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Getting a business started can feel like climbing Mount Everest. The constant battle that comes with making a name for your business and fighting the competition, can be physically and mentally draining. But when you experience success, it feels like the thrill that comes with reaching the summit.

No matter how great your business’s journey has been, the truth is that every business experiences a point of plateau. Sales may have slowed to a standstill, maybe there’s a lack of employee engagement or innovation, or perhaps your competition has your audience’s attention. That’s normal. However, a lull doesn’t need to mean the end. The right tools can help get your business back on track.

Digital marketing has become an essential tool for businesses of all sizes to reach new customers and drive growth. There are a variety of digital marketing tactics that businesses need to succeed. In this article, we'll explore how digital marketing can help businesses grow and the tactics that can be used to achieve this goal.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is a marketing approach that uses numerous digital tactics and channels to connect with customers where they spend most of their time — online. Think of it as the opposite of traditional print advertising. Reaching your audience through newspapers or billboards used to be the norm. You’re now reaching customers through emails, popping up on their social media pages, and answering their questions in Google search. If you can meet them where they are, you’re more likely to be top of mind and make sales.

What are Some Popular Digital Marketing Tactics?

There are multiple ways to connect with your audience online, but not all tactics work for every business. Before committing to a digital marketing campaign, it’s essential that you have a clear picture of how it supports your overarching goals. It’s also necessary to understand how each approach works. While there are a few more tactics available, we’ll explain some of the main approaches below:

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, also called SEO, is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engine results pages. Think about how often you go to the second or third page of Google results — rare, right? That’s why it’s so important to get on page one, and why so many people are strategically trying to rank in that number one spot.

Improving a website’s ranking is accomplished through a variety of techniques such as keyword research, meta tags, and link building. You want to make sure you’re answering the questions that people are actually asking to boost visibility, and you want to answer them correctly to gain credibility and authority. SEO is an essential tool for driving organic traffic to a website, reaching new customers, and driving business growth

Content Marketing

Content marketing emphasizes creating, producing, and sharing content meant to engage and attract a targeted online audience. This tactic and SEO go hand in hand. You can’t improve your ranking with search engines if you don’t have informative content on your website. While content marketing includes website content, like blog articles, it also covers social media posts, videos, online courses, and even events that invoke an interest in your brand’s products or services. 

This process of creating and distributing valuable content to attract and engage potential customers can be an effective tool for building trust, establishing authority, and ultimately driving growth. In fact, 72% of marketers claim that having a solid content strategy is a major key to their success, and they’ve increased their content marketing budget to continue seeing growth.

If you already prioritize content marketing and aren’t seeing the desired results, you may want to consider running a content analysis to see how you can optimize your material. While improving your content is always a plus, you also want to make sure you revise or delete anything that’s outdated or incorrect. It might be harming your ranking and your authority.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a type of digital advertising where businesses pay for each click on an advertisement. If you haven’t run this type of campaign as a marketer, you’ve definitely seen them as a consumer. Whether scrolling through Facebook or Google, PPC ads line the pages promoting specifically catered products and services.

PPC advertising can be a powerful tool for reaching new customers and driving growth. The visits generated from these ads often bring in more revenue than what the click costs, and the searcher is usually already committed to buying when they click. PPC ads can help grow a customer base because they are specifically targeted. Additionally, PPC advertising is often one of the quickest methods to grow your audience. While SEO is a marathon, PPC advertising is a sprint that offers a quick return on investment. 

Email Marketing

Email marketing allows businesses to promote products or services through email campaigns. It can be an effective tool for driving conversions, but what’s especially noteworthy with this approach is the cost benefit. Email is an owned media, which requires less initial spending than traditional advertising. Studies show for every dollar spent on email marketing, businesses see about $36 in return. That number even increases for retail and e-commerce companies.

This tactic is also beneficial because it allows you to send messages directly to consumers, and it can be personalized for returning customers. As personalization is becoming more important across industries, email marketing has proven especially beneficial. You can thank customers for their purchases, provide product recommendations, and provide rewards for special occasions or even referrals. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing, as its name suggests, uses social media platforms to promote products or services. It can be an effective tool for building brand awareness, engaging with customers, and driving growth. Statistica reports, “As of 2022, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 147 minutes per day, which is up from 145 minutes in the previous year.” And it’s a trend that has continued to increase over the past 10 years.

If marketers should learn anything from social media usage trends, it’s that they need to have a social media presence. And it’s important to choose the right platform for your product or service. If you’re selling a retirement planning service, your main audience isn’t going to be on TikTok. But if you’re selling beauty supplies, clothes, tech, or food, TikTok might be the ticket. Platform popularity varies based on demographics, so it’s crucial to understand your audience.

Influencer Marketing

While it’s important for your brand to have its own presence on social media, partnering with an influencer allows your business to leverage their connections to expand your audience. The media elite prioritize building relationships with certain demographics, so strategically partnering with them can increase awareness and even boost sales.

Studies have found that 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations when they’re looking to buy a product. Even when consumers aren’t shopping, influencers have an effect. In fact, the same research suggests 40% of consumers have purchased something just after seeing it on social media. Some studies suggest influencer recommendations are more effective than friend referrals. It shows how authoritative influencers have become, which is why this marketing tactic is becoming more mainstream.

Digital Marketing is an Essential Tool

From SEO to social media marketing, there are a variety of tactics that you can use to reach new customers and drive growth. It's important to remember that a single tactic may not necessarily drive growth on its own. You’ll need to use a combination of different tools and strategies to meet your goals. 

It’s also important to make sure you measure and analyze your digital marketing efforts. Make use of the available analytics tools and software to track the performance of your website, campaigns, and social media channels. This will help you understand what’s working and what isn’t. Then you can adjust your strategy accordingly. This will also give you valuable insights on your target audience, helping you develop more effective campaigns for the future.

At some point, every business experiences a period of stalled growth, and it’s likely that more businesses will experience a slow down in our uncertain economic times. A stall may be caused by any number of reasons. There may be an oversaturation of the market, a lack of innovation, or an inability to reach new customers. But it doesn’t have to be permanent!

There are several tactics that you can use to jump-start your organization’s growth and get things moving again. Below is a list of strategies you might want to consider.

1. Market Segmentation

Market segmentation is the process of dividing your customer base into specific groups based on shared characteristics. For example, the fast-food chain Subway segments its market by offering different menu items for different geographic regions. In the United States, most typical sandwiches include ingredients like ham or turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a condiment like mayo or mustard. In India, however, corn and pea salad is a popular topping, and in Japan, shrimp and broccoli is a typical sub option.

These ingredient modifications help the chain appeal to a broader audience and grow its business. If your business operates in different regions, you may be able to offer individualized products for each area. However, you should also consider how you can personalize the customer experience based on a range of other factors. 

These segments may be based on demographic, geographic, or behavioral traits. By segmenting your audience, you can target your marketing efforts more effectively, reach new customers, and increase conversions. Some studies suggest this tactic can increase revenue by as much as 760%.

2. Product Development

Innovation and product development are essential for driving growth in any business. Selling the same product for decades just isn’t going to work. As the world evolves, so do customers’ expectations. By regularly introducing new products or improving existing ones, you can stay ahead of your competition and attract new customers. It’s also worth noting that Improved performance also lets you increase your profit by charging higher prices for a superior product.

Apple is a company known for its focus on product development. In fact, their product development process has a valuation that exceeds $2 trillion. (That’s twelve zeroes!) This success is largely because every time a new product is launched — whether that’s the latest Iphone, airpods, or MacBook — their new features quickly become standard and even a status symbol.

Constantly introducing new products drives much of Apple's growth, and it could be an approach that helps refresh your business too. Take some time to think about how you can improve the products or services you offer. Making it “new and improved” can help you catch your customers’ attention. 

3. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable content to attract and engage potential customers. This can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and more. By providing useful information to potential customers, you can build trust and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.

Studies show businesses that use content marketing can see conversion rates increase by as much as six times. HubSpot is a great example of a company known for its inbound marketing and content marketing. They use a variety of content types to educate and engage their audience, which helps to drive growth in their software business.

