Redesigning or rebuilding a website can be an interesting process. It’s also an opportunity to fix those problems that have been bugging you for a long time, refresh the look and feel and come up with new features.
But creating a new website is a big investment and to be successful, it needs to be undertaken with a strong strategic foundation that is directly linked to your business goals.
Setting the right goals can make the difference between the success and failure of your website. According to research, the number one reason for website failure is the lack of a clear business objective. If you haven’t set one by now, we recommend you reconsider your actions. A successful website can completely transform your business. It can increase sales, raise awareness, improve customer experience, reduce costs, improve workflow and help you grow your company.
Before you set your list of website goals, you need to know why your website exists. What actions do you want your site visitors to take? What do you want them to do or know after they leave your site?
After that you will need to determine how well (or poorly) your current website is performing:
-Is your content easy to read and understand. Do you discuss relevant topics? Is the text broken up in an effective way.
-Check the speed of your website using tools such as Google PageSpeed or GT Metrix. A slow website is a great way to send your visitors elsewhere.
-Make sure your website is usable on all screen sizes, mobile devices and browsers.
-Make sure your site is easy to navigate and that your visitors can find what they’re looking for in seconds.
-Make sure your images are optimised for the web (otherwise they will slow down your site).
-Consider whether pop-up windows are driving visitors away. Instead of being effective, they can sometimes annoy your users.
If your goal is to increase relevant leads, you should know how many leads your current website is now generating.
A good method for setting business goals for your website is the SMART model. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. This model helps you set website goals in a way that focuses on achieving business success.
Specific – what would you like to achieve? Set a measurable business goal for your website. Example:
-Increase the number of relevant leads by 20%.
-Improve your sales conversion rate by 5%.
-Improve customer satisfaction by 10%.
Measurable – how will you know it’s happening? Establish concrete criteria and methods for measuring progress towards each goal:
-Retain qualified leads through CRM
-Conversion rate tracking through Google Analytics
-Inquiring customers before and after website redesign
Achievable – can it realistically be achieved? Goals set too high or too low become meaningless. Compare your goals with your current numbers and ask yourself if they can realistically be achieved. Most importantly, how do you intend to achieve these goals?
-Engaging your target audience through unique value propositions and more effective prompts are designed to produce a 10% increase in lead flow. An additional 10% can be achieved by driving traffic to the website using paid advertising and SEO.
-Usability testing suggests that UX improvements to the website can lead to an increase in customer satisfaction of 10% or more.
Relevant – does this fit your business needs? Will it help achieve your company’s vision and mission? Example:
-Growing website leads by 20% aligns with marketing department goals next year to generate 20% more leads than last year.
On time – set a timeframe for the goal. 6 months? 1 year? Setting an end point gives you a clear target. The timeframe should also be achievable and realistic. Example:
-Growing 20% of potential customers for the website will start with an initial 10% resulting from website improvements that can be achieved 6 months after the website launch. The other 10% will result from generating additional traffic to the website through paid advertising and SEO, which will take at least another 6 months before reaching the desired results.
Another way of thinking that we often find useful when setting goals is to differentiate goals that exist at the top of the funnel versus the middle to bottom of the funnel. At the top of the funnel goals are more likely to focus on generating new leads and influencing customer perception of the brand, for example:
Increase new visitors from a specific market segment
Reduce bounce rate
Increase CRM/database records
Increase engagement with branded content
From the mid to bottom of the funnel, goals will focus more on driving the consumer through the funnel and achieving a commercial outcome, for example:
Create an easy user experience
Increase online conversion rate for sales (bookings)
Reduce abandonment rate
By setting these goals, you will increase traffic, increase reach and increase sales by a large number. Remember, set yourself a realistic but hopeful plan to get started.
SMART goals leave no room for interpretation or procrastination. They make you think realistically about what is achievable and what is not, and they are measurable over time so there is no possibility of not achieving a goal this year. How you define goals will determine their success.
In recent years, online presence has become vital for any business. Investing in marketing brings you quality traffic, which will allow you to expand your customer base and grow your business. However, the marketing budget is limited in many cases, so the inevitable question arises: social media or website? Given how populated social media is nowadays, how relevant is it to build a website? In order to answer this question, it is important to know the advantages and disadvantages of both promotion channels.
Social Media vs Website – Why be present on the most popular social networks?
Zero cost is one of the main reasons why most people register exclusively on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin or TikTok. In addition, creating such an account does not require any technical knowledge. All you have to do is fill in the registration forms with the data you are asked for and you are ready to get your followers. If you are not satisfied with the results, you can always close your account and migrate to another platform.
However, you should know that nothing is free in marketing. Access to all these social networks is free of charge, but you need to invest generous amounts of time and money to reach your target audience and distribute quality content.
Take Facebook for example. With over 2.8 billion users worldwide, it has access to an enormous database, which it uses to develop the best algorithms for paid advertising. As a result, organic reach has dropped considerably recently, which means one thing: if you want your audience to see what you post, you have to invest in ads.
However, what is important to mention is that social media presence brings you brand awareness. This means that your brand is visible and recognizable, which will also help you if you want to increase your visibility in Google. This is one of the main reasons why the Social Media vs. Website debate boils down to one answer: both!
Plus, many people are reluctant to buy products or access the services of a brand that is only present on Facebook or Instagram. And many prefer to buy from brands they also follow on social media. The posts you make convey to your followers what your brand values are and help them identify more easily with what you want to communicate.
Social Media vs Website – Why is it essential to have a website?
If you want to be in absolute control, then your online presence can’t just be about social media. Yes, social media allows you to be creative with your content, but let’s be honest: it’s still a marketing tool, whereas the website is the headquarters of your entire activity. In other words, social media helps you drive traffic to your website. But if one of the platforms you’re on were to close down overnight, you’d have no say – your entire business would simply be wiped out.
A website helps you build brand credibility, legitimise your business. Every business, regardless of market, notoriety or size, should have a website. Users tend to think that brands without a website are too new or too small to be trusted. People prefer to buy through Facebook, not from Facebook. It’s a nuanced difference that every online entrepreneur should consider. It is much more reliable to benefit from a secure and systematic payment, than to buy products from the Facebook shop.
Last but not least, we must remember that owning a website allows you to bring in huge traffic through PPC and SEO. You can be present in Google search results pages and with your social media profile, but on brand. With a website you can target relevant keywords with impressive average search volumes that will bring you traffic. Indeed, both require financial investment, but you can get very good results if the work is done well. In PPC you’ll get immediate results, whereas in SEO things move slower, but surely. Once you’ve managed to increase your visibility, you’ll notice that this marketing strategy brings you the best ROI. In general, new and/or small brands are afraid to invest in SEO, but quality work can bring you results after just the first 6 months and you can reach breakeven or zero point of business after just one year.
But even so, the two options are not mutually exclusive. Any business that wants to reach a wider audience has an “obligation” to its customers to invest in a website, but also to use social media. However, a recent survey shows that 35% of small businesses believe they are not yet at the stage where they have a website, and 31% say they prefer to use social media.
In general, many avoid the website option because of the cost. If you make a clear investment plan from the start, a website should not be a huge investment. In this regard, we have an article explaining how much a presentation website costs. However, you should look at the problem from a different perspective. A physical shop generates costs related to rent, maintenance, staff, decoration, etc. Why wouldn’t you do the same to improve your online presence?
Below you will discover one of the most innovative marketing concepts today. Although almost unknown in Romania, growth hackers are in high demand in Silicon Valley and other areas with a developed startup ecosystem.
It’s the same marketing concept used by companies like Facebook, Linkedin and Airbnb to get where they are today.
Let’s get started
It was 1996. Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, former Apple engineers, finally managed to find funding for their innovative idea: a web-based email client that anyone could use from anywhere. Nowadays, having a free email client like Gmail or Yahoo! seems normal, but in 1996 it was a major innovation.
Next up was another meeting with the venture capital firm that funded them, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, where the two entrepreneurs were to present their marketing strategy.
At the meeting, they presented all sorts of well-intentioned promotional ideas: radio ads, street banners, etc. To which Draper, one of the backers, replied, “My God! These are very expensive marketing ideas for a product we’re giving away for free! Can’t you find a way to just give it to the other guys on the web?”
Then Draper remembered a case study he discussed while doing his MBA. It was about Multi Level Marketing (MLM) businesses and how they succeed in turning customers into business advocates. After some thought, he asked the founders if they could put a message in the body of each email to help them do just that.
“Oh stop it, you don’t want to do that,” one of the founders replied.
“Okay, okay, but technically can you do it?” asked Draper again.
