You can’t expect rapid B2B SaaS growth while still hanging on to traditional marketing strategies that blow up your budget and don’t bring immediate results.
Understanding this makes increasingly more B2B marketers curious about growth hacking (or growth marketing). After all, with fewer expenses and, in some cases, even less effort, growth hacking allows you to run campaigns that reap results almost instantly.
I’m sure you have questions — I did too. But now that I’ve worked with it (and earned my imaginary “Growth Hacker” badge), I’m here to explain what growth hacking is and how you can effectively use it to feed your company’s growth. I’ll walk you through specific strategies, tactics, and examples you can follow, plus we’ll look into the growth hacking trends of 2023.
I’m ready. Are you?
Growth hacking is often referred to as growth marketing. You’ll even hear startups rave about growth hacking when they’re actually describing growth marketing.
Although both work toward the same goals, they are different approaches.
Growth hacking vs. growth marketing
Growth hacking means using creative and cost-effective strategies to stimulate rapid company growth. Growth marketing, on the other hand, requires investing in resource-intensive solutions to promote enduring growth.
While growth marketing banks on long-term strategies, growth hacking uses shortcuts to achieve quick results.
SEO optimization, inbound marketing, content planning, and building backlinks fall under growth marketing. At the same time, creating viral content, retargeting, app integrations, and referral programs belong in the growth hacking category.
Now that we’ve cleared that out, it’s time to take out your notepads: I’ll be talking about the strategies most commonly used in growth hacking.
Though there are plenty of strategies that take growth hacking from concept to reality, I fancy these five for their efforts-results ratio.
A prime way to get the word out about your product is to encourage subscribers to send out network invitations, informing others about the solution and encouraging them to give it a try. This makes sense because people in the same network are likely to come from the same industry and be just as interested in what you have to offer.
Of course, enticing people to make extra effort means that you need to do as much work as you can for them. So why not create templates they can easily share on social media or email to their contacts? Speaking of sharing through social networks...
The key here is to craft content that’s so engaging your audience would want to spread it on their own. It has to offer real value and strike a chord with your users. And, of course, the content must be related to the solution you’re offering and should set you apart as an authority or thought leader (I know, such a buzzword. But thought leadership does work like a charm in B2B SaaS marketing).
Ebooks, webinars, tweets, and even memes are particularly effective for generating B2B leads. But if you want to make them more shareable, make the content easy to embed and include share buttons wherever needed. Think of articles that already have the finest snippets ready to be tweeted with hashtags.
A nice approach is to write an article and convert it into other forms of content. This way, you’ll have a rich array of resources your audience can turn to for guidance when making their buying decision.
APIs and app integrations
If your SaaS complements other apps, you can explore opportunities for APIs and app integrations. For example, Leadfeeder integrates with LinkedIn to provide not just information on who visits your website but also actionable insights for your digital marketing team.
Businesses always welcome new ways to optimize their apps’ functionality, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you feel you’ve got something to contribute. On your end, you’ll benefit from their apps’ user base, shared data, and increased brand awareness.
A free version of your product
Free trial offers are particularly important in the B2B world, where you have to wade through a web of decision-makers before a purchase can happen. Give them the opportunity to see your product in action, test and measure its results and ROI.
Regardless of the pricing, you’re more likely to win over paying clients with a freemium model. You know, give them access to all the features of your SaaS but for a limited time. And when the time is up, they will be eager to sign up for the paid version to keep enjoying your services. If they really like the product, of course.
Another growth hacking strategy is to provide basic features for free and offer the more advanced ones at a premium subscription. Here’s a tip: offer the services necessary to make users appreciate your solution, but also ensure it’s limited enough that they’d still want to go for the paid version.
It’s human to trust the recommendations of friends and peers. And that’s why referral marketing is better at customer acquisition than online ads and impersonal sales pitches combined.
