A lot gets written about product startups and how entrepreneurs have growth hacked their way to considerable traction. A services startup always gets the backseat. Understandably so, it isn’t as sexy as a products business.
But nevertheless, a services business powers most product startups at the backend, without which, running a business would just be a nightmare.
Just so you know, the biggest challenge for any services company that wants to scale their business is quality and quantity of qualified leads. I’ve been running my services business – Arkenea for over 3.5 years now and we’ve come a long way in learning what works and what doesn’t when it comes to customer acquisition.
We tried various ways over the years to create a better customer acquisition strategy, but none worked as well as some of the hacks highlighted below. Of course, we’ve concluded that so far these work the best for us in the current period (January to September 2014), while we continue to improve and test new strategies that give us better results.
I personally haven’t come across a single startup or company in our space that has put up pricing on their website. Usually, the way it works in the services space is you judge a customer’s paying capacity and command a price that may not necessarily be the same for all. Arkenea has always focused on transparency and by putting up the pricing page, we broke through the clutter. It helped set the expectations from our perspective and from the customer’s perspective, they knew what they’re getting into.
#2 Quick lead capture
Our home page is optimised for lead capture unlike most other services business websites. The header leads with our proposition, sub-header gives a quick overview of our service and credibility (award-winning app experiences) and a single-field lead capture form that enables them to get in touch with us quick. While we do have a slightly more detailed lead capture form at the bottom of the page, we find the highest amount of conversions through the single-field lead capture form.
#3 Objection handling
There’s no way that one can demonstrate service quality unless the customer goes through the experience, unlike in a product where you can put up demo videos. This puts many questions in customers’ minds while evaluating companies which are not necessarily addressed in the first instance of customer touch-point – the website. At Arkenea, we addressed some of the most common questions we got asked by prospective customers right on our home page. Our pricing page is another example of this.
#4 Reinforce credibility
As soon as someone fills out our lead capture form, our ‘Thank You’ page reinforces our credibility that some of the best brands have worked with us. Not only that, but some of the apps we’ve created for our clients have won them awards. This gives our prospects comfort in dealing with us and sets a base for a conversation.
#5 Media vs Customers
We had our customers’ logos displayed on our home page just like every other services company does. Almost all of them had some big names to flaunt, as did we (Novo Nordisk, Warner Bros, etc). That causes a blind-spot among customers. We consciously removed the customer logos from our home page and placed media logos, which almost none of our competitors did. This brought attention to the area (we talk to our customers for feedback and improvement on our website too :)) and helped increase credibility as well.
#6 Case studies
Sure, case studies are very impactful and important for a services company to highlight. But, chances are that your potential customer is reviewing your website along with a number of your competitors’ at the same time. We created a quick snapshot about our customers’ success stories, presenting the most important metric that our potential customers would be interested in.
#7 About page optimization
If you don’t use a heat map, get one today for your website. Heat maps tells you exactly where are people clicking on the page. We discovered that apart from the Home Page, the second most popular page was our About Us page. This simple hack on the About Us page helped us increase the lead flow tremendously – we simply placed our get started lead capture form just after a brief about the company.
#8 Content marketing
All of our marketing initiatives are centered around content marketing. We’ve blow money (BIG money) on advertising on Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, but none could match the conversion rates and the cost of acquisition through content marketing. We write a lot (on Entrepreneur.com, The Next Web, The Huffington Post and other publications), and we market like hell. We market our own content and also use curated content through Foster.
These growth hacks have been improvised over a period of time and we are still discovering many new things along the way. If you have inputs/feedback for us, we would be happy to hear from you.
We will post another article shortly that will talk about the tools we’ve used for a rich customer experience, which is a growth hack to retain existing customers and generate word of mouth.