of the traffic is pretty low.
You’ll probably have even seen Outbrain content and advertising platforms on websites.
Even Microsoft uses it.
So here’s how it works. You choose a link from your website, such as a blog post or page. And you tell Outbrain to promote that.
As this is a smoke test, we want to keep the budget low. $50 to $1000 should be plenty to see what gets people to click on.
Use that same link but generate as many titles as you can. At least 10, so you can test which one gets the most clicks.
What we’re looking for is a variety of headlines and titles. Some numbers based, some will be results based and so on.
If you need an idea of headlines, check out https://sumome.com/kickass-headline-generator/ for a headline generator.
Choose your headlines and input them into Outbrain. Try to keep the images the same, we want to make sure it’s the headlines that people choose.
Once you’ve run the posts for a few weeks, maybe a month, take a look and see which one got the most clicks. That’s clicks per view too. Although Outbrain should rotate the ads to show equal numbers, we want to make sure that one post that gets 1000 clicks wasn’t shown 1000x times more than the other ads.
Take the most popular titles and use those as the titles for your products, books, services, webinars and posts.
The internet is telling you what it will read.
Join networking events that only talk to your customer or that have your customers
Networking is important to all businesses. Some of us need to join networks, because we work from home and we can go a little stir-crazy fi we don’t get out of the house.
Other times, we attend networking events, lunches and breakfasts because we’re told over and over that you have to network.
I cannot stress enough how important networking at the right place is. Most serial networkers will tell you, “it’s not about who know. It’s about who you know, knows”.
It’s about growing your sphere of influence. If I talk to Mike and tell him the amazing things I do with ecommerce systems, he’ll recommend me to people who are looking for that same product.
While that may be true, it requires a LOT of work, repetition and reinforcement for other people to evangelise you. Also, you can spend your entire week at networking events. Talking to others and having lunch, while never really growing your business.
Networking, for many businesses, is a perfect example of busy work. Most businesses who do it religiously will tell you it’s a core part of their business. I don’t doubt that networking is important, but it’s how we do it that matters.
You’re better off attending one network, that will have your customers in it. Also, it doesn’t HAVE to be a network at a golf club or hotel.
There’s this thing called Facebook, it’s massive. There are groups on there for EVERYONE. But just like real life, you can’t wander in and start selling. It’s about being useful, helpful and valuable to that community.
Does this sound like hard work? It is. You’re required, on average to post on 20 threads or posts a day, within one network, group or forum, for a month before you’re even recognised.
But real life networking is exactly the same. You need to turn up week after week and always be willing to help people. Don’t approach networking as a sales platform. It isn’t.
It’s about developing relationships that make sense to continue and grow. Use that philosophy, attend fewer networks and get more done.
Offer free talks at Universities and Colleges and record them
If you’re looking for some gravitas behind your name, organise a talk at a University.
The goal is to be able to say “I’ve spoken at Riverdale University”, people will take you way more seriously after that.
It’s easy too. Most Universities and Colleges will allow you use of their halls and lecture rooms for very reasonable rates and sometimes free if faculty and students can attend.
It doesn’t have to be hundreds of people. Invite 20 customers and a few prospects and leads, get your colleagues to come. Tell them it’s free and you’re practicing for a larger talk.
It doesn’t hurt to have doughnuts or wine there either.
Set up a camera and record your talk. Pick up a cheap lapel microphone and plug that into your phone. Record your voice from your phone and combine it with the camera footage for clearer audio.
Once you’ve recorded that, you’ve got a talk at a University on record and you’ve got video content too.
Use Sumome.com to see how much of a blog post people are reading
Sumome has an awesome content analytics tool that lets you see how much of a blog post people are reading.
For example, if you get 100 visitors to a blog post, Sumome will tell you where people drop off. It’s like a temperature gauge, showing how many people read the blog post.
As the blog post or page goes on, the numbers drop off.
If you’re getting over 50% of your readers to read 100% of the post, you’re doing well. However if you can see that 50% of people drop off after the first paragraph, you know you need to change your content structure.
Insight and analytics like this is about learning how to change your business. It doesn’t need to be complicated, you just need to think about how to improve readership.
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