Marketing is a hard problem. Much like the stock market, there's a lot of chance, volatility, and data pointed at the same goal: growth. Also like finance, marketing can take a lot of money to figure out. I've discussed the difficulties of marketing with low resources before, so now let's turn to some solutions.
You already have our answer to the problem- it's multivariate testing your ad creative. But to offer you something you likely haven't tried already, we gathered specific strategies from 29 marketers, boiled them down into categories, and highlighted a few rare, but effective techniques to help you build your audience quickly.
In short, there are:
Growth Strategies: the category of method used to grow a company
Strategy Components: the pieces that make up any every good strategy
Channels of Delivery: the places where strategies are implemented
Across answers, there were 5 themes that stood out.
That's a quick look at the high level aspects of a successful marketing program. Let's look closer at some unique, coordinated strategies from a few major categories.
Andrew Helling, Editor at REthority, a leading real estate content publisher uses ads in combination with social media to increase his organic traffic.
Since fewer people are running ads right now, Andrew finds it cheaper than ever to pay for search engine clicks and promote Facebook posts. Andrew went from "went from no followers to just under 1,200 in under a week for an average of $.65 per like." The additional followers helped him increase organic traffic 46%.
Most marketers focus exclusively on getting purchases from their ads, but you can get healthy returns from growing a following first. Andrew uses the advertising channel in a unique way, packing his content full of value.
Joseph Pineiro, SEO Manager at 360 Training, releases surveys to all of his email subscribers. Because of the unique data he sources and publishes, it earns him dozens of backlinks while providing information that is useful to his audience.
Though Joseph focuses on regulatory training, every industry has unanswered questions that people want to know bad enough to give you information. Think about what your audience wants to know most, then ask them. This is a unique way to create value that also allows you to learn about your audience, making it an extra effective strategy.
Iain Miller, Founder of Unique Ascent uses what he calls "uber niche marketing" to drive traffic to his site. Iain finds rocks that have never been climbed before and records his trek, converting his journey into advisory PDFs for website visitors. He then uses social media, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to promote his new climb location with content attached. He notes the key is that he updates each PDF frequently to earn repeat downloaders.
While rock climbing is a small niche, any product or service can benefit by finding something only they can discover, then offering maps of those new worlds for free. This is a strategy that makes your service one of a kind, requires knowing your audience, and creates new value.
Mike Kawula, Founder of Help a Teen, says, "One of the fastest ways to grow a business is by creating a viral growth
component at each touch point." He describes three touch points:
By asking these questions about each point in your sales funnel, you can find ways to develop an explosive viral strategy from top to bottom. Mike's strategy is about knowing your audience and adapting your channels to promote growth at every step to conversion.
Anthony Martin, CEO of Choice Mutual says you can find multiple verticals with matching audiences to create a win-win-win scenario. "[Your partner's] clients win because you offer a valuable product or service to them, and the business owner benefits via additional revenue due to the partnership. Plus, our partners strengthen their relationships with their customers by ensuring their other needs are met." You and the business owner both better meet the needs of your customers while earning additional revenue.
You can find partners by figuring out who else provides to your audience. Then reach out by calling their company mainline or emailing them directly. Anthony's strategy hits almost all is a combination of leveraging other peoples' networks, having an excellent service, providing additional value, and really knowing who your audience is and what they want most.
Rameez Ghayas Usmani, Digital Marketing Executive at PureVPN uses combines TikTok influencers with competitions to increase brand engagement and purchases. He asks an influencer to share a positive review of his product then ask their audience to review it as well. Each reviewer is entered into a lottery to meet the influencer.
There are influencers in every industry. Find someone relevant to your audience and hold a competition to meet them. Though Rameez used TikTok, other social media platforms will work too. Influencer marketing is a combination of knowing your audience, leveraging someone else's, and providing value.
Leslie Bradford-Scott, Chief Squirrel Chaser at Walton Wood Farm started a podcast detailing "her unusual life story" called Rewriting Dad. Through the podcast, Leslie "turned her life experiences into themes for product collections she felt would resonate with other people. Born were “Week from Hell” and “Winter’s a B*tch” themed personal care products as well as other life themes, proving ultimately more effective than yet another label of 'Lavender.'"
