The art of ‘growth hacking’ for your small business

Starting and running a small business into a successful enterprise is a monumental challenge. Faced by various challenges, it’s not surprising that 90 per cent of start-ups fail. To ensure that your business doesn’t become part of the failure statistics, you have to do everything in your power to ensure constant growth. This is where growth hacking comes in!

Coined by Sean Ellis, the CEO of, growth hacking means experimenting with various business activities such as marketing, product development, sales segments to determine the most efficient methods to achieve faster business growth. The aim of growth-hacking is to increase your customer base while keeping your investment to a minimum.

Here are some simple hacks that can boost your business growth in a short amount of time.

1.       Give it away

Business owners go to great lengths to entice new customers. As a small business owner with a limited marketing budget, you might feel like you’re missing out. However, you don’t have to invest much, in financial terms, to reach your target audience.

In today’s digital world, some of the most effective advertising strategies aren’t as expensive as many assume. For instance, placing paid ads on social media or Google has been proven to have amazing ROI.

Sometimes, you don’t even have to spend money to draw customers. Giving discounts, offering free samples, or having a freemium model (especially for digital products), are smart ways to boost customer acquisition at lower cost. Just think about it. If you offer an online course, you can hook customers by giving the first chapter for free before asking them to upgrade to a paid model to access the other chapters.

2.       Try content marketing

Did you know that content marketing is more effective than traditional advertising? According to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62 per cent less and generates approximately three times more leads than traditional marketing – making it a brilliant growth hack for small businesses.

Regularly updating your business website’s blog allows you to engage your target audience with useful content. This helps build both your business reputation and a trusting relationship with the target audience.

But while content is king, not every content is good content. To reap maximum benefits, make sure that your content is optimised for search engines such as Google and Bing. This means including keywords, building both internal and external links, and make your site mobile-friendly. It is a worthwhile investment to hire a professional to create SEO content for you. Optimised content will attract high-quality traffic to your site, who are more likely to convert into paying customers.

3.       Show social proof

Think about the last time you bought something online. What convinced you to purchase? You probably read what other buyers had to say about the product. A survey by BrightLocal found that 84 per cent of people polled trusted online reviews and testimonials as much as they would a personal recommendation.

Therefore, to grow your business quickly, especially online, prominently showcase reviews from your customers or clients. These recommendations will help prospective customers who are on the fence decide on making a purchase.

Remembers, people are more likely to buy from businesses that they trust. Building social proof for your brand will help improve your long-term customer retention.

4.       Make media friends

Do you have friends in the media? If not, it is time to find some. Having friendly relations with people in the media increases the probability of having your product reviewed or you interviewed in relation to your business…at no cost!

Due to the nature of their jobs, journalists are also more likely to be in the know about industry developments. They can provide you with great insights that might help you in making business decisions.

Where do you start? Luckily, social media has made it very easy to connect with people in the media. You can easily find a journalist who specialises in your area on Twitter or other social media platforms. Build a relationship by retweeting, commenting, and engaging in conversation with them and their followers. When you have built a strong relationship, you can ask them about being interviewed or reviewing your product.

5.       Hire smart

Employees can make or break any company. After all, they will be the people who come in contact with your customers. You trust employees to give your business their time and skills to achieve your goals. Hiring the right people for the job cannot be overemphasised. Instead of rushing to hire whoever shows up, take time to vet candidates for any role in your company.

Your business will grow faster when you have smart, highly skilled, and dedicated people in your team. Projects will be completed efficiently and effectively and you will have more innovation within the company. Additionally, having employees that you can trust to handle the day-to-day running of your business will free you up to focus on other activities that enhance growth such as looking for investors.

6.       Ask for Customer Feedback

In any kind of business, meeting the customers’ needs should always be a priority. The best way to find out what your customers’ needs are is to ask them. You can conduct surveys to find out your customers’ pain points, what they like about your products and what they wish you could improve on.

This will help you develop more customer-centric products and services and grow your business exponentially. Listening to your customers and implementing solutions for their problems will also help you earn their loyalty.