If your business’s content could use a boost, think about how you can provide value to your audience. Ask yourself what they might want to know and what information would benefit them. For example, if you’re a digital marketing agency, it would make sense to provide your audience with content explaining how to jump start their business’s stalled growth. (Get it?!)

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is extremely popular today, especially since most of your audience is spending time on their phone. This marketing method utilizes social media platforms to promote your products or services, and it works because you’re meeting your audience where they are. By building a presence on social media, you can reach new customers, engage with existing ones, and drive conversions.

While we often hear more about social media blunders than successes, there are thousands of companies using social media effectively. Sony’s Playstation, with over 29 million Twitter followers, is just one example. They continuously post a mix of content, including new game trailers, gaming footage, and streaming events, to keep fans engaged.

Consequently, their company and products benefit from their popularity. If you need to update your social media approach, make sure you keep your audience in mind and use your brand’s voice. Being genuine will often help you earn trust and boost your following.

5. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of your website in search engine results pages. Optimizing your website for search engines can have vast benefits. You can drive more traffic to your site, reach new customers, and ultimately drive growth for your business.

As a result of improving their SEO strategy, the telehealth platform Nurx saw search query clicks increase by 833% and organic traffic increased by 217%. By evaluating popular content and search terms, the company was able to optimize their current content and strategically create new blogs and on-site guides.

If your business isn’t already working on SEO optimization to improve awareness and ranking, start as soon as possible. But remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. SEO strategies take time, but they’re worth it in the long run.

6. Networking

Networking is the process of building relationships with other businesses and individuals in your industry. This could be in-person or online. However, attending conferences, I’ve personally found that in-person networking events are especially valuable because you’re able to build stronger, more meaningful business relationships.

You never know when you might be able to foster a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of relationship, which can immensely benefit your business. By building a strong network, you can reach new customers, gain helpful insights, and boost business growth.

Networking is also a way for sales and marketing teams to benefit from in-person marketing and build a referral pipeline. In some situations, having strong relationships can even increase revenue. You never know when a friend of a friend can refer a client or promote your product.  Knowing the right people and fostering genuine connections is essential, so make sure you’re putting yourself out there — especially if you’re experiencing a lull! 

Remember Business Growth Takes Patience

Sustaining a business is challenging, and failure is normal. In fact, according to Investopedia, “20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during their first 10. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.” 

Those who succeed figure out how to drive business growth. By implementing effective tactics, you can jump-start your business's growth and get things moving again before you contribute to another statistic.

The tactics above are just a starting point, and not all approaches will work for every business. However, starting someone is better than not trying at all. You should continuously experiment with new strategies to find what works best for you. Once you find a strategy that is driving business growth, keep going. Success comes from hard work, time, and patience. 

If you want to take your business to the next level, growth marketing is an essential strategy worth consideration. Growth marketing is a data-driven approach that focuses on acquiring and retaining customers through experimentation and continuous optimization. 

In this article, we'll discuss several growth marketing ideas that you can use to boost your business along with examples of companies that have successfully implemented these strategies.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engine results pages like Google’s. This is accomplished through techniques such as keyword research, meta tags, and link building. SEO is an extremely powerful way to drive traffic to your website and grow your business. While this is a long-term strategy that requires a lot of effort and dedication, the payoff can be significant. 

In 2023 every business needs a website, and SEO is the way to get it in front of the right people. Improving your website's ranking in search engine results pages can increase visibility, drive more traffic, and ultimately grow your business. There are a variety of businesses that really benefit from SEO, but to see who’s really coming out on top, just take a look at who’s sitting in Google’s number one spot. 

Onsite Content

An SEO strategy is essential for modern businesses, but it’s not really worth much without quality onsite content. Audiences can’t search for content that doesn’t exist, so without it, you’re practically invisible online. Put simply, your content signals to search engines and your audience that you know what you’re talking about. When prioritizing onsite content, you want to make sure your business’s website has relevant material. Types of content may include blogs, infographics, and/or videos, but you have to choose what’s best for your business. 

Leveraging your online content allows your business to showcase your expertise, which can help you earn your audience’s trust and gently move them through your sales funnel. Canva is a popular design tool, and they are killing it when it comes to onsite content. They offer users thousands of design tutorials through their design school. It teaches people how to use their product while also showcasing  the features their service has to offer.

Digital PR

Digital PR is a powerful tool to help businesses build their online reputation and brand authority. With time, it can help you become a reputable industry leader. When done successfully, a digital PR campaign will result in brand mentions and backlinks from sites with quality domains, which increases a brand’s authority both in the eyes of search engines and human readers.

Any current industry leader is most likely benefiting from digital PR. Think about businesses positively mentioned on sites like The New York Times, Forbes, or Entrepreneur. Once those mentions are obtained, it heightens a company’s level of authority. So much so, it’s common practice to see “as featured in” sections on their website. Those sections speak to a level of authority and convince your audience by providing social proof. Strengthening the relationship your business has with the public is important, and digital PR does just that.

Influencer Marketing

Almost everyone is familiar with who influencers are and how they contribute to the marketing space. But to define for those who don’t know, influencer marketing describes a partnership with individuals who have a large social media presence to promote their products or services. Partnering with these individuals can be an effective way to reach a large and engaged audience that is likely to be interested in your products.

With this marketing strategy, you’re able to leverage influencer connections to promote your business. An example of a company that has had great success partnering with influencers is Fashion Nova. They’ve partnered with celebrities like Cardi B and Amber Rose to promote their brand on Instagram. The company made a million dollars on the first day that Cardi B’s line dropped — and that’s largely due to her dedicated fan base. 

Referral Marketing

Referral marketing encourages existing customers to refer their friends and family to your business. To incentivise these referrals, companies often offer rewards and additional perks to these existing customers. This can be an effective way to acquire new customers at a lower cost than traditional marketing methods.

Dropbox is a great example of a company who benefited from referral marketing. They grew their user base by offering more storage space to users who refer their friends to the service. Their company grew 3900% (not a typo!) in just 15 months. That’s wild, but it speaks to how capitalizing on your customer’s connections can really benefit your business.

Mobile Optimization

Optimizing your website, products, and services for use on mobile devices is crucial if you want to grow your business. According to Think with Google, “Almost half (46%) of consumers prefer to use their smartphone to complete the entire process from researching to buying.” This means that having a mobile-friendly website and making sure your products and services are easily accessible on smartphones is crucial to reach customers. Through optimization, you can increase visibility, drive more traffic, and ultimately grow your business.

Personalization

Personalization has become more and more important over the years as audiences expect to be treated as individuals rather than statistics — and rightfully so. However, it can make some marketing efforts more difficult. Personalization as a marketing strategy tailors messages and experiences to individual users based on their behavior and preferences. This can be a powerful way to increase customer engagement and retention.

Netflix is known for its personalized recommendations, which have been successful in keeping users engaged with the platform. According to the company, over 75% of the content that users watch on Netflix comes from its recommendation system. This highlights how effective personalization can be, especially as it keeps users engaged.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is the process of testing two or more variations of a marketing campaign, website, or product feature to see which performs better. This allows you to make data-driven decisions about which changes will have the biggest impact on your business.

If you’re familiar with the meal kit delivery service HelloFresh, they provide a nice example of A/B testing with their menu display update. When they redesigned their menu to create a seamless user experience while also promoting upselling opportunities, they compared their original design to the update. They found the final version contributed to a 7% increase in upselling, proving the second variation performed better.

Remarketing

Remarketing is a strategy in which advertisements are targeted to users who have previously interacted with your business. This can be a powerful way to increase sales and customer retention. Studies show that retargeting can increase conversion rates by as much as 150%. It also helps re-engage the 98% of visitors who leave a website without making a purchase.

Amazon's retargeting ads, which show products that a user previously viewed on the website, have been very effective in driving sales. Just think about how your social media pages look after you’ve been scrolling on their product page. Those great finds sitting in your cart almost immediately end up on your newsfeed. If you’re not remarketing already, it’s an idea worth considering.

