How to Growth Hack Your B2B eCommerce Site

Are you looking for a way to get off-the-chart results without a large investment? I recently read the book "Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising" and my mind is buzzing with all of the ways the concepts can be put to use to grow your business. Read on to learn more about what a growth hacker is and how you can put it to use for your B2B eCommerce site.

Growth Hack Your B2B eCommerce Site

Are you looking for a way to get off-the-chart results without a large investment? I recently read the book Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising and my mind is buzzing with all of the ways the concepts can be put to use for your B2B eCommerce business.  

The exciting news is that you don’t need to know which idea or strategy will work. Rather, you need to think outside-the-box and be ready to test, measure, and adapt to everything you do.

What is a Growth Hacker?

Andrew Chen defines it this way, "Growth hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of ‘How do I get customers for my product?’ and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph.”

But what if you are not a coder? The key is to be willing to approach things in a new way and to involve someone with a coding/data scientist mindset in your marketing planning and analysis.

As the person in charge of marketing for a B2B company, you probably spend a fair amount of time marketing your products to your dealers, providing materials to your sales reps, planning trade show events, working on product literature and supporting your website. Competing in this new online world requires a different set of skills. That doesn't mean that your skills are no longer needed - they are! In fact, by putting time and energy into learning how the world of marketing is changing and building a team that can support you in that change, you can leverage your skills in a way that is uniquely valuable to your company.

I recommend that you read it yourself, but here are the main points of Growth Hacker Marketing, and how you can use them to grow your eCommerce sales.

1. Start with Product Market Fit (PMF)

You want to ensure you are making something that people want. To do this, start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and then enhance it based on user feedback.

In the book, Ryan Holiday shares a process they use at Amazon called “working backward from the customer".

"For new initiatives, employees begin by creating an internal press release that announces this new potential project as though it was just finished. It’s addressed to the customers— whoever they happen to be— and explains how this new offering solves their problems in an exciting or compelling way. If the press release cannot do that, the initiative is tweaked and tweaked and tweaked until it can."

Try this out. Write a press release of the new features, functionality or upgrade to your B2B eCommerce site. Think about why your dealers, sales reps, and customers will find it exciting and what they will want to talk about. If it isn’t compelling, go back and figure out what would make it sizzle.

2. Find Your Growth Hack

Once you have a great B2B eCommerce site, you need to figure out how to get people to use it. The emphasis in growth hacker marketing is not blasting out your message, but looking for ways to reach a highly targeted group of users that will grow into ravings fans about your site. Growth hacker marketing looks for effective, unique, and many times inexpensive ways of reaching these users. 

Airbnb is offered as an example of how they used an integration that enabled the Airbnb listings to automatically be cross-posted to craigslist as a way to create free distribution on a website with a high amount of visibility. This is an example of thinking outside-the-box and combining technical skills and marketing strategy to pull in customers. 

There are several other examples of growth hacks in the book, but your growth hack will most likely be unique to your business. The key is thinking about what you could do to reach people that will highly value your eCommerce site and pull them in. Be creative. Get input from your marketing and technical team. See how you can work together.

3. Go Viral

Plan for how you will have something worth sharing and how you will encourage your users to share it with others. Creating great content makes it easy for your dealers, reps, and customers to share. Check out this article from growth hacker, Craig Coffey, the Marketing Communications Manager for Lincoln Electric as he shares examples of manufacturers that are using content marketing effectively.
 

How can you encourage your dealers, reps, and customers to use your eCommerce site and tell their friends about it? What content would they love to share? Why would they love to talk about your site or your product?

It's not a matter of creating your B2B eCommerce site once and then being done. It is a matter of constantly improving on your offering over time.

Test out your offering and use the feedback to make your product better. A key part of this testing process is to target the people whose opinions matter the most to you and who will be the most likely to share your offering with others.

Who do you need to test out your eCommerce site with? How can you invite their feedback early and often throughout your development process? Consider using tools like UserTesting.com and Intercepts ethnic to get feedback from users that you can use to make your eCommerce site better.

Putting it Into Practice

In Growth Hacker Marketing, Ryan Holliday offers an example of how he put these principles into practice in promoting Tim Ferriss’s book “The 4-Hour Chef.”  It provides a great example of how you can test and measure your plans in advance to create a final event that is extremely effective and minimize your anxiety.

Have you read Growth Hacker Marketing?  How will you apply it to your business?

Lori McDonald

President & CEO

About

Lori McDonald

Lori graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer-Electrical Engineering and leads Brilliance Business Solutions with over 20 years of computer engineering and software development experience.  She is an Episerver EMVP, a Microsoft Certified Professional and a regular contributor on Practical eCommerce. Her status as a recognized industry expert has resulted in regular speaking engagements at business conferences.

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