7 Killer Growth Tactics for Small Businesses in 2017
We’ve all heard the statistics before, how anywhere from 50-80% of small businesses fail within their first few years of operation.
But not you right? I know you don’t want to become one of the statistics.
Why else would you be reading an article about 7 killer growth tactics for small businesses in 2017?
I know why…
It’s because marketing and growth is THE NUMBER ONE thing that small business owners struggle with.
In fact a whopping 76% of all business owners report facing marketing challenges, and that’s exactly what I want to help you start to overcome in this article.
I know that the headline “7 killer growth tactics” might be what got you here but the fact that you’ve landed on this page tells me you are on a hero’s journey, the journey of having your own business. You are the driving force behind the growth of any economy in the world, so give yourself a pat on the back first and let’s dive into ways you can crush it in 2017.
This blog post will start and finish with the same thing – the mentality of growth. Think about it – you have a business, you are learning and exploring. Inherently you have a winners mentality – but whether or not you’ll succeed depends on a number of things.
Do you see yourself as:
- a bit of a risk taker
- more of a marathon runner than a sprinter
- flexible when you need to be
- eager to learn
- someone who holds yourself accountable
- strong when the going gets tough
- someone who loves a good challenge
If any of this sounds like you, then you have my respect and I’d like to help you along on your journey. There are plenty more broad things you could (and should) be doing with regards to your marketing, such as; SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and producing videos, but they all take a long time to master and results don’t come instantly.
What I want to do here now is introduce you to 7 tactics that are quick and easy to execute on so you can get some quick wins and begin to add them into your weekly activities.
Here are the 7 killer tactics for growth we are about to cover:
- Level Up on LinkedIn with Influencers
- Get Local on Facebook
- Build a Strong Backbone
- Embrace Authenticity and Skip All The Polish
- Sell Like a Human Being
- Make Customer Engagement a Primary Goal
- Filter Out The Noise (Crucial)
If these are all new to you, then I recommend choosing your favourite to start with once you’ve finished reading. Allocate 30mins a day to practice and implement this tactic.
You should start to see results quite quickly if you’re consistent. The key thing there is: BE CONSISTENT.
So without any further ado, let’s get into it.
1. Level Up on LinkedIn with Influencers
If you’re in the professional services space, LinkedIn is flat out the best platform for you to find B2B clients. But, as with most things in life, it’s not as easy as it seems.
You’ve probably been told in the past that LinkedIn Groups are where it’s at, and spending time contributing in there will open up doors. I learned the hard way it’s not the case.A small business owner can spend weeks or even months trying this and get absolutely nowhere.
Why it doesn’t work
You may have noticed already that a lot of previously great groups on LinkedIn are now filling up with spam. This is what happens when participants are just in it for themselves, with the mentality “How can I get easy leads?”. That simply isn’t the place you want to be.
Look at the LinkedIn group below. It’s a group that consists of 249,745 members and none of these people are getting any engagement from other members.
The frustrating thing is that LinkedIn doesn’t do a great job of making these groups useful. One thing that could solve this is to enable getting notifications. You can’t even turn on an alert to receive notifications when something new is posted to a group.
What you should be doing instead
Rather than wasting time posting your links in dead groups for no one to see, here’s what’s working right now and why:
Step 1 – First find influencers from your particular niche who have their comment section exploding with every post
Step 2 – Read their post carefully and come up with a detailed opinion of the post
Step 3 – Comment on the post
Step 4 – Engage with other people who commented by liking and replying to their comments
By doing this you will come across as someone who really cares about the community and that gets noticed by your peers and potential customers. You’re also elevated by being associated with the influencer. Cool by association.
This all allows people to start to see your true value in the marketplace, which leads to digging deeper into your profile, which leads to connection requests and conversations.
And voila, you’ve now got someone who’s come to you, instead of you chasing someone.
How’s that for being in the right position?
Which Influencers Should You Follow?
You can find a full influencers directory here on LinkedIn, but here are some of my favourites:
Gary Vaynerchuk – Gary is the CEO of Vayner media and the go-to guy for marketing and brand awareness, you’ll hear a lot more from me about him.
Susan Cain – Susan is changing the world with her thoughts on leadership and I love reading everything she writes.
Joel Peterson – Joel is a Stanford University professor, chairman of the JetBlue Airways, a wise and successful man. He writes about trendy business topics and leadership.
James Altucher – James is a best-selling author and a serial entrepreneur which can teach you amazing stuff about yourself and about your business.
Bernard Marr – is a leading technology expert who will give you a lot of inspiration about the future.