“Of course we can do it” replied the engineers.
“Good. Then put a message like ‘P.S. I love you. Get your free email from HoTMail” with a link back to our website where they can sign up.”
With a shocked look on their faces and a look that said “of all the investors in the world we hit just this one”, the two engineers said they didn’t even want to hear about it, as there could be backlash, with some people wondering what else they could put in their emails. And besides, who would do that to their product?
Seeing no success, Draper agreed to postpone the discussion. The actual launch of HoTMail followed. Celebrated with pizza and beer, launch day brought the first users of the email service. In the days that followed, new users continued to arrive, but there was no sign of the growth that everyone involved had expected.
Then the founders agreed to include that footnote in the body of each message that stays when you forward to a friend and, if you’re interested, sends you to the HoTMail website where you can sign up too. The impact was almost instantaneous.
Within hours of the change, Hotmail’s growth curve (yes, at this point they dropped the hideous capitalization of some letters) started to look like a hockey stick. They started attracting 3,000 new users a day. Within months they were up to 750,000 and within 6 months of launch they reached 1 million users. In just 2 weeks that number doubled.
In 1998, Microsoft bought Hotmail for about $400,000,000. Not bad for a deal only 2 years old, right?
What happened here? How can you grow so fast with so little money?
Today, the Hotmail example has also become a case study. It has shown us that there are alternatives to traditional promotion methods and that you don’t have to invest huge amounts of money to attract new customers/users.
For example, Hotmail became the biggest email client in Sweden without spending a cent, unlike their competitors at Juno who pumped $20,000,000 into marketing. This can happen if you make the product part of your marketing strategy!
We’ll look at this principle and other equally powerful ones below and see how we can apply them to our business.
What is growth hacking marketing and why we need it?
In this chapter we will try to better understand what growth hacking marketing is, how the concept came about and why it is so important and relevant today.
How did the term growth hacking come about?
Growth hacking is a term introduced by Sean Ellis, a US-based startup growth marketer who couldn’t find a name for this “function” when he wanted to let someone else do it for him.
The name for his job wasn’t marketer, because in a startup that didn’t have the budget of Fortune 500 companies, you couldn’t grow through traditional marketing methods, namely, piles of money pumped into advertising.
He understood that having a product/service that fits like a glove to human needs can become one of the best marketing channels to grow your business. Add a lot of testing, experimentation and measurement and you get something totally different to the way marketing is normally done.
Well, when he was interviewing people to replace him, who had a traditional marketing background, their strategy always included the same tactics for attracting customers, which simply didn’t work for digital and that new generation of business. These marketers had similar ideas to Hotmal’s founders.
So Ellis decided to get rid of the marketer designation and introduced the term “growth hacker.”
It was 2010. At the time, very few marketers could be called growth hackers. But the successes of companies like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, AirBnB, and Dropbox were to draw attention to this new approach to marketing.
I was to discover in the 3+ years I’ve been studying this approach that it’s not just tech companies that can benefit from the power of growth hacking, but any marketer or entrepreneur who truly understands the purpose of marketing and is willing to do things differently.
What is growth hacking?
As a new concept, there are a lot of questions that have not yet been answered and an even greater number of questions that have been answered wrong :).
For example, although the word “hacking” brings to mind hackers hacking into the websites of banks or public institutions, growth hacking is not necessarily about programming, but rather about finding other creative means you can use to reach customers and thus “short-circuit” the growth of your business.
If we were to give a definition…
Growth hacking is a new approach in marketing, originating from tech companies, that relies on a lot of testing, measurement, combined with creativity in order to find the best channels to grow a business.
Growth hackers have left aside the classic way of marketing, which involves spending large amounts of money, and focus only on what is testable, measurable and scalable.
But the thing that really makes growth hacking special, and my experience has proven this, is all about attitude.
“Growth, because otherwise…”
Unlike other marketers, growth hackers have one goal: to help the business grow. Usually, that means attracting new customers/users or increasing sales. They don’t care about other terms like branding, top-of-mind awareness and other marketing clichés that, while sounding good, have no real and sustainable impact on the business. These are fine if they show up as side effects, but they will never be a target for a growth hacker.
Why growth hacking?
Growth hacking was born, on the one hand, because of the conditions in which a startup operates, namely the lack of resources. Therefore, the only things that can drive a small business to success are (1) making sure you offer the product people really want, (2) always being focused on attracting new customers, and (3) finding the most effective and easy-to-use marketing channels and strategies.
When I still give trainings or presentations, the question that is never missing is this: What’s the best marketing tactic? What’s the SECRET? The one tip? The ultimate hack?
And then there are the disappointed looks on the faces of those who have asked me, when I nonchalantly tell them “I don’t know”. And how could I? Every company is so different, has its own idiosyncrasies, has its own environment, history, competitors, etc., that it’s impossible for me to answer what will work best for them unless I do a few days, or even weeks, of analysis.
But even then, it would only be an educated guess and not a certainty. Because, let’s be honest, if someone is selling us a sure-fire way to get rich, we should run as far away from him/her as possible.
Another reason why we need growth hacking is because…
What works for others won’t necessarily work for us.
First, the audience, product, business model, etc. all vary from business to business and product to product. Although two businesses may seem similar, what worked for one will not necessarily work for the other if the audience is different.
Secondly, growth is a sum of many factors and there is no ‘silver bullet’ in marketing. We’re all looking for those magic decisions, that moment when the business has started to take an upward turn and has only been growing ever since. But that’s not the only moment to look for.
Case study: How Dropbox went from losing money on every customer to a $10 billion market share
Let me, before I go any further, give you an example to understand what growth hacking looks like in action, in “reality”.
Dropbox, you may have heard of it, is a service that allows you to store your files securely in the cloud and then easily access them from wherever you are and on multiple devices.
Well, when they were just starting out, the folks at Dropbox tried the same marketing strategies as everyone else, one of which was Google Adwords promotion.
The problem came, however, when they calculated how much they needed to pay in total to attract a customer to buy the service and how much they could hope to earn from it. They realised that it cost them almost $300 to get a customer (Acquisition Cost) but they could only hope to earn $90 from it (Lifetime Customer Value).
It wasn’t a very profitable business, was it?
They understood that the only thing they would get out of it was bankruptcy. But then Sean Ellis, one of the first growth hackers, joined the team.
Dropbox changed its strategy from paying to attract customers to using the product itself to bring in new users.
So they came up with a strategy that is very familiar today: they offered free space to users who invited other friends to join the service.
Basically, what they did, and we can all do, was to offer a piece of their product that was valuable to their customers but didn’t cost them much, and thus turned existing customers into business promoters.
The effects didn’t take long to show. Dropbox’s growth curve began to take an upward slope and the rest is history. Today, Dropbox is worth somewhere around $10 billion.
I’d like to emphasize once again the point mentioned above: growth is a sum of many factors.
While we tend to look at an idea like the one above and attribute a company’s success to a moment of inspiration, most of the time it took a lot of testing to come up with that one idea that had exponential effects.
Also, rarely is a single idea enough to keep a company growing for any length of time.
We’re all looking here:
When, in fact, we should be looking at what happened in all these places:
Apart from having a really good product, which doesn’t guarantee success either, I don’t know any magic that can be done in marketing.
Also, if we look at how marketing channels appear and disappear, how their effectiveness rises and falls, if we don’t develop a repeatable and scalable attitude and process within the business, when what we’ve done before no longer works, we risk losing everything.
A graph showing the changing effectiveness of key marketing channels.
What we really need is a marketing machine that is scalable, repeatable and predictable. And this is where growth hacking comes in. With the right attitude and using the process detailed in the following chapters, you can always identify which are the best ways to grow your business that work for you.
And you can do that whenever you need to. Because, in my view, to focus on a tactic is to put the cart before the horse, it is to reverse the natural order of things.
But before we get to the processes, one thing we need to discuss is…
The most important principles in growth hacking
One of the main things that differentiates a growth hacker from other marketers is their mindset. And in this section we’ll get a better understanding of how they think and what their vision of marketing is.
We have seen that there is no universally accepted definition of what growth hacking is. Nor should it. The important thing is to understand what it entails. So, below, we outline the principles by which a growth hacker operates.
Growth, because otherwise…
If you ever hear a “growth hacker” suggest, or agree, with a branding campaign, run away. Or, better yet, say “Thank you and goodbye”.
That’s because the major difference between a growth hacker and a marketer, generally speaking, is the orientation, almost obsession, they have towards growth. For them, branding, notoriety and other vague and hard-to-measure aspects are ok if they appear as side-effects, but the goal will always be to attract new customers or increase the lifetime value of existing ones.
