27 Inexpensive Marketing Hacks for Fast Growing Startups
In most companies, marketing is a major driver for business growth.
While most people would nod their heads and agree with that sentence, most early-stage startups might see this differently.
Because early-stage startups do not have the budget to feed the marketing beast as marketing can easily be the most costly item on your expense sheet.
So what can you do now when your marketing budget is tight?
You have to find marketing growth hacks for your startup.
To make it easy for you to navigate through this article, I created the following navigation. If you want to jump to a part that interests you more, you can do it with one click.
In search of a solution to inexpensively grow your business, you might be asking yourself questions like:
How can I grow my business with a limited marketing budget?
What are some inexpensive marketing tactics that I can use to better connect with my customers and provide them with more value?
What are some specific marketing hacks that will help our company to: get more website traffic?; Increase website conversions?; Prepare my customers for additional purchases?; or generate a steady stream of customer referrals?
There are many inexpensive marketing hacks that early stage startups and fast-growing companies can use.
The challenge I see with many marketing teams, small or big, is knowing what marketing tactics to prioritize first.
A helpful formula that will assist you in deciding which ideas you should use first is categorizing them based on the following criteria:
Impact. What impact do you expect this marketing idea to have on your overall goal?
Confidence. How confident are you that this idea will work?
Ease. How technical is the implementation of this idea? How many people will you need to get it done?
The next step is to score each criterion from 0-10. The ideas with the highest scores are your priorities.
Here Are Some Inexpensive Marketing Hacks That You Can Implement Tomorrow.
***Fair disclaimer*** I am a practitioner of all the tactics listed below.
Of course, your results may vary because the nature of your business and your target audience may differ from mine.
I grouped all the examples below in a way that is similar to how most marketers tend to think about various marketing disciplines. Each example includes the results from my own experience, which you can expect when implementing these marketing hacks.
Website Improvements Hacks
A beautifully designed and highly converting website should be a standard for every online business. Don’t forget that your website is primarily judged by your users, not by yourself. Typically, people like websites that are intuitive, fast, informative and responsive on mobile devices.
Optimize Your Website Speed
You can use Pingdom Speed Test or Webpage Test. After you enter your URL to run the test, sort your results based on load speed. This will give you an idea of what are the items that take the longest to load. These are what you will need to optimize. If the technical side of things is not your forte, talk to your web developer.
Result: We were able to increase our website speed by 29% and lower our bounce rate by 9%.
Make a Powerful First Impression on Your Home Page
Oli Gardner, Co-founder of Unbounce developed an awesome UX design concept called The Clarity Equation. This process will help you to make your website pages better targeted to your customers and more persuasive. I discovered and talked to Oli at SaaS North conference back in 2016. He wowed the crowd with many great startup hacks. This is one of them.
Result: 13% increase in contact form sign-ups and 35% increase in time spent on our website.
Make Your 404 Page a “Landing Page”
Think of your 404 error page as an opportunity to retain more traffic. Do that, make your 404 page easy for your visitors to navigate (back to your homepage), put in a specific offer or give them a blog post to read.
Result: Our 404 error page drop-off rate decreased from 68% to 14% after introducing a compelling alternative.
Focus Your Time to Get More Social Proof
Use customer quotes, logos, testimonials, guest blog posts, used cases or case studies. Social proof plays a huge role in every buying process. This is often overlooked tactic because marketers don’t know how to measure ROI on social proof. You can measure it in Google Analytics by having the right attribution model in place.
If you want to hack content marketing, focus on social proof. It is one of the most cheapest forms of customer acquisition.
Result: One of our client sales grew 17% MoM (month over month) after we incorporated social proof into their website.
Add Social Log-in to Your Landing Pages
It’s fairly easy to scare your visitors with long contact forms. No one has the time to fill it out and some might feel uncomfortable providing you with multiple information. Instead of forms, make your visitors sign-up with their Google, Facebook or LinkedIn profile. This way, you will simply get more signups.
Result: Increased form submission by 23% MoM (Month over Month).
Create Never Ending (Thank You) Pages
Create a never-ending journey by making sure that your (thank you) pages leads to another offer or redirect your visitors to another part of your website. If your website is really good, your users should feel like a hamster in the wheel. Always finding a good reason to stay on your website little longer.