By focusing on emotional connection and uniqueness, Leslie's brand stood out in a crowded industry and increased sales significantly.
On the other side of the microphone, Matt Barnett and Oli Bridges, CEO and CMO of Bonjoro, appeared in nearly 100 podcasts in 2020. Casey hill, Head of Growth, says, "The beauty of podcasts is that they are free and if you find the right fits, it is a mutually beneficial way to give both parties exposure. Just like with any type of relationship the key is a give and take. If you only hop on podcasts with the intent to promote your product, and after the show is over you leave all the promotion of the episode to the host... You are unlikely to get much traction. If, on the other hand, instead you try and create actionable tips that are system agnostic, and you aggressively promote and put ad dollars behind the people you work with, then you will build real relationships and those relationships will carry you far."
Podcasting is still in its early stages and there's a lot of room to grow your company. If you have a unique story to tell, launch your own audio journey. If you have a great product or service, find a host with a similar audience and talk to them about your hustle. From both sides together, podcasting hits all 5 core messages.
Angela Sun, Director of Marketing for Hull, says, "Our number one strategy for growth is not a specific tool, technology, nor tactic, but a principle, and that is to listen to our customers, to the market, and to what the data is telling us." She continues, with some specific tactics:
Customer research is about knowing your audience and your product and their fit so well, that you maximize value for both parties. It is the strategy central to all sales and marketing and if you're going to start anywhere, it should be here.
Listed above are eight rare, but effective strategies.
For more context, we responses came from many industries:
But whether or not your niche is among these categories, doesn't mean these strategies do not apply for you. Any strategy above can be morphed into something relevant to your company and your audience if you can twist it in the right way. The key is staying grounded in your core: provide value, use the right channels, leverage influencers, know your audience, and most of all know yourself.
See below for all 29 answers in full.
1. "Our number one strategy for growth is not a specific tool, technology, nor tactic, but a principle, and that is to listen to our customers, to the market, and to what the data is telling us. You can really start anywhere, but good old fashioned customer research is an enormously helpful place to start that will return dividends a thousand times over in the long run. Why start here? Because customer research is the foundation for understanding your targeting, messaging, and distribution channels. Tactically, this means profiling the companies you have sold to in the past and the people that have bought and used your product. Start with simple data points like industry, employee count, job titles, and go from there to include more nuanced data like technographics, age of company, heck, I've even made word clouds to identify common keywords that our buyers use on their LinkedIn page. The goal is to truly understand your customer and their problems so you can eventually create messaging and content that speaks their language. Another tactic that falls into our strategy of listening to the customer and the market is to build your network of partners. Start connecting with vocal, engaging, influential leaders that look like your potential buyers on LinkedIn and start observing. Read what they're saying and take note of what they're talking about. Join Slack communities and do the same." - Angela Sun, Director, Marketing, Hull
2. "The story behind Walton Wood Farm is a journey that involves a tenacious former car salesperson learning the ropes of entrepreneurship while establishing an international brand out of her farmhouse kitchen.
Former broke single mom, Leslie Bradford-Scott, knew when she launched her personal care gifting company that to stand out in a sea of 'lavender' she would need to find a way to capture the emotional connection to the consumer. She turned her life experiences into themes for product collections she felt would resonate with other people. Born were “Week from Hell” and “Winter’s a B*tch” themed personal care products as well as other life themes, proving ultimately more effective than yet another label of “Lavender.”
The last step to set herself apart from venture-backed competitors was to find a way to drive down the acquisition cost of customers and thrive in a global recession. I was fed up with shoveling all of my profits into Facebook and Instagram's wallets and knew if I was going to compete with the deep pockets of venture-backed brands, I better get creative, says Bradford-Scott.