We’ll discuss more about what marketing goals should look like in the next chapter.
If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.
When starting work on a new project, or preparing to test different marketing ideas, a growth hacker will first make sure they can measure the effectiveness of the tactics they try.
For example, for a website, they will make sure they install systems to measure visitor behaviour on the site.
Or, if it’s an offline business, that it can know where a customer came from and whether they bought from it because of a marketing campaign, and not other external factors.
Test, test, test.
A growth hacker is aware and accepts that all the things he believes and bases his decisions on are just assumptions until he comes to validate them. That’s why he will always try multiple approaches and strategies, see what works and then double down on the channel that proves to be the most profitable.
Focus on the customer.
A growth hacker knows that the customer is always right. He will always try to validate his ideas by getting feedback from customers, this feedback coming either from the measurement and analytics systems in place, or by talking to customers live and trying to understand them better.
Especially at the start of a business, this part of getting feedback from customers is crucial!
Because he or she is always looking for new creative ways to grow the business, once a marketing idea is validated, a growth hacker will try to automate it as much as possible so that he or she can focus on other ideas or needs of the company.
For example, if he discovers Facebook as an effective marketing channel, he will create a mechanism whereby every visitor to the site enters a sales funnel, and depending on their behaviour and stage, will see certain messages on Facebook that will lead them closer to a purchase.
With a hacker mentality, marketers who adopt this concept are always trying to find easier ways to achieve their goals. Although they test many ideas and tactics, they will focus on the 20% that bring 80% of the results.
They know that a startup doesn’t have enough resources (be it financial or human) to work on many fronts, so they will find those methods that bring the best results with minimal investment.
To put all these principles into practice we need to move on to…
The process of growth hacking
If we want to always find the best channels and ideas for business growth, we need a scalable and repeatable marketing machine.
Budgets do not allow us to invest in all marketing ideas, so the question arises: what strategy, what method of promotion should I choose for my business?
Unfortunately, this has also led to an obsession with tactics, with easy tricks. We live in a world of hack-tricks where we are only looking for solutions that will magically work overnight. It’s enough to log on to a marketing or entrepreneurship blog and look at the most popular articles.
But the problem is that by only pursuing superficial ideas and tactics, we’ll never end up developing sustainable internal solutions for our business. And at a time when the effectiveness of marketing channels changes from day to day, we need something that will constantly help us grow our business.
1. Define actionable objectives and come up with ideas
When we actually want to find new ways to grow our business, whether that means attracting new customers or converting them better, the first thing we need to do is define a very specific goal. Let me repeat: very specific!
In other words, “we want more customers” doesn’t help, but “increase the conversion rate of customers coming through Google Adwords from 2.7% to 5%” is great.
“Let’s increase business” will never be a direct goal, but it will be the result of all the other specific goals.
My point here is to not limit yourself to goals related to attracting customers. Those at the bottom of the sales funnel are much more important. Let’s try an example to understand better:
Let’s say we get 1,000 people a day on our website, of which 100 end up on the product page and 10 buy. That means we have a final conversion rate of 1%.
And let’s say that for these 1000 people who visit our website every day we pay 1000 lei on Facebook Advertising.
If we want to double sales, we’ll have to increase traffic to the site to 2000 people, that means double costs.
But a much better alternative would be to focus on conversion rate optimisation. For example, if we can get 1,000 people to come to the site and 200 to the product page, we have double sales. If we also manage to increase the conversion rate from 1% to 2%, we end up with 40 customers, an increase of 400% without spending on more traffic to the website.
When setting goals, it’s important to steer clear of vanity indicators. Eric Ries, in his book LEAN Startup, one of the foundational books for entrepreneurship in the 21st century, draws a lot of attention to these. “Vanity indicators” are numbers that may be easy to track and usually grow, but they don’t really reveal how our business is doing, nor can they tell us what we’ve done well and what we haven’t.
For example, indicators such as the total number of visitors/users are often used as a benchmark. Or they tell us very little about how our product or business is really doing.
It may well be that even though the number is growing, those who use the product may not return a second time, or may use it very little. By no means do more visitors mean more sales.
While the ultimate goal is growth, you can’t achieve it if you don’t break it down into smaller, data-driven goals. It’s often hard to tell if a goal is specific enough or not. A good way to check this is to think of it as a hierarchy. We need to get as close to the bottom as possible, so that the final objective can be identified by a single task.
Focus on one goal at a time and you’ll see how slowly, slowly, they will show up in sales.
Once we’ve set our goal, it’s time to come up with ideas on how to achieve it. This is where I recommend brainstorming with your team or (if you’re working alone) spending a few days trying to come up with ideas.
I’ve found that it’s most effective to organize ideas visually and add a little context to each one: more details about the idea, where it came from, why you think it works. We most often use Trello and Google Drive for this stage.
At this stage, gather as many ideas as possible relevant to the specific objective previously set.
More on marketing tactics and growth hacking, especially on the customer acquisition side, will be discussed in the next chapter.
Now it’s time to talk about the next step in the process:
Case study growth hacking – Airbnb
Airbnb is, in my view, the best example of growth hacking in action. From mindset, to processes and organisational culture, they were trained from the start to market differently.
The Airbnb Case – A Growth Story You Didn’t Know About
In 2007, designers Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia could no longer afford the rent on their San Francisco apartment. To make ends meet, they decided to rent out their living room to people travelling in the city.
A design conference was being held in the city at the time, and accommodations were limited. Because posting the ad on Craigslist (a US classifieds site) seemed too impersonal, they decided to create their own website.
So a simple website was born, where they presented their offer: their living room furnished with a few mattresses and the promise of a cooked breakfast the next morning.
They had their first “customers”. Only, in the following days, something started to happen. They started receiving emails from people in other parts of the world asking when the site would be made available in their country.
That was the modest beginning of what would become Airbnb, which today is worth $30 billion, almost as much as hospitality giants Hyatt and Hilton combined.
Airbnb is a platform available in over 190 countries that facilitates home rentals. It allows you, on the one hand, if you have an apartment or a room available to list it on the platform, and on the other hand, you can find tenants for it and have another source of income.
On the other hand, it allows you to easily find rentals when travelling to other cities or countries at a lower price than a hotel, plus you are more likely to enjoy an authentic local experience.
How Airbnb grew?
The AirBnB story is a complex one, taking us from the sheer perseverance of the founders who struggled to keep the company afloat, to an offline approach when the situation demanded it, even though they are a digital company, to hacking and complex algorithms. Airbnb is the perfect example of what growth hacking is all about: a growth-oriented attitude, the discipline of knowledge, and combining it with creativity and hard work.
Early evidence that Airbnb’s founders were prepared to do things differently can be seen in the very early days of the company.
Being just starting out and needing money to live and invest in their new venture, the two founders bought a ton of cereal and created a collection of boxes themed around the US election (which was happening at the time).
They raised about $30,000 which helped them sustain themselves because their website still didn’t have much traction.
Hacker mentality kicks in
One of the main challenges of Airbnb, and other platform businesses, is that it has to provide both the demand and supply sides. They have to make sure they have both apartments on their site that can be rented and people to rent them.
This usually creates a Catch 22 problem for founders. In order to attract more listings on their site they need more traffic from people who want to rent apartments, and to attract these visitors they need as rich a supply of rental housing as possible.
And so came one of Airbnb’s most ingenious marketing tactics. In order to increase the number of visitors to the site and thus ensure that apartment listings find customers, Airbnb created an integration with Craigslist, a US-based classifieds site, which is one of the most visited sites in the world at the time.
Basically, after posting your ad on Airbnb you had the option, by pressing a button, to post the same ad on Craigslist.
Ads posted on Craigslist linked back to Airbnb. So you could benefit from the exposure the listing site gave you, but you increased your chances of renting because of the better design Airbnb had, and you could use the platform to manage your rentals more easily.
You have to understand that this tactic was implemented at a time when no one else knew the concept of API integration.
For a traditional marketer, such an idea would have been impossible to conceive. Firstly, because you needed a technical background to even imagine the idea.
That’s why I say growth hacking is a fundamental break from the way we view marketing and entrepreneurship. Airbnb could try online or TV ads to promote their platform. Instead, they took a very targeted approach and went exactly where the attention of potential users was.
Measure and do things that don’t scale
Another crucial moment for Airbnb’s growth that I think we should dwell on is a few years down the road. At the time, the platform was focused on international growth.
But France proved to be a tough market for them. Although tourism is a huge industry in the country, the French didn’t rush to list their homes on the new online platform.
