Here is a compilation of 19 Business Growth Hacking Tips we have presented over the last few months. If you are subscribed to the Business Hacking Newsletter, you have seen many of these. If you are not a subscriber this is a sample of what you have missed in the last 2 months. This post is just a representation of the tips. If you want all the tips, sign up now for the Business Hacking Newsletter and get the 30+ Ways to Hack Your Business eBook for FREE. Here is what you get:
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Business Growth Hacking Tips
Business Growth Hacking Tip #1 – Network Every Day
Don’t wait! Every day may be overkill, but schedule a couple days a week to build your network. You never know when you will need it for selling, advice, job hunting, etc. With various social media services that are free including LinkedIn, which is business centered, and easy to use free tools for email. Pick one and get started. If you are already in the social media game schedule time every week to write updates and grow your network. Throughout these emails, there will be plenty of tips on how to grow your networks.
“Even if you do not have anything to sell now, you should build your list for when you have something to sell.” – Noah Kagan. SumoMe
I was listening to the Tim Ferriss Show about 4 weeks ago. The episode was titled “How Facebook’s #30 Employee Quickly Built 4 Businesses and Gained 40 Pounds with Weight Training”. You can listen here. The Facebook employee is Noah Kagan, and he made the comment that I paraphrased above. Mr. Kagan was referring to creating or growing an existing email list, but it really applies to any list that you can use to sell from including email, snail mail, phone, and social media. Basically, if you wait until you need your network to start building it, you are too late. Being too late means that you will have to pay to get the eyes, ears, and wallets of your potential customers. So, let’s get started building your network today.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #2 – More Twitter Followers Part 1
Do not follow anyone unless their number of followers is less than their number following unless they follow you first.
Let’s face it, your goal is to build your network. Following a whole bunch of people that are not going to follow you back does not grow your network. Also, this is “Social” media and we should be able to “Socialize” with one another. That person that only follows 3 people is not worth your time.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #3 – More Twitter Followers Part 2
I tried the following steps with the Eagle Strategy Group Twitter account @SMBStrategy and was able to grow the followers by over 50% in 3 weeks. I started at around 1,200 followers and ended up just shy of 2,000 followers. I spent 5 to 10 minutes a day doing this.
- Log into your Twitter account on the web or in one of the Twitter Apps.
- Open your list of Followers.
- Go to the first follower that you are not following back. You will know if you are not following because the background of the “follow” icon will be white and have a “+” sign in the icon.
- Follow them if they meet the requirements in Business Hack #2 above. I usually take a little extra time and look at their profile and make sure it is a legit upstanding account.
- Twitter will suggest 3 people to follow.
- Open the first profile and go to step #3.
- Keep following steps 2 through 5 until your run out of followers or Twitter stops suggesting followers.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #4 – Be Cheap
There are too sides to growth hacking. Increasing sales results in making more money, but also decreasing costs results in more money in your pocket. So, Be Cheap! If you prefer, be frugal, but I am by nature cheap. I have been asked if I grew up during the depression, but unless there was one in the 80’s, the answer is no. When you are starting a business or starting a new project, don’t spend money until you have to. There are tons of Free and Freemium tools and Apps out there to get you started. Plus, in many cases, tools you already have can get you started:
- Hold off on buying QuickBooks for your startup and track your accounting with Excel or Google Sheets
- Organize and share ideas with your team using Google Docs or Evernote
- Start your email list with the free version of MailChimp or with Gmail.
- Create your website using WordPress with off the shelf free templates and plugins.
- Hold off on Adobe Creative Studio and start with Canva.
- Start you marketing with campaigns that are free like social media, groups, directories, email, etc. Start marketing within your network.
The Business Hacking Email Newsletter actually started as a community around the subject Print and Digital Subscriptions. I did some testing of the subject using free sources and even put out 2 newsletters on the subject which can be read on Eagle’s blog – Print & Digital Subscription Newsletters. I learned that I am in the minority when it comes to interest in the subject, at least in my existing network. So, I decided to broaden the subject and we now have the Business Hacking Newsletter. The cost of setting up the Print and Digital Subscriptions newsletter and then shutting it down was $0. But, the knowledge I gained was valuable and I was able to quickly pivot and bring you Business Hacking.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #5 – Sell Your Product or Service as a Subscription
I love subscriptions because the cash flow is fantastic. You are getting customers to pre-pay for your product or service. Yeah, a subscriber usually expects a discount over the regular price, if there is a regular price, but $20 in your pocket today is better than $4. Can you offer your product or service as a subscription?
