You’re scrolling through your LinkedIn feed and you keep coming across the term “growth marketer” on a lot of profiles. You wonder, “What is that?” You're now thinking that either you’re out of the loop with the millennial marketer or the marketing landscape is shifting rapidly. Our guess? It’s probably the latter. Don't worry, let's get you up to speed on a growth marketing content strategy. But first, we'll address the basics.
What Is Growth Marketing?
Traditional forms of marketing are often tried and tested and focus on collecting emails, engaging the prospects in an email blast, and spending a set amount of money on Google Ads each month. It works, but growth marketing is much more than Google Ads. It’s a data-driven, creative, and product-focused approach that educates and inspires the target audience and improves customer retention. In short, growth marketing must help reduce the churn and extend the lifetime value of a user. A McKinsey report on how personalization drives growth showed that high personalization can cut acquisition costs in half, lift revenues by up to 15 percent, and increase the efficiency of marketing spend by 30 percent.
Growth marketer Sean Ellis, founder and chief evangelist at GrowthHackers.com, says in his book, Startup Growth Engines: Case Studies of How Today's Most Successful Startups Unlock Extraordinary Growth, “Growth is not just a concern of sales and marketing, but of product, engineering, and support too. It is this organization-wide commitment to growth that ultimately sets these companies apart.”
This is how growth marketing looks (and is) different from traditional marketing:
Growth Marketing for SaaS and Fintech Startups and Legacy Leaders
With a rapidly growing number of SasS and fintech brands spending thousands of dollars on SEO and PPC, market dominance is probably the prime objective. To stay on top of their prospects' minds and retain the existing customers, they can’t simply use traditional tactics. Recent SaaS statistics show that:
- By 2021, 73 percent of organizations will be using all or mostly SaaS solutions.
- Even though there are security concerns, 93 percent of CIOs say they’re already adopting or are soon planning to adopt SaaS solutions.
- Organizations with more than 250 employees use around 100 SaaS apps.
When there are relationship-driven sales cycles and stakes are high, SaaS companies eventually need something that goes beyond collecting leads. And that’s where growth marketing comes in.
Effective Content Strategy: The Heart of Growth Marketing
Content strategy is the engine that drives the train of growth marketing. Without creating compelling content, there’s nothing to grow or sustain. You can use the content you already have by refurbishing it and creating 10X value from it or create fresh content that aligns with your strategy. The point is — it’s not nearly enough to only have a stellar product; you need pillars that keep pushing it in front of the right audience. Carefully crafted, compelling content enhances storytelling for tech and SaaS brands, but it doesn’t end there. It also needs to be effectively distributed so that no opportunities are missed.
Growth Marketing Examples and Strategies for SaaS and Fintech
One of the most irresistible qualities of a SaaS product is that once users try it, they know they can’t do without it. Enter “freemium” models. Slack is a great example of this by how it has truly encapsulated the market with its freemium strategy upon launch. With that, Slack’s SaaS growth marketing strategy saw the freemium conversion rate of 30 percent, churn and CAC decrease, and customer lifetime value increase.
Another great example is Xero, a cloud-based accounting software, which has about 1.8 million subscribers since inception and a 30 percent year-on-year growth. Their strategy is simple — be steady and strong. Even though they have the business capabilities to scale to enterprises, they only cater to SMBs. Their partner program is also what grabbed attention and got Xero 350K users in 12 months. Not just that, they also offer add-ons, such as “get Xero certified” and a “free listing in Xero advisor directory.”
Here’s another great example: HubSpot’s Free Website Grader Tool. As a free tool, it proved to be immensely successful among businesses small and large. The tool works by giving the user’s website a score out of 100 and then suggests what they need to improve upon. Their winning growth marketing strategy was all about qualified organic traffic, leads, and customers, as one of the biggest selling points was that the tool required no training. As a result, the CAC reduced significantly.
Does Growth Marketing Do Better for Startups Than Legacy Brands?
Not at all. Look at IBM! Completely squashing the theory that old brands can’t move away from tried and tested, traditional marketing strategies, IBM has shown how a tech brand can grow. By implementing growth marketing tactics such as a lower entry point for first-time customers and new users, optimizing onboarding with free trials, and product optimization with continuous testing, among others, IBM has set a new standard for growth among tech giants.