The founder took marketing expert Seth Godin's advice to 'build your own platform.' Bradford-Scott turned her unusual life story into a podcast and made Walton Wood Farm the mid-roll sponsor in order to get her acquisition costs down to zero. I was inquiring into advertising on other people's podcasts. Armchair Expert wanted 40k USD for 60 seconds. I thought, why can't I do that?
Bradford-Scott was working on her podcast titled, Rewriting Dad, when the pandemic broke out. With 80% of her brick and mortar wholesale customers now closed, the true-crime podcast about based on her life story is making up for lost sales by increasing her online revenue and getting her brand out there to customers who have never heard of Walton Wood Farm before.
With hand rescues and bath soaks named Nurse's Rescue and Week from Hell, we are seeing unprecedented consumer growth as a result of the show.
Bradford-Scott plans on launching two more podcasts in the next 18 months to reach other audiences." - Leslie Bradford-Scott, Chief Squirrel Chase, Walton Wood Farm, Rewritingdad
3. "At Bonjoro, a personalized video messaging platform, we have had tremendous success from podcasts. In 2020 alone our CEO, Matt Barnett and our CMO, Oli Bridges, did nearly 100 podcast appearances and it has spiked up our traffic dramatically. The beauty of podcasts is that they are free and if you find the right fits, it is a mutually beneficial way to give both parties exposure. Just like with any type of relationship the key is a give and take. If you only hop on podcasts with the intent to promote your product, and after the show is over you leave all the promotion of the episode to the host... You are unlikely to get much traction. If, on the other hand, instead you try and create actionable tips that are system agnostic, and you aggressively promote and put ad dollars behind the people you work with, then you will build real relationships and those relationships will carry you far." - Casey Hill, Head of Growth, Bonjoro
4. "Being a Digital Marketer, I think Tiktok is the game-changer for marketing purposes in 2020. I have almost worked on every social media channel, including TikTok.
I was using TikTok when I came across this video where a Famous Boutiquesused TikTok for the ever-popular try-on videos. Afterward, they published results on their blog website of how TikTok helped them to fetch the whole season's worth of sales in a fun sped-up video.
After that, this restaurant launched its TikTok campaign with the #GuacDance challenge, which encouraged fans to show off their avocado-themed dance moves inspired by Dr. Jean’s “Guacamole Song.” This campaign was a great success too.
I got inspired by these two examples and ran the following marketing campaigns on TikTok that helped me boost my brand awareness and searches:
*Using a Challenge*: One of the ways through which I promoted my brand on TikTok is by promoting #HashtagChallenge. In this type of campaign, the brand challenges users to create and upload TikTok videos inspired by their original video using the #HashtagChallenge and tagging 3 of their friends to attempt the challenge. The person with the most hearts on the video wins a Free Product from the brand. This helped the percentage of my brand searches soar 44% and engagement to almost 25%.
*Influencer Marketing:* I choose an influencer from the country I wanted to target for my region-specific marketing and tied-up with that influencer to feature my products in TikTok videos and share positive reviews about my brand in it. In the same way, I requested my influencer to recommend the viewers to try the product and leave the reply in the comments once they buy it, one lucky winner after verified purchase will have the chance to meet that influencer in person. This alone helped my brand searches from that specific country surge to almost 50% and I got 2,000+ orders for my product." - Rameez Ghayas Usmani, Digital Marketing Executive at PureVPN
5. "A unique method I’ve employed to grow my company over the last few years is strategic partnerships. It’s amazing to me how few business owners understand the power of partnering with another company to market to their clientele. I’ve sought out multiple business across various verticals where our product would naturally be a good fit and provide value to their clients.
Their clients win because you offer a valuable product or service to them, and the the business owner benefits via additional revenue due to the partnership. Plus our partners strengthen their relationships with their customers by ensuring their other needs are met. It's a win-win for all 3 parties.
In order for a business to scale, it has to continually find ways to attract new customers. A strategic business relationship(s) is an easy and very cost-effective way to do this. Traditional marketing methods like print or digital ads are often very expensive, very competitive and often unpredictable. The best part of strategic business relationships is they are stable, have high conversion rates, and usually carry a lower than normal acquisition cost compared to other marketing channels.