So Airbnb set up a team to deal directly with the country and took two different, even opposing, approaches.
On the one hand they tried digital methods. They focused mainly on online ads promoting the platform and its benefits.
On the other hand, they had an “offline” team. This team took a less scalable approach. They talked to Airbnb users who had already listed their accommodation to understand their motivation and any difficulties they encountered.
They also organised various parties and events where the product was presented, handed out promotional materials, offered to create the listing themselves and the owner just gave their OK to publish, etc. Or, as one company representative put it, “they did whatever it took”.
But Airbnb didn’t simply try these two approaches hoping for success and then move on. They set up their metrics, meticulously documented each thing they tried and how much it cost them.
To my surprise at least, the “offline” team proved to be 2x more cost effective in attracting new users to the platform.
This example shows how important it is to measure everything. As growth hackers, we’re usually inclined to go straight digital. But sometimes it pays to do things that “don’t scale,” things that can’t be immediately applied to tens or hundreds of thousands of other people. By talking to people we can better discover their needs and what’s stopping them from using our product.
While we’re on the subject of measurement. Growth Hacking is always identified with the ultimate ideas that influenced the growth of a business with the ideas we call the most “creative”, most wow. But there’s usually a lot of testing and numbers behind them that make your head hurt.
The picture above isn’t necessarily “sexy” and if al wrote an article about what’s behind it it probably wouldn’t even be read by my team. But it’s the one that gives the Airbnb team the most important information about how we use the platform and what they can do to improve our experience. You can read more about the Airbnb experience here.
Product is always the best marketing tactic
Another thing that was extremely important to the founders of Airbnb, right from the start, was the customer experience. The breakfasts they offered to those staying in their apartments were a testament to this principle.
This orientation later led them to yet another idea that impacted Airbnb majorly.
Still in their early days, they noticed that there was a large discrepancy between the number of rentals that apartments had. Some of them were attracting a lot of renters, while others were almost completely failing to do so.
Spending time and analyzing the listings, the founders noticed that the listings that had quality pictures were by far the best rented.
And after all, that’s only natural, right? We want to clearly see what the place we’re going to spend our vacation looks like, we don’t just want to see a dark picture taken with a cell phone on the fly.
So Airbnb hired some photographers to go and take pictures of the listed apartments.
The impact was instant:
After seeing the success of this idea, they hired freelance photographers around the world to go and take photos of the apartments.
I hope that I have succeeded, through this case study on Airbnb to exemplify all the points mentioned above, both related to the principles of growth hacking and to understand why a process is crucial for rapid and especially sustainable growth.
The success of Airbnb, and other companies using growth hacking, is not due to a single idea or tactic. There have always been multiple ideas whose cumulative impact has led to exponential growth. And behind those ideas is a team and an organizational culture that understands that marketing needs to be done differently.
Growth hacking ideas and tactics
To help you attract new customers, we’ve put together a massive list of the most popular growth hacking ideas and strategies. From inbound marketing to product usage, this list will be your marketing team’s main source of inspiration.
Before we can actually start implementing a marketing campaign, whether we use growth hacking or not, we need to answer 3 crucial questions:
Who is the customer?
What needs does the customer have?
Where is the customer’s attention?
Although they seem like trivial questions, you’d be amazed how often we miss them. But by answering them correctly, we will be more aware of the whole framework within which our marketing campaign is taking place and we will always be able to check whether what we are doing is strategically effective or we are blindly trying to find something that “works”.
For every growth hacking goal we set and every experiment we run, there are a multitude of techniques and methods we can use.
Next, we will review 3 categories of marketing and growth hacking tactics and approaches that can be used to grow our business:
– attract customers to the product,
– push them towards the product and
– use the product itself to reach them.
These are focused on the attraction side of the business, because “that’s what the public demanded”, but I stress again the importance of optimising the sales funnel from the bottom up, from conversions and retention, towards attraction.
We’ll see that in between these techniques we discover other marketing concepts already known. These include inbound marketing, search engine optimization, paid campaigns, etc. All need to be used together to help the product grow.
There are a multitude of marketing ideas and strategies you can use to achieve your goals.
If you want to know what internet marketing is and how you can do it in 2021, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve prepared a complete guide from which you’ll learn everything you need to know about the subject.
Internet marketing has taken off in recent years and continues to do so.
The cause? People are using the internet more and more.
In Romania, 80% of the country’s population used the internet in January 2020.
In January 2021, no less than 4.66 billion people were online.
That’s almost 60% of the planet’s population.
At the same time, internet marketing has become the cheapest and fastest way for a company to promote its products or services and reach customers.
You’re probably here too because you know how important it is for your business to have a well-defined online presence.
Let’s see what you’ll learn from this article:
– What is internet marketing?
– Advantages and disadvantages of internet marketing
– The main internet marketing channels working in Romania
– How to start internet marketing in 5 easy steps
– 10 internet marketing strategies that cost you (almost) nothing
– Bonus: 5 free internet marketing tools that will make your life easier
– What you should do next
What is internet marketing?
Internet marketing – or online marketing – refers to all those marketing and promotion techniques and strategies that are carried out on the internet.
It includes several platforms, tools and strategies such as:
– Search engines (Google, Bing, etc.)
– Social networks (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
– SEO (search engine optimisation)
– Content marketing (videos, podcasts, blog articles, newsletters, etc.)
– Influencer marketing.
It’s also where your customers are on these platforms.
What you need to do is reach them, using the right marketing strategies and channels.
But until then, let’s see why you should be so interested in online marketing.
Advantages and disadvantages of internet marketing
Unlike traditional ways of promotion, internet marketing has a number of major benefits.
If you have a business you want to promote:
– You get increased visibility exactly where people are interested in buying – online, on different platforms;
– You have low costs compared to traditional ways of marketing;
– You reach people all over the world;
– Communicate with your target audience simply and quickly, 24/7;
– Segment people based on preferences, demographics or interests and give them exactly what they’re looking for;
– You focus your efforts only on people who might really be interested in your products or services – without wasting time and money promoting to an audience you know nothing about;
– You provide more engaging, personalised content;
– See exactly what people are doing when they arrive on your site;
– Control where and what you show them, without wasting your budget;
– Display ads based on: where they are, their birthday, music preferences, cultural interests and many other specific things;
– Measure your results and see what worked and what didn’t;
– You build a trusting relationship with your customers, unlike traditional marketing which doesn’t allow you to get to know or communicate with the people who have bought from you;
– Easily test and adapt online marketing campaigns and strategies;
Grow your business much faster and more efficiently.
At the same time, there are two disadvantages you should bear in mind:
– In some areas, competition online can be quite intense;
– If you want to learn internet marketing, you need time and patience.
If you want to start a career in online marketing, you should know that:
– It’s a field of the future, in an industry that’s growing fast;
– There is more and more demand for online marketing specialists in the Romanian market;
– You don’t necessarily have to go to university to be a professional. You can teach yourself from the courses and materials available on the internet;
– You can choose a niche to specialise in, such as copywriting, social media, Google Ads and many others;
– You have several possibilities, such as: you can choose to be a full-time employee at a company, you can opt for freelancing or you can even start your own business (a marketing agency or maybe a company that offers specialised services);
– Basically, you will be able to work from anywhere.
There are also two disadvantages you should think about:
– You have to invest time and money in training, especially in the beginning;
– You need to constantly adapt and keep up to date with changes in the industry.
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of internet marketing, let’s see what channels you can use to promote your business in Romania.
The main internet marketing channels operating in Romania
Social media marketing
Social media marketing refers to social media promotion.
Almost all businesses choose to promote their products and services using this channel for several reasons:
– Helps businesses achieve and grow their online presence;
– Costs are low compared to other promotion methods such as Google Ads or partnering with a popular influencer;
– Facilitates communication with target audiences;
– Helps companies build and maintain customer relationships;
– Helps identify and attract new customers;
– Fosters people’s sense of brand loyalty;
– Provides valuable user insights and deeper understanding of users.
The most popular social networks in Romania are Facebook, Instagram and, more recently, LinkedIn, YouTube or TikTok.
Let’s talk in more detail about the first two: Facebook and Instagram.
Let’s take them one by one.
Promote on Facebook
What is Facebook?
Facebook is probably the most widely used social networking and business promotion network in Romania.
With 12.08 million users in our country alone, the importance of Facebook in marketing strategies cannot be ignored.
Most businesses in Romania already use Facebook promotion, and the number of accounts on this platform has grown considerably.