I find referral programs a great growth hacking approach. But to do it right, remember to offer incentives that are truly attractive to your customer base. And, of course, provide stellar user experience so you can cultivate true advocates.
Take a cue from Dropbox, which in 2017 saw a user growth of 3,900 percent after only 15 months of offering free cloud storage for every friend who joins and downloads the app. I realize that stat is basically an artifact by now, but that doesn’t take away the fact that referral programs work. Leadfeeder also enjoys the benefits of a referral program that offers a $100 reward for every successfully converted customer.
Five growth hacking strategies down, and lots of useful information to go. Let’s dig even deeper into the growth hacking process and learn from the companies that have become avid growth hackers.
So, how can your marketing department become the dream growth team for your company? Watch and learn.
Create shareable content
Yes, I’ve already mentioned the importance of making shareable content, but here, I want to give you tips that go beyond long-form articles that drive content marketing and ramp up your long-term SEO game.
You want content that has the potential to go viral or at least spread fast because it captures the attention and interest of your target audience. Here’s how I would prepare for creating shareable content:
Study what’s being shared right now. This requires competitive research. Pick five of your biggest competitors, then study what they’re creating and how their audience is responding. Look back at the pieces of content they’ve created for the past six months, and take note of those that have gotten high engagement. Create your own versions of the successful pieces, and make them 10x better.
Tap into the power of storytelling. Because they’re relatable and easy to follow, stories do a great job of catching people’s attention. And they tend to stick. Craft your own stories that show how you can solve the same problems your target audience is grappling with. Or at least show that you share the same values and principles.
Make your content useful. Create content that offers real value to your audience. Think about a question or problem your customers commonly struggle with, then provide in-depth answers or solutions. Avoid fluff, and focus on specific items or steps instead. Make sure the content is as readable or easy to consume as it is informative.
Capitalize on trending topics. Tackle topics that are already capturing the attention of your target audience. For instance, trends like four-day working weeks can be an interesting topic for B2B companies offering productivity tools. You can use Google Trends and a quick browse through social media channels for hints on what people find interesting.
Go for formats that are easy to share. Here are some specific types of content that are highly shareable:
In-depth tutorials or how-to articles. Nothing offers more value than content that shows people how to accomplish a task or solve a problem. Think of the most common issues or scenarios and try to cover them, preferably in bite-sized videos.
Expert interviews. People love learning from experts and hearing what they have to say on certain topics or issues. Invite successful entrepreneurs for interviews and become the hub for the top SaaS advice. New products? Product-market fit? When people have questions about them, you’ll be their source for answers.
Product reviews. How often do you make purchases without first checking what people online have to say about them? I’m not just talking about e-commerce businesses; the B2B market also depends on reviews and referrals since the investment is bigger. So make sure you have product reviews people can easily find and share.
Statistics. People can’t resist a collection of statistics that say a lot about a specific industry or topic. You don’t have to come up with your own stats or do your own research, though. Simply gather figures from credible sources and present them in an easy-to-browse format. And don’t forget to cite your sources.
Case studies. They’re persuasive because case studies show a real-life account of your product in action. Just like you see a smartwatch on your colleague’s wrist and think you want one too, case studies show your potential clients how you’ve helped companies like theirs, so they’ll want in on the experience.
Top x lists. These lists never fail to spark people’s curiosity, and they’re easy to digest. But be sure to make your own lists stand out with unique and well-researched topics and items.
Infographics. Data-driven visuals are hard to resist. So, it’s no surprise that infographics can increase website traffic. Actually, it’s said that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text and that 65% of your audience are visual learners. You can either make your own infographics or embed existing ones into your articles — both are good for effective growth.
Videos. Did you know that people are twice as likely to share videos than any other type of content? Videos are so effective that 87 percent of marketers report positive ROI from them, and 86 percent claim they’re effective for generating leads. So make sure to include one or two in your marketing campaigns.