There is a reason that Birch Box, Loot Crate, Dollar Shave Club, and other subscription services have become popular. They deliver a product with demand, conveniently to your home, at a digestible price. What to consider when deciding if a subscription is right for your product:
- How is your product consumed and over what period of time? If you sell T-shirts, how many does your typical buyer purchase over a month, 2 months?
- How often are you going to ship – weekly, monthly, bi-monthly?
- What price do you charge?
- Does the price you are charging cover all your costs – production, packaging, shipping, etc.?
- What other benefits do you get?
- Does a core monthly group of consumers help level production?
It will not cost you anything to get started and even if it does not work the knowledge you gain will be used in the future.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #6 – Jumpstart a New Product/Service
Got a fantastic idea for a new product or service, but don’t want a crowdfunding service to take a cut. Do you need some capital to get it going? Set it up as a pre-order or follow Business Growth Hacking Tip #5 (subscription) and start selling. Lay everything out and tell people it will be available in 2 months. You can set up a PayPal button for free on a website. You can set the time for when you think you can achieve, but the shorter, the better, to force you to get it done. Give the pre-order people something extra for getting in early.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #7 – Managing Physical Product Subscriptions
When you are just getting started with subscriptions you can manage them manually using tools you already have. The basic subscription info you need is the mailing address and the length of the subscription. If you set this up in Excel or a Google Sheet, you can enter new subscribers and every time you ship just replace the quantity or time left with the current value minus 1.
If you are an established company with existing products that you are going to start offering as a subscription, you may already have tools that are more automated than a spreadsheet. For one of my clients, I managed 18,000 subscriptions with the software they already had – QuickBooks. The different subscriptions offered where jobs in QuickBooks. Maybe there is an add-on or way to use your existing accounting system to automate subscriptions?
Once you are up and running and want to automate your subscriptions with features like automatically generating mailing lists and allowing customers to modify their subscriptions, you can turn to a pay service. I successfully completed a Subscription Genius install over the summer that is working great. Subscription Genius is a month-to-month web-based SaaS option. There are plenty of companies out there with subscription management offerings that range in price from free to thousands of dollars per month with features that range from a glorified spreadsheet to comprehensive big data analytics. Zoho and Capterra are a couple more options and a google search will reveal hundreds more.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #8 – Be a Copycat
Anyone that has gone to business school has had it drilled into their heads that when starting a new innovative business you need to be the first mover. After all, look at Google. They were one of the first to get into the search game as the search engine behind Yahoo. They got out there first and because of the first-mover advantage have grown to a valuation of a gazillion dollars. (Note Sarcasm) So, we can just follow that formula and make a gazillion dollar business too? Well, maybe not a gazillion but how about thousands or millions…
How many monopolies are out there? In every industry, there is room for more than one player to exist and thrive. For every Walmart, there is a Target. Even at the bleeding edge of innovation, there is a Lyft to match Uber. So, instead of racking your brains to come up with a business or product idea, just copy someone else. Let someone else be the first mover, spend lots of money and time to prove the market and then just copy.
Has Jet.com really done anything innovatively different than Amazon? Does it matter? If Amazon is the Walmart of Internet retail, who is the Target? In an industry with sales in the billions, there is room for multiple big box internet retailers. There is room for Amazon and Jet.com to thrive.
History is full of copycats that have gone on to be very successful. Dell and HP did not invent PC’s, IBM did and they aren’t making them anymore. Toyota did not have the first hybrid, but I can make the argument that Prius is probably the first hybrid anyone thinks of. Motorola used to be synonymous with cell phones. They sold the business to Google. Woolworths? A&P? GE Appliances? Ouch, too soon? Anyway, don’t be the first mover, go out and copy someone. Think I am out of line, check out this article on Chartboost, Rise of the Clones: Why it Pays (Sometimes) to be a Copycat Mobile Game.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #9 – Make it Better
“Learn from your competitors mistakes even if they may not have necessarily made any mistakes” – Me
It’s one thing to be a copycat, but it is really impressive when you can see the vision clearer than the person that saw it first and out maneuver them. And it’s really cool when you can do it twice in a matter of years. That is what Apple did with both the Smart Phone Market and Tablet Market. In the case of the Smart Phone Market, the early players were Palm and Blackberry followed by phones powered by Android OS. I am not sure how many people reading this have even heard of Palm. Apple launched the iPhone with a slick design and an OS that was very easy to use. They were able to take advantage of their popular iPod business to quickly grow market share. They would copy their own model a few year later in the tablet market with the iPad.