– You can make your business known;
– You can attract more customers;
– You can reach your target audience directly, without wasting money;
– You can promote your products or services simply and quickly;
– You can build a community that you interact with on a daily basis, creating a group;
– You have absolute control over the budget you allocate;
– You get a lot of user data;
– Communicate in real time with your business followers;
– You can provide customer support;
– Track campaign results in real time and adapt them as needed.
And by the way.
Facebook is one of the best tools you can use to find out valuable information about your customers: what they like, what they do, where they’re from, what they do in their spare time, what they prefer, where they go and other relevant details.
To do this, you have two methods available:
– Visit the “Insights” section of your page;
– Access the profile of people who interact with your page and see what they post, what places they visit, what interests they have, what causes they support and so on.
Use this information to understand your audience and offer them the products or services they need.
How does Facebook promotion work?
You can promote your business on Facebook in two ways: organic and paid.
Organic promotion means making a Facebook page and posting on it without paying.
This way, the post only reaches those who have liked your page.
Unfortunately, however, organic promotion doesn’t really work anymore.
Besides it’s hard to get people to like your page in the first place…
Only 5-10% of people who follow a page see its posts.
Fortunately, there are Facebook Ads – or paid ads.
Through these ads, you can reach anyone who has a Facebook account.
– You can build a community that follows your page;
– You can target your audience based on specific interests, interests, preferences or demographics;
– You can set different goals;
– You can create audiences;
– You can measure and analyse your results.
When is it good to use Facebook?
Facebook is a great platform for almost any business, including:
– Start-up businesses;
– Businesses that are already in business;
– B2B businesses;
– B2C businesses;
As a rule, you should use Facebook to promote:
– New products or services that people haven’t heard of before;
– Products such as: clothes, jewellery, cosmetics, toys, electronics and appliances, furniture and other household products, gadgets, courses, books, etc;
– Local businesses: restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, shops, leisure areas;
– Events (cultural, sports, entertainment).
… and more.
Facebook is a primary marketing channel used by many businesses, but it’s not the only one.
Effective promotion is generally done on several channels at once.
We talk about this below in the article.
But until then… let’s see how the second super popular social media platform works: Instagram.
Promoting on Instagram
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a social network that focuses on visual content. Specifically, images and videos.
In January 2020, almost 20% of the population of Romania was using Instagram.
This platform is considered the second most important after Facebook.
– You can get your business noticed;
– You can attract more customers, including customers different from those on Facebook;
– You can promote your products to an audience interested in discovering new services or products. A study shows that 60% of platform users search for and discover new products on Instagram;
– You can use images or videos posted by your customers to promote your business;
– You enjoy low costs;
– You promote your business on a platform that dominates in terms of engagement, with Instagram being the platform where people react most to posts and ads.
How does promotion work on Instagram?
Promoting on Instagram requires a bit more attention and involvement from a visual and creative point of view.
This is where the way your profile and page feed looks matters.
For promotion on Instagram, you need to keep 4 things in mind:
– Always post quality content;
– Use representative and popular hashtags;
– Always check the resolution and post only high-quality images and videos;
– Set a specific theme and filter for the content you will use.
As with Facebook promotion, promotion on Instagram can be organic or paid.
Organic promotion works a little better than Facebook if you use the right hashtags.
When is it good to use Instagram?
Because of the content and creative side, Instagram is not for every business. In general, Instagram is used for B2C businesses.
The most suitable areas for promotion on Instagram are:
– Business development.
What is e-mail marketing?
E-mail marketing is a direct communication channel through which we keep in touch with our audience.
Why e-mail marketing?
If the above methods help you attract customers, e-mail marketing helps you keep in touch with them.
Using e-mail marketing:
– You can promote your business;
– Your message reaches everyone;
– You have the option to personalise offers and send them only to certain people;
– You have control over communication with your audience;
– You enjoy very low costs;
– You can have a high open rate and your message can be read by a lot of people;
– You have the option to automate the process;
– You can increase your sales.
How does email marketing promotion work?
First, you’ll need to build a subscriber list and choose an email marketing platform.
You can build your subscriber list using Facebook, blog, newsletter subscription forms, contests and free courses or webinars.
When is it good to use email marketing?
Basically anytime. No matter what type of business you’re in.
Direct communication via email is one of the most powerful methods of online marketing.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is about creating and distributing content that provides value to people on the internet.
For example, quality blog posts that answer people’s questions and solve a problem.
Content marketing also includes:
– Images and more.
Why content marketing?
– Get your business known;
– You enjoy very low costs;
– You get your audience’s attention;
– Attract more customers;
– You get more visibility and notoriety;
– Create long-term relationships with your customers;
– Increase your sales;
– Differentiate yourself from the competition.
How does content marketing promotion work?
Well… quite simply.
You give people quality content and they will start to consider your business and buy.
The first steps in creating a content marketing strategy is to set your goals, understand who you are targeting and what needs these people have.
Then you need to provide them with the solution in the form of a post, blog article or other relevant material:
– easy to read;
– free of grammatical errors;
When is it good to use content marketing?
In short, all the time.
No matter what type of business you’re in and what stage you’re at.
It can bring you a lot of benefits without too much cost.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation – or search engine optimisation – is the process by which a website rises in search engine results.
This is a technique closely related to content marketing.
Using SEO, content created and posted on your website can be discovered much more easily by potential customers.
– Because it’s completely free;
– It gets you quality traffic;
– It gets your business noticed;
– You differentiate yourself from the competition.
Unlike other methods of internet marketing, SEO attracts people who are interested in your content.
How does SEO promotion work?
First, you need to build a website. Then, you’ll need to:
– Submit your site to search engines;
– Submit a sitemap to Google;
– Make sure the site is indexed;
– Optimise pages and content;
– Post consistently.
When is it good to use SEO?
You should invest in SEO all the time.
It is an extremely useful, cheap and effective tool that works.
What is Google Ads?
Google Ads is a tool offered by Google to promote your business online.
Google Ads promotion refers to the ads that appear above the organic results when we search for something on Google.
Why Google Ads?
– Increase the visibility of your business;
– Attract new customers;
– You get fast results;
– You can target a lot of people;
– Learn useful information about your customers from analytics;
– You can measure and analyse your results;
– Control your budget.
Plus, everyone uses Google. Including your potential customers.
How does Google Ads promotion work?
Well, quite simply.
– You identify the keywords people use when they search for your business;
– You create ads that are shown when someone searches for the keywords you’ve identified;
– If someone clicks on your ad, you pay a certain amount to Google. If not, you pay nothing.
Sounds good, right?
When is it good to use Google Ads?
Invest in Google ads when:
– There are a large number of searches for your products or services;
– Competition on keywords is not very high.
For example, if there are a lot of searches for pink New Balance sneakers in Bucharest and you have this product in your online shop, it is worth investing in Google Ads.
If you have a new product or service that there are no searches for and people haven’t heard about, this method won’t help you very much.
What is influencer marketing?
An influencer is a well-known person, followed by a very large number of people, who has the power to influence the public.
Influencer marketing – or influencer marketing – involves a company working with one or more online influencers to promote its available products or services.
Why influencer marketing?
You’re probably wondering why you would pay someone to promote your products.
Well, one study shows that 40% of people surveyed bought products online after seeing them in influencer campaigns.
What’s more, only 1% of millennials trust commercials.
In contrast, 33% say they trust reviews on blogs and YouTube from influencers.
– You get your business known in a very short time;
– Attract customers interested in your products or services;
– Gain credibility and trust for your business;
– Your message reaches more people;
– You enjoy low costs;
– You get more sales;
– You can attract other important collaborations.
How does influencer promotion work?
– You set some goals you want to achieve;
– Identify relevant influencers in the field;
– You get in touch with them and establish how the campaign will run;
– Close the collaboration;
– You enjoy the results.
When is it good to use influencer marketing?
Preferably when you already have an online presence.
Influencer marketing is almost useless if you don’t have a website, a blog, social media accounts and other materials that can be used in your campaign.
At the same time, if there are no influencers relevant to the field or niche in which your business operates, you probably shouldn’t use this internet marketing channel.
How to get started with internet marketing in 5 easy steps
Identify your online marketing goals
Often, people start online marketing without knowing exactly what they are aiming for.
We hear that promoting on Facebook or Instagram works, so we start investing in these platforms without having clear goals.
And when things don’t work and we lose money… we don’t understand why.
Well, here’s how you should proceed if you want things to work:
Analyze the situation your business is in
This is where you need to figure out where your business is at.
– What needs do your customers have?
– What is required in that market?
– What exists in your product or service portfolio?
– What should you add or drop?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have an idea of where your business stands.