Deciding What Strategies Are Right For Your Business

It's important to note that a single method may not necessarily drive the growth of your business. It is important to use a combination of multiple strategies and methods to achieve the best results possible. But you may also find some strategies aren’t worth the resources they will cost your company.

Growth marketing will look different for every business because not all approaches will help you reach particular goals. Continuously testing and refining your approach can help you identify what works best for your unique audience. The above-discussed growth marketing ideas are just a starting point, and you should continuously experiment with new strategies to find what works best for your business.

As a marketer, you are always looking for ways to grow your business and achieve your growth marketing goals — or at least you should be. You’re likely already familiar with the content conversion funnel, but if not, there are multiple steps along the process you may be focusing on strengthening. In its most basic form the funnel has three main components.

At the top of the marketing funnel, you should prioritize attracting high-quality traffic. This is really where you build awareness. Within the middle of the funnel is where you want to build trust. Your audience will evaluate you and your product or service. The bottom of the funnel is where mutual value is created and your audience will make a purchase or follow through with another call to action. Some approaches add additional steps prioritizing retention or referral, which we agree is extremely important.

It’s important to consider whether you’d like to focus on top of the funnel organic traffic or bottom of the funnel converting traffic to drive growth. You need to decide which approach would work best based on your organization. Occasionally, this varies depending on industry. It will also vary based on your established growth marketing goals.

Should You Prioritize the Top or Bottom of the Funnel?

To help you make this decision, it's important to understand the differences between top of funnel and bottom of funnel traffic and how each can impact your growth marketing goals.

Top of funnel traffic refers to the early stage in the customer journey. This stage is where potential customers are starting to become aware of your brand and are considering engaging with you. This traffic is typically generated through awareness campaigns, such as content marketing and social media.

Bottom of funnel traffic refers to the later stage in the customer journey. Here, potential customers are actively considering making a purchase or taking some other desired action. This traffic is typically generated through conversion campaigns, such as email marketing, retargeting, and paid search ads.

For both, SEO and content can play a role in helping you show up for important terms in either top or bottom of the funnel. You just need to decide which to focus on first.

So, How Do You Decide? 

In all honesty, this decision about what to prioritize varies across industries, and your overall marking approach is a big factor as well. Here are a few factors to consider:

Your business goals and objectives:

When making any strategy decisions, you need to ask yourself what you're trying to achieve with your marketing efforts. If your goal is to drive brand awareness and reach a larger audience, focusing on TOF traffic may be the way to go. This is a common top priority for new businesses that need to get their name out there. 

Keep in mind TOF traffic is typically gained by targeting search terms that are broad with high search volumes. When you start ranking well for those terms you’ll see your site’s traffic go up, which means more potential for leads. If you don’t have strong conversion paths set up, this may not do you much good, though.

Say your goal is to drive sales or conversions, then BOF traffic may be more appropriate. If you’re in the fourth sales quarter and numbers are down, prioritizing conversions would probably be the best use of your time. Focusing on customers who already know and trust your company can be an easy way to boost sales, but it’s important to retain a personalized connection with your customer base to successfully utilize this approach. 

And opposite of TOF, BOF traffic is typically lower search volumes, but more quality searchers. You may not see that satisfying spike in traffic, but will ideally see an increase in conversions if you have strong paths and CTAs.

Your target audience: 

Second, ask yourself who you are trying to reach with your marketing efforts. Understanding your target audience’s needs, wants, and behaviors can help you determine the most effective way to engage with them. 

If your target audience is primarily made up of first-time buyers or those who are unfamiliar with your brand, focusing on TOF traffic may be the best approach. A witty social media campaign or partnering with a fun influencer can get your business in front of new eyes. 

If your target audience is made up of repeat customers or those who are already familiar with your brand, BOF traffic could be more effective. This could look like sending out a personalized email marketing campaign to previous customers. You might even send them a promo code or coupon to thank them for their previous purchases and encourage a repeat sale.

Your marketing budget: 

How much money do you have to allocate toward your marketing efforts? TOF traffic tends to be more expensive than BOF traffic, as it requires a longer-term investment in content creation and SEO strategy. 

BOF traffic, on the other hand, can be less expensive because you know your audience and how to reach them. It also allows for a more immediate approach, like email marking discussed early. An additional benefit that comes with this approach is that email is an owned media, so you’ll be using resources like time and energy rather than chipping away at your budget.

Your marketing resources:

Before making too many plans, it’s important to take inventory. Do you have the time, talent, and resources needed in order to execute a TOF or BOF marketing strategy? If you have a small team or limited resources, it may be more feasible to focus on only one side of the marketing funnel. This may mean creating quality content that doesn’t need much follow through. Or instead, you really prioritize making past customers feel special.

On the other hand, if you have a larger team and more resources at your disposal, then you’ll probably be able to focus on both TOF and BOF traffic. And to be honest, combining both strategies at the same time yields additional benefits. However, you have to determine if it’s worth the cost for your business. Not all organizations can prioritize both, and in some cases stretching yourself too thin can cause more harm than good. Marketing requires balance.

In the End, It’s Up to You

Using both approaches can be particularly effective to help grow your business. However, not all budgets or team configurations allow for that approach. Focusing on TOF traffic helps build your brand and reach a wider audience, while BOF tactics convert those potential customers into paying customers. 

These strategies can help you drive both awareness and conversions, leading to sustainable growth for your business. However, the ultimate decision of whether to focus on TOF or BOF is up to you. If you're really unsure, it may be time to consider a growth marketing agency. By considering these factors, you can determine the best approach for achieving your growth marketing goals.

Determining which digital marketing channel or tactic will actually reach a potential customer and help spark exponential growth can be confusing and stressful. In the face of this challenge, many startup businesses looking to score some quick growth struggle to appreciate the difference between the phrases "growth marketing" and "growth hacking" as they launch.

So how do we properly distinguish between emphasizing growth marketing vs. growth hacking?

Working Definitions

Growth Marketing

The practice of growth marketing takes the traditional marketing model and adds new layers, such as a data-driven technical analysis of all aspects of the customer experience. Marketers move quickly to implement the insights gained from this user experience strategy to achieve sustainable growth.

But your growth marketing effort scarcely ends there. Unlike traditional marketing, growth marketing goes beyond the top of the marketing funnel.

The Driving Forces Behind Growth Marketing

The primary role of growth marketing is to create value rather than extract value from your existing customers. Growth marketing uses a systemic process that builds on adaptable development principles and prioritizes tactics based on their perceived long-term impact.

Growth marketing is a long-term strategy focused on fostering business growth. Its emphasis is on building relationships and loyalty to reinforce brand awareness and also acquire new customers. This growth strategy adds consistent value by attracting users and engaging with them, often while they are out on a product hunt.

Once implemented, you can then focus on retaining customers. Growth marketing, done right, can even turn customers into advocates for your brand. In short, they become cheerleaders, part of your growth tribe. This particular marketing tactic is tough to beat!

Anyone serving on your company's growth team probably knows that it's become increasingly important to have a creative, results-driven, and compelling marketing strategy targeted to the new customer.

Your growth marketing strategy can serve as a new, robust approach to building a loyal customer base. It will prove invaluable as you engineer the desired customer journey and create or edit various aspects of your growth hacking funnel.

Growth Hacking

While we often use the terms growth marketing and growth hacking interchangeably, these techniques have subtle differences.

Growth hacking focuses on creative, often low-cost strategies to help companies quickly acquire new customers. This concept utilizes a cross-functional approach that integrates marketing and technical product development skills.

Marketers use growth hacking to facilitate rapid growth through the use of qualitative and quantitative data, as well as experimentation. They use qualitative and quantitative data to gain insights into user behavior and preferences. This strategy also utilizes an accelerated testing process and specific standards to evaluate and act on the results.

The most fundamental difference between growth hacking and growth marketing lies in their opposing views on brands.

The other critical difference is the specific type of growth. Both rapid and sustainable growth would be ideal, but companies often feel pressured to pick one or the other for their focus.

