Growth Hacking and CRM Automation

Speed up your business growth by integrating CRM Automation into your Business Growth Strategy.

Modern CRM automation systems are no longer just databases of contacts with notes and reminders. These days CRM software can automate a lot of your processes, saving you time and transforming the way you engage with potential clients.


Traditionally businesses have relied on networking, lead generation and hard working sales teams. CRM systems helped track what was said, note personal details and make sure follow-up actions took place. Online businesses need a bit more. Every visit is a potential customer, marketing automation CRM is a growing requirement.

Many CRM solutions include sales and marketing automation. Full-service CRM’s includes landing page builders, rule-based email automation, call to action scripts live visitor tracking, web chat, automated responses and more!

So, start capturing more leads, impressing current customers and increasing conversions.

Customer Nurturing and CRM Automation

Potential customers only have a potential for a short period of time. They’ll visit your site, look through the services, possibly the ‘about you’ page and if they find anything of interest they’ll sign up to the newsletter or free membership option. Customer nurturing is about sending the right information to the right person at the right time. Lead nurturing is the process of sending a series of automated messages (usually emails but could be texts) that will trigger based on a prospect’s position in the sales process.

CRM’s now tie directly into your site, adding all of your users into the CRM as soon as they sign up. This then allows you to put them into the Customer nurture process, automatically emailing a personal follow up note, then two weeks later another message, then another if they haven’t signed up to the paid membership. Just about anything else you can think of that’d be helpful for your business.

CRM’s monitor your site stats, show how people discover you, which parts of your site they’ve seen, and then point out the people to focus on in your marketing efforts. They’ll even automatically email your users to make sure they don’t forget about you! CRM automation helps identify potential customers and automate the sales process. They can even interact with your visitors via web chat to gauge whether visitors are ready to sign up, or what more is needed for them to be convinced!

It’s about analytics tied to a rich customer database that’ll help you personalise your marketing and automate tedious processes.

Other CRM Automation Benefits

Shorten the Sales Cycles

Push focused content to prospects at the right time guiding them through the buying cycle.

Multi-Channel Campaign Management

Carry out marketing across multiple channels, including website, email, events and social media.

Gain Real-time visibility

Gain insight into campaign performance and ROI with analytics.

Visitor Tracking

Monitor every person that visits your website by tracking which pages they click, where they are, how they found your website etc. Many CRM systems deliver alerts when a lead, prospect or customer visits the website.

Choosing the right CRM Automation Platform

  • Review the features to make sure they are a fit for your business
  • Ease of Use. Marketing automation takes a more time to set up than the traditional CRM, and it’s likely that you need to embed some code into your existing site. Remember, the more you put in the more you will get out.
  • Pricing plans – any software worth its salt will allow you at the very least a free trial. Some offer free for 1 user then pay for add-ons.

There are a number of big players in the CRM marketing, including Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Sugar CRM and Zoho, but there are also a number of smaller SaaS players offering great value products. Use the power of Google and have a look for the right one for your business.

about online customer solutions
Online Customer Solutions Logo

Customer Onboarding is Integral to Growth Hacking

Don’t waste all of your growth hacking efforts by having a poor customer onboarding experience.

Customer onboarding is the process of “bedding-in” your new customers – probably during a free trial period – and delivering value that will convert them into regular or paying customers (depending on your objectives). Onboarding sets the tone for your relationship, at the very least the onboarding process needs to highlight the potential your product offers customers.

Whether a low-touch, self-service solution, or a high-touch SaaS company, customer onboarding can affect all of the below performance metrics:

  • Customer drop-off after sign-up.
  • Free Trial-to-Paid conversion rates.
  • Active customers over 90 days.
  • Churn rates or non-renewals.

What else could be going wrong?

  • Misleading sales practices.
  • Unrealistic expectations.
  • Time to First Value is too long.
  • Poor customer experience.

Understanding The Customer’s Desired Outcome

An online subscription-based sales model means customers can often start small. A free trial can act as a gateway, leading customers to move to a paid subscription or increase the number of licences they purchase.

What does a ‘free-trial’ customer need to achieve to convert paying customer? A successful conversion (free -> paid) is not the same as what the customer is looking to get out of the trial:

  • How do they measure success?
  • How are they measured by their company?
  • What are they trying to achieve with your product?

This is not about features, functionality, or workflow, it is about the value your service offers customers.

Customer Onboarding Tips

  1. Personalise your welcome.
  2. Focus on your customer’s objectives.
  3. Offer assistance.
  4. Follow up regularly.
  5. Viral Growth. The Customer Loop. Encourange your customers to spread the word.
  6. Ask happy customers for their stories via a survey. Or retrieve data that uncovers your best customers.

The Customer Onboarding Lifecycle

Having realised value in your service, the next step is to convert to a paying customer. A result of focusing on the outcome your customers want is that everyone wins.

Timescales for this could vary, it could be day 1, 10, 30 or more. However, most companies will let trials go the full 30/60/90 days before trying to get them to convert.

Having an onboarding plan that by identifies “success” and links this to communication will help shorten conversion times and strengthen the value proposition.

