From the blog 3 Small Business Growth Strategies That Don’t Cost A Dime
Small businesses need proactive growth strategies. Your growth strategy should be simple, effective and affordable. Especially since half of all SMBs don’t see their fifth anniversary.
That’s why we’ve researched 3 proven small business growth strategies. None of them have any direct costs. And you can start working on them in the next five minutes.
Some businesses spend as much as 24% of their total budget on marketing. – The Wall Street Journal
Create a viral loop
The internet’s perfectly suited for cost-effective advertising. Everyone’s on it, and it makes sharing information easy.
One of the most effective internet-based growth strategies is a “viral loop.” A viral loop is not the same as a piece of social media content that “goes viral.” Instead, a viral loop happens when customers get excited about a new service or product and, in their excitement, spread the word to more potential customers.
Take Dropbox, for example. They created a viral loop with an amazing referral program – get your friends to sign up for Dropbox and you get free space. That simple strategy led to an insane amount of growth in a short period of time.
Dropbox grew nearly 4000% in just over a year.
Creating an effective viral loop just takes some brainstorming. Consider your customers. When are they the most receptive to giving you referrals? How can you make the referral process easy and rewarding?
Finally, make sure your referral program matches your company’s values, personality and brand.
Make customers love the company
People like people who like them. Similarly, customers support businesses that value them.
And repeat customers are important to sustained cash flow and increased profitability.
“Existing customers spend 31% more than new customers.” – Callbox
Not only that, but word-of-mouth marketing is an easy, low-cost way to grow your business. In fact, 83% of Americans prefer personal recommendations to ads. Anything you can do to encourage customers to talk about your business to friends is worth doing.
But how do you get on your customers’ good side? There are several ways. You can craft a unique, engaging buying experience. Or you could center your business around a cause people care about. Or you could try a variation of the approach used by Chewy, an online pet supply store.
40% of Chewy’s customers come back after their first purchase. That’s double the rate of their major competitors.
Why? Chewy offers a generous return policy. They also make charitable donations in their customers’ pets’ names. It’s a much more personable approach than other online retailers. And Chewy has 15% of the market share.
It sure sounds like their strategy is paying off.
But your customers may need something different. You don’t have to copy Chewy’s strategy. Just figure out what your customers really want and try to give it to them.
Tap into what makes you unique
It takes effort to launch a small business. Because starting and running a small business is a considerable gamble (and it is), it’s tempting to play it safe.
Don’t do that. In a market full of competitors, choose to stand out.
Check out what the competition is doing, and then consider ways you can head in the other direction. Is everyone else in your industry very formal? What would happen if you took on a more casual, friendly tone in your approach? Is everyone else obsessed about offering the lowest price? What if you openly brag that you’re not the cheapest… but your customers will get what they pay for?
Find your unique value proposition and play it up.
That’s what WhatsApp did when they totally removed ads from their app and ditched traditional marketing strategies. Sure, it was risky. But by their fourth year, they had 400 billion users. And in their fifth year, Facebook bought them for $19 billion.
All WhatsApp had to do was charge users for purchasing the app itself. It was a completely different approach, but it worked.
Start by brainstorming about your competitors. What do they have in common? What would happen if you swam against the current? What advantages would you gain from finding a unique voice?
Your products or services may not be unique, but that doesn’t mean your business is like all the others. Find what sets you apart and make sure people know.
Bringing it all together
So, let’s recap. We’ve shared three growth strategies. All three are easy to implement and don’t have any direct costs.
- Viral loops focus on getting your happy customers to promote your business for you.
- Revamping customer service encourages high-reward customer retention.
- Finally, tapping into what makes you unique turns your company’s personality into a powerful marketing strategy.
All these approaches are low risk. Plus, they don’t cost a dime.
Get started on your customized growth strategy today.