How the Right Combination Will Work in Tandem

An effective growth marketing process turns the best attributes of growth hacking into a sustainable practice based on solid principles.

Growth marketing emphasizes the importance of understanding people, competition, and the business as it exists in the real world. Growth marketers know that the best marketing tactics result from knowing the ideal customers for each company.

Although there are stark differences, there are also some obvious similarities between growth marketing and growth hacking. Both approaches rely on an adaptable growth model, encouraging experimentation, data-informed decision-making, and constant improvement. Growth hacking and growth marketing rely on access to qualitative and quantitative data to drive revenue growth and customer acquisition.

How Do I Decide?

Deciding which growth strategy will be the most beneficial for your business may seem complicated, but it all boils down to your goals.

If you need more sustainable growth, growth marketing is the better option because it can keep giving for years and years if done well.

Even though they share the same goal, both techniques pursue different growth methods and complement each other. Businesses are buzzing about these concepts because everyone is seeking rapid yet sustained growth that strives to improve revenues. When you analyze and define the specific roles of growth marketing vs. growth hacking, it's clear that they both have value.

Is there anything more disappointing than stumbling upon a treasure map that ultimately leads to...nothing of any real value? And yet, businesses that over-emphasize the use of advanced search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to the detriment of their content strategy run the risk of doing just that.

On the other hand, companies that stress content strategy without bolstering their technical SEO efforts make the opposite marketing mistake; they are, in effect, burying marketing "treasure" (i.e. great content) in the vast sands of the internet wasteland without bothering to create a keyword map.

For search engine success, make sure you do not treat SEO and content strategy as two distinct and separate marketing disciplines. While it's certainly possible to do so, it's not a winning SEO content marketing strategy for building long-term customer engagement.

Your SEO strategy should inform your content strategy. Similarly, your onsite content strategy should be tailored to your keyword research. Consequently, great content targeted to specific keywords and arranged in a topic cluster can help your brand rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).

We was like peas and carrots.

SEO and content strategy tactics can helpfully be compared to a keyword treasure map that leads to buried marketing treasure. SEO and content strategy go together like peas and carrots. Peanut butter and jelly. Pick whatever metaphor works for you; the point is that you'll need both to succeed.

As you look to begin content marketing or raise the profile of your existing enterprise, keep the following critical SEO content practices in mind. Refer to them often as you strategize, hire, acquire, reboot, conduct your keyword research, and reconfigure your content plan.

1. Zero In on Your Target Audience

The old axiom certainly proves true in the world of content strategy. "If you aim at nothing in particular, you're sure to hit it."

When engaging in online marketing, you absolutely must know who you are trying to reach. If you attempt to reach everyone with your existing content, you are increasingly unlikely to use the right keyword strategy or engage with anyone.

Do your keyword homework. The time you spend on your SEO content strategy will pay dividends later on.

Build a handful of buyer personas to guide the efforts of your writers, website developers, and marketers as they optimize your SEO strategy to hit your keyword sweet spots.

2. Pick Topics Based on Your Expertise

Avoid the SEO content strategy mistake of trying to appeal to everyone with a wide array of marketing information.

If you're like most companies, your business operates in a specific niche. As a result, you will want your SEO content strategy to remain solidly in your lane. Start asking others if you struggle to identify what makes your business special. As part of your content strategy, pay particular attention to the inquiries that routinely come your way via social media or other channels.

Many business owners are tempted to hold back a bit at this stage in the SEO content strategy. The operational (though faulty) logic is to reserve your best bits for paying customers.

However, living in a world where people consult a Google search result to answer everyday issues, this is a shortsighted content strategy. According to the Content Marketing Institute, it's been clearly shown that companies who consistently put out reliable content marketing information without paywalls tend to build up social media followers and, ultimately, customers.

3. Choose Your Keywords Carefully

Keyword research is the "secret sauce" that separates a successful content marketing strategy from one that's solidly mediocre. This is the second step at which taking the time to conduct research will be most helpful. If your content strategy focuses on a keyword that's too broad, larger corporations are likely going to bury your content marketing efforts.

Long tail keywords can be key to a winning strategy as you seek to reach a specific target audience. A long tail relevant keyword typically consists of three to five words. This keyword strategy helps your content marketing cut through the noise and yield targeted search results more likely to result in a conversion. At the end of the day you want to be targeting the keywords that your audience is searching.

4. Create Content To Build Topical Authority

Now that you are clear on your target audience, areas of expertise, and marketing keyword, you're ready to begin producing new content.

Every decision of your content strategist should be driven by the audience research you conducted in Step One. Your content marketing needs to show up wherever your people already are, not where you expect them to travel. 

Stick with what you know best and create the content that your brand should be known for. You'll struggle to rank for your target keywords if you don't have a strong web of content on your site around your key topics.

In addition, your content strategy should be tightly bound up with search intent. Are people looking to purchase when searching your target keyword? Or are they looking to get information and education on a subject? In other words, focus your content on what your users need when searching that keyword. If you are trying to rank a product page when people are looking for educational guides when searching that keyword, you likely won't see the progress you're hoping for.

5. Link, Interlink, and Backlink

If you've published high quality content, especially content that solves problems, you can reasonably expect other people to begin linking to your site. Good content is its own advertisement, though initially you might want to augment your visibility with Google Ads or some other paid content marketer service. Backlinks suggest to search engines that you are a leader in your field. This, in turn, will help boost your domain authority and your rank on a Google SERP.

You will want to interlink these pieces within your website as you produce value-laden how-to guides, white papers, instructional videos, and more. Then you can start link outreach efforts and see if you can get other authoritative sites to link back to your content. You may even start ranking for your target keywords with your rankable content. The point is that relevant keyword linking practices is a strategy that will pay off in the long run.

6. Commit to Ongoing Improvement

Search engines are constantly crawling the internet and updating their SERPs according to the latest data they can collect. As a result, a keyword that worked great as part of your content strategy just two weeks ago may already be starting to slip a bit. This is where your SEO audit comes into play.

Make sure you consistently monitor your Google Analytics and social media platforms. Similarly, collect empirical marketing data ahead of your decision-making. Dive into what is working and what isn’t for your content marketing by looking at what content is driving traffic in Google Search Console or some other SEO tool that suits your needs. You might even share your search engine data with an SEO agency and have them provide additional marketing insights.

Analytics, search engines, marketing statistics, and spreadsheets might not be "your thing," and that's OK. However, you owe it to your company's future marketing success to ensure that someone you trust is combing through the piles of search engine data to identify current trends. In a time crunch, it might be tempting to leave outdated videos on your site or hold off on retooling a page with a high bounce rate. In those moments, remind yourself of your marketing strategy. Recall how you felt when you were led to information on the web that wasted your time.

Wrapping Up

Every business, large or small, thrives by providing valuable products and services at a competitive price point. Along the way, you refine and sharpen your niche-specific expertise. When that expertise fuels content ideas and you share it freely, you kindle potential customer gratitude. In today's world of eCommerce and SEO content, successful businesses are learning the value of reliability. Trust and appreciation are vital for gaining the attention of search engines and (ultimately) making sales.

Your content strategy will probably need a tune-up every so often. However, the time you invest in SEO content marketing is well worthwhile.

Regardless of your niche, there's almost certainly a way to leverage your knowledge and insights. You can create quality content that cuts through all the search engine clutter and results in SEO success. If you are struggling in the digital marketing space or need help balancing your content strategy or other SEO services, don't go it alone! Feel free to schedule a time to chat with one of our subject matter experts.

As any company experiences growth, there always comes that awkward time. Various responsibilities need to move from in-house to the hiring of outside experts. Though growth itself is a highly desirable outcome, it can be challenging to know when the time has come to let go of absolute control of anything. It’s no different when it comes to the subject of knowing when the time is right to hire a national SEO agency.

In days gone by, for example, your company might have gotten by admirably in-house. Perhaps you delegated the social media responsibilities to someone you did not hire for that specific purpose. As your niche market expanded, competition intensified. Before long, other companies that did not provide equal value to yours were capturing eyeballs and, ultimately, poaching customers.