It takes a lot of cold calling to find businesses who will entertain this idea and then agree to it, but they are gold once established.
SEO use to be our fastest growing channel, but as you probably know there is a limit to how much organic search traffic you can capture (you can't create more searches). However, over the last 12 months, we've seen the most growth via strategic partnerships." - Anthony Martin, CEO of Choice Mutual
6. "One of the fastest ways to grow a business is by creating a viral growth component at each touch point. How can you get each interaction with someone to create another interaction with someone they know?
There are 3 basic parts to business growth and that's initial traffic (online or offline), activating that traffic (email, pixel, customer form) and then the customer journey.
The key to growing rapidly is finding a way to stimulate each touch point.
How can you get new traffic to tell other people about your business or
How can you get that email address to become 2, 4, 8,16 email addresses?
How can you get that first customer to bring a friend and for that friend
to bring 3 friends?
Focus in on every prospect and customer touch point and really look at how you can throw gasoline on each of those interactions and you'll see explosive growth (online or offline) guaranteed." - Mike Kawula, Founder of Help a Teen
7. "This method of increasing traffic to my website is so niche I am the only business doing it anywhere.
My name is Iain Miller and i run https://uniqueascent.ie/ a rock climbing and sea stack guiding business in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. One of my methods to attract visitors to my site is to simply go out rock climbing in locations where no-one has climbed before. I climb previously unclimbed rock and record my climbs in the appropriate free to download PDFs found on my site. These PDF's are used by rock climbers to guide them to good or recommended routes in each PDF area. There are currently 28 PDF's on my site with approx 3100 rock climbs recorded within. This is the home page for the free guides https://uniqueascent.ie/undiscovered_donegal an example of one of these area PDFs is https://uniqueascent.ie/sea_stack_guide.
I then use social media to advertise I have climbed a new climb in an area, normally on the day after I climb it. I usually post a good picture or short clip of the climbing taken that day accompanied with a link to the area PDF. This always creates a spike of activity to that page and an accompanying number of downloads of the PDF.
Perhaps one of the great facts about this strategy is even if you have previously downloaded a PDF for an area. You will revisit the my website and download the PDF again as it is an updated version of the PDF guide. This method works very well indeed for me through the medium of rock and sea stack climbing. With a little bit of tailoring and innovation this method could work well for many different business models." - Iain Miller, Founder of Unique Ascent
8. "The most unique strategy we've used is to survey all of our email subscribers about safety concerns. We did this as a part of Safety Month in 2019 and plan to carry out an even more comprehensive survey for Safety Month this year, complete with questions pertaining to COVID-19.
We used the URL for this survey to attract dozens of backlinks both naturally and through email outreach. Most of the links are not only dofollow but have high domain authority, meaning Google sees them as highly valuable." - Joseph Pineiro, SEO Manager at 360 Training
9. "I am a founder of two companies and the first company was set up as laboratory to study the global upper middle class in terms of how they travel, how they use services, etc. The laboratory paid for my lifestyle and gave me the valuable insights I need to eventually launch the second global company. The first company was set up in 1990 and is still going strong but it is a private travel tour operator business that covers all of Japan. The second company has not been funded yet but it is global (50% global travel + 50% non travel services serving individuals, corporations and government agencies) and its ready to launch and our marketing strategy is clear now.
For small businesses, marketing is a tough nut, especially if you wish to work with customers all over the country (or even all over the world). For such companies paying for Facebook or Google ads helps but that really depends on the nature of the business. For small businesses I recommend spending a lot of time and hardly any money on making sure your website is close to perfect. Perfect basic SEO, perfect copy writing and lots of it (your landing page should have about 2,700 words so Google will find you for long tails and short tails. And this should not just be a one time task but should be followed up twice a year with further edits, changes and improvements. It's not about spending money: it's all about putting in the time. And every small business should have a Google My Business presence and frequently send out information about their products and services via GMB posts . . . Making use of the media, ie journalists and press reviews, is also a very inexpensive but powerful strategy.
