13 tactics to elevate your business' growth this year

Tyler Scionti

  | Published on  

September 29, 2023

Over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year of operation, and 95% fail within the first five years.

I don't know about you, but those statistics aren't exactly comforting. This isn’t a blog post about business failure though. It’s a post about business growth, and how you can elevate and accelerate your business this year.

Between managing your team, maintaining runway, and keeping the lights on you've got a lot on your plate. What if I told you there was a way you could stack the deck a bit more in your favor and improve the odds above?

In order to improve your chances, you need a business that is managed well, running efficiently, and  growing consistently.

So, what's the catch?

Well, you're going to have to do more than simply create a Facebook account and start posting away. We’ve coached dozens of teams to grow ranging from software companies to consulting agencies. No matter what business niche or size we’ve seen them through great periods of growth following these tried and true tips.

I like breaking these tips into a series of categories:

  • Improve your business' efficiency
  • Turn your business into a marketing growth machine
  • Convert leads into customers

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Business: Turn your business into a strategic and efficient machine

If you’re looking to accelerate your business this year, here are some great tips to get your strategy and operations in working order. Before moving on to marketing and sales, it’s good to make sure things are running smoothly for your company and team.

Systematize and streamline your processes until they are repeatable

If your business is going to grow, it needs to be scalable.

Whether you are working at a SaaS company or an agency, if you cannot scale and repeat your offering then you will stagnate. A stagnating business is one with a short ceiling, a finite amount of customers, and that business will not grow.

Having a scalable business though, means being able to acquire more customers without going under due to the pressure and time those new customers cost you.

Systematizing is your best friend here.

Let’s use us as an example. We’re an SEO and growth coaching company and we’ve systematized:

  • Our approach to SEO strategy
  • Our frameworks for keyword and content research
  • Our monthly reports

And more.

Systematizing does not mean reducing everything to the lowest common denominator - we help our clients develop unique SEO and growth strategies after all. Systematizing means having a framework you can fall back on so each of your customers gets the same product and service, and you can teach new employees to do the same.

Far too often we focus too much on the nitty gritty of our day to day, that we forget we should be working on the business, not just in it.

Set SMART goals for your business

You'd be surprised at how few people set realistic and measurable goals - and do it regularly. As my dad would say, what's not measured can't be improved.

Bottom line: goal setting is going to be fundamental in measuring and setting growth targets.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Timebound

The key: have a specific goal in mind for a time period that you can realistically achieve.

“Increase revenue” or “get more traffic”  are bad goals. They aren’t specific, and there is no accountability in them.

“Grow our customer base by 20% this quarter” is a great goal though, it’s specific and opens up an interesting conversation around how to achieve that goal. That’s where strategy comes into play.

Goals are the stepping stones for your business. Each goal is a step towards business success. Don’t become overwhelmed by the growth you aspire to achieve.  Set goals and let those be your North Star.

Turn your customers into evangelists

It’s infinitely easier to get customers via referral than find new customers.

I don't care if you've got the best sales team in the world, they have absolutely nothing on your customers.

Your customers are your secret salesforce and the key to generating truly transformative growth for your business. The more you can engage with your audience and let them do the talking the faster your business will accelerate. That's great in theory, how do you do it? You start with three simple things:

Have a good product that satisfies your customers, is a good value, makes their life better, and solves a problem.

Have a maniacal focus on your customers - talk to them, ask them for feedback, get to know them, and make them feel like part of the family. Understand that business is about people, and your customers will be loyal to you, not a logo or an advertisement.

Marketing: Turn your website and marketing into a growth machine

Once your business is in working order, now it’s time to get the word out and scale up your marketing.

Marketing tends to be a sore spot for many teams we work with, fortunately we have a few tips that can make it simple for your team to get the word out and scale your growth.

Embrace clear copy over clever copy

You don’t have to join the “mad men” to write copy that sells. In fact, you’d be surprised how far you can get by being clear over clever.

I'm not genius copywriter, yet I've been able to write landing pages for our ad campaigns that convert at a 20% rate due to this one trick: embrace clarity over cleverness.

We’ve all seen websites that dazzle the senses with their beautiful designs and clever/humorous copy - the problem is, when you try to copy them you’re doing a serious disservice to your business.

