Everybody claims to be a growth hacker these days -- at least if you check out people's bios on LinkedIn.
The truth is, though, that while marketers, developers and product managers can team up on some cool customer acquisition strategies to build user bases fast, most things that last take time.
Trust, for example. You can't build it overnight because until you have some skins on the wall, and until you have proven you are good at what you do, people will be wary. That's just human nature.
One of the things I find most frustrating as a marketer is when companies do put in the time and effort to make customers happy -- but then don't take the necessary steps to use that accumulated trust to fuel customer acquisition.
It's amazing how many companies have achieved high customer satisfaction levels, industry endorsements and other trust signals, but simply don't realize the value of sharing this information. Or, they understand the value but they don't know how to effectively share trust signals on their website and in other marketing channels.
You don't need growth hacking to grow in these cases. You simply need a trust signals strategy.
At Idea Grove, we believe in "Growth Through TRUST," with TRUST being an acronym with the following components:
Third-party validation: People want to hear what other people say about you, not what you say about yourself. This includes the media, influencers, analysts, experts and -- most importantly -- your customers. Prominently feature this third-party validation at all your marketing touchpoints.
Reputation management: It's critical to listen and respond to what customers, employees and others are saying about you on social media, including sites such as Glassdoor and product review sites. Identify issues and correct errors quickly or your reputation will precede you with prospects -- and not in a good way.
Search profile: When people search for your brand on Google, think of the first page of results they see as your second homepage. Is your Google My Business listing up to snuff? What other websites come up when visitors search for you? On average, only 30 percent of your branded search queries end up in a visitor landing on your website. It's time to start thinking about the other 70 percent.
Thought leadership: Sharing interesting and helpful information with those who come across your brand online is one of the best ways to build trust with them. It shows you have more to offer the world than a widget to sell. Talk about your ideas more and your product less.
These five elements are key to growing your company. If you have an established business with happy customers, you are missing an opportunity and leaving money on the table by not working every day to make the most of what you have created and achieved.
Don't hack; just grow through TRUST.
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Scott is founder and CEO of Idea Grove, one of the most forward-looking public relations agencies in the United States. Idea Grove focuses on helping technology companies reach media and buyers, with clients ranging from venture-backed startups to Fortune 100 companies.