The fledgeling stages of a new business are always the most exciting...and nerve-racking. Those first tentative steps when introducing your product or service to the market fill you with visions of delighted customers and the development of an industry-leading brand. To actualise these goals, however, you need a robust growth strategy. That's because only 33% of new businesses make it past a decade, and 66% drop out of the race in the first two years.
With an inbound marketing gameplan, you can gain momentum in the early stages of your business by carving out your target audience and effectively identifying immediate opportunities.
But a growth strategy isn't simply about financial survival and quick wins; it's a long term commitment to increasing profitability and acquiring a greater share of the market – sustainably. To achieve this, you must set SMART goals that will help you to track return on investment (ROI) and continuously test and tweak your strategy. This will help to optimise your marketing budget and keep your business aligned with the needs of its customers.
What is a growth strategy?
Corporate strategist, Igor Ansoff, has played a significant role in establishing the traditional growth strategies that most marketing professionals apply today. Namely, these strategies are:
- Market penetration – This is where a business will enter a market with an existing product and compete against similar companies for a share of the market. It's the most common strategy, and one that is widely used today. Just think of ecommerce and dropshipping websites; there's a low entry barrier and plenty of competition, making the success of such a business highly reliant on its marketing strategy.
- Market development – A development strategy focuses on the identification of new customers and market segments. You can broaden your targeting framework to reach new audiences and tweak your message to highlight your product's advantages for that particular segment. This could be as simple as opening a branch of your business in a new town or upselling to existing customers by showing them how to get more value from your product.
- Product development – Evolving and upgrading your product to serve the changing needs of your buyer personas is known as a product development strategy. By improving your product or enhancing its features, you can increase brand loyalty and invite new customers on board.
- Diversification strategy – Businesses may choose to partner with or acquire existing companies to gain access to new markets or diversify their offering. Diversification can be concentric or conglomerate and will require sophisticated management strategies to make the merger or acquisition a success.
Deciding on the right strategy will depend on the current position of your company, your existing target market, and your ability to undertake risk. Market penetration is the typical starting point for businesses wanting to incur minimum risk by selling to a well-defined audience. Eventually, however, that market will saturate, and your business will need to move onto the next phase of its growth strategy. For this reason, the tactics and tools you use throughout your marketing need to be selected with sustainability in mind. Nurturing your buyer personas, qualifying your leads, measuring content engagement, and staying committed to delivering value to the customer will ensure the longevity of your business.
3 Tactics for business growth
If your company's mission is closely aligned to an ethical or charitable cause, you may want to pivot your growth strategy on this differentiating factor of your business.
The cause you support should have a clear link to your business to show authenticity and assure the customer that their purchase makes a genuine contribution to the nonprofit they care for.
Consumers, particularly millennials, are increasingly looking to businesses as a force for positive social impact, and when brands engage in social issues, they are more likely to earn their trust and loyalty. – Forbes
For a new or growing business, free promotion is always a bonus. In this scenario, a third party will create their own content, mentioning your business and sharing that information with their audience on a platform of their choice. The risk is that this publicity could be good or bad, but this organic method of influencing people through what is effectively a referral can be hugely beneficial.
HubSpot points out that 57% of Americans trust the opinions of friends and family when it comes to a new product, making those third-party Tweets and blogs a key part in your growth strategy.
It's important to remember that positive earned media is a byproduct of excellent customer service, consistent product improvements, high-quality content output, and genuine alignment between your company's core message and its conduct.
3. Paid media
To scale quickly and establish your business in the market, a paid media strategy is essential. Depending on where you're most likely to connect with your brand's target audience, you need to strategically select your top-performing paid advertising channels. These may include:
- Paid social (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.)
- Paid search (GoogleAds)
- Influencer marketing
- Display ads
For each of these paid media channels, you will need to create your own branded content that speaks directly to your buyer personas. With the help of digital marketing, you can retarget leads that have shown interest in your business and nudge them further along the buyer's journey. The goal of paid media is to divert traffic to your website or content offers and grow your audience.
Of course, there are many tactics you could look into. The key is to keep testing your campaigns and staying connected to your customers. Many businesses plunge into market or product development strategies without really understanding the customer's pain points. Digital marketing allows you to continuously gather data and make decisions based on the feedback and engagement you get from individuals who interact with your brand. Free trials, referrals, growth hacks, email campaigns, and industry events should always fall within your greater marketing strategy, ensuring accurate segmentation and more opportunities to expand your share of the market.
Are you ready to talk to us about your BEE.Gameplan? We'll analyse your current position and work closely with you to develop an inbound strategy that sets your business up for growth.Our experience shows that, with a comprehensive marketing roadmap, your company can scale and thrive. We're in the business of putting companies in the top 33%, and we'd love to see you firmly established, fully operational, and highly profitable over the next decade and beyond. Get in touch, and let's start building your company's growth strategy.