For a global start up the marketing game is completely different. My startup offers something that doesn't exist for the upper middle class and it is a luxury product ($630 minimum per year for subscription fee + network usage fees for tasks sold at retail prices). For a company trying to get the attention of the global middle class, I rely on three key marketing strategies: 1. Paying or not paying lifestyle influencers in key international markets: especially women writing about international travel and lifestyles for mature upper middle class women with international on their minds: travel especially, in this case. 2. Using key celebrities with good values and not too expensive who get free subscriptions in return for us using their reputations in our niche magazine print ads. 3. Word of mouth sharing from one subscriber to say 5 of their closest friends or family members. We are selling something where demand will always far exceed supply and we are building a brand that also helps the planet at the same time. So who wouldn't want to get their friends in on the advantages we offer?" - Ian Martin Ropke, Founder, Your Japan Private Tours
10. "We've found success using direct mail. Of course we do CPC advertising on Facebook and Instagram as well as email marketing, but direct mail has given us an audience I don't think we'd get otherwise.
Because we serve local homeowners *and *local businesses, we can send two different mailers. One informs homeowners of the top rated landscapers in their area and invites them to sign up to our site to easily review ratings and book an appointment. The other informs landscapers of our service and how we can offer them qualified leads. We incentivize both with a QR code that provides a discount if they sign up using that link.
Obviously there's a higher cost to doing physical mail, but we've found a conversion rate closer to 17%, whereas our CPC ad campaigns usually top out at 10-13% right now. It's definitely worth it to reach a broader audience and a new customer base." - Jennifer Walden, Director of Operations, WikiLawn
11. "We are indeed an online retailer of chess and backgammon. We solely depend on marketing online and have been doing so for over 5 years now. We know the tips and tricks of using the large e-commerce stores to your advantage and allow them to almost market your brand. There are indeed various forms of internet marketing available to us these days and it almost depends on which avenue you would to explore. Certainly from our point of view, we started off as a very small family business selling our household junk and developed into a branded traditional games company. This did not happen by accident and careful planning was taken to take the relevant steps. We initially started on eBay and Amazon, slowly moving onto Etsy. Our plan was to aim to gain brand awareness without needing to actually pay for marketing.
Considering the big boys in e-commerce already pay for this when customers see your product there will also see your brand logo. We of course used ads where helpful but have now ventured onto our own website platform. What we are finding now is a large number of customers are choosing to find our products on eBay and Amazon, seeing the brand and plugging away onto google and finding our well ranked website." - Rizwan Girach, Founder, Chessgammon
12. "One of the most successful strategies we have used for our jewelry business has been through story telling and education. Instead of just selling our jewelry, we are telling the story behind it and educating the customer on it. More time is being focused around video creation than ever before.
Why? Because we are able to use videos to push this strategy in Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and most importantly, Reddit. We have now gone viral on Reddit five times. Our first time, with an educational story telling video which now has over 4,500,000 views on Youtube. We have so many followers from that group now that when we launch a new item, it is purchased within a couple days from those followers.
First Viral Video from Reddit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3qR8eOC4Qk" - Jeff Moriarty, Marketing Manager, MoreGems
13. "Businesses need to find ways to enable your customers to create content for you to drive awareness and inbound traffic. This lends itself to tech companies more so than brick and mortar. For us at WayScript, a startup building a rapid programming platform for developers, we focus on creating viral loops as a key part of our GTM.
Users signup and use our platform, share what they've built publicly, which then attracts new users to signup. The viral engine is built into the product itself. It's the same concept that fueled Pinterest's rapid growth." - Tom Berger, Senior Marketing Executive, WayScript
14. "As a 'marketer for hire' for small businesses, I have the most boring answer of all: I tell the truth! What are your '5W's'? What makes you different and - hopefully - superior to your competition? When are your busiest times of year, and why not the rest of the year? What more can you offer your customers?
Long term social media presence within both Prospect and Geographic Marketplaces have proved to be the best, when utilizing a 'sample visit' policy: Come in for something less expensive and enjoy the experience - then return for the whole service plan. " - Steve James, Consultant, SmallBizBigBiz
15. "We have explored many marketing channels for growth in our company. We have strong networks in place with our niche market stores, places of gatherings, print ads, etc.