Rather than spend hours coming up with the perfect tagline to put in your homepage header, prioritize clarity.

A company like HubSpot uses “Grow better” as their slogan, and while that sounds nice it really doesn’t mean much. It tells me nothing about what HubSpot does, who it is for, or why I should buy it. I’m not buying HubSpot because of their main headline though, I’m buying it because I’ve heard of HubSpot. Large brands have that kind of leeway to be creative and clever, but smaller brands do not.

If you confuse, you lose.

It’s as simple as that, and fortunately the antidote to bad copy is quite simple: be clear. State what it is that your business does, and state it without excessive flourish, analogies, or complex terminology.

Streamline your website for conversion

Here's a fun fact: Marketers that prioritize blogging as part of their efforts are 13x more likely to see a positive return-on-investment.

You're only reaping the rewards though if you provide ample, and direct, ways for your visitors to convert.

Grow your traffic with an active blog and resources on your website, and make the path for visitors to your website to convert as clear as possible.

Something as simple as a CTA or subscribe form can go along way towards encouraging the people who land on your website to engage further with your brand.

Having a CTA is only half the battle, it also needs to be easy to find. There are several places you could locate your CTA on your site:

  1. At the top of the page
  2. At the end of the post
  3. Within the post itself
  4. In the sidebar
  5. As a floating or scrolling popup
  6. As a sliding popup
  7. As a full-screen overlay

Review your website and top-performing blog posts, how many chances are you giving to your audience to convert?

Leverage automation to scale your marketing

As your website traffic grow (and conversions follow) automation will be your best friend.

It took me far too long (personally) to embrace automation. I’m talking about things like:

  • Welcome sequences to new subscribers
  • A sales sequence to send to visitors who download your assets
  • A sales campaign to subscribers who are engaging with your emails

These are simple, yet powerful, systems you can create to nurture, engage, and sell to a growing audience.

So many businesses have a signup form that goes nowhere, or an email list that they contact once per month. This is like going to all the trouble to grocery shop for a big dinner, and leaving all your groceries out on the porch - all this potential, wasted.

I’ll admit, I’m the last person to enjoy an automated sequence of emails…

We use HubSpot for our CRM and marketing automation, but there are others too like Convertkit or MailChimp.

Experiment to find your best growth channels

I often see questions like “I have $10,000 to spend on marketing, what should I do?” and what gets my blood boiling is seeing answers like “buy ads!” or “try influencer sponsorships.”

These get my gears grinding because these responses lack the essential context about:

  • Who the business is targeting
  • Where their target audience spends time online
  • What their most successful growth channel has been to date

If you have a business that has been growing modestly and you want to accelerate growth, then do two things:

  • Review your customer list/CRM and see where most of your customers have come from in the past year. This is a growth channel that has worked, and if you invest more into it then it should work faster
  • Identify 2-3 alternate channels that you want to experiment with. These will be small bets you try to see how to find a second growth channel.

For us, we have three solid growth channels:

  • Referrals
  • Online communities
  • SEO

We’ve identified these as our best growth channels after a year of testing a variety of things, and now we’re experimenting again by investing in Google ads and our email list to see if there are other ways we can accelerate growth.

Drive organic traffic to your website

The best place to hide a body is the 2nd page of Google. 

Studies have shown that about 91.5% of search engine click throughs occur on the first page of search results. It's as simple as that: if your website is not ranking you won't be seen.

If your site is ranking though? Well that's the difference between not getting much traffic and getting daily traffic for free.

Making it onto the first page of Google can be intimidating, even for the seasoned SEO vets on our team.

SEO doesn't have to be complicated though. In fact, we've refined a 4-step approach to building an SEO strategy that will set you apart on Google and drive traffic to your website:

  1. Set a goal for your strategy
  2. Identify your target customers and the questions they ask on Google through the buyer's journey
  3. Turn those questions into a unique content strategy
  4. Measure what matters to report on your strategy

Follow this process and you will improve your rank and drive more traffic to your website from Google.

Write content to your audience, not for search engines

Related to generating organic traffic, but worth it's own section: create content for people, not search engines.

What does creating content for search engines look like?

Yeah, not the most riveting content to me either.