Sramana Mitra – Sramana will teach you a lot about funding in startups.
2. Get Local on Facebook
In contrast to LinkedIn, Facebook local groups are a great way to connect with small business from your city. Not only do people share their experiences, but people very specifically ask direct questions, such as how to do X or “Does anyone know any great web developer?”.
This often opens up a great opportunity for you to start a conversation with people looking for what you have to offer.
For an extra boost, find someone you can partner up with and recommend each other instead of recommending yourself. When the person recommends you, they should tag you in the comment so you get notified and then you come and respond to “their” comment. Obviously the reverse applies for them.
This always carries more weight coming from someone else, it’s called Social proof. That dramatically increases your odds of connecting with them and provides a better framing for when you offer your advice or tips in the comment before suggesting to get in touch with you if they want to chat further.
You can easily find your local small business owners group on Facebook by searching for the term “Small business owners *City/Town*”
Here is how it looks if my city was Atlanta.
All you need to do then is to turn the notifications on and become an active member of the community. You’ll get more out the more you put in. Start by liking quality posts, commenting on them and asking insightful questions. This will get you noticed and there are a lot of ways you can use that.
The primary purpose of these groups is networking, but you can make some great deals in there as well if your intent is to add value first. More on that later.
No group like this in your city/town? no problem.
And if there is no facebook group in your city, you lucky entrepreneur you! Start one! It’s actually the better way to do this.
Not only do you get all the above benefits, but you own the group, you can control who gets allowed in and who doesn’t mind giving you an excellent advantage
I’m mentioning Facebook here because you can easily target business owners in your city and with a little effort you will own an amazing Facebook group which will help to develop your small business to new highs.
Here is a complete guide for Facebook group management where you’ll get all the ins and outs of owning and expanding your Facebook group.
3. Build a Strong Backbone
This type of tool should be at the heart of any business.
Gone are the days where you can build a successful business and stay competitive without some kind of tool or software to keep everything in order. That’s just a fact.
What’s the backbone of any business? It’s the customer of course. You need to take care of the customer now more than ever before.
The voice of a bad customer service is 100 times stronger today than it was even 12 months ago. There were situations in which a single tweet ruined a whole company. That’s why there is an increasing need for customer relationship management software (or CRM). Which is why this sector has been growing progressively over the years.
Did you know that 89% of consumers stop doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service? Well, we did and that’s one of the reasons I created Ninjodo.
A good customer relationship management software (or CRM) will help you onboard new clients, but that’s not enough is it. What about after that, or before that, what about getting your day-to-day stuff in order.
That’s where Ninjodo really starts to separate itself from other CRMs, it helps you increase sales, organize your email, manage clients, and get organized. No more complicated spreadsheets and 10 different tools for everything. You get everything you need with just one login.
As a result your productivity skyrockets, and you begin to find time you thought you had permanently lost. That’s time you can now allocate to working strategically ON your business, instead of chasing your tail stuck IN it.
Once you try and then actually implement CRM software into your business, you will find it very hard to imagine why you chose to do things the hard way before. The best thing is that you can usually try them out for free and see for yourself.
4. Embrace Authenticity and Skip All The Polish
Over 80% of the English-speaking population feel that smaller companies place a greater emphasis on customer service than larger businesses. What an amazing opportunity to differentiate yourself.
Why do you think those big companies have a bad reputation in customer service? It’s because they are usually faceless and people can’t identify with that.
That’s where your authenticity can come in. You’re just like your customers, a human being that’s trying to get by and give something back to the world. People can simply feel when you care about them and when you do a special thing for a customer it gets noticed. People talk.
You may have heard the statistics, people who have a good experience will tell at least four other people about it. So, happy customers, leads to more happy customers.
Conversely, people who have a bad customer experience, will tell as much as 20 people, and that was before they had platforms like Facebook that syndicate their bad experience through people’s friends lists. Customer care is a science in itself and its importance will never change.
Try this tip
The goal is always to over-deliver on what you do and the easiest way to over-deliver is to under-promise. Especially don’t over-promise in your marketing campaigns, that’s a huge mistake. Rather, you should use the positive voice of your customers and your peers as your marketing campaign. We did a webinar on this very subject which you can check out here.
You might also like to check out Shep Hyken for everything about customer success as he’s the leading expert in that field. You can read his amazing customer service blog here.
Shep helps business owners just like you improve their customer service greatly and he gives away his information on the subject for free. Talking about giving value, hah?
