Any entrepreneur knows that figuring out how to grow your business is challenging in the beginning, no matter how amazing your idea is. For my business, ArtSquare, a platform designed to help visual artists sell their work online by creating beautiful digital portfolios, it was no different.
As the marketing guy, I was on a mission to find the right channels and messaging that resonated with the artists we were trying to reach. And we tried everything. Paid ads on social channels, search engines and websites that attracted visual artists. We advertised on big artist bloggers’ email blasts. Basically, anywhere we thought we could grow our customer base, we ran ads, and all these efforts produced mixed results. Our business was starting to grow, but not quickly as we needed to early on.
We shifted our focus to growing our social media following to reach more artists, tweaking our messaging to increase conversions. We tried email marketing to grow our list. Again, some success, but not the type of growth we needed.
Bottom line? We knew that to prove the viability of our idea to future investors, we needed to find more significant user growth. And the key to that growth was data and using it to steer our marketing and product development efforts.
How Data Helped Us Grow Our Business
With critical investment talks looming on the horizon and a very small marketing budget, we could only afford to put our energy into things that mattered. We revisited what had actually helped us grow and re-evaluated what we should focus on. We doubled down on our efforts to understand our customers with daily phone calls, emails, surveys and experiments, all geared towards getting a clear understanding of their needs. In this time, something we already vaguely knew became crystal clear: Artists desperately needed to be educated on how to be business owners.
We designed several experiments around solving this problem and were hyper-intentional about tracking it all. We set up funnels in our analytics software, used tracking links for any and every link, monitored all data in a shared Google Sheet and followed a strict protocol for analyzing the results.
Our hypothesis: If we create useful, educational business content for artists, we will grow our influence and increase our email and product signups.
“Be generous” became our mantra. And it worked.
All marketing efforts shifted to creating free educational content through offers on our blog, as well as through guest articles on other websites with large artist audiences. We hosted monthly webinars, created free guides and wrote practical how-to articles. The single goal for everything created was to be certain that all of our efforts led people back to our signup page or email list.
The data from these experiments began to reveal the types of content that was resonating with our target audience. It also became clear which traffic channels had the best reach and where we needed to spend more time and energy on engagement efforts.
Here are some numbers that illustrate what I mean:
- In 3 months, monthly blog traffic grew from an average of 400 to 30,000 views (7,500% growth)
- In 6 months, email subscribers grew from 150 to 6,000 (4,000% growth)
- In 6 months, our three most popular articles were shared by artists over 1,600 times each
- In 6 months, users of our product grew from 300 to 3,000 (1,000% growth)
That is the power of data and experimentation. All of the above growth was done with almost no marketing spend — we tested and let real world results determine our next steps. And that’s exactly what you can learn to do with Her Data Method, which offers an easy and approachable method to data collection and interpretation you need to help your business thrive.
Good luck! You got this — just follow the data. It doesn’t lie!
If you’re not willing to leave the growth of your business to chance, and you need help learning how to collect data, sign up for the Her Data Method course here. The course will be released in Summer 2017; early signups get discounts, access to free resources and the opportunity to have their business spotlighted as a featured case study.