7 Growth Hacks Every Small Business -- Including Yours -- Should Know

You've already heard of content marketing and blogs. But Facebook retargeting and exit-intent coupons are 'growth hacks,' too.

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By Syed Balkhi

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As a business owner, growing your company is one of your top priorities, but as a small-business founder, you know what a challenge it can be: You may lack the budget for big marketing campaigns or the time to focus on growth, when there are so many other aspects you have to manage.

Related: 3 Growth Strategies From a Tech Company Trying to Disrupt a $325 Million Industry

So, if you're a founder in this position, how do you boost your sales and grow your business?

The answer is growth-hacking. The term refers to the process of experimenting with marketing, product development, sales segments and other areas to determine the best way to grow a business.

Following are some simple growth hacks small-business leaders should know to help them grow their companies in a short amount of time.

Prioritize content marketing.

According to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62 percent less and generates approximately three times more leads than traditional marketing, making it a valuable strategy for small businesses.

Having a blog on your site that offers engaging and useful content presents your business as an expert in your industry and can help you build a trusting relationship with your audience.

For example, Neil Patel's blog is clean and to the point with calls-to-action that help monetize his traffic:

Blog posts can also generate more traffic to your site, improve your SEO and convert visitors into customers. Research high-volume/low-competition keywords for your blog posts to attract more of your target audience to your site and grow your customer base.

Use Facebook and Google customer-retargeting.

According to Digital Strategy Consulting, the average customer makes nine visits to a website before purchasing, so retargeting is a valuable growth hack to get those purchases you might have otherwise missed out on. Facebook and Google retargeting involves a pixel you add to your site that then enables you to show targeted ads to users who have previously visited your website.

Related: 7 Key Steps to a Growth Strategy That Works Immediately

While previous visitors to your website are browsing other sites on the web, they'll see ads for your business encouraging them to return to you.

In this Expedia retargeting ad, customers are enticed to return to their site for a tempting last-minute deal:

You want all your visitors to be return visitors, right? So make sure you're at the top of mind for them by coaxing them back using Facebook and Google retargeting.

Use exit-intent coupons.

Offering visitors a coupon in exchange for their email address is a great way to build your email list and encourage people to make a purchase. People love getting a deal, so not many will pass up the opportunity to save.

Home Fabrics Online uses an exit intent popup to offer a coupon and encourage people to make a purchase:

Using an exit-intent popup is also a great way to grab your visitors' attention, as it can track when a visitor is about to leave your website, and offer a coupon at exactly the right time. Overall, it's an amazing tool for boosting your conversions and improving your bounce rate.

Show social proof.

Most consumers look for reviews before they make a purchase. In fact, BrightLocal conducted a survey that revealed that 84 percent of people polled trusted online reviews and testimonials as much as they would a personal recommendation. So, make it easy for customers: Show social proof right on the pages of your website.

Slack's website lets visitors know how many amazing companies are using its product:

Displaying comments from some of your satisfied customers on your website can help push visitors who are on the fence into making a purchase. People buy from companies they trust, so adding social proof shows you to be a trusted brand in your industry.

Use content upgrades.

Providing content upgrades on your blog posts is a great way to grow your email list rapidly. A content upgrade is essentially a freebie offered within the post that's related to the blog post topic.

Here's an example of a content upgrade popup that encourages visitors to click in exchange for their email:

For example, you could offer a free, downloadable PDF to your readers in exchange for their email address. If you've crafted an informative blog post that already has your readers engaged, they're likely going to be interested in the extra content you're offering and will wclick that download button.

Use calls-to-action across social media.

Want your followers to do something for you on social media? Ask them! By using calls-to-action across your social media accounts, you can increase your views, likes and shares. You can even direct customers to your website to join your mailing list or sign up for your course.

Hubspot Academy uses its Twitter account to let followers know about its new course.

Whether you're asking your audience to share, like or sign up, make sure your call-to-action is easy and clear. The easier you make it for them, the more likely they'll take the action you want them to.

Ask for feedback.

There's no better way to figure out what's working in your business and what's not than by asking your customers directly. There's always room for improvement in your business and of course improving your customer service or user experience can really boost your sales.

Kennedy Blue uses a popup on its site to ask customers for feedback.

Another hack: Consider using a popup to ask for feedback, or sending an email to customers who have recently purchased. Being aware of all the issues your customers might face will help you ensure that future customers have an even better experience.

Related: 10 Marketing Strategies to Fuel Your Business Growth

So, those are a few advantages growth-hacking can offer: Instead of wasting your time with ineffective marketing, these strategies are a smart way to scale up your business. Using these tips, your small business can compete with the bigger players, and you won't have to spend a fortune.

Syed Balkhi

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Entrepreneur, Growth Hacker and Marketer

Syed Balkhi is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of WPBeginnerOptinMonster and WPForms

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