Sure enough, it’s tough to let go of anything that started out as "your" baby. However, wisdom is to be found by watching for the signs that change is needed. As your market expands, a national SEO agency can help you navigate unfamiliar terrain.

While market pressures vary by industry and location, there are specific vital indicators that anyone can use as a template. More and more consumers are migrating their shopping habits to the laptop or smartphone. As a result, it’s critical that your company not miss out.

Use the following “Top Ten List” as a measuring rod for gathering more data and determining when the time is right to engage with a national SEO agency.

Top Ten Signs You May Need to Invest in a National SEO Agency

1. You don’t have a content marketing strategy.

If you don’t yet have a content marketing plan — or aren’t sure what that even means — don’t spend a lot of time beating yourself up over it.

Many, many thriving businesses were caught off-guard by the dizzying speed with which online marketing has developed. Today, any number of otherwise-successful entrepreneurs are still underestimating the value of a clear, cohesive content marketing plan that encapsulates every single customer touchpoint.

You’re an expert at what you do. However, that expertise may not extend to content marketing, and that too is OK. Keep doing what you do best.

The main takeaway here is to realize that almost every business, regardless of niche, needs a content marketing plan. In our increasingly online world, not having one is running the risk of being buried by your competitors as you expand. Working with a national SEO agency can help you uncover opportunities you might miss otherwise.

2. You’re not showing up in SERPs, not even at the local level.

Search engine results pages, or SERPs, are the de facto marketplace of the 21st century. Whether we like it or not, the simple fact is that an ever-increasing number of consumers are using their smartphones to scan for possibilities before they make a commitment of time, treasure, or talent. Businesses that ignore this reality or delay any sort of content marketing plan simply aren’t likely to thrive long-term.

For example, let’s say you operate a woodworking supply store in Peoria. Think of your city as the bullseye on a target. You might be doing OK if a potential customer in Western Australia doesn’t find your business. Still, you should be concerned if enthusiasts in central Illinois type in the search string “woodworking supplies” but miss your business altogether.

As your sphere of influence radiates outward, you’ll most likely need a national SEO agency. They can help you start showing up in online searches conducted in central Illinois, the entire Midwest, the continental U.S., and beyond.

3. Marketing costs have gotten out of hand.

The old adage went something like this: “Advertising doesn’t cost…it pays.” But maybe you’ve noticed that you’re not so sure that’s true anymore. You can look at your numbers at the end of every month and see clearly that you’ve been spending more and getting less in return.

If your ROI seems to be decreasing over time, it may be that your messages simply aren’t being seen. The simple fact is that audiences are skipping from one media outlet to the next with a flick of their thumb. This phenomenon can prove highly frustrating for companies trying to get their voice heard above the din. It’s especially true when expanding to the national level.

The good news is that this new openness in the media landscape is a lot less pricey than many traditional outlets. Your company might do better spending hundreds for an online placement than thousands for a billboard on the interstate. The key is to “spend wiser,” not spend more. A national SEO agency can help coach you as you shift your marketing budget around.

4. People who want to find you…can’t.

Panic is never a good thing, of course. However, suppose you are out to dinner with friends, and they struggle to find your website or social media channels even as you are sitting across the table from them. In that case, it’s probably time to drop back and seriously reconsider how things are going with your online marketing strategy.

Pay attention when prospective customers struggle to find you online or complete a transaction. Statistics such as website bounce rates or abandoned carts can help pinpoint exactly where you are losing someone. However, you should balance those statistics against anecdotal evidence you and your team gather day by day, week after week.

The temptation, of course, is to dismiss observations and complaints as “user error,” but this is unwise. More likely, it simply means your SEO needs tweaking…or maybe a complete overhaul. What has always worked well may fall flat as you expand into new markets. You may need to work with a national SEO agency as you strive to avoid these common pitfalls.

5. Your website analytics have plateaued…or nosedived.

If you’re interested in growing your business, you should take special note of overall website traffic trends. Reaching a plateau is only acceptable if you are hiking a mountain and need to take a breather. Similarly, a sharp decline in traffic is a serious indicator that something, somewhere, may have gone wrong.

Again, your primary expertise may not be reading website analytics. You want to focus on providing the best product or service at a competitive price. That’s what you should be doing. However, someone needs to be paying attention and drawing meaningful conclusions from your data. If that’s not you, then it might be time to outsource this vital task.

6. Social media efforts aren’t providing the bang you expected.

Perhaps the only reason you opened a social media account was to broadcast information about your business to the waiting world. The reality is that social media should be viewed as primarily a social endeavor. The vast majority of people don’t use social media as a substitute for reading ads. They use social media to interact.

Increasingly, companies are hiring social media specialists. These people are skilled at responding to user posts and elevating the reputation of their company as they do so.

However, many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are stuck. They're in that space where they are too big to not have social media but too small to hire full-time staff to handle these messaging channels. Rather than act as a logjam, this situation could be a prime indicator that it’s time to bring in outside help. A national SEO agency fully understands this dynamic and can help you leverage it to your advantage.

7. Your online position does not match your level of expertise.

Have you ever listened to someone speaking directly to your niche and thought to yourself, “This person clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about?”

Of course you have. Who hasn’t?

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and pretty much every other platform have given anyone with an internet connection the ability to speak with impressive-sounding authority. The trick these days is to find one’s way through all the noise and static. It's easy to miss voices that ring true with both authenticity and measurable results.

The savvy experts these days are focusing more on helping others solve problems than making sales. They’ve realized that garnering trust will, in relatively short order, translate into a healthier bottom line. Your company might be the best in its niche. However, if your voice is getting shouted down online by pretenders, you'll need help. This is a strong indicator that it’s time to partner with a national SEO agency.

8. Your business struggles to form meaningful partnerships.

Trust-building takes place at both the micro level and the macro level. The micro level consists mainly of individual interactions. These include not only how customers interact with you or your employees but also what they say about you to friends and family.

It’s vital to understand that you simply cannot build long-lasting trust at the macro level if the micro-level foundation is unstable. When your business scores win after win at the individual level, you are far more likely to garner the attention of reputable business partners and investors.

Perhaps you enjoy a solid local reputation but find it tough to get investors and other strategic partners interested. This might be an indicator that “something not good” is happening online. A skilled national SEO agency will be quick to suss out why potential opportunities keep eluding your company.

9. Competitors are dragging down your online reputation.

For years, the successful restaurant chain Wendy’s has been doing a terrific job at using its social media accounts to take potshots at the competition. They’ve done this by using a successful mixture of good-natured humor, well-known facts, and their unique brand messaging to land bullseye after bullseye. The messages are amusing and fun to read, even if you don't happen to like hamburgers.

And therein lies the key to a successful online marketing campaign. Boosting your SEO might be a matter of taking yourself less seriously…or it might not. There are literally thousands of variables that might come into play. Working with a national SEO agency can help you refine your message as you seek to broaden your appeal.

Because you are good at what you do, you shouldn’t feel obligated to become a Messaging Voice Expert. Lit up in an unguarded moment, you might even respond to online potshots in a manner that further degrades your online reputation or unintentionally validates the same critique you are seeking to answer. Frequently it’s tough to respond well, and this is why an outside agency might be able to provide critical distance and a higher-level perspective.

10. Your great local word-of-mouth is AWOL online.

This one is last for a reason. It’s the surest sign that you need a national SEO agency to help you translate your excellent local vibe into a broader online reality.

While an increasing number of people are slow to believe what they read online, that does not (yet) apply to everyone. A lot of damage can take place in a brief amount of time. If you’ve ever read a horrid review of a restaurant online only to have a close friend contradict it, you know exactly what this looks like. Online perceptions often don’t convey real-world reality.

Any reputable national SEO agency should be highly skilled at sniffing out unseen factors that might be affecting the quality of your online reputation. Agile, data-driven decision-making is the “secret sauce” that can help your business elevate both its reputation and its positioning on SERPs. Consumers these days have no shortage of options. However, a skilled national SEO agency can help you bring your product or service to the attention of the customers you are seeking.

