Growth Marketing Strategies: Small Business Basics

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If your New Year’s resolution for your business includes getting more leads and traffic and closing more deals, then you’re in good company.

HubSpot’s most recent State of Inbound study found that 63% of marketers say generating leads and traffic is one of their company’s top challenges, while 75% of companies say closing more deals is their top sales priority.

To accomplish both of these goals, small businesses need to implement solid growth marketing strategies.

growth marketing strategies for small business

Growth marketing is simply marketing done well.

It takes traditional acquisition marketing, which for the most part focuses on the very top of the sales funnel by building awareness of your brand and product and obtaining customers, and expands that focus throughout the entirety of the funnel.

With a rock-solid growth marketing strategy, your company will begin the new year ready to address issues at the top of the funnel (generating leads and traffic), the bottom of the funnel (closing more deals), and everywhere in between.

In this article, we will discuss three tried-and-true growth marketing strategies.

1. Use data to build personas and inform your hiring

More than ever before, 2019 will be the year of data.

Dell Technology says 2019 will see a “gold rush” in tech investments sparked by the data gold mine.

“Organizations have been stockpiling big data for years,” Dell says. “In fact, it’s predicted that by 2020, the data volume will reach 44 trillion gigabytes, or 44 zettabytes.”

That’s a lot of data.

Your business has likely already invested in data analytics software, which means you already have all the information you need to make data-driven, informed decisions about your business and marketing strategy.

You can also use that data to build marketing personas.

Build data-driven personas

Marketing personas are (mostly) fictional characters that communicate the important characteristics of a group of users that are a key target for your business.

These personas help you build a marketing strategy around what motivates their purchasing decisions, helping you generate better leads and curated traffic.

Instead of relying solely on industry standards to develop your marketing personas, the user data you’ve already collected can guide your personas.

Construct your marketing personas based on what you know about your customers—geography, age, professional title, where they first made contact with your business—or by what is motivating your customers—a specific want or need, expectations, etc.

As Gartner senior director analyst Augie Ray explains, “Marketing leaders overlook or fail to understand the valuable customer data their organization already has when developing personas and journey maps.” (Full research available to Gartner clients.)

By leveraging the data you have from your actual customer base, you empower yourself to execute and measure your strategies based on those customized personas.

Use existing data to create, act on, and measure impact on personas

Ray’s report also outlines four steps for developing and implementing more powerful personas.

Growth marketing strategy basics

(Source—full research available to Gartner clients)

  • Step 1: Define your personas. Use your data to cluster customers together based on needs and other common attributes. For example, a car dealership may use search data or website analytics to identify groups primarily concerned with safety, fuel efficiency, or performance.
  • Step 2: Build your personas. Once persona groups are identified, fill out those personas with information from additional internal and external sources. Personas are most actionable when they contain hard data that guides decision-making. For example, understanding mobile preferences can help match the right mobile web or app strategy to each persona.
  • Step 3: Act on your journey maps. Use your customer data to understand customer journeys and identify what helps or hurts your customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy. Once you’ve focused in on a persona, your data can help you identify key moments and decision points on the customer journey.
  • Step 4: Measure your customer experience (CX) performance. By collecting and reviewing your performance data by customer persona, you will be able to continually improve your performance within each persona group and identify which actions receive the best response.

Data can also inform your hiring

A marketing org chart can help assess and distribute employee workloads and enhances coordination within an organization, especially when your small business depends on employees taking on cross-functional responsibilities.

You can use your customer data to strategize about your perspective hiring as well. The large repository of data points you have already collected can offer you insight into how and when and where you are having the most success generating leads and traffic.

For example, if your customer data reflects an uptick in response to social media campaigns, this might inform a decision to hire a social media specialist.

2. Audit your strategy and cut what doesn’t work

With a never-ending surplus of daily responsibilities, small businesses often lose focus on the big picture and long-term goals. For this reason, the beginning of the year is a great time to realign your marketing strategy with your organizational goals.

A marketing audit can help you refocus on why a specific marketing strategy was implemented and help you determine if the business is executing it successfully.

Take a step back, see what’s working well and what’s not, and ensure that the time and resources expended to execute your growth marketing strategy are actually supporting your business goals.

This kind of reflective marketing audit will help you:

  • Measure your strategy against your industry competition
  • Cultivate new ideas and strategies
  • Cut strategies that aren’t benefiting your mission, saving time and money

A marketing strategy audit will help you stop wasting resources on less-than-productive strategies, instead honing each new iteration of your growth marketing strategy to focus on the activities that work best for your business.

3. Get granular on the pain points

A pain point is a specific problem that your prospects and customers experience.

Pain points are as diverse as your customers themselves, so establishing pain point categories is important to help you build a growth marketing strategy around them.

Here are some ways you can group customer pain points:

  • They spend too much money on current services and products.
  • Their current service or product is inefficient.
  • They want to expand into a new product type or industry, but they lack the tools to do so.

You may offer the highest industry standard of features and benefits, but without effectively marketing to your customers’ individual pain points, they won’t be motivated to buy.

Focus on the specific challenges that your buyers are facing and show how you can address those challenges. Excellent marketing can even illuminate pain points for otherwise unaware customers. The key is to help your potential customer realize they have a pain point and then convince them that your product or service will solve it.

Sell a solution, not a service. The more granular and specific your identified pain points, the better.

Here are some ways to identify pain points unique to your potential clients:

  • Collect research from your current clients.
  • Ask for and then feature testimonials.
  • Look for trends in the industry—what are the roundtable discussions at your target industry conferences this year?

Growth marketing in 2019

You can embolden your growth marketing strategy for 2019 by using your customer data to inform your persona building and segmentation, getting rid of the marketing strategies that don’t work, and homing in on your potential customer’s unique pain points.

These strategies will help your marketing team curate stronger, more personalized personas, which connect more effectively with potential customers and will help generate leads and traffic.

They will also help you understand the specific motivations of your customers, helping you to offer more effective (and therefore better selling) solutions.

Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.

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About the Author

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Samantha Bonanno

Sam covers Buyer Marketing at Capterra, offering insights and thought leadership on marketing trends and best practices for small and midsize businesses. An Upstate New York native, Sam spends her free time backpacking with her dogs and holding snobby opinions on craft beer and single origin coffee.

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