13 Expert-Recommended Tricks For Accelerating Your Online Growth

For online businesses, a high-performing website that encourages engagement and conversions is the key to successful growth. It often takes time to build up a steady stream of website visitors and consistent buyers. However, there are some things you can do to help accelerate the process. If you want to scale your site visits and…

For online businesses, a high-performing website that encourages engagement and conversions is the key to successful growth. It often takes time to build up a steady stream of website visitors and consistent buyers. However, there are some things you can do to help accelerate the process.

If you want to scale your site visits and engagement, try these 13 growth hacks recommended by the experts of Young Entrepreneur Council.

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Young Entrepreneur Council members suggest using these tips to boost your online growth.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Focus On SEO

Search engine optimization is a great way to increase your online presence and drive people to your website organically. SEO is effective because you sprinkle in special keywords in the written content on your site. Those keywords will in turn drive people to your site because they use the same exact keywords when searching for something on Google. – Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

2. Run A/B Tests

Lower your customer acquisition costs through multiple rounds of A/B testing. Once you’ve hit your targeted acquisition rate, deploy large amounts of marketing capital through that funnel. This has proven to be effective because, as you begin to understand your target audience, it becomes easier to predict their behaviors and tendencies. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC

3. Launch Retargeting Campaigns

Launching retargeting campaigns as part of your online growth strategy is one of the most effective approaches. In fact, it often achieves greater results and exceeds conversion rates of regular advertisements. Retargeting allows you to focus on shoppers with high intent to purchase, in addition to decreasing acquisition cost. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

4. Develop Comprehensive Customer Personas

I think the key to website success is developing comprehensive customer personas. You’re going to have a hard time growing your business if you’re not sure who to target. Review your website analytics and feedback forms so you can learn more about the people that frequent your website. Use this information to create compelling content and offers that are geared towards those users. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

5. Experiment Often

In growth hacking or growth marketing, rapid growth can be achieved by carrying out experiments. You can do split tests to see what keywords, prices and offerings create the best results for your audience. When you find something that works, leverage the experiment by scaling it up and applying it to your marketing activities. In this way, an experimental mindset helps you grow your business fast. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

6. Expand Your Pinterest Presence

Whether you own an e-commerce website, run a blog or lead a service-based business, develop an audience on Pinterest to send back to your website. Create content and visuals that represent your brand to attract website traffic, and use links back to blog posts with content upgrades. This will be one of the most effective ways to build an engaged audience. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

7. Tap Into Your Network

To accelerate your online growth, don’t underestimate what your networking connections can do for you. Knowing the right people can make all the differences in the direction your company goes in. A few positive endorsements from well-known entrepreneurs and leaders can put your foot in the door for more great opportunities. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

8. Be Customer-Centric

To accelerate your business growth, you need to create customer-centric strategies that focus on your buyers and their needs. If a company develops a plan based on the results instead of the data and people they serve, then it’s clear why they aren’t reaching the level of success they want. When your customers know that you want to provide for them, they’re sure to come back.  – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

9. Build A Brand Community

Do whatever it takes to create a community around your website, brand or products. You can do that through social media, user-generated content, guest posts, email newsletters and more. By inviting people into your world, you’re helping them get invested in your business, making it easier for them to become loyal fans and customers. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

10. Provide Value And Education Through Content

Creating great content isn’t a “quick fix” hack, but it is the best strategy for the long-term. By creating high-quality content that actually educates and engages your audience, you are giving them a reason to return to your site and making your company stay top-of-mind for them.  – Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.

11. Devote Resources To Content Promotion

Don’t just create good content—promote it. I see many organizations making this mistake. They invest time and money in creating great content and posting it online, but nothing happens. So they get frustrated, thinking that content marketing doesn’t help them grow. Promoting your content doesn’t make you intrusive. It only puts you in front of the right people—those who are interested anyway. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

12. Build An Email List Before Your Site Launches

Many people often wait until the day of their website launch to start building an email list. A powerful way to build an audience and grow your business even before it’s launched is to create a “coming soon” page. Here, you can create a registration form and add a countdown timer. A “coming soon” page will help you build an email list and nurture your audience even before your business opens. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

13. Review Your Analytics

The key to boosting your growth is to look over your analytics. Data from your website, social media and email campaigns can help you make smart marketing decisions. For instance, if you notice that a majority of people across all platforms are clamoring for a specific feature, you can quickly add it. Using your data in this way can boost customer satisfaction, retention, sales and traffic. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

3 Growth Hacking Examples You Can Leverage In Your Business

Let’s dive deeper and look at real businesses that have used growth hacking and launched themselves into massively successful companies. Along with these business examples, we’ll look at key strategies to help you come up with your own growth strategy.