It's oftentimes a freelance writer or professional marketer's biggest question about generating effective content: "What should I write?"

Do you struggle with content production? As you engage in content planning, do you find it difficult to identify topics to write about? Does your team toil over what type of website content or which content type will have the greatest impact on your target audience? Do you agonize over which content piece will attract your target audience? Do your marketing activities ever grind to a halt at this point?

You're certainly not alone.

Content writing can be challenging. Highly visual content and building a strong content calendar present their own unique challenges, too. This is true whether you're engaged in influencer marketing or building a B2B content marketing strategy. Producing engaging, effective content is the top challenge for most content marketers. More than one digital marketing strategy has stalled out at this critical juncture of the customer journey.

Regardless of the content format you select, this roadmap will help you navigate the path to achieve both engaging and effective content — and more importantly, a marketing roadmap will help you answer the question: "What should I write?"

An effective content marketing plan can help your company create consistently good content and write its own success story. Because we all know it doesn't feel good to spend a lot of time and effort writing effective content that nobody reads, or worse, that they do read and think was a waste of time.

Roadmap for Creating Engaging and Effective Content

Step 1: Start with business strategy and audience needs.

Cascade business strategy and context.

Without a set of defined business goals to achieve, your growth marketing strategy is flying blind. A marketing roadmap brings both vision and clarity to your content plan.

A successful content marketing strategy starts with the set of business goals you're out to accomplish — brand awareness, lead generation, sales, etc. These goals must cascade down from your overall business and department objectives to your written content and ultimately to your potential customers. OKRs — used by Google's search engine and Intel — can give you a simple framework to think about how your marketing roadmap strategy can cascade if your organization doesn't already have a formal process.

Even if you've been doing content marketing for years, go back to this step and really understand what your business goals are for your content marketing strategy. You may find that those goals and your current execution are not in alignment with a successful content marketing effort.

Don't gloss over this step.

Before any talk of content creation occurs, write out your business goals and make sure your entire content team is in alignment with them. Everyone needs to know what the finish line looks like for providing valuable content. Your marketing roadmap must make this clear.

Understand your audience's needs and preferences.

While you are developing your foundational understanding of a successful inbound marketing business strategy and context, you should also be doing some parallel research to identify your audience's needs and preferences, right down to the social media channels they tend to prefer.

Don't let the organization's product launch objectives interfere with how you approach this step. This can influence the results, creating an understanding of your company's ideal customers, instead of your real customers. Aim to understand your real audience and develop content that addresses their current need, not your company's "want."

There are many ways to do this research prior to developing your marketing campaign. Start your information-gathering initiative with the development of buyer personas. An effective content marketing strategy for your campaign should answer questions such as:

Get your hands on website analytics for recent posts and competitive intelligence. These will help you better understand what is engaging your audience on your website, the websites of your competitors, and on social media. Your marketing strategy roadmap should answer questions such as:

Step 2: Identify key metrics.

After you've defined your business goals and have an understanding of your audience, you must determine how your marketing roadmap will measure the progress of your strategy.

It is vital that you establish these metrics before launching the strategy. All too often, measurement is an afterthought, and marketers simply measure whatever is easily available — which usually takes the form of soft metrics like social media shares and page views — things that don't report well to the C-Suite.

Without establishing metrics that align with the overall goals of the strategy, marketers will have no idea if their marketing roadmap is succeeding or failing. The point of measurement is to determine the true trajectory of your marketing roadmap. You manifest what you measure.

Effective reporting begins with the basics.

Identify to whom you will be reporting these metrics. Just the product manager? Or do they report up to the C-Suite? The Board of Directors?

If you're not sure, you might check with human resources to make sure you're following established company protocol. Understanding to whom you're accountable will help target the metrics that will most effectively measure and communicate your content marketing success.

For example, a COO may value sales and revenue metrics over online marketing consumption metrics. Email marketing figures matter more to content creators than business administration types. Social media numbers matter to your brand awareness types. Adjust your metrics accordingly.

In order to have a true understanding of whether your content program is working, Jay Baer suggests that you "create an array of metrics that are selected from four primary buckets: consumption metrics, social media sharing metrics, lead generation metrics, sales metrics."

Which goals will show the success or failure of your strategy and give you insights into whether to adjust it? What metrics will give you the best pulse on your strategy?

Also, understand how you will get to these metrics. Google Analytics, social media statistics, and your company's CRM are great places to start.

New content intelligence tools are utilizing big data and predictive marketing to give you more insight into individual metrics by diving deep into your existing content and understanding what's resonating with your current audience. These insights not only help you create great content moving forward. They also help you optimize existing content you've already created.

With a solid foundation of business goals, audience understanding, and metrics, we can now begin the task of diving into the creative guts of your content marketing strategy.

Step 3: Develop content marketing editorial mission statement.

At the beginning of any marketing initiative, Joe Pulizzi suggests content marketers get clear on this key part of editorial planning, which can then serve as a guidepost for all content creation and social media campaigns. The mission statement answers the question, "Why do you exist?"

Pulizzi recommends answering three basic questions to create your initial mission statement:

  1. Who is your core target audience?
  2. What will be delivered to the audience?
  3. What is the desired outcome for the audience?

Because you have your business goals and understanding of your audience already in place, this section should come together rather quickly.

When creating your editorial mission statement, keep in mind your own differentiators you discovered from your competitive intelligence gathering. What unique attributes does your company bring to the market when solving your audience's problems?

Step 4: Create an editorial calendar.

Go back to your audience preferences and identify the content types/forms that will work best to address their needs. As you develop your marketing road map, ask yourself:

Do a gut check. Check that the types/forms of content you selected lend themselves to the metrics you identified in Step Two.

If not, you may need to establish better metrics to show success. This may be an evolution of an existing metric. For example, if you have video content, and one of your goals is sales instead of just "views," you can use links within the video descriptions to get people back to your site where they can buy your product.

Within your editorial calendar, you will also identify the appropriate promotion channels. Once content types/forms are selected, you'll have a better idea of what channels will work best to promote them.

Step 5: Adopt a data collection and reporting schedule.

It's important to discuss and agree on when and how you will report the progress of your marketing plan and content marketing efforts — not only to your team but to the relevant organizational leadership.

With the right metrics and marketing analytics, you should be able to quickly shift your roadmap strategies depending on their initial effectiveness. Keep an eye on the end goal, and if the strategy is veering off, correct it.

This is why constant monitoring and reporting is your best friend. It may help to have more frequent meetings with your content marketing team to have these discussions — the most effective teams meet daily or weekly, as reported by CMI .

Step 6: Write, edit, publish, and listen.

At this point, you should have amazing clarity around how to answer the question, "What should I write?" Not only that, but you should also be able to answer the question, "Why did you write that?"

So, do what you do best — write, edit, and publish effective content that will engage your audiences and deliver the business results your organization needs to be successful. To help make the creative process even smoother, the Content Marketing Institute offers 10 ways you can write like a pro.

Then, be sure to listen. (This is one place social media can become one of your best friends.)

Listen to how your audiences are responding to your marketing effort. Nurture the product roadmap connection you've established with them. Feedback what you hear into the understanding of your audience in Step One, and see how that new information trickles down the rest of the marketing roadmap. This will all help later on as you seek to build a marketing roadmap template with a proven track record.

Step 7: Establish a continuous feedback loop and make adjustments to your approach.

Anything in your digital content marketing strategy can change. Your marketing roadmap template is just that, a template that will require adjustment and course correction.

Executive leadership might launch a new strategy or invest in a different market, which would completely alter your content strategy. Your audience's needs and preferences might evolve over time or drastically shift overnight after a major event. Competitors could enter the marketplace or change their own content marketing strategy.

Commit to constantly monitoring Google Analytics, collecting your digital marketing metrics, and keeping a pulse on your audience via social media. That way, you'll be able to pivot as changes occur. You can then feed the new information back into the top of the content strategy. Revising your marketing roadmap template is a sign of progress, not failure.

