B2B Growth Hacking Strategies for Small Businesses on a Limited Budget

As a marketer or small business owner, you might have heard the phrase “growth hacking” thrown around a lot lately.

It sounds sexy, but at its core growth hacking isn’t as fancy as it sounds. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.

You don’t need a lot of money for growth hacking and you don’t need to know anything about hacking – you simply need to forget everything you know about the old ways of marketing and open your mind to focusing only on tactics that impact growth.

What is Growth Hacking?

“Growth hacking” is a term coined by Sean Ellis that describes strategies and tactics which prioritize growth above all else.

You can keep up with all of the latest information on growth hacking at his website Growth Hackers. I also recommend reading Ellis’ new book Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success.

Another person who has experience with growth hacking that deserves your attention is Ryan Holiday. In the introduction of his bestselling book Growth Hacker Marketing, Ryan Holiday says:

 

A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable. Their tools are emails, pay-per-click ads, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money. While their marketing brethren chase vague notions like ‘branding’ and ‘mind share,’ growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth–and when they do it right, those users beget more users, who beget more users. They are the inventors, operators, and mechanics of their own self-sustaining and self-propagating growth machine that can take a start-up from nothing to something.

Growth hacking strategies focus on maximizing the efficiency of your time and money – both of which are essential for small businesses.

Growth hacking is more of a mindset than a tangible list of tactics. As long as you’re willing to test things out and make adjustments as you go, you’re already on your way to growth hacking your business.

Examples of Growth Hacking

Hundreds (if not thousands) of businesses have growth hacked their way to success in one way or another.

Let’s take a look at some of the most notable examples.

HubSpot is the company that practically invented Inbound Marketing and offers one of the most popular marketing software platforms. In addition to using the exact strategies they preach, they also growth hacked their way to the top by offering free tools for their potential customers that simultaneously promoted their brand.

This is a concept that has been copied with great success by many other businesses in a wide variety of industries.

The tool that catapulted their growth is Website Grader – a free tool where people can enter their website URL and email address then receive a free, comprehensive review of their website and how they can make improvements to reach more customers.

Website Grader assessed over 4 million websites between 2006 and 2011, resulting in millions of low-cost leads and thousands of new customers. (Source)

Another great example is how Dropbox used a timeless growth hacking strategy that many small businesses overlook to make their user base explode – a great referral program.

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That meant users on Dropbox’s free plan could upgrade from 2 GB of space to 16 GB without paying a dime for what was (and arguably still is) the best product of its kind. This strong incentive sparked rapid growth from word-of-mouth marketing.

Now that you know what growth hacking is, let’s take a look at some B2B growth hacking strategies that you can start using in your business today!

Two Strategies for Growth Hacking Your Content Marketing

Instead of relying on the media to cover your business, you must become the media by creating the content your potential customers want to see. Rather than buying magazine ads and television commercials, businesses today use blogs and YouTube videos to reach their customers.

Repurpose Content

Creating content takes a lot of time and paying other people to do it for you can be expensive.

That’s why you want to repurpose content as much as possible.

What does that mean?

It means you take content you’ve already created and reuse it in a meaningful way somewhere else.

For example, you might pull several quotes from a recent blog and use them to create beautiful Instagram posts. Then you can use those posts to promote the original blog post.

Another example is converting a sales presentation into a SlideShare that you can share on LinkedIn – one of the most powerful B2B marketing platforms.

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One last useful example is taking a series of blogs on your website and combining them to create an “Ultimate Guide” which you can either publish on your website or package as a free ebook that you use to generate leads.

HubSpot is a master of repurposing blog content to valuable guides that they use to generate leads:

Submitting and Accepting Guest Posts

The two content marketing challenges for small businesses are:

  1. Creating enough content to gain traction in search engines and on social media
  2. Getting exposure to your content from potential customers

Let’s talk about the second challenge first because it’s actually easier to get exposure right away than it is to create tons of content.

The quickest way to get attention to your business is to submit guest posts to major publications like Entrepreneur and Huffington Post or high-profile blogs in your industry.

Contrary to what most people think, it’s not very difficult to get these websites to publish your guest content because they are constantly under pressure to pump out more and more articles.

Which brings us to the growth hacking strategy that solves your content needs…

Inviting experts or influencers in your industry to post guest content on your website.

Once you have an audience, people will be more than happy to give you guest content for the same reason that you want to write a guest post for another website – more exposure to their brand!

Two Ways to Growth Hack a Massive Social Media Following

Social media is where it’s at for small businesses.

And don’t think that because you’re a B2B brand that you have to stick to LinkedIn. Social media is constantly evolving and many B2B companies are killing it on Instagram, Facebook, and even Snapchat.

Contests and Giveaways

Building your core following on social media is the most challenging part. Once you’ve got an engaged audience, they help spread the word about your brand for you.

But you’ve got to do something to capture your prospects’ attention, and one of the most effective ways to gain a lot of attention is by hosting a contest or giveaway.

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Most businesses require people to like or follow their various social media pages to enter a contest. They might also require people to share a specific social media post, tag someone in it, or anything else – feel free to get creative!

While these types of contests aren’t going to get you millions of followers overnight, it’s not unusual to gain thousands or tens of thousands, depending on your industry and what prize you’re offering.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a strong play right now, even for B2B brands.

At this point, every industry has influencers with the power to sway potential buyers in any direction they choose. In fact, social media personalities and niche experts are quickly replacing celebrity endorsements because the connection with their audience is so much stronger than most celebrities with their fans.

Influencer marketing is simply paying a high-profile person or brand in your industry to give your business page a shout-out or to promote your product to their audience.

Or in other cases, you can find a way to collaborate without paying a cent. Below is an example of how Marketo got influencers to contribute to their ebook, The Definitive Guide to Social Media Marketing.

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There are services you can use to connect with influencers or you can just reach out to them on your own. Either way, you will usually negotiate your terms with them and the prices vary.

If you’re strapped for cash, you should aim to work with influencers who are open to a deal where they promote your product or service and get a commission for the sales they make. There are plenty of influencers out there that are open to this sort of agreement.

Conclusion

Growth hacking is more of a mindset than a set of strategies. Anything that results in growth and requires little time or money from you is a growth hack.

Growth hackers are always testing and revising their strategies. Never make assumptions based on what you see other brands doing. Every business and their customers are unique.

For example, a free trial is one of the most popular growth hacks for sales. However, you’ve probably noticed that some B2B brands do a 7-day free trial, some offer 14 days, and many offer 30 days. The main difference is that brands will test different trial periods and find that one trial length converts more customers than the others.

Try to remember that growth hacking is a constant experiment. Don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t go as planned.

Test, adjust, and keep moving forward!