Growth hacking is a term that’s often associated with young startups that grow explosively. It’s starkly opposite to the traditional modes through which businesses grow, taking things step by step, and minimizing risk.

Today, growth hacking or growth marketing holds a positive and meaningful connotation for digital marketers. Although the term ‘hacking’ hints at ‘grey’ marketing methods, there’s reliable data and an ethical approach behind it. Done correctly, growth hacking will help you grow your business fast and with long-term positive outcomes.

Here’s what growth hacking involves:

  • Experimentation: A growth hacker or marketer approaches marketing strategies with an experimental mindset, ready to try new and untested techniques
  • Testing: While experimenting, you make sure to test your marketing strategies on different audiences. A/B split testing and other testing methods form important aspects of your marketing
  • Analytics matter: You’re looking for data, generating reports, and identifying patterns or techniques that work
  • Leveraging what works: Once you see something that gives you good results, you immediately start scaling it up to a larger audience. It’s vital to continue using your analytics to keep track of your marketing and to fine-tune your strategies wherever necessary

Let’s dive deeper and look at real businesses that have used growth hacking and launched themselves into massively successful companies. Along with these business examples, we’ll look at key strategies to help you come up with your own growth strategy.

Growth hacking in action

Here are some growth hacking strategies together with examples of brands that experienced explosive growth using them. Use them as ideas for your own marketing efforts.

Invite-based marketing strategies

The mobile brand OnePlus is a well-known example of growth hacking. With a limited marketing budget, it had to use outrageous and interesting marketing techniques to get attention.

One of its best (and simultaneously disliked) strategies was to sell the product through an invite-only method. At one point, a person would be able to buy the phone only when an invite trickled down to them.

This created a feeling of exclusivity and gave users the feeling that they had a certain status by being in the ‘in’ group.

Another method that OnePlus used was to create a buzz on social media with a ‘Smash the Past’ campaign. People who took videos of themselves smashing their old phones stood a chance to buy the new OnePlus mobile for $1.

These methods were unusual but they certainly caught the world’s attention which led to them becoming a major brand.

Gamifying customer referrals

Gamification is applying gaming mechanisms to marketing activities. Every time your audience or lead hits a goal that you set, it creates positive feedback which makes them want to do more with your brand.

Dropbox used this technique to get users to refer it to their peers. It gamified its onboarding process by giving users free storage for doing certain things:

  • Linking their Dropbox account to Facebook and Twitter
  • Sharing Dropbox-related statuses to social media
  • Following Dropbox on Twitter
  • Referring the platform to other users

Soon enough, Dropbox grew at a rapid pace and today, it has over 14.3 million paid users and more than 500 million users overall.

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Dropbox grew rapidly by gamifying various tasks

Exclusive membership sites

Membership sites offer gated content exclusively to users who have signed up with the site. Building a membership site allows you to nurture and grow an invested community that cares about what you have to offer.

There’s a brilliant example in the work of financial advisor Tiffany Aliche with her brand ‘The Budgetnista’. According to this entrepreneur, there are a few key ways to grow your business fast. Let’s look at the examples of her own work to see how a membership site can be leveraged to boost engagement and conversions on your own site.

  • Create a rallying point: Tiffany Aliche started the Live Richer Challenge to help 10,000 women take control of their finances. In five weeks, her community paid off $400,00 in debt and collectively saved $3.5 million
  • Give away content for free: Tiffany says that she gave away at least half of her advice and content for free to grow her audience. This helps you build trust and a relationship and then your audience is more willing to buy from you
  • Engage with your audience: A huge part of The Budgetnista’s success comes from listening to the audience. Tiffany frequently holds webinars and other activities to engage with people, give advice, and listen

She also encourages businesses to build email lists to connect with people over time. You’ll remind your audience that you can help them. And of course, you need to provide valuable and helpful content that’s authentic.

Over to you

Growth hacking is another approach to marketing that helps you find ways to grow your business faster. To use this approach, you need to have an experimental mindset and the willingness to try something new.

We’ve covered three helpful strategies and examples of businesses that used them. You can also leverage FOMO (the fear of missing out) and social media to meet your goals fast. The main idea is to keep trying and testing marketing strategies. Look at what works and then apply it on a larger scale. With this mindset, you’ll leverage analytics tools and find unique ways to grow your business fast.