This is a strong win-win tactic. By doing this quickly and effectively, you'll be able to create the content your new audiences need before your competition and gain a competitive edge. That competitive edge will make you a content strategy hero in your organization. Don't you want to be a hero?

Conclusion

Without the solid foundations of a digital content marketing strategy, any small business will struggle to come up with a great content idea and deliver engaging, quality content to its target audience.

Your content marketing strategy must open your sales funnel to increased traffic in a way that both helps audiences solve a problem and helps you achieve your business goals.

No matter where you are in your company's content marketing strategy, revisit your goals and understanding of your audience to see if they are still in alignment with where you are currently spending your time and resources. If they're not, it may be a sign that your digital marketing program needs to change — for the better. Much of what we call marketing management is merely tweaking an underperforming marketing tactic to deliver more consistent results.

What will you do to be a better content marketer today? How will you incorporate social media monitoring into your marketing plan? Do you need help building or modifying a content marketing roadmap to meet your company's marketing goal? If so, consider contacting a Relevance strategist today to help you build out your digital marketing roadmap.

Market share is one of the biggest indicators of business success. A larger market share can be used to measure the effectiveness of various revenue-generating efforts. These include marketing campaigns to product developments, expansion, innovation, branding initiatives, and so much more. All of these can be leveraged to increase market share.

In contrast to total retail sales, market share is simply the percentage of sales a company has in the overall market. For example, if a company's sales for the fourth quarter are $1 million and the industry's total sales for the same period are $200 million, their market share is .05%.

A high market share corresponds to profitability. In a study conducted by Harvard University called Profit Impact of Market Strategies (PIMS) project, business scholars identified 37 key profit influences, of which one of the most important is market share.

Market share can be the most reliable way of judging the effectiveness of your revenue generation plans. It can point out whether your marketing campaigns, branding initiatives, or CRM programs are progressing as planned or need any tweaking or a mid-course adjustment.

Market share is also a great way of measuring the success of your enterprise vis-à-vis your competition. Based on your share of the total business in a specific niche, you can measure the effectiveness of your strategies and their strategic execution over a given forecast period. These projections will later serve as valuable touchstones when considering any company's compound annual growth rate.

The Importance of Market Share

Yet, despite its apparent and critical importance, market share is not given the importance it deserves.

There are many companies that keep their focus fixated on factors such as brand awareness and loyalty, customer satisfaction, sale numbers, leads, and other internal metrics. This is, however, not a reliable way of judging your business performance or growth, especially if you are operating in a highly competitive field.

Internally focused metrics can often be deceiving because the findings might comfort you in terms of the internal performance of your enterprise. But when you stretch the comparison to include competitors' performance too, the same findings may reveal a current market share that is solidly below-par.

It goes without saying that a high market share puts a company at a competitive advantage. Because they are able to produce more and sell fast, they benefit from lower operational costs and speedy ROI.

If you're looking to scale your company and focus on profitability, you should really pay attention to increasing your market share. And here's how top companies do it.

1. Stay Relevant Through Innovation

Let's talk about Google, which currently holds a 90.8% market share in web, mobile, and in-app searches. (Yes, you read that right.) Talk about a large market share! You might be wondering, "How does Google manage to monopolize the market and can't have a real competitor?"

The strategy lies behind staying relevant through innovation. The company invested so much in making local searches so easy and fast for everybody. This in turn enabled them to operate at an insane level of 3.5 billion searches per day. They created additional platforms such as Google Trends and apps that make searching the easiest thing ever.

It doesn't matter what people are looking for, whether they're on the hunt for reputable retail stores that offer free shipping, companies that offer online cash advance, or clinics that could take online booking appointments. Everything they need is at the tip of their fingertips. Their strategy is that wherever users go, conducting a Google search is fast and easy.

Let Others Brag About Your Product or Service

It may sound bizarre, but really, the best people equipped to contribute to your product growth and make it popular are not the marketing agencies, consultants, or salespeople you've hired. Instead, they are the ones who actually purchased your product and thereby fueled demand. But being able to turn your customers into effective advocates for your brand requires great customer engagement strategies.

Take it from Zappos, a top-selling company when it comes to nifty shoes, clothing, accessories...and total sales. They own a 19.8% share of the global market, slightly ahead of Amazon (at 19%). More than its quality products, Zappos is known for its Customer Loyalty Team (CLT) which sincerely engages customers via phone, chat, and email. Obsessing over their customers, they offer unlimited call times (with no scripts), friendly, solution-oriented representatives, a 365-day return policy, free shipping, and returns...and absolutely no upselling.

2. Embrace Flexibility


After the turbulence of 2020-2021, one thing is clear. We can be at our most creative selves when we have a more flexible working schedule.

And for that reason, many companies have deviated from enforcing a 9-5 shift and adopted a more generous, carefree work environment for their employees. In today's tight labor market, more than giving them competitive salaries, helping your people achieve a life-work balance is essential to employee retention and growth.

Take it from these companies that value "fair" and "flexible" work environments. No wonder they have some of the best talents in the world. Not incidentally, these practices have contributed to the company's market share.

3. Practice Promotional Innovation


Mint, a financial tracking startup, proved that it's possible to stand out from the competition and achieve growth by adopting well-executed online marketing strategies.

Entering the saturated financial management industry is never easy, let alone dominating it. But by publishing hundreds of quality content, from informative blog posts to helpful infographics and viral videos, they found new customers and grew their business.

4. Develop a Unique Brand Position and Be Consistent

Increase Market Share

Copyright © Coca-Cola. All rights reserved.

We can all agree that Coca-Cola is one of the most known brands in the world. That red and white color has been known across the world for over 130 years. And that level of consistency, from their products to their marketing strategies, has made them stand out.

Coke has created lasting inroads both in both fast food and quick service restaurants, consistently garnering the lion's share of the fast food market size. Owning 48% of the beverage market share, Coca-Cola managed to produce numerous products under different names and brands.

However, all the while, their iconic can of Coke still remains untouched.

That can shows up in all of their advertising campaigns, and with good reason. This is true not only in the United States, but also in all of North America, Latin America, South America, Asia Pacific, and beyond. Their brand awareness shows up just about everywhere in the global fast food market. Coke did not become the market leader by changing its approach every few months.

5. Acquire a Competing Company

Mergers and acquisitions are commonplace among big companies these days. Perhaps the easiest way to increase your market share is to snap up your competitors.

However, if your business doesn't have the means to purchase another company, consider acquiring their salespeople. Sometimes, customer loyalty resides with the company's salespeople, not the brand. Another way that is not really acquisition (but has a similar effect) is to purchase a competitor's customer list if they are closing soon. This gives you an even bigger customer base and can rapidly increase your market size.

6. Market to Smaller Groups or a Niche

Increase Market Share

It may seem counterintuitive to target a small market when you are looking to increase your market share. But one thing many businesses don't know is this: "The money is in the niche."

When small markets are combined together, the revenue really starts to add up. Focusing on one product, one idea, and one group at a time helps you find real customers and thereby secure market growth.

You might think of Apple as a tech giant. Most of us would hardly be able to tell that it's a company that specializes. But actually, Apple iOS only accounted for 12.9% of the market in 2013 because most people are buying Android phones.

Bad news for Apple? Not really. That is because they make 56% of the total profits in that industry. Apple concentrated on the ideal customer, i.e. people who want the best quality phones. That means if you want the best smartphone, you buy Apple. Their marketing efforts helped them achieve an impressive amount of brand loyalty.

7. Planning an Increase in Market Share

Quite obviously, increasing the market share of a brand in particular or that of the organization, in general, will be one of the most important growth metrics any top management will be striving to achieve.

However, achieving a growth trajectory is not going to be an easy task. Ask any successful entrepreneur, and they will reveal that the process of reaching potential customers and increasing a companys market share is a long and never-ending one. It starts with a deep dive into market research and website analytics.

Fast growth is very nearly an oxymoron. Your growth rate is a function of consistently pleasing your existing customer base and leveraging those loyal customers to become de facto brand evangelists. Growing fast for market share alone is a shortsighted strategy. Instead, customer retention is one of the tried and tested ways of ensuring a larger share of the market for your business.