Taking an existing product and making it better is not a tech thing and not a new thing. There are plenty of opportunities out there to take an existing product you are passionate about, make it better, and call it your own. At one point in time, electricity was the big new thing and the power grid was run on Direct Current (DC). Tesla came up with Alternating Current (AC) and transformed the industry. At one point, the most popular cars on the road were electric starting with their invention in the 1830’s and then the gasoline engine was developed in the early 20th century. Crazy, right? If you don’t believe me, Google it…
Business Growth Hacking Tip #10 – Email Signature
We all have email and most of us have multiple addresses that we send from multiple devices. I have 5 email addresses that I use daily – 1 personal, 2 for Eagle, and 2 client addresses. Over the course of the week, I will send email using these addresses from three different devices – computer, tablet, and phone. What if I average 10 emails a day from each address and each email averages 2.5 recipients?
10 Emails X 5 Email Accounts X 7 Days X 2.5 Recipients = 875 Potential Customers Per Week
Let’s turn some potential customers into actual customers…
If there was a formula that took into account cost, time, and results, then this could be the best business hack ever. OK, maybe not the best ever… unless you are Hotmail. Hotmail, for those that don’t know, was originally an independent company that offered a free email service in the 90’s. They grew big enough to be purchased by Microsoft very quickly by adding to the bottom of every email sent through Hotmail an ad for Hotmail. It was an insanely great growth hack that I reproduce and you can too.
On every device you use to send email, you should have the option to add a signature. Most of you may already have a signature set up, but add a line or 2 to the bottom with a link. I even do this on my personal email and here is what I have on my Gmail signature right now:
Get an invite only free weekly email with actionable easy to follow tips and tricks for GROWTH HACKING – http://bit.ly/20aFpXU
I have experienced click through rates lower than a typical email campaign, but this does more than just sell. It tells your friends and business contacts what you are working on and leads to future conversation and sales. Give it a try and set up signatures in your email software.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #11 – Email Auto Responders
Email auto responders are just not used enough for selling. If you have 875 outgoing emails every week, how many incoming emails do you have? Don’t count spam, because there is probably nobody at the other end. A story for another day. Let’s assume you get as many incoming emails as outgoing. For two of my emails, I already have auto responders set up. So, I took a couple minutes to add a couple lines with a link just like for the email signature. I would not do this for all email addresses, but if you have some role-based emails that are catch-all accounts like support, sales, etc., give it a try.
If you can’t find an auto responder option in your email settings, try looking for a vacation response. Also, many email services require that you sign into your email through a web browser to set up auto responders. This has been my experiences with both 1and1 and Rackspace.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #12 – Get Traffic from Reddit
When I first read the article, How to Get 1,691 Visits from Reddit in 27 Days (Without Spending a Penny), I did some of the steps half-heartedly. I set up a Reddit account on a Monday made a couple comments and put a link in an area that was OK for links. Went back in on Wednesday, made a few more comments and added a link to a landing page that I had made that was pertinent to the conversation. I looked at Google Analytics a day or two later and I already had 22 unique visitors from Reddit in 3 days. I had spent less than 20 minutes. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #13 – Google Indexing & Google Search Console
Want to quickly see what pages of a website are indexed by Google? Just go to Google and put “site:” before the domain and you will see the pages that are indexed in the search results. So, if I want to see all pages indexed by Google for EaglStrategyGroup.com, I search site:eaglestrategygroup.com
Also, if you are already using Google Analytics, then it is very easy to setup Google Search Console. You can use Webmaster Tools to get a better look at how Google views your site including indexing, Google robots, indexing, etc.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #14 – Hire a Freelancer
Having more people on your team equals higher productivity and getting more done. However, if you are like me, when budgets are tight your team is a team of 1. It does not have to be this way.