5 Surefire Growth Strategies for E-Commerce Entrepreneurs

Like I mention all the time here, trial and error is a costly and inefficient way to learn. Better to learn from others instead. One great way to do that is by attending conferences. Below are five of my favorite takeaways from Anthony Mastellone’s Digital Growth Summit on how to supercharge your e-commerce business.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I dropped out of college to pursue entrepreneurship full-time. My first breakthrough came two years after with an e-commerce business that sold grillz. Through grueling trial and error, I learned everything from product sourcing and customer service to marketing, web design, financial accounting and more.

It’s how I made lifelong friends and met ultra-successful people I never dreamed I’d meet. But, like I mention all the time here, trial and error is a costly and inefficient way to learn. Better to learn from others instead. One great way to do that is by attending conferences. Anthony Mastellone’s Digital Growth Summit was the latest one I attended, and what follows are five of my favorite takeaways from that trip on how to supercharge your e-commerce business.

1. Build an attribution plan

For e-commerce entrepreneurs, it’s important to always keep an eye on what’s working (and what’s not). Attribution is how to do it. The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) definition of attribution is “the process of identifying a set of user actions across screens and touch points that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome, and then assigning value to each of these events.”

Related: The Future of E-Commerce Will Focus on Creating Experiences

Benton Crane, CEO of the Harmon Brothers (creators of the legendary ads for Squatty Potty, Purple and others) was the first to speak at Digital Growth Summit, and he gave a high-level breakdown on how to leverage attribution as you grow your e-commerce business to make smarter business decisions. It advised:

  • Message testing.
  • Image testing.
  • Learning ad blitz. (This is testing all the different features and benefits to see what works together. Examples could include pricing, sizing, portability, function, etc.)
  • Scale up, i.e. roll all winning elements into one.
  • Then build your hero campaign and go big.

2. Target smarter

Matt Schmitt of Skup simplified a problem a lot of entrepreneurs have: targeting. They may have a customer avatar in mind, but aren’t sure how best to reach them. Schmitt recommends silos. These are four of his examples that will allow you to get a clearer picture of where to find your target consumer:

  • What magazines do they subscribe to?
  • What associations or groups would they belong to?
  • What celebrities or influential figures would they follow?
  • And what brands or products are they using?

3. Leverage Campaign Budget Optimization

Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) is a new advertising system by Facebook. Their machine-learning algorithm monitors targeting and performance of your ad sets, then allocates your budget to the best-performing sets based on the objective or pixel you’ve applied, using real-time data, automatically.

As per Facebook: “CBO uses your campaign budget and your bid strategy — which might be, for example, lowest cost per action (CPA) or highest return on ad spend (ROAS) — to automatically and continuously find the best active opportunities for results across your ad sets. Then we distribute your campaign budget in real time to get those results.”

In short, if you’re new to Facebook advertising, this is a great way to get in the game as cost-effectively as possible, without having to micromanage your campaigns.

4. Start using Messenger ads

Harvard Business Review conducted a study back in 2011 on online lead generation and discovered that failure to respond in less than five minutes to a new lead decreases your odds of qualifying them by a staggering 400 percent. Yet, according to Chatmatic founder Travis Stephenson, entrepreneurs shy away from Messenger.

But by leveraging Messenger (the most downloaded app in the world in 2019, FYI) with ads and an auto-responder, you’re doing instant, direct follow-up with potential customers, thus increasing your lead-qualifying and conversions capabilities. Or you can just use them to rapidly capture emails and build a relevant list. Which leads to takeaway five….

5. Use email marketing

Email averages $38 in for every $1 spent according to a Direct Marketing Association 2015 Client Report. For those new to email marketing, it can feel overwhelming at first, but remember this: It costs more to acquire new customers than recapture existing ones. And email is the easiest way to recapture, because the entire process can be automated. Email expert Jess Chan of Longplay recommends you build an automated customer journey. Do this by setting up:

  • Welcome emails.
  • Abandoned-cart emails (69.57 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned).
  • Order confirmation and shipping confirmation emails.
  • Post-purchase emails (e.g. a thank-you note or letter from the founder).
  • Upsell and retention emails (e.g. cross-sells, testimonial requests, etc.).
  • And other email auto-responders.

To capture emails more effectively, use:

  • Lead magnets (e.g. “Subscribe for our free 14-page social skills guide”).
  • Quizzes (e.g. “What kind of traveler are you?”).
  • Discount codes (e.g. “Subscribe for 20 percent off your first purchase”).

Related: The ‘Amazon Effect’

To wrap things up, use attribution to test your messaging and silos to target smarter, leverage CBOs to spend smarter, activate messenger ads to supercharge your follow-ups and, for goodness sake, stop leaving money on the table by neglecting email marketing. I’m using all of these growth strategies in tandem, and you should be too if you’re serious about supercharging your e-commerce business.

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