Chapter 2 These 40 Entrepreneurs Swear by These Marketing & Growth Strategies

Tracey Wallace / 9 min read

1. PPC & organic are a winning combo.

John Breaker, President/Founder, BirdieBall.

Pay-per-click and organic positioning are the most successful, pure and simple.

If you are in a market category that has active searches, pay to get seen and fight for conversions.

If you can afford to stay number one in paid search, you can get stronger and stronger from there.

Paid search forces you to convert, which in turn drives up organic by default. To convert from the number one position means you are good and getting better every day.

It forces you to get good at all of the blocking and tackling basics of customer satisfaction and business.

Satisfied customers and quality products are characteristics of the company that can be in the top paid positions in a category week after week, year after year.

2. Never forget to email customers.

Parker Slavin, President, StationeryXpress.

Email marketing keeps our customers engaged and informed as to new products, deals and sales.

Advertising on Google AdWords also works really well, as many people search Google and other search engines for what they are looking for.

3. Direct face-to-face contact with customers.

Brittany Hogan, Owner and Artisan, Nefertem Naturals.

Direct face-to-face contact works best for our business because it’s hard to sell the idea of rubbing cow fat on your face over the internet! People have to try it to believe it.

4. Meet your customers.

Jim Taylor, President and Owner, Belted Cow.

For us, it all starts with a high-quality, unique product and exceptional customer service.

We have always put most of our energy into product development.

If you can create something truly worth talking about, it’s easier to market it.

Once we had something to show people, we needed to get it in front of them and let them do word-of-mouth marketing.

We started by attending over 20 retail shows a year to get in front of people.

We continue to attend shows, expand our social media following, and update our website for improved customer experience.

We have also seen successful brand exposure by partnering with local nonprofit organizations and donating a portion of the sales from select designs.

5. Create a community.

John Wray, CEO, Hero Care Packages

We’ve tried to do lots of direct marketing as well as PPC advertising.

We just migrated to BigCommerce and are looking to directly ramp up sales now that we have the platform we want and all of the infrastructure set up.

Building an email list is key. Community involvement in what you’re building is critical.

6. Having grit is essential.

Barbara Huffman, Owner and Eco-Friendly Artisan, Southern Magnolia Mineral Cosmetics

Personally, the most successful tactic to the growth of SMM Cosmetics is my tenacity.

However, professionally, email marketing and social media have by far been the most successful.

Social media alone has allowed the small business owner a little voice over the big cosmetic companies.

I don’t have the budget to advertise or pay for clicks, so having Facebook and Twitter in particular has given me a resource to tap into and reach as many customers as possible, but doing it with a little southern charm!

7. Have a website that looks professional.

Amy Breaker, Director of Operations, BirdieBall

A banging website is what works for us!

We are continually trying to improve the website and make sure our website educates our customers on our unique products with a great user experience.

We are always focusing on getting more conversions from our efforts with Google advertising. Improving our SEO is another huge avenue for growth so we can organically get people’s attention.

8. Google advertising, newsletters and a good ecommerce platform.

Elizabeth Curtis, Owner and Marketing Director, The BananaNana Shoppe

These things have worked really well for us: Google advertising (first with AdWords, then Google Shopping), newsletters (email marketing, including suggestions for grandparent ideas), moving to BigCommerce.

9. Send customers relevant information.

Katie Bernotksy, Owner, Power Team Lures

Email marketing. Being able to reach our direct market with sales and company news our customers truly care about is key.

10. Use word of mouth marketing.

Founder and Owner at San Francisco RAW

Word of mouth and veterinary referrals are the most effective and common growth tactic for us.

We also get a lot of people finding us through Instagram and Facebook – especially Instagram, lately.

Yelp is another place people find us.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

11. Use an omnichannel approach.

Damon Didier, Vice President of Marketing, Office Furniture Source

BigCommerce’s connections to eBay and Amazon have driven considerable online sales, and strong SEO has helped to drive both online and in-store sales.

12. Have a great product.

Stan Farrell, President, ComposiMold

It’s really been a combination of social media messages, free ebooks to grow our newsletter, social media marketing (I’ve liked Facebook advertising) and lots of conversations.

The really big key, I think, has been selling a unique product that can solve people’s desire to make things real.

13. Utilize social proof.

Philip Kauppinen, Owner, Grand New Flag

SEO and customer reviews using Yotpo have been the most successful.

I have found that my organic traffic has been more successful than any advertising, along with the Yotpo reviews system integration, which gathers and displays customer feedback wonderfully.

14. Find the right starting point.

Daniella Park, Designer and Webmaster, Doing It Sober

Honestly, BigCommerce has been crucial to my growth.

The platform keeps me on my toes with new information all the time.

I had no money when I started, so I basically taught myself everything from BigCommerce University!

Instagram has been the main player with getting the word out there.

15. Data is your friend.

Chief Marketing Officer at Wilson Amplifiers

Organic traffic growth through content marketing is a long-term play, but hugely profitable once in play.