Set your business goals
Let’s mention at the outset, so there is no confusion: business goals are not the same as marketing goals.
Business goals are the goals of your business.
Marketing goals are the goals you set to promote your business and achieve your business objectives.
For example, a business objective might be to expand into a new market or to develop a new product or service.
Try to be as specific as possible when setting a goal and remember: all goals must be directly related to business growth.
Set your online marketing goals
To be effective, your online marketing goals must also be specific and realistic.
For example, if you want to get more traffic, it’s not enough to just set that goal.
Instead, try this approach: if I now have 3000 monthly blog views, in the next 3 months I want to get 10,000 views.
This will help you make a tailored online marketing strategy for your business and measure the results much better.
This whole simplified, realistic and effective approach is derived from growth hacking, the concept behind the growth of the world’s most popular startups.
In addition, to set goals, we use another approach from growth hacking that is called the “North Star Metric” or “One metric that matters”.
In English, it’s one metric you can improve to grow your business.
This metric can be:
– Monthly revenue growth;
– Increase the number of page views on your website;
– Increase the number of newsletter subscribers;
– Increase the number of active users, etc.
– The indicator can refer directly to sales or to a factor influencing sales.
Now that you know how to set your internet marketing goals…
Establish who your customers are
The next step you should take is to get to know your customers.
Understanding your customer is a crucial aspect that many of us ignore, not realizing its importance.
If you haven’t established who your customers are by now, we recommend you do.
Try answering the following questions:
– Who are my customers?
– What are their needs?
– Where is the customer’s attention?
If you’ve already profiled your ideal customers and have had a few customers buy, you should take a look at Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and industry groups or forums.
They’ll help you understand what people prefer, what they miss, where they spend their time or what they’re looking for.
You’ll be surprised how much useful information you can learn if you do these things.
Analyse the competition
This will help you to:
– Find out what they are investing their resources in;
– Figure out how they attract customers;
– See where their website traffic is coming from;
– See what online marketing strategies they use and how they communicate with customers;
– Figure out what they’re missing and how you can differentiate yourself.
Start by researching keywords related to your business.
Write down the names of your competitors and start analyzing the content on:
– Site (you can use SimilarWeb to see traffic details);
– Social media accounts (what they post, how they interact with people, what ads they make)
– Blog (what kind of content they post, how often, what topics they cover)
… or other channels they use.
See what strategies they adopt and how you can differentiate yourself!
Identify the best promotion channels for your business
Promotion channels are divided into:
We talked earlier about the main channels that work in Romania.
The question is… how do you choose the right ones for your business?
Well, it all depends on your goals and the needs of your business.
If you have a B2B business, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google or email marketing will certainly suit you.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a big budget, you should probably try content marketing, Facebook or Instagram.
10 internet marketing strategies that cost you (almost) nothing
1. Always write texts, articles and advertisements in the “language” of your customer
What does this mean?
If you know what your customers look like, where they come from and how they behave, you should be able to work out what ‘language’ they use.
Whether it’s a common, everyday language, or specific or technical words and phrases…
The human needs to clearly understand your message.
As far as possible, use the words your customers use.
Copy words and phrases they use on social media, in messages they write to you or on your website.
– People easily understand what you want to convey;
– It costs you nothing;
– Customers react much faster to your messages and take the action you want (click, buy, read on);
– They remember you more easily;
– You give them a sense of trust;
– They feel they resonate much better with your business;
– It’s easier for you to write copy, ads and other materials.
2. Start a blog
If you have a business and want to enhance its online presence without too much cost, a blog may be the right solution for you.
– People discover your business much more easily;
– You get more traffic;
– Your site ranks higher in Google;
– It doesn’t cost you much;
– You attract more customers;
– You have the power to educate people;
– You can become an authority in your field;
– You cultivate trust;
– Provide value to readers;
– You build a list of newsletter subscribers that you can exploit later.
3. Start a podcast or write an ebook
Podcasts and ebooks are probably the newest forms of content marketing.
Making a podcast could be a great way to make your business stand out and differentiate yourself from the competition.
– You get your business noticed;
– You attract more customers;
– You provide value to people;
– It costs you next to nothing;
– You differentiate yourself from the competition;
– You can embed them on your blog;
– Educate customers about your products or services;
– You cultivate trust.
4. Use testimonials and highlight positive reviews
People buy when they trust a company.
– It costs you nothing;
– You cultivate trust;
– You make your business known;
– You attract customers;
– Encourage people to buy from you.
Ask people who buy from you for a testimonial about their experience with your business.
Encourage them to leave reviews.
Always write that their opinion is very important to you.
Whether it’s a review, video, audio or text testimonial, share it on all the channels you communicate with people.
5. Create a unique experience for your customers: adapt and improve your website
The experience users have when interacting with your website is extremely important.
Specifically, we mean:
– Loading speed;
– Adaptation for desktop and mobile;
– Ease of use;
– Data security.
– Attract more customers;
– You don’t risk having people leave the site because of the design or long loading times;
– People interact more with the site, which is why your shopping cart might increase;
– You’re more likely to get a person to buy from the site;
– You provide a professional customer experience;
– You get more traffic.
6. Try a referral program!
You’ve probably heard of Revolut and their referral program by now.
Maybe you even participated in it when it was that crazy at the beginning.
When they launched in Romania, Revolut created a campaign where anyone who signed up on Revolut and invited a friend… got 50 lei (RON).
Both he and the friend he recommended.
In this way, Revolut managed to get their business known in a very short time and attract a lot of customers.
You can do the same for your business!
Build a personalized referral system using this template.
– Get your business known quickly and easily;
– You attract a lot of customers;
– You invest in a way to grow your business;
– It doesn’t cost you much;
– You can measure results.
DropBox used a similar strategy.
7. Organise a giveaway and try Facebook live
Contests are among the most popular and effective ways to get traffic and engagement on social media.
– You make your business known online;
– You get traffic or engagement;
– It can generate hundreds or even thousands of potential customers;
– It doesn’t cost you much;
– It’s easy to implement;
– Attracts lots of people;
– You grow your list of followers or contacts;
– You promote your business through customers the customers you already have.
A very important thing here is quality.
To be effective, you need to organise a viral giveaway.
It’s not enough (or even in line with Facebook policy) to tell people to like and share.
You need to adopt a strategy that gets people to invite their friends, send them messages and mass distribute posts.
For example, you can give participants more chances to win if they take various actions: subscribe to the newsletter, share the story, follow on Instagram and so on.
Remember though – don’t make a lot of requirements for participation.
Ideally, ask people to do a maximum of 2 actions to be eligible to enter, and then tell them they can do other actions for extra chances.
When doing the draw, try using Facebook Live.
This will grab the attention of your followers and get them to enter the page.
8. Create one newsletter per week!
If you have a list of subscribers, you can create a weekly newsletter about the latest news from your company!
– It costs you nothing;
– It’s easy to do;
– You inform your customers about the latest products or services;
– You remind them of your business;
– You keep the interaction going;
– Provide value;
– You can measure results.
Create informative, friendly and personalised text.
Include details about offers, products and services, but don’t overdo it.
The whole idea is to make people feel like you’re trying to sell them something.
Here, the goal is to interact and remind them that your business is there.
In time, they will end up buying from you.
9. Call on micro-influencers
If your company is just starting out and you don’t have a big budget, a micro-influencer campaign could be extremely useful.
As mentioned above, people trust public people and consult their reviews and opinions before buying.
A micro-influencer is an early stage influencer who is active locally and has between 5000 and 100,000 followers.
It doesn’t have as many followers as an established influencer, but it can help your business without much cost.
– You make your business known online;
– You get traffic or engagement;
– It can generate hundreds of potential customers;
– Costs you next to nothing;
– You attract a lot of people;
– You enjoy the trust of potential customers.
You can run a campaign with a micro-influencer for which you can reward them with products or samples from your store, invitations to events, a weekend in the mountains or other free products and services.
In return, they could promote your business in various ways:
– Reviews or unboxing;
– Blog posts;
– Sponsored posts.
All without much cost.
10. Use retargeting
This strategy refers to the fact that you can show ads to people who have already interacted with your business.
For example, if a person came to your website and looked at your products but didn’t buy… you can get them to buy using a retargeting campaign.
Basically, you’re reminding them that you’re there and that you have those products in stock.
– You remind people that your business exists;
– You greatly increase your chances of those people buying from you;
– It costs you much less than a new customer campaign;
– You can measure results.
Businesses that have implemented this strategy have seen an immediate difference.