Slideshow presentations. They’re especially useful if you want to discuss a complex topic without overwhelming your audience. You can create presentations on Slideshare and add them to your blog posts or share them on your social media channels for increased visibility.
If it seems like crafting shareable content is a lot of work, that’s because it is. But boy, are you going to enjoy the results!
Be active on LinkedIn
You must build a strong presence on LinkedIn, the social media for B2B companies. After all, this is where people hang out for professional reasons. Sponsored updates on LinkedIn are particularly effective for boosting content. This advertising solution allows brands to promote to specific people by defining the post’s audience using criteria like job function, industry, and location.
For example, Kalibrr, a job search app, boosts the shareability of its content by engaging HR influencers on LinkedIn.
A thriving LinkedIn presence will help your growth hacking for B2B succeed. Here are some tips to boost your network:
Know your audience. Always remember that people act differently on LinkedIn than they do on other social media channels. They usually go to LinkedIn with specific objectives and don’t hang around for too long. This means your content should be straight to the point and packed with value. On top of that, it should be highly targeted to catch the attention of time-strapped professionals.
Make the right impression. Just as you dress sharp for professional settings, your company page on LinkedIn should be presentable. Your company description should be well-written, and the images should be high-quality.
Actively engage with groups. One of the most valuable resources on LinkedIn, groups let you connect with professionals from the same industry. Take the time to post content and comment on the posts submitted by others.
Much of your success on LinkedIn depends on earning the trust of your peers by positioning yourself as a thought leader. So don’t forget to consistently invest your time and your best thoughts into it.
Making your product customizable is a great way to attract users. Project management software ClickUp demonstrates this with its fully-customizable features that cater to a wide range of projects and workflow preferences. This versatility, among other perks, has enabled ClickUp to grow into the leading player in the field of project management software.
Be open to personalization
Approximately 84 percent of customers expect personalized communication from brands. This means companies need to pay closer attention to every customer touchpoint. From the sign-up process to your follow-up emails, you must address your customers in a personal manner. Tools like MailChimp and Intercom can help you make this happen. It also helps to personalize your landing pages and use dynamic ads.
Brainshark, a sales enablement platform, took personalization to the next level with in-trial messages. To increase the likelihood of freemium users converting to paying clients, they worked with a third-party vendor to deliver personalized messages to existing users within the product interface and directly on their website.
The personalized messages dramatically boosted engagement, increased registrations by 15 percent, and contributed to over $1.1 million of sales pipeline growth.
Your leads don’t always sign up on the first point of contact. But that doesn’t mean they won’t ever convert. In many cases, all it takes is an effective retargeting campaign.
You can use retargeting ads — an advertising model that targets people who have previously interacted with your app or website. For instance, you can start a campaign that displays ads to people who have visited your landing page but didn’t download your app.
All in all, these ads should aim to drive action. For instance, you can use ideas like offering discounts to those who’ll download the app within the day.
Growth hacking is all about getting quick results, so your campaigns should be just as fast-paced. Automation will help you make the most out of the available resources. There’s no shortage of tools to help you boost your teams’ productivity.
You can use Hootsuite or Later to automate your social media posts, Mailchimp to manage email marketing, Hubspot to track your tasks, Salesforce to enhance customer relationships, and Marketo to juggle multiple B2B leads.
Offer discounts and incentives
B2B companies can offer enterprise-wide incentives to convince clients to use their products. Time-limited offers are especially effective for getting decision-makers to move past their initial hesitation. Incentives can include discounts, extended free trial periods, discount vouchers, and merchandise.
For example, Dropbox convinced universities to promote its service by rewarding them with free gigabytes of space for every student and staff member that signs up.
Launch multi-touch campaigns
B2B decision-makers do their research before signing up for SaaS, so it helps to create an online omnipresence for your product. Think of the potential places your audience will go to for information, then make sure your brand is well represented on those platforms. You should provide ample company information on social media, business pages, and search engines.
