By Van Natter Consulting Group

4 Business Growth Strategies for Long-Term Success
Making the best use of business growth strategies can help you take your business to new heights.  As a result, you can effectively manage your competition and enjoy long-term growth.  However, it is also vital to understand that a successful marketing and sales business growth strategy will require you and your team to be committed to its short-term and long-term aspects.

So what is the difference between a short-term growth strategy and a long-term growth strategy?  A short-term growth strategy is an operational and tactical plan that lasts for up to one year and is typically used to promote sales/specials, new products/services, and other actions needed to meet your yearly growth forecast.

A long-term growth strategy is an operational and tactical plan that focuses on where you want your company to go over the next 2 to 10 years and describes how you want to get there.

When the 2 are combined, they create a robust strategy that drives growthand will help you transform your business operations and structures to become more productive and competitive.

Today’s article will delve deeper into 5 methods that will help you get the most out of your long-term growth strategy.

1.Increase Your Market Penetration

One of the best strategies for long-term growth that your business can use is to increase your market penetration.  The strategy entails expanding your market share through your existing products/services.  And by increasing your market penetration, you will increase your dominance in the market.  So, what are some steps to take to increase your dominance?

By Creating Entry Barriers

The best way to keep the competition low is by ensuring that no new competitors can quickly or easily enter the market.  Therefore, you can create either natural or artificial barriers to entry.  Examples of natural barriers are high research, development or set-up cost, or ownership of essential resources or raw materials.  On the other hand, artificial barriers are predatory pricing or acquisition, limit pricing, advertising, branding, contract patents, licenses, loyalty schemes, or creating a high switching cost.

Creating Strategic Alliances

Another way to penetrate the market is by creating strategic alliances.  This is when a business forms a partnership with another company whose products complement its products and allow both companies to increase their revenue.  An example of this is the strategic alliance of Taco Bell with Doritos.  It allowed them to split advertising expenses and promote both products and the new Dorito taco shell sold by Taco Bell.  And was a success for both brands.

Adopt a Unique and Highly Innovative Approach

To gain a competitive edge over others, you can always try something out-of-the-box.  With a new innovative strategy to add value to your products, you can capture and increase your market share in no time.  An example of this is when Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, and their competitors were selling flip phones, slides phones, and they all had small keyboards, or you had to use the number keys to spell out words.

2.Utilize Digital Marketing

I am sure by now you have heard that you need to add a digital aspect to your marketing campaigns.  This is because it offers short-term and long-term growth at a relatively low investment when fully developed.  But what are the first three areas you should focus on when building a digital marketing strategy?

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is one of the most essential strategies you can implement, and its goal is to increase your visibility on search engines and increase incoming leads.  To provide an overview, because SEO is very complex, you start by identifying your target audience and market niche.  Then you uncover the keywords that your potential leads use to find products/services like yours.  Finally, you create content on your website that uses those keywords to increase your target audience’s likelihood of clicking on your link and visiting your website.

  • Social Media Management

Social media used to be something that marketers thought of as a “nice to have” part of their business.  However, today it is an essential aspect of your digital marketing strategy, providing both short-term and long-term benefits depending on how you use it.

For short-term gains, you can get quick participation for events/seminars (online or in-person) from platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Or you can use the platforms to build your brand and gain a considerable following.  And a large following increases brand recognition and your chance of a sale.  It takes time and effort, but it will pay off over the long term.  The best part of this strategy is that you can lower your advertising spend with a large social media following by allowing your media network to generate sales.

  • Content marketing

When creating content, you want to connect your SEO research and social media management to develop content (video, written, or questionnaires) tailored to your SEO keyword research combined with content that your target market will find interesting.

You will also want to customize your content to the social media platform you are using.  For instance, you wouldn’t want to post a long-read article on Instagram as it would be difficult to read when broken into a long thread.  But long-read pieces are perfect for LinkedIn.  No matter the type of content you create, you will need to regularly update the subject matter to match business trends.

3.Hire Top Talent

Hiring the right person to join your team is a make-or-break situation.  The right person can add synergy to your teams and increase the likelihood of your strategies succeeding.  Hire the wrong person, and your teams and strategies can fail.  So how can you find the right talent in an ever-competitive world?

Get Creative with your Recruitment Marketing Process

Attracting the best talent is only possible by giving them an insight into your organization’s culture.  So be innovative in your recruitment process and present your business as the ideal workplace, along with how your corporate culture makes you stand out.  This is especially important since today you can hire the best talent from anywhere globally due to remote working becoming the new norm.

One way you can give your potential hires this insight is to regularly highlight your current employee’s performance on social media to show what you appreciate about your employees and what you do for your employees when they succeed.

Treat Candidates like Customers

Show the same respect and dedication towards your potential candidates you show to your customers.  Take time to evaluate and research your potential hires to show them that you respect them as a person and that they are not just another resume/CV.  Then bring up something that you discovered outside of the information they provided.  While this may sound like a lot of work, most candidates will have a LinkedIn profile, providing tons of information.

Give them time to prepare for their interview, and don’t throw curveballs during the interview process.  Remember, they are evaluating you while you are evaluating them, and curveballs may make them think you like to create stress when there is none.

Define Who will Succeed in your organization

Just as you create a buyer persona to understand who can benefit the most from your services/products, create a successful candidate persona.  This goes beyond just listing a group of past roles or education levels.  The goal is to define the skills, abilities, traits, and personality to take your company to the next level.  Doing so will save you time, money, and the energy you would spend on finding and scrutinizing other candidates.

4.Understand Your Customer Better

Last but not least, no matter what business growth strategies you use, it will be futile if you don’t have a deep understanding of your target market.  Without it, your market share will slip, your digital marketing and your teams messaging will be off.  But what are the different ways you can segment your market to provide more robust messaging?

Demographic Segmentation

This is the most well-known and used type of market segmentation.  You divide the population into categories such as age, gender, family size, income, occupation, race, or nationality—this allows you to market and message to your target market based on a combination of these segments.  For example, Costco focuses on upper-income, educated shoppers above 30 who own homes.

Behavioral Segmentation

This is where you divide consumers by their behavior, usage, and decision-making processes.  The cell phone industry is a perfect example of creating products based on behavioral segmentation.  For example, blackberry focused on people who used their phones for work, Samsung focused on consumers who ranked low cost high in their decision-making process.  Apple focused on consumers who wanted to be part of a unique and popular group.

Psychographic Segmentation

Psychographic segmentation is similar to behavioral segmentation, but the main difference is that it focuses on consumer lifestyle and activities, interests, and opinions.  For example, the psychographic segmentation for Mercedes Benz are professionals that work hard and play harder.  And the view that living a luxurious lifestyle is the goal to a happy life, and they will do everything it takes to continue living that way.

Geographic Segmentation

This type of segmentation does what it says; it divides people based on their location.  Examples of this type of segmentation are as easy as selling snow shovels in the North East of the US and not selling them in Florida to tire companies selling summer and winter tires in Germany and only all-weather tires in the US.

Takeaway

Whether you are a startup or an established corporation, you need to have strategies that drive short and long-term growth. The best areas to focus on for long-term growth from a marketing and sales perspective are increasing your market penetration, utilizing digital marketing, hiring top talent, and understanding your customers better.

Companies we have helped unlock their growth

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