However, we've recently done into content marketing on our website and it has yielded so much more return that I can say. We are still in the beginning phases of its growth too! Before we were spending nearly 5 figures a month in digital ads on search engines and getting a significantly negative ROI. So we decide to go for organic growth on search engines.
Since then we have dropped almost our entire budget from direct ads and have been spending it on content and network outreach with backlinking. This has been a great marketing channel that we've added to our arsenal. The best part is that we only had to do the work once and it will yield us returns for years to come." - Joe Ferrara, Founder, Giant Supplements
16. "100% organic growth: Our business is bootstrapped, we have no debt, and raised no outside capital. As a result, 100% of our time and energy spent toward growth is on organic search. While growth from SEO isn't instant like it could be utilizing paid channels, we consider it a luxury. If we had taken any money on from investors, we would not be able to focus even 50% of our marketing strategy on just search. SEO is slow, and it can take up to a year to see considerable results. However, when you get SEO right, you're able to reap the rewards of a free traffic source that's long-term and sustainable." - Paul Kim Founder, Director of Growth, Groovewallet
17. "1. At Barracks to Baller, we're all about the #MindfulHustle. So, our virtual co-working space is the perfect place for women to decompress, unwind, and create. Our one hour of focus work format provides an exciting, yet easy and clear entry way into our marketing funnel and the emails we capture provide powerful ammo for our retargeting efforts. Not to mention, we gather a higher quality lead because the women that join are willing to spend time---the only thing worth more than money.
2. We've seen the most growth from Facebook via FB Ads." - Gabrielle Pickens, Founder, Pickens Creative
18. "*Our unique marketing strategy includes first creating quality content that answers searchers' query better than any competing content available. Next, we create a plan for promoting that on-site content across channels including PR, blogs and social media. In doing so, we spend an equal amount of time promoting the content that we initially create. *
*Our greatest growth drivers for sales and conversions have come through Google search where we are targeting specific searches. *" - Nate Nead, CEO, SEO.co
19. "My unique strategy to growing my companies right now is TIKTOK! I got on the app only 1 month ago and already have 23,000 followers. Since they don't have algorithmic blocks like Instagram and Facebook yet, I can talk directly to my ideal customers.
I am hoping to hit 100,000 followers by July." - Alex Fasulo, Founder EyePop App, CampfireTrailers
20. "My unique marketing strategy would have to be creating content based on long-tail keywords. This strategy is so effective because there's less competition for these keywords, and they are also much more targeted. I combine the power of both blog posts and videos to help me rank in both Google and YouTube as well. I've been using this strategy for a few years now and it's one of the best ways to get highly-targeted and free traffic." - James Canzanella, Founder, Isolated Marketing Nights
21. "My marketing solution was a simple one. I just simply continues to provide good and relevant content to my website over the course of 30 years and it is just growing with me.
I believe this is a completely unique solution because so many people overthink the situation. Perhaps I have been lucky, but I believe that a confident mind and sure-footedness as an entrepreneur makes a huge difference in the success of a small business, especially one online in such competitive time." - Andrew Taylor, Director, Net Lawman
22. "One strategy that we've seen positive results with recently is increasing our ad spend on social media platforms. The cost of pay-per-click ads is own because the economy is down. This is a good time (if you can afford it, depending on your industry) to increase ad spend for promoting your social media accounts. You'll reach more people at a lower cost and be prepared for when the economy goes back up. This is, of course, somewhat risky. However, it can really pay off if done properly (and the economy cooperates).
"Since the COVID-19 has started most of our clients have paused their campaigns as they are, understandably, slashing their marketing budgets.
However, we have 2 medical clients who have both tripled their marketing budget, as media outlets and journalists are asking for opinions from medical people every hour of every day from Haro and other similar outlets.
We've been recording what other medical/healthcare companies (bar our clients) have been quoted regularly in the media outlets. Using this info, we approach their direct rivals/competitors using this as a stick, saying we could do the same outreach for them, only better and get them more coverage.