Also, initiate a multi-touch campaign that ensures you’re interacting with your leads several times instead of a single one. This is the best way to create a subconscious bias toward your brand or fire up an otherwise lukewarm interest in your product.
Try A/B testing and landing page optimization
Power up your growth hacking marketing with high-converting landing pages. It’s not easy to predict which elements will make your landing page successful. So, to proceed with confidence, it helps to run A/B testing on different components of your page.
That is, you can compare the performance of two different versions of the landing page and see which one has better results. Pro tip: check one variable at a time, such as the header, social proof, or CTA.
Acronis, a data protection software vendor, is not only famous for its data backup solution. They’ve also turned heads with their well-designed landing page, which is particularly remarkable for its concise yet persuasive copy and clickable CTA buttons that stand out with their green color.
I know, I know, that was a lot of information. But I bet it was useful. Let’s finish on a futuristic note and see what growth marketing has in stock for us next year.
Don’t just copy other successful growth hacking strategies. Stay ahead of the competition by keeping up with the trends. Here are some growth hacking techniques to watch out for in 2023.
Personalization doesn’t seem to go out of style, and I’m not just talking about emails. In 2023, it’s time to set your eyes on your website and keep your pages dynamic. That is, tailor the content you display on the homepage based on the visitors’ demographics and previous behaviors or interactions with your website.
For example, you can display featured products that are related to the viewer’s previous purchases or personalize the dashboard, so it shows the client’s name. I know Google Analytics and Leadfeeder can help you with the data for that.
This level of personalization helps increase conversion rates, boost sales, enhance lead generation, foster customer loyalty, derive customer insights, and meet key metrics.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Account-based marketing entails narrowing down your focus and providing a unique approach for each account. It’s a balancing act of acknowledging you’re selling to an account while still providing the personalized interactions you would give individuals.
But remember to weed out less viable accounts early on. This way, you can streamline your campaign, personalize the buyer’s journey, and tailor your content for the fewer companies you’re targeting.
Gated content is becoming a thing of the past. It only prevents your prospects from taking a step that would have turned them into active leads. Besides, there’s now a better way to capture information about your website visitors.
Leadfeeder, our website tracking software, uncovers the wealth of information hidden in the dark of the funnel. It reveals buyer intent data that will help you with client targeting, conversion, onboarding, and retention.
Leadfeeder identifies which companies visit your website, monitors how many times they’ve returned to your site, tracks the specific pages they’ve browsed, and finds out which of their employees are checking you out.
A focus on product adoption
Your product still determines whether your campaign will succeed, so don’t lose track of what truly matters. Don’t just give out free trials for the heck of it; make sure your leads are actually getting satisfaction from the experience. It’s the only way you can get them to fully adopt the product and become a paying client.
You can rely on product adoption tools like UserPilot or Appcues to guide new users and help them see the value you’re offering.
Intentional website copy
Avoid writing a litany of your product features and specifications. Make sure your website content emphasizes the benefits of your products or the value you’re offering. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and gain a deep understanding of their needs, then communicate how you can meet them with your solutions.
Product review listing
As I said, B2B stakeholders do thorough research, and they put a lot of weight on social proof. So, make sure they’ll find convincing information about your company when they start digging.
Two particular platforms they’re bound to visit are G2 and Capterra. People rely on these software marketplaces to get honest feedback and thorough information from actual users of the products in question. These review sites are as effective as referral programs in gaining the trust of prospective customers and increasing conversion rates.
Companies that are new to the market need to properly use their resources. Early on, you should already keep your eyes on a level of B2B growth that will ensure the survival of your company. This means you need to complement your long-term marketing strategies with short-term tactics and growth marketing tools that bring in immediate results. The same holds true for companies that need a revenue boost.
Growth hacking supplements growth marketing in a way that creates a direct and tangible impact on your bottom line. It is most definitely worthy of your attention (and resources). And I hope that the information I laid out in this article will help you craft your best growth hacking campaign.
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