Usually, entrepreneurial growth is regarded as “slow but steady.” We do not fully agree with this statement. After all, a good kick-start never hurt anyone. Which leads us straight to B2B growth hacking. This growth strategy is about helping your business grow through imaginative, unusual, or bold marketing strategies.
See how it works from the following companies. In this article, you will get an overview of growth hacking for B2B companies and learn about:
Globally, three companies have shaped the term growth hacking substantially: Dropbox, Hotmail, and Airbnb. Thanks to the hacks used, all three companies have massively expanded their follower base within a very short time.
This win-win opportunity paved the way for the company’s rapid growth, which today has 500 million customers.
Source: Google. Referrals by Dropbox. Perfectly SEO-optimized, of course.
“How-to: How’s it going today? Payoneer is currently applying the same strategy and is likewise growing successfully with it.
Well, Hotmail’s big days are over, actually. But: The company had managed to register 6 million usersin just six months.
This worked because the company used its original 20,000 subscribers as “carrier pigeons.” Every email sent contained an automatic message linking back to Hotmail. And it reads: PS: I Love you.Get your free Hotmail email address.
PS: “I love you” worked so well because it was cordial and sympathetic. The concept was new, and people liked it. So, the results didn’t take long to show and almost everyone who clicked turned into a Hotmail user.
“How-to”: How’s it going today? Add “Powered By” or trust badges to the footer of your websites and in your email signature.
The integration of “Powered by” or trust badges into the signature or footer is easy to implement and produces excellent results. The principle behind it relies on references: If you use brand widgets of a reputable brand or if people see your product on other websites, this can lead to a growth boost.
Example of a “Powered by” integration. Source Screenshot: Optinmonster
The world-famous Hotmail signature. Source Screenshot: Optinmonster
Airbnb is famous for effortlessly finding affordable, stylish and exclusive accommodation – wherever you go.
It wasn’t always like that. Airbnb also had to build up its customer base in laborious detail work. In the early stage, its founders discovered that Americans who did not want to stay in expensive hotels searched Craigslist for alternative accommodations. Without further ado, they had the opportunity to have their listings copied there.
The idea is brilliant. And theresult? Immediate access to a potentially huge market.
Source Screenshot: Airbnb Facebook Account. Without Craigslist no overnight stay in the “Wienermobile.”
Before we reveal to you how this can be done today, please reflect on the most important growth hacking rule: pirate metrics.
If you simply want to remember the basics of growth hacking, just remember “AARRR!“
Acquisition -How do your customers find you?
Activation – How enjoyable is the initial point of contact for the customer/visitor?
Retention – How many of your customers do you retain or lose?
Referral – How can you transform your customers into ambassadors?
Revenue – How can you increase revenue?
Preliminary conclusion: before you growth-hack, you need to know your customers inside outand know where they are.
“How-to: How can the Airbnb strategy be implemented today? Use advertising portals, contact exchanges, and LinkedIn marketing.
LinkedIn probably is the most important social network for B2B companies.
In addition to the common content sharing features, LinkedIn offers a handy tool: you can see the users who have viewed your profile. Yup! Thanks to this hack, you can find out which LinkedIn users have been visiting your site.
You must have a Premium LinkedIn account and insert the following HTML code on your website:
<img src = ”https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?authToken=XXauthType=name&id=XX” />
Here, XX stands for your LinkedIn ID page.
The pufferfish uses a visually awe-inspiring adaptation technique when it is in danger.
The fish sucks in water or air and suddenly becomes three times as big as usual. This warning prevents other sea animals from messing with the prickly fellow.
Pipetop, a Danish company, followed a similar approach in its sales strategy. The start-up wanted to give the impression that it operates in several countries, although it had only one office in Denmark.
Instead of opening different offices, they bought several Skype numbers in different countries. Although the company is no longer on the market today, this hack created the necessary confidence for sales, especially in the highly competitive B2B sales market.
“How-to: How’s it going today? Here the motto is: “steal” the strategy. Buy (Skype) numbers and place them on the website. This gives the impression that your company is bigger than it seems.
“If many others find something good, it will also work for me” – that is the concept of social proof. A lot depends on this today – who wants to use a service that nobody else is interested in?