Result: Increased an average session per page by 61% and average session duration by 23%.
Build in Social Sharing and Encourage Your Audience to Act
Just like in life, people are more prompt to act if you ask them. Introducing offers to your pages is a great idea, just make sure that your messaging is crystal clear and you are asking for only 1 thing at the time. This idea is so basic that is being overlooked.
Result: Increased social media sharing by 12% two weeks after creating sharing options on almost every webpage.
Answer Your Visitor Objections Using FAQ
Your website visitors will have questions. Chances are that if you don’t answer what are they thinking, you will loose them. If you want to find out what objections your customers have, talk to your business development/sales team.
Content Marketing Hacks
People say that content is a king. I think that content is a king if it’s compelling, valuable and authentic. Here are some fairly content marketing hacks that are inexpensive and less time to consume.
Use Content Upgrades
First of all, what is content upgrade? Think about a content upgrade as an upsell – a cheatsheet, quiz, summary etc.. You can add it to your marketing blog to capture your visitors’ information or offer it within your social post text copy to generate more comments on your post.
Result: Increase our email sign-up rate anywhere from 5-20%/month.
Create Automated Webinars
I love automation hacks. After you spend time and resources developing them, it pays you over and over. So, if it makes sense for your product or service to create an offer that can run on autopilot, automated webinars can be a good option. Neil Patel or Jeff Walker mastered the art of on-demand webinars.
Result: Saved hours of time and were able to attract people 24/7 at different time zones.
Install 70% Scroll Pop-Ups in Your Blog
Pop-ups do convert. The challenge is to place them at the right time in a way that your visitors won’t find them annoying.
Btw: Disable your pop-ups on mobile devices as your website SEO (search engine optimization) might get penalized by Google.
Results: Reduced scroll pop-ups from original 15% to 70%, our client’s email sign-up increased by 17%.
Craft the Perfect Headline Using the Headline Tester like CoSchedule
When I was 17 years old, I read a book from the father of advertising, David Ogilvy. (book – Ogilvy, On Advertising) I learned a timeless lesson: the importance of writing killer headlines. As David Ogilvy says: ” if you have 1$, spend 80 cents on the headline and 20 cents on the copy.
Another way to test your headlines if to A/B test them on social media or Google “headline tester” for more insights.
Results: Tested the strength of our headlines by using a headline tester.
Leverage Media Platforms like Medium, Quora, and Other to Drive Referral Traffic to Your Website
Most mature companies are already doing this.
For start-ups that are looking to get traction, implementing this tactic can significantly increase referral traffic. This tactic is fairly inexpensive – it only cost time to research where your customers are looking for answers to their problems and then taking the time to respond in a unique way.
This tactic is fairly inexpensive – it only costs time to research where your customers are looking for answers to their problems and then taking the time to respond in a unique way.
I built a Quora profile to both ask and answer questions about growth hacking, marketing, UX and more..
Results: Roughly 65% increase in Growth Media referral traffic.
Re-Purpose Your Most Engaged and Insightful Articles into an Email Training
I heard this idea from Tim Soulo, head of marketing and product development at Ahrefs.
Email Marketing Hacks
Email marketing is a proven performer for both B2B (business to business interaction) and B2C (business to consumer interaction) audiences. You should leverage it to get more leads, nurture your existing contacts and drive your customers’ satisfaction.
Design Drip Campaigns that Focuses on User Experience
It’s really hard to think about a business that cannot leverage email marketing. This is more of a perspective hack rather than a concrete marketing tactic. Change the angle of thinking when running a lead nurturing (drip) campaign.
Every time you are designing an email marketing automation, think about the experience you are putting your customers through. Drip campaigns should not be just a series of emails and rules. Drip campaigns should represent the experience you want your customers to share with others.
Result: Overall increase in all of our drip campaigns’ engagement (an email reply rate).
Email Signature Add-On Teaser
Create an email signature add-on that will drive more people to your website. Ideally, change it every month to keep it fresh. You can easily track it with Bit.ly.
Result: Roughly every third person with whom I had an email conversation clicked on the add-on teaser.
Insert Retargeting Pixel into Your Email Signature
This is my favorite email hack.