IBM’s chief marketing and product officer, in an article by GrowthHackers.com, said, “I remember I used to hear people say ‘think like a start-up’ and I would laugh because we simply weren’t ever going to be a start-up. What we should say is ‘think like a growth organization,’ where cross-functional teams come together as a highly effective squad focused on the product experience and growth.”
Growth Marketing Strategies to Implement Right Away
Let’s look at some of the effective growth marketing strategies that your brand could leverage right away.
1. Highly Engaging Top of the Funnel Content
Traditional content strategies would have you work more at the bottom of the funnel for conversions, but it’s really the top of the funnel content that’s pulling the right target audience to your product that’ll eventually convert. It’s no wonder that more and more brands have shifted from an “all about us” to an “all about the pain points faced by our prospects” strategy. A holistic content strategy that focuses on growth throughout the funnel, starting with the top, wins in the end — and all organically.
2. Free Tools and Freemium Subscriptions/Trials
Remember how HubSpot built a million-dollar empire by offering lots of free tools to marketers? You have to try something like that. By offering free tools and subscriptions/trials, you’re letting your potential customers “in.” They can explore the product/software firsthand and instantly make a decision whether it’s right for them or not. This is especially true for SaaS, tech, and fintech brands where lowering the entry points or completely making their offerings free can reap great benefits quickly.
Source: Neil Patel
3. Optimizing the User Onboarding Process
People get easily frustrated if they don’t understand something within seconds. And because they already came with the buying intent, if the onboarding process is too complicated, they'll definitely leave, never to come back. The initial sign-up/purchase has to be as easy as one, two, three — go! You might have to do a little bit or a lot of A/B testing or conduct various marketing experiments in terms of content strategy and website user experience. But once you’ve nailed the compelling and easy process together, you’re here to stay.
4. Influencers in Your Own Space and Others
Cross-influencer marketing is not something that’s been explored a lot, but it works wonders if implemented right. If you’re a tech startup/decades-old brand, you probably have potential customers in more than one demographic, lifestyle, country, and interests. Look a little deeper than the top of the funnel influencers and you’ll notice that your target audience gets inspired by even those who aren’t necessarily from the tech space. First, go for the influencers in your own space and then look at other relevant influencers as well.
This is where creating a full-proof buyer journey for your tech or SaaS brand comes into the picture. You could also explore HARO for some really good SEO and link-building advantages that won’t come about even if you spend dollars on PPC.
While you’re here: You can download our free SaaS and tech buyer’s journey template and create buyer personas that integrate and work with each stage.
5. Simply Working with Others, or Helping Them Grow Too?
Two sides of the same coin — it’s the concept of collaborating. But it’s the approach you take that matters. There's nothing wrong with simply “working with” a potential collaborator. But we're suggesting to take a step further and really “help them grow.”
What do we mean by that? Ecommerce giants such as eBay and Amazon help other small businesses grow in exchange for a very minimal fee. If you talk about SaaS, Airbnb is a great example that pushes small and big property owners to make more money with short-term rentals instead of long-term leases.
The biggest example that does this exactly this is Zapier — they connect several software products to rise as a superpower. Zapier’s content strategy is one that doesn’t boast about the brand itself but about how businesses can harness the power of the other tools they might already be using by automating with Zapier. Now, it’s that smart?
Looking to Get Higher Organic Conversions Without Spending on PPC? Growth Marketing Is for You
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re looking to champion, growth marketing can be implemented anytime, and the best day was yesterday. When brands shift the focus from solely generating leads and instead focus on generating value and organic growth on the basis of that, prospects get funneled pretty consistently.
The whole objective is to be more sustainable in the long run, so you don’t have to spend a lot on PPC and other paid channels. Instead, you'll get quality traffic and demand for your product/solution organically. While industry disruption is impressive, it’s sustainable growth that brands should be adopting sooner or rather than later. That’s what makes top tech and SaaS brands continue to be at the top of their game even decades later, and startups rise like a dream.