Our usual sales conversion is 1 in 4 (25%), but this focused approach on healthcare companies it is over 50%. The new sales we are making has more than compensated for the revenue we have lost from suspended clients." - Brett Downes, Founder, HAROHelpers
23. Another tactic we've invested in recently is increasing our Content production and cross-promotion. We create a video for roughly 75% of the new content that we produce. Then, we embed the video on the page and link to the post from our YouTube channel. This gives our audience choices for how they want to experience our content. We've seen growth in both areas thanks to this strategy." - Greg Birch, Content Manager & Search Engine Marketing Specialist, Drop Ship Lifestyle
24. "What's your unique strategy to growing your company? - it's pretty much knowing your audience pretty well and putting as much content out there as possible that is relevant to your audience and is actually striving to genuinely help them.
What channels have you seen the most growth from? - Forums- Quora, Reddit, DreamInCode; Facebook Ads and, of course, Google - SEO." - Momchil Koychev, CMO, Codegiant
25. "Due to restrictions within our industry, we're not allowed to do any form of online paid advertising. So we've had to get really creative with our marketing efforts. One of our favorite ways of marketing the business is by participating on relevant forums - by answering questions related to our industry in a useful manner, and by including our company details within our profile, we've managed to drive huge amounts of traffic from forums to our website." - Sam Williamson, Founder, CBDiablo UK
26. "We have a very specific target audience, so I've found that reaching out with an individualized pitch via LinkedIn has been significantly more successful in gaining new clients than sending mass emails. When potential customers are able to see my profile, picture and a little bit about me on LinkedIn, they are more likely to respond than to a faceless cold reach out via email." - Jason Davis, CEO, Inspire360
27. "One way I've successfully marketed my company is to go on podcasts and talk about results I've achieved. This creates a natural framework and desire for people to reach out to visit your site as well as reach out to and work with you, especially on podcasts that have large and engaged audiences. I've gone on several podcasts with engaged audiences, and seen a large traffic spike the day the episode aired, as well as hundreds of emails in the following days and weeks from listeners wanting to work with me and know more about my business model." - Stacy Caprio, CEO, Her.CEO
28. "My business centers around affiliate marketing; I get traffic to my website by running ads and using Search Engine Optimization. Here's what I'm investing in:
*I'm Investing in Digital Ads*
I'm capitalizing on the slowdown in digital ads by running them myself. If fewer people are investing in ads, it makes them less expensive on a per-click basis. Most ads are bids, so the highest bid gets placement. I'm taking advantage of this by running ads on Facebook to increase my social media presence.
*Expanding Social Media*
Building a Facebook audience is difficult, but I'm finding that while other companies in the real estate industry cut spending, I can run ads for less than normal. For example, I just made a post on Facebook that I boosted in an effort to get page likes. I went from no followers to just under 1,200 in under a week for an average of $.65 per like, which is an excellent price per like.
*Organic Traffic Increased 46%*
My organic traffic to my blog has increased 46% from the same time this month. I believe this is because I write about real estate trends, investing software, and home improvement and people have more time to dedicate to planning their own improvement projects. I've seen the biggest traffic growth from plain old search engine optimization, but am starting to get meaningful traffic from my various social media channels." -Andrew Helling, Founder, REthority
29. "I started a global branding and marketing firm 19 years ago in Cambridge, MA. I am very concerned about the spread of this virus and the impact it will have on the economy. The biggest change for me, my team and my clients from the virus so far is the shutdown of all networking events, travel and conferences. Spring is typically a very busy time with many events, trade shows, business meetings on the road, etc. And for the past month everyone is staying put and meeting virtually instead. I have had more Zoom and Skype calls in the past 15 days than the prior 6 months! Pivoting to online meetings, webinars, etc. is a smart and productive way companies can
continue to have conversations that educate and inform, build relationships and move forward during this crisis period. So first and foremost I am trying to help small businesses to be flexible and open minded so we can keep working together during the crisis and create more flexible capacity going forward over the next year as the economy reopens. If small groups on the team want to talk through specific issues (managing anxiety, kids, parents, etc.) virtual coffee meetings online have been helpful too. A few colleagues have even met online after work for virtual happy hour/beer/cocktails as well when they had more time to chat. It is starting to feel like the new normal by leveraging technology to build and maintain my relationships. Finding routines and things we can control helps I think.
