In deep detail, I’m going to show you 7 tactics I’m actually using to grow my businesses this year — including Sumo Group, whichI’m sharing these strategies so you can give them a try for yourself.
1. Free software as lead generation
For years people have been giving away free content as lead generation to get email addresses and build their contact database. But times have changed.
The crappy ebooks and free download markets are oversaturated. People don’t want to exchange their email address for a regurgitated, one-page PDF that takes up space in their Downloads folder.
Instead, they want something valuable. With a bazillion ebooks and checklists out there, the new way to drive leads for your business is free software.
To get you going, here are five types of free products you could make:
- Chrome extensions
- WordPress extensions
- Website graders
- Standalone apps
2. Cross promotion
Cross promotion is one of the most successful marketing strategies we’ve used for Sumo.
The reason cross promotion works so well is because it’s a win-win situation.
In other words, think of it as a guest appearance on a rap song. You BOTH get to spread your message to new fan bases.
Instead of just offering your product or software, create a bundle with other products for the same price (or for FREE).
At Sumo, we regularly reach out to other businesses and try to find great cross promotion opportunities to entice new customers.
We get the Sumo product out to a whole new subset of users for low cost, and our partners get their product out to whole new subset of users from Sumo.
Another way I’m currently using cross promotion is with my podcast,. I’m reaching out to companies for free products to give to my audience. These companies get FREE promotion to my audience, and I get products to drive new listeners.
This is hugely beneficial for all parties involved:
- My listeners receive added value (free stuff)
- Partners get to reach my audience and grow their own brand
- I get to reach my partners’ audience
3. Paid marketing on untapped channels
Facebook and Google ads are incredible because they have huge volume. But the same thing that makes them great — tons of eyeballs on the platform — is also a problem for marketers. Everyone knows about Facebook and Google ads, and every business, from Fortune 50s to mom-and-pop shops, market there.
Advertising is most successful when there is market inefficiency.
These advantages occur on channels where there’s a lot of volume, but less competition or no competition.
What you’re looking for is an advantage — a platform where an audience has already been created, and the site isn’t saturated with advertisers yet.
Even better: If there are no ads on the site, you have zero competition.
4. Content Multiplier marketing
I’ve been blogging since 2000. This makes me old as hell in the Internet world. As your elder, I demand respect (and lots of tacos).
Content marketing has changed a ton in the past couple of years, though. Almostanyone can set up a blog, write a semi-readable article, upload some GIFs and share it with the world within an hour.
This type of content marketing is mostly commoditized.
To separate your brand and your business, the best content marketing is now multi-channel.
Think of it like a pyramid. I start with one core piece of content. Then, with my team, I turn that one piece of content into multiple, cross-channel pieces.
Your content can start out however you want — an audio recording, a video, blog post — the key is to increase awareness and showcase on different channels.
People want to consume content across various mediums, not just one. The more leverage you can make your content, the more you’ll stand out.
Plus, you’ll attract different types of fans with different content: readers, visual learners, auditory learners, etc.
Create content that’s easy to replicate. Audiences are in newer locations so get MORE leverage out of each piece of your content.
PS: Even for this answer, it wasand at first.
5. Acquisition as marketing
Acquisition as marketing was on my list of marketing strategies for 2016 and it’s making another appearance this year for one simple reason (and no, it’s not because I’m being lazy)…
Acquisition as marketing is STILL underutilized.
Acquisition is often seen as glamorous, big-money deals that only the biggest companies do. But almost any company can make acquisitions. You just have to identify the right targets.
With an acquisition, you’re looking for a way to reach an audience that will be interested in your product or service. It could be:
- Mailing lists
- Highly followed social accounts
- Chrome plugins
- Shopify plugins
You’re looking for any acquisition that can put your business front and center in the eyes of more people in your target market.
Your personal network is a great way to find acquisitions. Ask around in your industry to see what opportunities are out there and waiting for you. LinkedIn is a great place to start.
To give you a real-world example: Just this year I noticed a site owned by someone I know stopped updating the product. I reached out and she sold me the site.
Once you’ve found a product or list you’d like to acquire, the first step is to make contact and build that relationship. When weit took 7 years and 200+ emails, but it never would have happened without making first contact.
As a marketing channel, mobile is still pretty early.
In 2017, I believe there will be huge opportunities on mobile because the conversion rates are so shitty and very few people are doing mobile marketing well. This means you can still get cheap advertising opportunities.
To show you I plan these answer out and don’t just wing them, I’m going to make a callback to bullet point 3 above: mobile has a marketing inefficiency you use to your advantage.
I know this point is a bit broad, but I bet most of you aren’t even thinking about mobile right now. So the best thing you can do is start.
Analytics will help you to discover all of this data and enable you to make informed decisions about how to make the most of your mobile traffic.
7. International marketing
A few years ago I made a bunch of Facebook games for a company I built called Gambit. We were bringing in about $40k per month, and I noticed that half of our money was coming from places like Finland, Portugal and New Zealand.
I forgot my 8th grade geography (it had been a while, OK?), so I had pull out a map to figure out where our money was coming from.
Here’s something us close-minded U.S. citizens don’t always remember: International countries have money, they face many of the same challenges as we do in the U.S., and many populations speak English, too.
For next level international marketing, you can even translate your stuff. For example, the popular landing page software Unbounce recently launched a German language version of their highly-successful CRO blog.
The internet has made the world flat and there’s a lot of opportunity out there.You just need to go looking for it. Sometimes, that means searching beyond your front door.
Throughout this post you may have picked up on a few key themes:
- Find your marketing advantage — and look for market inefficiencies
- Wherever there’s an audience, there’s opportunity (even small, niche sites)
- Don’t just look on your doorstep, cast your net wide when looking for growth
I’ll be using these 7 marketing strategies for 2017, and I hope you can too.
With these strategies, I believe 2017 is going to be our biggest year yet atLet’s make it the same for you and your business.