Bonus: 5 free internet marketing tools that will make your life easier
Hotjar is a tool that allows you to see what users are doing on your site.
– It is intuitive and easy to use;
– See where people come to your site from;
– Notice if there are errors;
– See what users do, what they click on, where they leave the site;
– Learn customer behaviour and what expectations they have: maybe they want to click on an image where you don’t have a link, maybe they expect to see more information about a product, maybe they read a lot of reviews. Whatever it is, you just have to learn.
Traffic on a website: how do you grow and measure it once you’ve chosen the right domain name, have a good structure, the design is right, and you’ve already uploaded your first products? What’s left for you to do to start selling?
We answer all your questions in the lines below. Are you ready?
Just like a physical, brick & mortar store, a website that isn’t visited is dead. No visits:
An online store doesn’t sell and a brand doesn’t grow.
People won’t book your services (if you have, for example, a dental practice).
You won’t generate revenue from AdSense (Google’s advertising app where website owners can sign up for the program and display text, image or video ads on their personal websites) if your business model is monetizing content and website traffic.
There are several traffic sources you can use, each with advantages and disadvantages. And not all types of traffic will be equally good for your goals. But in order to sustainably increase traffic to your site and make sure you get the visits you need, you need to know how to properly measure the volume and quality of each traffic source.
That’s exactly what we explain in this article: how to measure and bring quality traffic to your website. Shall we get started?
How do you measure traffic on a website?
The vast majority of visits will come from people: users who are looking for a product/service you offer and come to your site.
But there is also a minority of visits made by bots, i.e. non-human, automated visits that come to perform certain actions on your site.
For example, a Google bot will come to read and index the pages of your website and then display them when someone searches. The good news is that Google Analytics automatically filters traffic coming from bots.
There are several ways to measure the number of visits to a site, the sources from which they come and their quality. Some sites still use plugins that display the number of hits to a page, such as Stat Counter. This is more of a vanity metric, i.e. a metric that, apart from stroking your ego, doesn’t help you with anything else.
The number of page views tells you nothing about who is visiting you and what they are actually doing on your site, nor how much and how profitably you are selling. Other domains use advanced tracking solutions, such as Adobe Analytics, but these are harder to install and quite expensive.
The easiest way to measure the traffic coming to your site and its quality is to install a tracking solution. Our recommendation is to use Google Analytics. Google Analytics is the most popular and easiest to install solution to measure a website’s traffic.
Plus, it has the advantage of being compatible with other Google platforms (Google Ads, Google Data Studio, etc.) and it’s free. It’s important to not only install Google Analytics but also to define conversion events and set up e-commerce tracking correctly so that you know exactly what value each channel brings you.
What are the main traffic sources you can use? We’ve seen why you need traffic and how to measure it. We’ve left the best for last: how to bring quality traffic to your site. The main sources that can bring you visits and conversions are:
Referral and affiliate
How to measure traffic on a website
Let’s take each one individually and see how we can use them for what we care about: more traffic and more sales:
Organic Traffic or so-called SEO
We’re talking about people doing a Google search. Google displays your site in the organic results (i.e. without you paying for it) and the user clicks through to your site.
Among the advantages of this traffic is that it is “free”. I put it in quotation marks because, ok, you don’t pay for every click that lands on your site, but there is still a cost: doing SEO optimization, creating quality content, maybe even getting good backlinks. Another advantage to keep in mind is that this type of traffic often performs very well: low bounce rate, high conversion rate.
A disadvantage is that traffic and results don’t come immediately. If your domain is competitive you might need months of work without direct results. If you need to sell fast and your online store is new you can’t rely on this traffic channel.
Here we are talking about paid campaigns through Google or Facebook Ads. You create the ad, pay the money and the visits start coming. But the visits are not free because you pay for every click you get.
The advantages of this channel are that, done correctly, campaigns bring conversions and sales in a short time and there are no high barriers to entry. Yesterday you set up your online shop, today you start campaigning and can record your first conversions. Whereas with organic traffic, it takes optimization work to bring in enough traffic to get conversions.
The main disadvantage is the cost. All visits are paid. If you run out of budget the campaigns stop and you have no visits and no conversions. In addition, the trend in the market is for the cost per click to increase.
Facebook, Instagram, Tik-tok, few people don’t use at least one social network. If people use a social network, it means there is also an opportunity to generate traffic for your domain. Social networks can help you create a strong brand and build a loyal community around it. Also, compared to other traffic channels, here you can also communicate directly with visitors. For example, some companies use their Facebook page to answer questions from potential customers.
But there are products/services that you cannot promote effectively on Social Media. If you sell industrial equipment, a campaign on Tik Tok may not work, because the purchasing managers of the companies that can buy your products are probably not watching challenge videos on Tik Tok, but are on site to see the product requirements.
The email is kind of like Jon Snow from Game of Thrones: there was so much talk for so long that he was going to die, then that he died, that it was over with, when in fact there was no such thing. Despite the negative predictions of many who say email marketing is dead, in fact emailing is as healthy and vibrant as ever. And it’s a channel that can yield great results provided you build a quality email address base and send well-constructed newsletters. Not infrequently this channel’s conversion rate is the best of all you can call on.
But not all is rosy here either. The main difficulty lies in building the address database. This can take months and may be time you don’t have. In addition, since GDPR the rules are much stricter, you can’t, for example, rent other people’s email databases.
Referral or affiliate traffic
The principle is simple: another site sends traffic to your domain. If it does so organically, without any agreement between you or payment, then that traffic is called a referral. If you pay something and have a formal agreement with that site, the visits from there will go into the affiliate category. Of course, no one is stopping you from moving a site from the first to the second category.
One advantage of this type of traffic is that you generally only pay for what you actually care about, which is conversions. The more conversions you get, the more the cost of this channel will increase, but this is a good thing because you are also profitably increasing your turnover.
But it’s not easy to find good affiliate partners and they may ask for discounts or exclusive offers to promote you. All this can eat into your margin.
I left direct traffic behind because it is a result of the efforts you make to increase traffic on other channels and create awareness in the market. Direct traffic comes when people have already visited your domain, memorized it and were interested enough to come back for another visit. You can’t have direct traffic if you don’t already have enough traffic from other channels and have not created positive interactions with your brand.
This source of traffic often comes with the advantage of a good conversion rate. If the person is motivated enough to come back for a second, third, etc. visit, they are more likely to be interested in what you offer and buy. It’s also why remarketing works better than first click campaigns.
But before you get to a good level of direct traffic you need to invest in your store’s notoriety and image, and already have enough traffic from other channels for people to get to know you.
So here are the main sources of traffic and how to make use of each. We’ll end the article with some practical tips to make sure you know how to build a strategy that will bring you quality, long-term traffic.
It’s no good depending on one channel. If the vast majority of your traffic is organic and Google makes an algorithm update that penalizes you, the negative impact can be dramatic. Likewise: if you only run paid campaigns and run out of budget, the tap on visits and conversions turns off and your website will suffer. So it’s good to grow more channels that bring you quality traffic.
Most likely you won’t be able to optimize your presence on all possible traffic channels. Each channel has its own specifics and, with limited time and human resources, you won’t be able to scale. That’s why you need to choose the ones that bring the best results and focus on them.
Another principle to keep in mind is to be present wherever your potential customers are. If your target audience is present in large numbers on Tik Tok, go to Tik Tok. Your competition is probably already there, don’t let them run wild.
Nothing in life is certain: no job, no paycheck, maybe even no friends.
We have to learn to adapt to any situation.
That’s why many people have either retrained professionally, changed jobs or even thought about starting a project related to their passions and hobbies. All the neurons of those who have suffered from the pandemic have been put to work to find new monetisation solutions.
If you fall into this category, you may have thought about starting a YouTube channel. Money is definitely being made. We see examples every day to confirm this. But how do you get started? What do you start with? What are the first steps? How does it work? We answer all your questions below, so stay tuned!
Find a subject you’re passionate about and know you’re good at
Have you ever worked for a client or on a subject that you didn’t like, at all? That made you procrastinate until you realized you only had one day left until the deadline?
If the answer is YES, then you know that task was far from the culmination of your potential. You only did it because it was an obligation.
So the first and most important step in opening a YouTube channel is to find a topic/passion/hobby that you like to talk about in class, that you never get bored of, that you like to look for news about and so on.
If you don’t know how to find your passion or subject that you are best at, take a step back and think about your childhood. Remember what you loved to spend your time on. Or think about the activity that brings you the most satisfaction and makes you forget that there is time or space. We’re also a bit poetic, as you can see.