Place a retargeting pixel in your signature to target contacts that opened and clicked-through your email. For further effectiveness, segment your contacts based on those who only opened your email vs. clicked-through your email. You can further retarget your email audience on GDN or social media. Facebook has been really effective for us lately.
Result: Increased overall ROI effectiveness of our drip campaigns between 9 – 17%.
Add Personalized Tokens to Your Subject Lines
When personalizing your email subject lines, use the contact information you have in your CRM such as your first name, company name, etc. Also, unless your email list is less than 1000 contacts, always A/B test your subject lines.
Result: Outperformed open rate of emails without personalized token by 3 – 7%.
Add Calendar Invites into Your Email Copy
Your business development/sales team will love you for this. For emails regarding booking demos/appointments/consultations, insert your calendar into emails or attach your Calendly link to make your sign-up experience easy.
Result: Roughly 15% increase in email bookings.
Send an Automated Email to Visitors who Abandoned Your Shopping Cart
This is a fundamental customer retention hack for e-commerce businesses. Make sure you set this up for visitors who complete a registration but drop off before paying for their desired items.
Video marketing Hacks
There is no question when it comes to the fact that video is an important component of content marketing. And it’s becoming easier to produce. As a startup, you don’t need to invest in high production quality.
What matters is to find hacks to grow your Youtube channel.
If part of your marketing strategy is video-focused, here are three video hacks that have worked for me.
Find out What is the Prime Time for Your Watchers
If you are running a Youtube channel, figuring out when is the best time to upload your videos can significantly increase the number of views and your engagement rate.
To find out when is the best time to post, go to your Youtube channel analytics section and check the section called “watch time report” and “watch time”.
Result: Increased engagement rate by 4% by running video promotions during the watchers prime time.
Make Your Video Ads 6 seconds
Short, compelling and concise ads tend to do very well. Addressing your target perspective within 6 seconds can be challenging but incredibly effective and inexpensive compared to longer ads.
Social Media Marketing Hacks
Social media marketing is definitively a growing entity and is primarily effective for a B2C marketing. An interesting statistic from statista.com says that the total amount of worldwide users is expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2018.
Invite All Friends on Facebook Extension
If you have not already heard about the “invite all friends on Facebook” extension, it is a great mini-tool you can leverage when starting a new Facebook page.
Results: Got the first 100 – 500 Facebook page followers within a few days.
Use Buffer to Set up Your Social Media Posting Schedule
Buffer will help you to create slots for consistent social media posting.
On top of it, based on your audience insights, it will tell when is the best time to schedule your posts.
Results: Saved hours of my time.
View Your Target Customer’s LinkedIn Profile
Filter your LinkedIn search based on the audience type you are looking for. Typically, if you view someone else’s profile, they will also check you out.
Please don’t do this manually! There are LinkedIn automation tools you can use to connect with others.
Result: 51% increase in referral traffic from LinkedIn and roughly 35% increase in personal connections MoM (month over month).
Use a Facebook Messenger to Connect Your Website Audience and grow subscriber base
An effective way to grow your Facebook messenger subscribers is to send your website visitors to your FB page. Facebook Messenger is the next channel. Many marketers are already paying attention.
Facebook Messenger is the next channel and many marketers are already paying attention.
In order to automate your Facebook Messenger, you can use apps like Growthbot or Manychat. I tried both, currently using Manychat on Growth Media Facebook Page.
Results: Achieved a click-through rate of 6%.
Mention People and Companies on Twitter When You Post Articles
Spending time promoting your content is always a good idea. If you don’t share your articles with the world, no one or very few people will know about it.
Results: Roughly 15% increase in referral traffic.
Analytics & Growth Tracking
Here is the most important, ultimate, and sometimes forgotten hack of all marketing hacks.
!!!Track all tests & campaigns in a systematic way!!!
If you don’t, you will have no idea what marketing tests actually work and what elements triggered growth.
Growing a company on a limited budget is possible. With a little bit of ingenuity, you will be able to find marketing hacks that won’t cost you a fortune but move your marketing metrics in a positive direction.
I would love to hear what tactics are working for you. If you have a question about any of the methods I use, shoot me a message!
Also, can you think of someone who will find this article valuable?
Share it with them to help them grow their startup.