We think of this as free revenue as opposed to PPC with higher CPA numbers.

Conversion rate optimization is critical and needs dedicated resources. This is not a set-and-forget-it part of the business.

TEST EVERYTHING, ALWAYS.

Checkout funnel analysis and retention strategies are KEY. Mobile growth is up 40% YOY.

Ensure that you look at key metrics. Load times, for instance, are critical, as is cross-device sharing of content.

Mobile generates more traffic than desktop, although revenue numbers are lower.

Lastly, having an understanding of attribution is critical to understanding multi-channel campaigns’ value.

16. Find where your audience lives.

Danielle Rogland, Coordinator, Celebration Ashes

Advertising on Facebook has been great for us, because families who have had memorials created are able to share their stories to our company Facebook page.

These really touching personal accounts are a great way for other families to see what we are about and decide if this kind of memorial piece would work for them.

17. Consider targeting a specific niche.

Kenneth Eremita, Vice President of Marketing, Turtleback

Google Shopping ads have been the most successful.

We have a lot of niche product for flip phones and radios that don’t have a lot of competitive bids.

Many of our customers have these niche devices and start with Google to see where they can find a carry/case solution and find us.

18. Leverage Amazon.

Barbara Weiderspahn, Ecommerce Manager, Racelite Hardware

Selling on Amazon has been a big boost to our business.

Not just direct sales on Amazon, but people finding our products on Amazon and then coming to our website for a more complete selection of products.

Using web analytics has also helped us improve search results to steer people to our website.

19. Make long-term investments in marketing.

Ferrell Alman, President and Founder, Roanline

Social media and social media advertising have allowed us to connect with our target audiences and share content, stories and products.

We also spent a good amount of time on design and SEO work, which has paid off in spades for organic traffic.

20. Don’t forget about repeat customers.

Manager at Fox Creek Leather, Fox Creek Leather

We have been having recent success with email marketing and other digital advertising means; however, most of our business comes from repeat customers, forums and referrals from customers.

We also try to keep on top of our SEO so we are shown more often through organic searches.

21. Add that personal touch.

Kevin Danaher, Ecommerce & Marketing Manager, Stuff2Color

We answer all customer phone calls, orders, emails or letters in the mail with a personal touch. No boilerplate responses or generic call center reps.

We believe in the human element of commerce and think that has been key to our growth.

22. Have an effective PPC strategy.

Derek Lenington, Co-founder and CFO, Taylor Street Favors

Google Shopping with the assistance ofWordStream and Logical Position has been the most successful while we grow organically through social media.

23. Be SEO focused.

Patrick Hope, Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Partial Owner, Fleet Safety

Search engine optimization has been the most successful growth tactic for us.

It allowed us to get on the map and be seen by everyone across the nation, not just in the mid-south where our 6 stores are located.

24. Be social & searchable.

Lauryn Spence, Founder, Pride Chicken

Social media & Facebook ads have made a great impact for us.

We also started focusing more on our organic search in the last 6 months and have already seen an improvement in traffic.

25. Keep up with Google algorithm changes.

Jerri Hemsworth, Co-Owner, RP Boutique

Keeping on top of the changing algorithms of Google has worked well for us.

Social media has been a big deal for us, but not our biggest converter.

Google’s organic search and email campaigns have been our biggest sources of traffic.

26. Use data to hone in on your audience.

Ashli Clubine, Director of Marketing, Nine Line Apparel

Facebook advertising is what really helped us establish ourselves, allowing us to reach a wide expanse of our target demographic based on honing in on those with like-minded views and interests who would relate to the message that our apparel conveys.

27. Provide customers informative content.

Brian Krilivsky, President, Journey To Health

Providing content in my niche area has been the most successful.

One of my main selling products are Wiffle balls and bats. (Yes, the good old, made in America, plastic bat and ball that has been around for decades!).

I’ve set up informational resource pages on the site exploring and promoting all areas of Wiffle Ball: Wiffle ball tournaments, Wiffle ball fields, Wiffle ball pitches, Wiffle ball leagues, Wiffle ball rules, etc.

These pages have brought a ton of customers to my site where I can then cross-sell them all types of products related to Wiffle ball.

Blogging about all of these areas has also helped.

28. Compete on price, quality and service.

Joanne Wood-Ellison, Founder and Chief Executive Collar Crafter, The Artful Canine

Offering the perfect combination of price, quality and service is what has grown our business.

Big box pet stores have the price, but not the quality. Boutiques have the quality, but not the value, and few offer all three.

I reach those seeking this level of service and value through SEO, great content and accurate, revealing photography.

29. Get feedback from customers.

Kate Dillon, CEO, Crate Insider

Social media, and Facebook in particular, has been instrumental to our success.

It’s been a great platform to engage with our customers and allow them to be part of our community.

They can like, comment and share new products or tech tips that we publish.

It’s been a strong platform for building loyalty among our audience.

Out of all paid-advertising channels, Facebook has been the most effective by far.

The other tactic we’ve used has been to provide relevant content on our website.