If you find yourself writing things like 'What is SEO? One might wonder what SEO is. Here is the definitive guide to SEO to show you what SEO is' take a long break from the keyboard and ask yourself:

  • Who am I creating this content for?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What advice do they need?
  • What follow up questions might they have?
  • How can I help them?

Rather than worrying about cramming keywords into a blog post, create content that adds value and is fun to read. Your readers (and your boss) will thank you.

Repurpose your and distribute your content to build reach

What do you do after you publish a blog post?

I used to simply hit publish and rely on my social auto post to do the rest. That was a mistake.

I've since learned about the power of distributing and repurposing content.

On its own your content has a limited shelf life. If your content doesn't rank it's chances at being seen drop dramatically after you first publish it. We've all had posts that languish at the bottom of your site and don't get much traffic, so how do you break out of that funk?

Distribute and repurpose your content.

Promoting your content, sharing it across platforms, and republishing it expands your reach exponentially beyond your website. Repurposing the content, say turning a blog post into a video or podcast (or vice versa) extends your content across different media and allows you to reach new audiences.

Here's some quick ideas to distribute your content:

  • Post it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Share it in an online community
  • Promote it with a social or Google ad
  • Republish it on Medium or a similar platform

These simple steps can dramatically increase the reach of your content and build your audience.

Build a community

As Seth Godin famously put it:

Community building is one of the hottest growing terms for businesses, especially as many are making the leap to being fully remote. The more you can foster a sense of community between your customers and team, the more you can ingrain an identity and following in your brand. There are plenty of tools you can use to foster a sense of community:

  • Facebook groups are a great way to manage a private or public community
  • Slack or Discord workspaces offer a great way for people to engage and communicate
  • Notion is an excellent way to knowledge share and collaborate with others

Look beyond the four walls of your company and how you can invite your customers into the conversation with a community.

Sales: A process to close customers even if you’re not a sales expert

If you’re like me then you are not a natural born sales person.

Here’s the though break, as the founder of Centori if I am not selling then we are not growing. We’re not at the stage yet where we’ve hired a sales team, which means it is on me to sell.

Selling can be icky though. When I think of sales I think of sleazy people trying to take my money. If you feel the same way then here’s some encouragement: that means you are a good person.

Over the years, I’ve also found that being sleazy is not a requirement to be good at selling. In fact, by helping your customers learn and make better buying decisions you’ll find that you can sell just as well as the rest of them and keep your soul.

Put your customer at the center

The first step to excelling at sales while not being sleazy is to put the customer first, and at the center of the story.

Far too many sales people focus on themselves, their quote, and the deal they want to close. Let’s be honest, it’s narcissistic and off-putting.

Rather than put yourself first in the conversation, recognize that your customer has their own story they are living and you are not the center of it - they are. Remember the story-based framework above for copy? It applies to sales as well.

Rather than put yourself at the center, put your customer at the center and step aside a bit to serve as their guide. You are their guide through the sales process and their guide to reaching their goal.

Develop an education-based sales strategy

I’ve found (as a non-sales expert) that the best way to sell is to add value and teach.

Some of the best sales presentations I’ve sat through are not monologues about a product or the sales rep giving them, they are empathetic and offer value rather than use up my time. I’ve used this process for Centori, turning our “schedule a demo” into “schedule a free strategy session” where I walk through how you can build an SEO strategy that will succeed and bring you traffic.

Rather than give a long list of what my product/service does, I deliver value - here’s a framework you can use, and if you’d like we can help you implement it.

What is something of value that you can deliver to your prospects? What education, training, or freebie can you offer to help your customer take the first step towards their goal, and realize that you are the key to them reaching it?

Be generous with your offers and expertise

Every time someone hits your website there is an opportunity to make sure they won't forget you.

Why waste that?

One of your most effective sales tools is the ability to give something away to people landing on your website. Whether it is free knowledge (like an ebook) or a free trial or service - the more opportunities you create to give something away the more chances you have to connect with your website visitors and turn them into leads.

When someone hits your website your main goal should be adding value to the customer and illustrating this value effectively.

You have the tips, are you ready to grow your business this year?

You've got our best tips, but this is just a start.

Optimize how your business works, set good goals, build a marketing growth engine, and convert leads into customers and you will grow month over month and year over year.

But you still need to put it all to practice.

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