That’s what Uber’s rival “Lyft” also figured out. The company solved its problem (too little demand, too few operators) by paying taxi drivers to pretend being booked and waiting for passengers. This mass of suppliers ensured that potential passengers were convinced of the service quality even before their journey.
Founded in 2013 by Stewart Butterfield, Slack is a cloud-based hub where multiple companies can collaborate in real-time.
Here are some company facts:
Slack did not use cold calling, lead generation, or support campaigns for its growth hacking strategy.
It is worth mentioning here that the founding team – besides Butterfield – was made up of Eric Costello, Cal Henderson, and Serguei Mourachov. They all were involved in building the photo-sharing site Flickr.
By the way: Slack is worth more than 100 times as much as Flickr today.
The most crucial growth strategy at Slack:
This means that Slack focused on generating active logins rather than building a massive database of inactive users.
This was achieved with a free product version.
Charges only apply once the user wants to unlock additional functions such as memory or app integrations. This is a tactic used by many SaaS companies.
Slack is different, though, because they are always focused on one goal: They want to make the day for your users as easy as possible by doing the organizational work for them.
Instead of pushing people to try out the demo version by using intrusive sales techniques, Slack relied on paid advertising (retargeting) and the following concept: simplicity.
“How-to: How’s it going today?
The Slack Growth Hacking Take-Aways for B2B Companies.
Word of mouth: Improve your product continuously and simplify people’s work. Make it easy for people to share your innovation with colleagues and friends.
Use paid advertising: Do not rely on scattering losses, but on paid advertising. This is particularly recommended as part of social media marketing.
Give a lot but make yourself well paid for giving “more.”
This can be done through extensions. It’s quite logical, actually: Thanks to the integration of a multitude of apps and functions, not only Slack is continuously growing, becoming more powerful and indispensable, but your company, too.
There are a host of unorthodox ways you can use to accelerate entrepreneurial growth. Even on a shoe-string budget, start-ups can implement their ideas. The only prerequisite is to be innovative.
Especially extensions, as mentioned above, holds particular potential for companies in the growth phase.
Convert your product or service so that a user can use it as a Chrome extension. Whenever users open Chrome, they can automatically access your product.
Google Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers. Over 60 % of Internet users use it as their standard browser.
Build into Chrome is the Chrome Web Store, the app marketplace where you can publish apps and extensions (so-called Chrome extensions). When a user adds your web application to Chrome, a link to your service is continuously displayed in the browser’s bookmarks bar, increasing the likelihood of a return visit.
Example: Base CRM. The Chrome extension of Base CRM has almost 30,000 users.
When Base CRM (a widely used and popular CRM solution) introduced its Chrome extension, the company immediately recorded nearly 30,000 downloads.
For a few hours of development time and just $5 investment for the Chrome installation, they got a world-class growth hack for B2B companies.
Source Screenshot: Udemy website. One-time course generation, lifelong customer acquisition
Create an online course and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Course platforms like Udemy create an additional source of revenue, increase your credibility, and generate leads.
That is for life, with a one-time investment.
With these tools, you can easily create courses:
As a teacher and expert, you are automatically perceived as a professional and authority. They take you and your opinion seriously. This can have an incredible effect on your brand, your person, and your company.
You think it’s too complicated? If you’ve already created and regularly shared content in the form of blogs, e-books, presentations, videos, and interviews, you have more than enough material to create a course.
Re-use the entire content of a topic, create courses, and then refer to your new offering in your normal online activities.
Growth hacking is about using resources that are already available to you. A good growth hacking strategy not only has the goal to expand the company but also to focus on customer benefits.
This shows the first category of growth hacks. The second category (which is also suitable for start-ups) shows you that it can be worth going new ways and trying things that are not mainstream.
Growth hacking for B2B companies, therefore, focuses on two aspects:
Of course, you can’t copy any of the strategies and expect miracles. But you can better understand the dynamics and psychology behind the examples and take advantage of the critical points. The listed examples show that you can achieve good growth success even with the smallest budget or even real-time commitment.
More interesting articles:
If you’ve wondered how much a lead costs on average in your industry, read the article about the value of acquiring new customers.
Privacy is paramount when it comes to email marketing. Read this article about GDPR and its impact on marketing and sales.
If you want to learn how to generate more leads, read this article about 13 ways to generate leads.