We provide tech articles and videos and write unique product descriptions.

As a result, organic search on Google has been responsible for a large portion of our traffic.

30. Successful advertising requires you to pay to play.

Kyle Sharick, Owner, TracksNTeeth

Paid advertising via Google/Yahoo/Bing to drive our traffic and providing high-quality products at affordable prices with fast shipping time is the winning combination we’ve used to give our customers a top-notch customer experience.

31. Use the Golden Rule.

Chris Angelini, CoFounder, American Bench Craft

Providing customer service that’s just as awesome as our products are.

Without venture capital money or investors backing us, we don’t have a substantial marketing budget, so we rely heavily on word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers.

By taking care of our customers and treating them they way we like to be treated, they are so happy with their overall experience with us they tend to be really engaging with social media shares and positive reviews.

A simple Google search of American Bench Craft will reveal hundreds of overwhelmingly positive 5-star reviews!

This has worked well for us because there’s a surprising number of companies that don’t provide good customer service or any at all.

We get so many emails and phone calls from people who are refreshed by our customer service and they tend to talk loudly about our company and products and that has been what’s kept us growing these past few years.

32. Be tenacious.

Ana Seidel, CEO and CCO, My Bliss Kiss

Social media, Amazon and writing over 80 articles on our sister site NailCareHQ.com is what has driven our growth.

33. Create long-term strategies..

David Skeen, Owner, Matboard Plus

Initially, Google AdWords drove our growth in a big way.

This was essential for finding our audience and new sales. Expensive? Yes.

But I knew I had to find customers in order to build the real business of “repeat customers.”

Long term, we have been developing our SEO to reduce the cost of finding new customers through PPC alone.

34. Be engaging.

Jennifer Lugo, Founder and Product Formulator, Verefina

Using our blog in tandem with email marketing and social media has really helped us engage our customers and communicate with them in a meaningful way.

35. Stay connected to your audience.

Tersha Carpenter, CFO, Island Slipper

Email marketing and social media have been the most successful.

We started actively working on our social media presence last year, and I think it is finally beginning to pay off. We are beginning to see more traffic due to social media.

But even more successful has been the direct email marketing campaigns. Every time we send out an email, there is a spike of traffic and sales.

36. Slow and steady wins the race.

Bonnie Porter & Megan Boyd, Chief Party Officers, Cute Booze

Email and social media have been the most successful because we were able to get the Cute Booze name out at a low cost.

It’s slow but it works – constantly increasing Facebook likes, etc.

We are now investing in SEO and starting to implement the features built into BigCommerce.

37. Make key connections.

Gordie Spater, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer, Kurgo

Partnering with retailers like Petco, PetSmart and Pet Food Express has been the most successful.

We have distribution in over 90% of pet specialty retail doors now.

This presence has established us as a leader in this category.

38. Content is still king.

Vice President and Co-owner, Universal Design Specialists

As a small business, we found the punch to be in our on-page content.

We try our best to give our customers the best, straightforward information possible to understand our sometimes-complicated products.

Using quality SEO tools and of course BigCommerce has been beneficial in simplifying the ecommerce aspect of our business as we are “do it yourselfers.”

39. Create key digital relationships.

Katie Caudill, Founder and CEO, Sunday Coupon Inserts

Blogger relationships, hands down.

Whether it’s sponsoring giveaways, testimonials or simply having our button on their website, we can contribute a large portion of our continued new customer base to referrals from coupon blogs with whom we have established relationships.

This has not only increased our sales, it has grown our Facebook presence to almost 200,000 fans!

40. Do it all.

Jennifer Raines, Chick-in-Charge, Quirks! Handcrafted Goods & Unique Gifts

We pretty much do it all.

All forms of social media (approaching 14,000 Facebook fans), Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat.

We also have an active MailChimp email list with nearly 10,000 subscribers.

We are extremely active in our local community.

Over the years, we’ve really grown to love our little tribe of locals and visitors who support us and all of our crazy schemes.

We also take pride in the fact that Quirks has become an interactive and vital community hub with artist visits and contributions to the community through our nonprofit CultureFix.

The nonprofit coordinates events to promote arts and culture in the Greater Williamsburg area, including the Winter Blues Jazz Fest, 2nd Sundays Art & Music Festivals, the Big Bluesy, and ChowderFest.

We’re always on the lookout for unique ways to have fun, excite our neighbors, make days brighter, extend our reach beyond our store walls and think outside the box.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Most Popular Reads

Table of Contents

IntroAmerican Business Owners on Starting, Scaling and Staying Inspired in 2018
Chapter 1 72 American Business Owners on What Motivated Them To Become Entrepreneurs
Chapter 2 These 40 Entrepreneurs Swear by These Marketing & Growth Strategies
Chapter 3 44 Pieces of Entrepreneur-to-Entrepreneur Business Advice
Chapter 4 40 American Business Owners on What Independence Means to Them

Less Development. More Marketing.

Let us future-proof your backend. You focus on building your brand.