An example of this would be to trigger an ‘upgrade your subscription’ message (preferably combined with a timed discount), so just after the customer has had an enquiry from the directory listing.

In Conclusion

Having a personalised, agile, customer onboarding process will increase conversions, reduce churn and spread the word! Highlight success stories to motivate more customers to use your product.

about online customer solutions
Online Customer Solutions Logo

Low-Cost Growth Hacking for Small Business

Manchester based digital marketing consultant, Rob Wilkinson, explains the benefits of Low-Cost Growth Hacking for SME’s and Startups.

Growth hacking is fast paced experimental marketing that results in finding the most effective way to generate business growth. The channels used tend to be modern digital, rather than traditional media.

Especially useful for startups, growth hacking is not just about generating leads, it is also crucial to conversion and retention. Important metrics include cost-per-acquisition (CPA) and lifetime value (LTV), not just click-through-rate and cost-per-click.

Growth Hacking is all about Business Growth.

Growth hackers use different types of marketing and product iterations — rapidly testing copy, email marketing, SEO and viral strategies. The aim is rapid business growth. But business growth becomes much harder if the customer attrition is high, so retention is also equally important.

Growth hacking is fundamental to the online marketing matrix which includes Search Engine Optimisation, PPC, Analytics, Content (distribution) Marketing, VideoInfluencer and Social outreach.

However, growth hacking is also crucial to engagement (On-line community management, user-generated content, onboarding, conversion and the customer journey.

Low-Cost Growth Hacking for Startups

Many new, and some established, businesses struggle with not having much marketing budget, not having any marketing experience or both.

Growth hacking is about innovating new low-cost marketing and not wasting budget on experiments that aren’t working. Quickly testing a variety of channels and focusing on the one that makes the best return on investment – or at least shows the most promise.

Business growth is the top level metric, with conversion and retention contributing.

Some Low-cost growth hacking ideas:

  • Growth Through Referral Campaigns.
  • New Product Release or Launch Campaign.
  • Ongoing Social Signup Prompts.
  • Incentivise Reviews And Feedback.
  • The Content Unlock – (for example) sign-up for pages 6,7 and 8.
  • Free Discount codes.
  • Offer Free Samples or subscriptions (Optionally via partners or existing members).
  • Create Webinars.
  • Cart Abandonment Engagement.
  • Voting Contests.
  • Instant Coupon Codes for sign-ups.

The New Business Loop

The “Customer Onboarding Process” is a low-cost way to drive viral growth. Offer new customers an incentive to spread the word across their network and do the customer recruitment for you! Share on Facebook, offer an upgrade, email a link.

By having new customers share your service with their connections, this, in turn, creates a new business loop of awareness, use, and sharing that can result in exponential growth for the company.

Growth Hacking For Conversion

Marketing automation is now a well established, low cost, function. CRM software is now able to automate the capturing of web forms, placing the information into a Sales funnel, and driving conversion. Regular emails, offers and newsletters can be automated to people that have shown and interest but not yet signed up.

Growth Hacking for Retention

Depending on the business model, retention can mean having regular users (because you are selling advertising) or making sure people renew their subscription.

It is an old adage that says it costs more money to recruit a new customer than retaining one. Keep your service fresh, relevant and interesting. Talk to your customers, engage with them. Ask them to contribute to your social media, give them freebies. It’s not just about attracting new customers, keep the ones you have happy!

Growth Hacking Strategy

The first step in growth hacking (and remember, this is meant to be a fast process) is defining goals. Growing the business may be the top level objective. But underneath this, you need to establish sub-goals.

Increase Customers by x =
— Grow visitors by y
— Improve conversion by z

Then, break down the goals into strategies. How are we going to increase visitors? This forms the growth hack experiments.

Low-Cost Growth Hacking Experiments.

Before you run your test (or experiment) establish a baseline about what you think might happen. For example, testing a PPC campaign, establish what you think the click through rate will be

This stage is about forming expectations. If the experiment performs better than expected, then don’t just accept it. Try to work out why and scale the test and run it again.

If worse than expected, then experiments are fluid. They are not things you do one time and then move on. Tweak experiments, re-run and measure again. Only give up on experiments when it’s appropriate to do so.

If an objective is to increase conversion, experiments might include:

  • Highlight the membership benefits on the home page.
  • Include case studies on the member’s page.
  • Offer a free trial on the sign-up page.
  • Improve the navigation on the menu by highlighting the sign-up page.
low-cost growth hacking for business
growth hacking analysis

Measuring Growth Hacking

Essential to anything digital marketing is measurement. Here, Analytics or the tag manager are your friends.

  • Track metrics (views, bounce rate, engagement).
  • Track metrics by cohorts.
  • Device measurement/engagement.
  • Referring source.
  • And on and on.

A/B tests are an essential part of growth hacking. You may think you know what the results of your experiments will be, but an A/B test will tell you the truth.

In Summary

It is a very common situation these days with so many startups competing for customers. Move fast, test everything and don’t waste a penny. If it costs £200 to find out that a marketing channel doesn’t work, it has probably saved you thousand in traditional agency spend.

about online customer solutions
Online Customer Solutions Logo