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What is growth marketing? - bolt
growth marketing

What is growth marketing?

Growing your business is the goal for any company owner. You want your business to gain brand awareness, strong customer relationships and increase revenue. An effective marketing strategy is the best way to achieve these goals – but which specialism of marketing is best for driving your business forward? Is it inbound, digital, growth, advertising, media or branding?

Growth is an area of marketing that on the surface seems quite broad, but actually involves distinct methods that differ from other marketing strategies. Growth marketing is particularly data-driven, led by results and focuses on providing value throughout the customer journey. If you’re interested in growth marketing you’ve probably come across the term ‘hacking’. Don’t be fooled by this word, there isn’t a hack or quick win for business growth. It takes time, effort, testing and implementation until you can generate leads successfully. Let’s look into growth marketing further.

How is growth marketing defined?

HubSpot defines growth marketing as “an integrated approach to growing your business and optimising your content marketing efforts through constant testing across marketing channels.” Growth marketers are constantly trying to find ways to best engage target audiences. This involves optimising content, social media, SEO, design and development to ensure the user experience is seamless and engaging.

It may seem intimidating to continuously test and optimise your marketing campaigns because there isn’t a specific project end date in mind. It’s about trying and trying again until you achieve the results you want. Traditional marketers can feel disheartened when a campaign doesn’t yield the engagement that was expected, but growth marketers are typically energised by this. Now you know that this particular strategy doesn’t work for your audience so you try again until you crack the one that does.

What does growth marketing involve?

The growth marketing process isn’t dissimilar to the traditional marketing process. It does, however, take a more step by step approach rather than a one size fits all solution. Growth marketers focus heavily on the specifics of each individual business and its target audience to truly understand the value that needs to be delivered to achieve engagement.

1. Evaluate your target audience and create buyer personas

The guiding stage that ensures you’re doing everything for the right reasons involves evaluating your target audience in detail. Your target audience is the people that will buy into your brand offering. If you already have a customer base then you can use this data to build your analysis. If you don’t have data already then you can make an educated decision based on your market research and competitor’s buyer personas.

You should then find out their likes, dislikes, challenges, pain points, motivations, goals, life stage, social media usage, if they use your competitors and why they use your product or service. It’s likely that patterns will emerge from this data so you can begin to develop buyer personas that categorise your core consumers. These personas should always guide your communications. You can keep referring back to them throughout the growth marketing process to make sure you’re solving the buyer’s challenges and delivering value.

2. Set realistic and achievable goals

It’s important that you set SMART goals that you can work towards that will form your marketing strategy. Without a clear aim in mind, your efforts will lack guidance and direction. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Your goals must be fully outlined to make sure you know when you’ve achieved it or not down the line.

An example of a SMART goal would be “To increase the amount of traffic to the blog page by 10% at the end of the month by increasing social media posting frequency from 5 to 10 times per week.” This is specific because it clearly mentions the focus on the blog page. It’s measurable because it defines website traffic which can be found using analytics. The goal is attainable because the percentage increase is 10% as opposed to 100%. It’s realistic because social media is an effective way to increase engagement and it’s time-bound by specifying the end of the month deadline.

3. Map your customer journey and create your strategy

This stage is how you’ll decide which growth tactics you want to execute at each stage of the customer journey. You need to map out the touchpoints that your buyer personas experience while interacting with your brand. From that very first impression to the retention stage long after you’ve closed a sale.

These touchpoints form your growth strategy and make sure you and your consumers know exactly what to do next to move through the customer journey. You can refine the delivery at each and every stage of the process by testing to learn which tactics are the most engaging and effective for your consumers.

4. Implement your growth marketing tactics

The growth tactics you implement are totally based on your SMART goals and what works for your target audience. From a content perspective, you can create blog posts or repurpose existing blog content. You can create video marketing and infographics that can be shared on your social media and link to your site to drive traffic.

Create different ways of achieving your SMART goals – there isn’t just one way to increase conversions or generate leads. All of your growth tactics integrate to build the entire customer experience. If one tactic doesn’t work for you after testing it for a period of time, ditch it and try another. There isn’t a one size fits all growth solution – it’s completely bespoke to your audience and business.

5. Measure, report and analyse

You should measure your actions as you implement them to make sure they’re performing well with your audience. Don’t wait until the end of your SMART goal before checking if something has worked. If a tactic has flopped and you’ve caught it in the early stages, you can amend this with optimisation or another one of your tests. Each tactic has a different metric so make sure you’re aware of what these are and where they can be pulled from.

The report should cover the metrics and data you’ve gathered from a range of sources to make sure you’ve covered all the relevant ground. Once you’ve compiled your report, analyse it with your team to see what went well, what didn’t perform as expected, which tests worked and which didn’t and what you can do better next time. These are invaluable insights that will shape the success of your growth as a business.

Growth marketing is a very particular way of working that’s not for everyone. Growth marketing teams tend to be very similar and need to work together seamlessly to achieve the results needed to grow the business. The key to growth marketing is testing and testing again. Be guided by your buyer personas and make sure you’re delivering value that solves their challenges. Provide communications and content at each touchpoint to keep them engaged. Gather data at every stage for the relevant tactics to make sure you know what is and isn’t working for your consumers. Implement different growth tactics until you find the ones that achieve your goals. Be focused, enthusiastic and you will be well on your way to successful business growth.

Written by: Laura Greenhalgh
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