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Inspiring / RodinStar / Startup

How We Growth Hacked Our Services Business To Generate $300k in 9 Months

 

Awarded the

“Rodinstar” Post 

of the week!!

 

 

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. 

#1 Pricing. 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.comThe Next WebThe 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, I would be happy to hear from you.

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I mentor tech entrepreneurs in launching and scaling their startup, and am the co-founder of Arkenea and Foster. Subscribe to my free email course on growth hacking your mobile app or website. 

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Loved reading this? You can read more by Rahul Varshneya here!

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27 Comments

  1. WOW. THIS IS SO WOW!

    i’m just so awestruck rahul, i shall leave it at WOW.

  2. Thank you! 🙂

  3. Well all I can say is that you studied the Pulse of the customer quite well. Kudos.

  4. Thank you Abhishek!

  5. Wonderful descriptions of the growth hacks, specially relevant for the services industry. And, Happy Bday to you!

    Just an observation about displaying the price/service charges right in the front.

    Have you measured whether this ‘bold’ step of yours have actually helped you to get better leads or this information is detracting your potential leads?

    I have been into this industry since last 4 years, and from my understanding, choosing services online is way different that choosing a product. While shopping for products,instant decision happens, which leads to purchase. In services, the potential lead has to be nurtured, convinced, followed-up. Now, if the price is mentioned right there, then several of your visitors can simply go away, never to return.

    On the other hand, if the price is still a secret, then is a chance that the potential customer will fill in the form and take the bait. Once he has submitted the required information, then we can start the process of nurturing and stuff.

    It would be interesting to make a case study and do some A/B testing to find out the truth!

    Just my two cents. One suggestion: Dont spoil your bday today by writing in a lengthy reply! I can wait for tomorrow 🙂

  6. Thanks for the post Rahul.

    You atleast got me started on marketing my IT services firm. Its been long , I am trying to figure out on how to market the services..we are not getting quality leads and the lead generation companies demand unaffordable amounts.

    I have subscribed to your free email course. Thank you again.. 

  7. Thanks for writing in Mohul. 

    We did test this change. I agree that leads need to be nurtured before they convert (true for products as well), but there are many ways one can do that. We do that in many ways too! Through mentoring tech entrepreneurs, through our email course on mobile app growth hacking, etc.

    It is actually the fear that drives people to not put up the prices on their website. There are people who will buy regardless of the price because of the value they see in the service/product. For us, we showcase our value through many means (content marketing, thought leadership, lead nurturing, etc) and thus talk to the right people that we want to work with as well.

    If you compete on price, you’ll always live in that fear. 

    Whereas if you compete on quality, price becomes secondary and ‘is just there’ for the world to see (as a starting point). 

    For us specifically in the app business, any and everyone wants to make an app. And that is most often because they feel it’s an inexpensive proposition to build an app. Unfortunately, in the tech business, you can always find someone to work at $5/hr as well. But we’re not in that business.

    We want to work with people who are serious about building a product and who know that nothing good can come out of a company that charges a price that low.

    We now get far better quality of leads than we used to earlier.

  8. Thank you Nilesh. In my opinion, the ONLY way to get started in marketing is to do it yourself. Do not hire an agency at this stage. Hire when you want to scale your marketing efforts when you can’t handle them yourself. 

    Thanks for subscribing to the course!

  9. Superbly put Rahul . Keep em coming !

  10. Thank you Sandeep! 🙂

  11. Putting up the pricing on the website is a smart move.

  12. Thanks for the post Rahul.

    I want to ask How to approach The Huffington Post ,Travel.cnn Or Entrepreneur.com for author profile.as i tried a few times to contact them but all in vain.

    So please Suggest me 🙂

  13. Keep trying. I was rejected many times too! Also, if your content is really good, they will get back.

  14. But Problem is that , I don’t know where to submit or contact , I couldn’t find any place at least to register as author.

  15. Heard of Google? 🙂

  16. This is one of the best articles I’ve read in recent times. Lot of actionable tips. 

  17. 🙂

  18. Thank you Deepan!

  19. hey rahul,

    messed up the top of your post. sowie 🙂

  20. Damn! How did this happen!!?? 🙂

  21. Amazing stuff Rahul..simple things executed well can really have an amazing impact! The most important factor here, in my opinion, is the clarity of thought & execution.

  22. Yes, I have the same question. 

  23. Thank you Jitendra!

  24. I went through this week’s newsletter, then i went to last week’s newsletter from there and look what i found. Some really really good practical tips and actionable steps that one can implement. Very insightful and informative. Thank you Sir!

  25. Thank you Tejas!

  26. moral of the story tejas – read the newsletter every week! 

    lesson for me – ALWAYS share the previous newsletter :))))

  27. rahul, i just re-read this after all these months. i salute your transparency and “share it all” attitude. so many folks don’t believe in “sharing #growthhacks (or any #hacks for that matter!) in open forums”. i smile whenever i hear that one!!!

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