Another pivot because of the lockdown, this is a great time to build your brand through online marketing and social media. Social media and technology are 24/7 so it is easy to get sucked into it but you do not have to let it run your life! My advice is to pick a few things you enjoy doing and do them really well. You cannot be everywhere all the time so choose high impact activities that work for you and play to your strengths. For example, Content Marketing and Thought Leadership are great ways to build your brand, increase your visibility more broadly, raise your profile and attract more clients/customers. Activities like writing articles, hosting webinars, podcasts and building your following on social media all contribute to increasing your awareness with potential customers and building your credibility with a larger community. Instead of trying to start your own blog or newsletter, try contributing regularly to existing well trafficked blogs in your industry or newsletters of like-minded organizations reaching the same target audience as you. Make sure you put your URL or contact info on it so they can find you and follow up. When your articles become available online, make sure to send them out via social media to all your friends, followers and contacts. Don¹t let social media drive you crazy, you do not need to be everywhere, it does not matter which platform you choose just pick one or 2 that are authentic to you. It should look and sound like you and the brand you have built. Whether yours is polished or more informal, chatty or academic, humorous or snarky, it is a way for your personality to come through. Everyone is not going to like you or hire you but for the ones who would be a great fit for you make sure they feel and keep a connection and give them a reason to remember you so that when they need your help they think of you first. Start small and build as you go. For me I started with small publications then moved up the food chain to reach bigger audiences. People need to be on LinkedIn so that they can be found too. It adds credibility and transparency when you know the people you are meeting or working with know people in common. LinkedIn has become more than an online resume or rolodex, it is the foundation for building trusted relationships in the digital economy. You do not need to blog or be on all social media platforms but make sure you are active on the ones where you are. If your customers do not use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to find you then you do not need to make them a priority. For many professional service businesses like mine, LinkedIn matters the most. These ideas do not require big budgets but they are productive ways to stay connected during the crisis.
I am still a big fan of Content Marketing and as far as messaging goes, between the pandemic and the possible recession, leaders and brands have an opportunity to further connect with anxious audiences and focus on the true relevance of their products or services. We have to acknowledge that now things are different so we need to communicate in a way that will give our audiences better focus, helping them to create a bridge from today to the future. We need to communicate in a way that combines information and need, synthesizing feeling and facts. I feel we have a tremendous responsibility because never before has communications had the power to help society in the way that it does right now. Words are part of the healing process and we can see which leaders and brands are doing the best job every day with messages that touch not only the mind, but also the heart and soul. There has never been a more important time to provide accurate, empathetic communication with transparency, truthfulness and timeliness. It is inappropriate now for content to appear tone deaf in any way to this crisis.. Do not ask to be paid, be too salesy, imply solidarity, hope they are doing well, etc. it seems cheesy and worse opportunistic. Everyone is struggling right now to find a new normal so the key is to show your humanity and compassion while we look out for one another.
To stay connected I try to set the tone upfront with one rule, when in doubt over-communicate. Especially now that everyone is working remotely it is key to set up regular e-mails, video and conference calls. If the lines of communication are open and everyone makes an effort to listen and be heard then collaboration will happen naturally and the information will flow. Once we lay this groundwork it all will be in place to continue moving forward as the economy reopens and some businesses come back quicker than others. For professional service firms like mine we will recover even if our revenues slow from the crisis. Online meetings, webinars, social media, etc. are a smart and productive way companies can continue to have conversations that educate and inform, build relationships and move forward during this crisis period. Maybe the silver lining is that this crisis reminds us that technology does not have to be isolating it can be used to build our real world communities and relationships too!" - Paige Arnof-Fenn, CEO, Mavens & Moguls
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