8. Engaging with Customers

When seeking to increase market share, you must make customer satisfaction and engagement a part of your core business practice.

It doesn't really matter what your product type might be. Increasing market share means communicating effectively with your target market. Engagement through your social media platform will not only help in maintaining the existing customers but can also attract new customers at a fair pace.

Use effective communication strategies and mediums to post customer service content through direct contact platforms such as social media and email. For example, during recent supply chain problems, the companies that moved quickly to communicate accurate information earned customer loyalty even as deliveries were delayed.

Encourage your current customers to respond by sharing or commenting as part of the online sales process. Use surveys smartly for feedback. User-generated content is one of the fastest ways to increase market size and let your loyal customer serve as a brand evangelist.

9. Use a Referral Program

Finding and acquiring new customers can be a time-consuming process. That's why referral programs are a key marketing strategy being used by many B2B businesses.

Even a small business can establish an effective referral program and roll it out as quickly as possible. Use that program to foster rapid growth, improve existing customer relationships, gain new leads and ensure greater conversion. Your market share will also increase in the process, slowly but steadily.

10. Spring Out with Something Special

A number of factors can impact the market share of an organization. Finding a need and filling that need or, in other words, leveraging product innovation to address a specific need of the market in a simple way can help create a distinctive position for your brand. How does your new product or service answer an unmet need? What makes you stand out against your direct competitors in a specific market?

A touch of exclusivity in everything you do (especially in your marketing campaign) can help attract audience attention and do wonders for your sales numbers. Make sure your sales team is able to articulate clearly to prospects what sets your company apart.

Your marketing team must work out of the box to create a distinct image for your brand and position it exceptionally. Then communicate your forte at every opportunity. This will make it easier to attract new customers and also keep the existing ones hooked.

The process of increasing your company's market share is a long and continuous one. By employing some of these tried and tested strategies of some of the most successful businesses in the world today, you can also scale your company, achieve a higher market share, boost total sales, and bring more profit to the table.

When it comes to content marketing, the majority of small businesses (and even large ones) start with creating a simple content marketing plan based on collecting long-tail keywords. The reason they do this comes from the belief that quality content costs a fortune and small businesses can't afford it. As a result, they frequently miss out on some content types that work well with customers in the small business niche.

As a result, many companies come up with the same strategy and a list of articles they'll use to pursue customers. Many still unwittingly adopt traditional marketing thinking to digital marketing. When it comes to online content marketing, they decide on posting frequency and often follow the rule "as often as you can." They randomly publish blog posts, post a few items to social media, and hope to gain some followers and perhaps a few more customers.

All I can say about this approach is — it's absolutely wrong.

Start off on the right foot.

To start with, conduct audience research before you begin your content creation efforts.

One of the most vivid examples of how content creation works is the life story of Marcus Sheridan. To put it in a nutshell, Sheridan owned a swimming pool company and was about to go bankrupt. Then, he decided to try content creation and inbound marketing as a last-hope effort to attract customers.

Instead of thoughtlessly collecting keywords, Sheridan started with research. He found out that the majority of his target audience wanted to know the cost of a fiberglass pool.

At that time, none of the competitor websites or social media channels provided a clear answer to this question. Sheridan wrote a detailed blog post on this topic, answering all of his potential customer concerns.

The result? Sheridan's article contained great content, and his Google Analytics went through the roof. The post was shared widely via social media and generated over $2 million in sales.

— The End —

Instead of publishing tons of fluffy content, small businesses should focus their marketing strategy on helping their users to solve their problems. This idea seems obvious, and yet only a fraction of small business owners follow this approach in their content strategy or social media efforts.

What are the content types for small businesses you can utilize to make this content strategy work for you?

Product Videos

"Seeing is believing," as the saying goes. If your small business sells physical goods, there is no better way to attract a new customer than to provide video content of your product in use.

Do you remember the "Will It Blend?" brand awareness series from Blendtec, a blender manufacturer? If not, here is one of their video marketing efforts.

As a result of the "Will it Blend?" content marketing campaign, customers went wild. Blendtec's sales went up by 700%.

The brand also received almost 900,000 subscribers on YouTube — no, I didn't enter a typo with that number — and was featured on The Wall Street Journal, The Tonight Show, The History Channel, and many more media outlets.

So everyone asks: "How much did that cost?"

How much did it cost Blendtec to produce these content ideas? The initial cost of the first video was about $100.

After that, Blendtec's content marketing all boiled down to the price of items they blended (a can of Coke in one case). So no, you don't need a pile of money to create entertaining videos for your small business digital marketing. And even if you do, that won't guarantee success.

Evian spent way more than $100 on its Evian Roller Babies commercial. It holds the official Guinness World Record for the most viral video ad of all time. But can we call it a success with customers? Not really.

The same year the Evian "Roller Babies" video went viral and attracted 50 million views, the brand lost market share and sales dropped 25 percent.

The problem was that the commercial had nothing to do with the product. Customers weren't able to associate what they see with the promoted product. For them, it was just a cute video with kids, nothing more.

Even if you are a service company, you can shoot a video explaining what your small business does and answer the most common questions from customers. At the very least, you can make an FAQ video series.

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Interviews

When thinking of interviews as part of a content marketing strategy, many small businesses believe that "it's too difficult and we can't afford it." Indeed, not every small business owner has connections with top influencer marketing types boasting billions of followers. This is especially the case when you're about to start a business.

The good news is you don't need to publish an interview with Elon Musk or Donald Trump on your social media channel. Being an expert isn't equal to being public and well-known.

Write down a list of people you believe to be experts in your local market. You're likely to see that the majority of them rarely give interviews, never show up in email campaigns, don't have their own Facebook group, do not dominate any given social media platform, and aren't published authors. (Well...some of them just don't want to).

So go ahead...give your existing social network a try and interview such an expert even if he/she isn't yet publicly renowned. Start small with a single Instagram story, maybe bolstered a bit with a modest Facebook ad or Google ad. It's a win-win situation when your small business publishes unique valuable content and your interviewee gets a chance to build personal brand awareness.

Educational "How-To" Content

The third content type small businesses should focus on is educational content.

This one is straightforward. Users seek information — your small business provides the information. You start doing this via blog posts, social media content, email marketing, and a written content marketing strategy. Producing commercialized content is a necessary evil, but traditional marketing practices are unlikely to help you become an opinion leader or attract many followers.

Practice patience. Educational content won't likely bring your small business more sales right away. However, a consistent approach to your content marketing strategy will help you establish yourself as an authority. Show the world that you know your stuff perfectly well. A potential customer will be more likely to trust your small business in the future.

Case Study

Write compelling case studies, feature them prominently in your email marketing, and post links on all your social channels. Formulating and playing a "long game" social media strategy is a great way to share product or service success stories connected with your customers. It provides a cornerstone for successful content marketing.

If you are a service company, a case study featured prominently on your Facebook page is a great chance to showcase your expertise and the way you managed to solve your customer's problem.

If you sell tangible goods, you can use just about any social platform to share an example of how it helped your users satisfy their goals.

Testimonials/Reviews

77% of people take the time to read product reviews before they make any purchases online. Users don't believe everything you write about your own company or product. However, they are likely to trust a review written by another person on one of your recent posts. Why not let satisfied customers do your content marketing for you?

If you have only a few customers, you can publish the block with their testimonials site-wide. But if you have plenty of them, you can publish roundup posts in your blog comprising the most interesting and inspiring responses of your customers.

Small business marketing doesn't have to carry with it a huge price tag. When you are just starting out with content marketing, it's probably not necessary to invest in expensive camera equipment, a social media marketing package like Sprout Social, email marketing providers, or purchasing followers from a third party. Instead, ask yourself "What is my potential customer looking for when they Google my business?" Scout around for low-cost or free tools such as Social Media Examiner. Start answering common niche-specific concerns via blog posts or a one-off social media post and make time to interact with those who respond.

Avoid any expectation of overnight success. When it comes to online digital marketing, slow, steady, and (most importantly) genuinely helpful will enable you to win the race.

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