If you’re asking yourself what is something you can do today to increase your customer care and thus improve your brand awareness, here is a great article with examples of great customer support.
5. Sell Like a Human Being – The WIIFM Principle
When it comes to sales, you need to be aware that customers are always thinking “What’s in it for me?!” (or WIIFM).
When you’re aware of and live by this principle you make sure you’re always putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and reframing everything for him or her. And I don’t mean changing, just reframing.
It’s simply human nature to value things more when they have been specifically tailored for us, and you should use this principle to your advantage in everything you do. Just don’t be this guy. 🙂
You have to be trustworthy for your clients. Trust is the foundation of any successful sale.
According to Robert Cialdini and his book “Influence” you can do this in 7 ways – reciprocity, consistency, likeability, unity, scarcity, authority and social proof. Robert is the master of sales and you should go and read his newest book which is called “Pre-suasion”.
In this book, Robert goes into crazy detail about what you can do before the actual contact with your leads to increase your odds of making the sale.
He says, in fact, nothing guarantees the sale, but those odds can get a lot better with small psychological triggers.
It’s a fascinating book even though he claims that it’s written for 2013 having written most of it back then, and only finished it in 2016 due to his other assignments.
6. Make User Engagement a Primary Goal
Attention and action are the name of the game in 2017. You have to do everything you can to keep your customers engaged with your brand.
We are well aware that the standard attention span of a potential customer is getting shorter and shorter the more flooded and noisy the marketplace gets.
That’s why you need to tweak every little bit of your business to increase the amount of attention you get from your clients.
You need to keep your customers engaged with you on social media, on your website, in your office or store. Think about this every day.
Get to know your customer personally and tailor everything your customer comes in contact with just for them. Ask them interesting questions, create giveaways, guide them to tell you a personal story about them, encourage them to give you positive and constructive feedback.
Timing Is Key
It’s all about the timing.
When you go out of your way to give value to your customers they feel like they “owe you one” and they will do a whole lot more for your brand.
This is what Gary Vaynerchuk talks about in his best-selling book – Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.
The basic premise of the book is that you should give, give, give and then ask.
Think about it. Have you ever had a friend which came through for you many, many times? Then one day when he/she needed something from you, you couldn’t wait to help them out. You feel enticed to do whatever you can to give them back something.
That’s exactly how it is with user and customer engagement. Think in terms of that and comment on the post if this inspired you to do something special for your customers.
7. Filter Out The Noise
Things are pretty noisy on the Internet today.
Wherever you look there’s some polished up marketing experts who claim they have the solution for you. Most of them end up just giving you used up tips that don’t get you anywhere.
In contrast, you will find the best growth hacks and tips can be found from the up and coming content creators. Those are guys and gals that are willing to share their best tactics and tips with you for free.
If you’re going to learn from marketers, don’t just listen to what they say, look and copy what they DO. One thing is for sure, they know what they’re doing and saying.
The thing is that when you listen to the polished up and popular blogs, videos, influencers etc. you are one amongst thousands of people which will try to implement those tricks.
The competition is huge and every trend that these people put out there is going to get adopted which will lead to being overused and eventually inefficient. As Gary Vaynerchuk would say it so eloquently: “Marketers ruin everything.”
Where to Look for Inspiration
If you’re looking to grow your business quickly you need to move first, move fast and think outside of the box.
When it comes to growing your small business you want to be an early adopter and flexible as hell.
How can one put this tip into action, you might ask? Well, you need to “Steal like an artist”.
Even DaVinci has been rumoured to have “stolen” some concepts from his peers or mentors.
You need to keep feeding your subconscious with information from different sources and trust that your brain will connect the dots and give you inspiration for your business.
If you’re feeding your brain the right type of food, just trust that those creative juices will start to flow when needed.
My favorite non-mainstream resources:
- Daniel DiPiazza – for entrepreneurship
- Carlos Redlich – for copywriting
- Carlos Gil – for social media
- Draper TV Youtube channel – for online marketing
- Jaime Masters Youtube channel – for growth hacking
- Chase Reiner – for SEO
This is a great way to implement the “steal like an artist” philosophy where you simply use the resources that are not directly applied to your niche, but you can easily add some of your own “spices” and make it work for you in your hero’s journey.
Becoming a master at any of these things takes time sure, but they’re not difficult things to do.
Choose one thing you will start to work on first and block out 30-60mins each week (say on a Monday morning before things start to get crazy).
Then look at adding a second day when you feel confident and ready.
The key to getting consistent growth using these or any tactic or strategy, is consistency.
So which one will you start with first?
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