In the past, I have used eLance (now Upwork.com) and Guru.com, I have used both to hire help for projects and to sell my services. There are other sites that have similar services like Fiverr and Freelancer. For the following tips, I used Fiverr.
Start Small – I purchased a web advertising gig for $5. There are a lot of freelancers on Fiverr that offer the service I wanted, so I looked for one that spoke English and I looked at the reviewed from other customers to pick the right freelancer. 3 Days and $5.50 later, Fiverr charges a $0.50 fee, the project was successfully completed. I have since done 3 other projects this way in the last 30 days including taking my old Eagle Strategy Log and re-creating at a higher definition. Well worth the $5.50.
Post a Request – there are people offering virtual assistant gigs on Fiverr and you can check them out here. But, I would recommend that you define your project and post a request. Here is where you need to take 10 to 15 minutes to figure out exactly what you want and to write it down. If you want the VA to do research, set up the spreadsheet with the fields you want to be captured and clearly document the steps you want the VA to complete. Then just post it to Fiverr using the “Post a Request” option. It takes less than an hour for your project to be approved and responses start rolling in quickly. My last post had 7 responses within an hour.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #15 – When Outsourcing Set Hard Stops in Projects
Whether you are looking to do some short projects following the steps above or a bigger project using a virtual assistant or freelancer, you should set milestones with hard stops. For example, tell the VA to work on your project for 1 hour and then send you the results. Review the results and correct as necessary. This will protect you from having a VA run up a bunch of hours with little progress.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #16 – Setup a WordPress Category Page
From day #1, you should make sure you take advantage of WordPress’s category feature for blog posts. Keeping your blog posts in categories makes it easy for readers to search through your blog and find similar posts. When you start to build up enough blog posts on a subject or see that people are gravitating toward certain subjects, you can call out these subjects on their own pages. I wrote on the Blog for Buy Steve’s Stuff a “How To” that takes you through how to setup a page on WordPress that only shows posts from one or more of your categories. Check out the How to Create WordPress Category Pages.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #17 – Speed Up Your Website
There are a bunch of studies that you can find that draw a correlation between site speed and conversion rates. In other words, the faster your site, the better you will sell. If you do a google search on something like “how does website speed affect conversion”, you will find articles on the subject with some interesting statistics. Here are just a couple statistics that I found:
- Every 1-second increase in load time for Amazon.com decreases sales by 10%
- 30% of visitors are lost if your site takes more than 5 seconds to load
- Visitor loss approaches 100% when site load time is 12 seconds or more.
- Walmart.com found that a 1-second faster page load resulted in a 2% increase in conversion.
These articles do not share the data, but there is enough noise that if your company has a website, you need to pay attention.
I have been experimenting on how image size can affect website speed. I have found that spending a couple minutes optimizing the size of images can increase website speed by 35%. Even if the improvement is only 1-second, referring back to the statistics above this could be a 2% to 7% increase in conversion. Doing some quick math, if your average order is $100 and you get 1,000 visitors a day to your website, the increase in revenue is between $2,000 and $7,000 per day.
You can see my findings and 3 easy steps to improve website speed in 5 minutes – How to Increase Website Speed by 35% in 5 Minutes and Increase Sales.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #18 – Google PageSpeed Insights
If you are going to carry out tip #19, you need a way to measure results. This tool is a no brainer if you are already using the Google suite of website tools like Tag Manager, Analytics, etc. In addition to giving you data on web page speed, it also makes suggestions on how to improve. Like the other google website tools, it is free and you can get started here.
Business Growth Hacking Tip #19 – Place Your Call-to-Action (CTA) Above the Fold
“Above the Fold” is a newspaper term referring to the best real estate being above the fold, so someone can see the content without opening the paper. The same holds for digital media, which is limited by screen size. Above the fold is the initial view on the screen and as you scroll you are going below the fold. Anytime you have a CTA, whether is is a landing page, email or other, have your first call to action above the fold to increase click through. In other words, put at least one call to action toward the beginning of an email or at the top of the screen. This way the reader sees it immediately even if they are reading on a mobile phone. I do this in email campaigns by having a call to action at the top or at the very least after only a few lines of text.
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