That way you’ll know that the time you devote to your project won’t be a burden on you and that you’ll be truly engaged in what you’re about to do.
If you’re past this part you need to think about what category your YouTube channel content will fall into. As an idea, you should know that there are 3 big categories: education, personal promotion and entertainment. Ideally a channel should contain all 3 to reach as many users’ needs as possible, but let’s take them one at a time. Are you with us?
Education – this is where, for example, all how-to videos, documentaries, tutorials, product reviews or simply videos that teach you things on a specific topic fall into… Youtubers have realised the explorative potential of this category, so you’ll find it in most professionals in this field.
Personal promotion – this kind of content usually has a very limited audience, and that’s because the people who follow it either already know you or are clients and know your services. We’re not saying that personal promotion doesn’t have growth potential, we’re just saying that if you limit yourself to just that it will be very hard to reach impressive numbers on YouTube.
Entertainment – it’s no surprise that this type of content is the most successful and that’s because it’s easier to digest. However, we have to tell you that it’s much harder to create it. You’ll need to be constantly creative, make sure you’re always bringing something new to the audience, that it’s exciting for the user to watch, etc. This is where of course: vlogs, sketches, reaction videos, prank videos and more.
Understand who you’re making content for
Once you’ve chosen your topic and have an idea of what it’s going to look like, make sure you understand who the people who will be watching your videos are.
How old are they? Where are they from? What are they passionate about, what are their interests? What do they want to learn? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself to understand your target audience.
How do you do that? You can start with friends or acquaintances who are interested in your chosen topic. Ask them questions about what they would like to see in a video, consider why they like the topic, who they are, what their education is, where they come from and so on.
Go further and analyse their Social Media pages in detail. What do they share or like? What topics do they comment on, what groups are they in? In other words, do some Facebook stalking 😀
Another way is to get on Reddit, the app that gives users a much more niche experience about their topics of interest. There you’ll find very specific discussion topics, where users comment, contextualize, etc. So do a search on what you’re interested in and you’re sure to discover who they are and what people are looking for who are also passionate about the same topic.
Once you’ve answered these questions you can go on to search for people who have a YouTube channel on the same topic. In other words, analyse your competition. The process will help you better understand your target audience. What’s more, once you’re familiar with what the competition is doing you’ll be able to see what works for them and apply the same strategies to your project.
Answering these questions will help you to tailor your videos more easily, put better headlines (i.e. SEO), find some topics that are in high demand in a given time period. Also, you should know that YouTube money comes based on the number of views, so the target audience you’ll be making video content for will drastically influence the amount you’ll make.
If you’ve done the above, start testing. Make a video on a chosen topic, and then send it to friends who are interested in it and ask for feedback. Ask them questions and find out what they liked or didn’t like or if there were things they wanted to know more about. All these answers will help you make your next video better and more qualitative in terms of content.
Be personal and consistent
You’re clearly not going to invent the wheel and there are still N+1 people who have a YouTube channel on the same topic as yours. But how do you make your videos the ones that users are looking for when they’re interested in a topic? Well first of all, the most important thing is to be YOU, as you are you because nobody else is like you. Be original and authentic and don’t try to imitate anyone.
Austin Kleon wrote “How to steal like an artist” – a super cool book in which he explains in a very understandable way that there are no new ideas and that the secret is actually how you take an idea that has been used before and adapt it to your personality or the context you are in, whether we are talking about a client or Youtube channel. So our advice is to pick up the book and read it because you haven’t read anything in the last year anyway.
Because we’re very nice and sympathetic we’re also leaving you below with some links to some content creators on Youtube, who we think are doing a great job because they’re genuine and have managed to do something that 2000 others do otherwise. And they too have started from the bottom and ended up with hundreds of thousands and millions of subscribers.
Beyond that, you need to know that it’s also important to be consistent in what you do. For example, if you make one video on Monday and the next one in a month, your audience will most likely forget about you. So set yourself a schedule from the start. Our advice is if you started posting on Tuesday at 12, the next video should also be on Tuesday at 12. And not 5 weeks from now.
Also, we feel we owe it to you not to raise your expectations too high and to warn you that it will take a while for your YouTube channel to boom. We say from experience that you should expect a year of trial and testing before you end up with many, many organic views, so arm yourself with patience and mental strength. You will do it! Eventually.
Follow the mandatory Youtube steps
Nothing good in life comes quickly, and on that principle Youtube has some rules you have to follow before you can start monetizing: have at least 1000 subscribers and at least 4000 hours viewed on your channel. To give you an idea, for the 4000 hours viewed you need 60,000 views, give or take. That’s a good thing because it forces you to work constantly and reach your goal.
Also, if you tick all this off, when you start getting money you’ll definitely know what the job is all about, you’ll already know your target you’ll know what works and what doesn’t and you’ll have already evolved. Buuuun, once you tick these requirements, make yourself a Google AdSense account because through it you will receive money and, very importantly, become a Youtube partner.
In short, the Youtube Partner Program allows content creators to monetize their videos and share the profit Youtube makes through ads. Yes, those ads in the middle of a video that you spot. Basically, it’s a partnership whereby Youtube provides the platform to content creators who attract a sizable audience, which then leads to a profit split between you and Youtube.
Promote your content
Obviously, when you’re just starting out, the chances of anyone seeing your videos are pretty slim. So you need to start promoting, either organically on Social Media (share on Facebook, Instagram, tell a bit about your project etc) or sponsored, on Youtube, Facebook or other channels.
And here we come back to the importance of point 2: targeting. If you choose to promote your video you will have to do it smart and show it exactly to people who are interested in the topic you are talking about. You can do this from Facebook, Google or Youtube by choosing specific audiences based on age, location, interests etc.
Not everyone can afford to put money into promotion, so if you find yourself in this situation, for starters, our advice is to start organically and see what feedback you get. We guarantee you’ll have at least two views: your mother and girlfriend/boyfriend.
To make sure there are still people who will watch your videos you need to understand the algorithm on which Youtube works because their ultimate goal is to get people to stay on the platform as long as possible.
So that they get as many ads as possible.
To make as much money as possible.
Even though they have changed their algorithm several times, starting in November 2020, the most important things to keep in mind are:
How long do people watch a video after clicking on it?
Do they watch multiple videos after they’ve completed the first one?
So your content strategy needs to:
Make your subscribers want to click on the video and watch it to the end
Attract other people interested in the same type of content to, you guessed it, watch your videos
Sponsored promotion is a bit more complicated, so we reserve the right to do a special article on that.
Other things to keep in mind to have a great YouTube channel
Understand your performance indicators – from these you will extract the most relevant data that will help you create better content that will reach more people, and this is where you need to pay attention to:
Click-Through-Rate (CTR) – tells you how engaging the headlines and thumbnails you use are. That’s why you need to be very careful that the thumbnail tells a story right off the bat. Think of it as the first thing people see, and whether or not they click on the video depends on it. Also, the title should be cathartic, to make users curious. Test, test, test and once you find the best formula use it until the numbers start to drop. Then you’ll know you need to change something.
Average View Duration (AVD) – with this metric you’ll find out about the quality of your content, in other words, how long people look at the content you make, and the goal is obviously to get them to look as long as possible. How do you do this? With a good intro that grabs attention and curiosity in the first 5 seconds, but also with a follow up that answers all the things we talked about above.
Optimize – you understand what the indicators do, you’ve picked a title and thumbnail that work. Now the idea is to make it work even better
How do you do that?
Use playlists – create playlists based on content, name them attractively to speak to the topic and organise them as best you can
Use cards – cards are that YouTube feature and are used at the beginning or end of a video to promote other videos of yours.
Community Management – an aspect that many people ignore not realising how important it is, so start responding to comments you receive, even the negative ones. This will keep people coming back to your channel and commenting on even more videos because they feel part of your community. You can also use the comments to get feedback on questions that interest you, so you can find out what your strengths/weaknesses are, but also what content your target audience is looking for or what topics they want to hear more about.
Video description – I’ve already said a bit above how important SEO is in this whole thing. One way you can optimise and grow your YouTube channel is to use video description. This is where keywords come in again, which you can put as hashtags (no more than 10) to make sure someone who is interested in the topic gets to your video more easily. Also, if we’re talking about a short video you can transcribe all the text into the description. This will help you on the SEO side as well.
The thing is, YouTube is really a pretty big potential avenue for content creators, and the beauty is that you don’t have to be a star to make money with your videos. Success is all about being as original, as persistent and really liking what you do. Find a job that you love and you won’t have to work a day in your life. Yes, it’s cliché to end the article with a super famous quote, but it’s true and we love it 😀