Growth Hack Marketing

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I’m going to call it like it is: most businesses’ marketing sucks. There, I said it. I’m baffled by this because even though digital platforms change constantly, marketing has never been easier and more affordable than now. A term that has surfaced within digital marketing is what’s known as “Growth Hacking.” Simply put, Growth Hacking is doing a lot with very little. So if marketing is so accessible, why are businesses so awful at it?


I started the marketing journey very early on when I took over Skydive Chicago with my brother in 2003. Since then, I’ve worked with my sister-in-law helping start-up companies in Silicon Valley; and after that journey, I spent 2.5 years at Skydive Arizona taking what I learned and implementing it in the skydiving industry. For the last 1.5 years, I’ve worked in various roles with Beyond Marketing and was recently promoted to Business Development!


Years ago, I read a book by Ryan Holiday called, Growth Hacking that gave meaning to the marketing intel I had developed over the years – doing a lot with nothing!

The growth of digital tools and platforms completely upended decades of traditional marketing strategies. And it left many in the dust with companies scrambling to pick up the pieces trying to figure out what the heck just happened. And ya know what? Some companies didn’t even scramble; they remained the same and became dying brands unable to keep up. Can you say Blockbuster?

Now that I’m in Business Development, I’m constantly doing surface digital audits to gain an understanding of where companies are so I can find a way to meet their needs. As a consumer, business owner, and marketer, I know there are 6 major digital marketing tools people need to implement well in order to succeed in the digital world. Having sifted through a multitude of companies, I can tell you that only 25% of companies are actually using these 5 tools to their advantage. No wonder businesses are struggling!



There are so many tools in digital marketing that it can be incredibly overwhelming. I’ve hacked my way finding trends within the skydiving community of what digital tools are most effective, so as not to waste time on things that aren’t bringing in ROI.

What are those 6 tools?


This is the digital representation of your brand. Your website is incredibly important as potential customers are gauging your reputability as a company based on the way you present yourself online. If you’re in the skydiving industry and your website looks outdated and cheap – then what does that say about your gear, facilities, and instructors?


Google is the mega search giant that if you’re looking to narrow your search engine monies, then look no further. According to Tech Crunch there were 1.2 trillion searches on the mega search giant and that it holds 75% of the market share for search compared to other search engines. On mobile, Google wins by a landslide holding 90% of the search market share!
What does that say? That it’s ever more important for brand management via Google My Business as it’s typically the first interaction a customer has with your brand.


Yes, there are a TON of social media platforms and even though many people say that they don’t go to Facebook, the numbers don’t lie – take a look:
I did a presentation on Facebook in January 2017 about the number of active users and it was at 1.7 billion. TODAY’s numbers, looking at the first quarter of 2018 is that there are now 2.19 billion active users on Facebook! Key Word – ACTIVE!


A blog is an opportunity to get personal and add value for your potential customer, to showcase your team, and educate on next steps to continue skydiving.
For example: If wait times are a common issue, then write a blog on “What To Expect” that can be used in your email booking confirmation, or if you have an instructor who continually gets rave reviews, publish an interview with them as a special way to recognize and thank them.


James recently gave an email marketing presentation and he posed a question:
“How many of you think email marketing is dead?” Most of the room raised their hand. He went on to show the group a campaign he ran in 2017 which consisted of only 5-6 emails over the course of the year and resulted in $75,000 worth of gift certificate sales during the Holiday season!
Email marketing isn’t dead! The question is how well are you e-mail marketing?

Performance Designs


Did you know that online reviews can make or break a business? According to Small Business Trends, “positive comments from customers or clients can produce an average increase in sales of 18% and that consumers are likely to spend 31% more because of positive reviews?” Positive reviews, and responding to them, helps build rapport with future customers as they get to know you, which in turn is a great marketing tool.


Burble Software is a skydiving reservations and manifest solution.
DropZone Marketing proudly endorses Burble Software as the #1 manifest and reservations software in the world.


Take a moment to look at the following tools, then rate yourself on a scale from 1-10 (ten being the highest score).

How to score:
If you have no idea what we’re asking, you may not be doing it = 0
If know about the task, but you’re not doing it = 0
If you know about the task, are kinda doing it, but not getting results = 1-3
If you know about the task, are doing it, yielding small results – 4-6
If you know about the task and are rocking the house = 7-10

Be honest on how well you think you’re doing, then have a team member not involved with the day-to-day rate you then compare scores! After you scored yourself, take the line totals from each tool and add those numbers and check your digital pulse!



1. Is your website fast? Does it load in less than 3 seconds on mobile and desktop? “According to Google, 53% of mobile site visits leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.” Speed is becoming an increasingly important issue.



2. Is your website secure (https vs http) – Google has been actively campaigning to web developers to convert to HTTPS, and has been rewarding secure URLs with a minor SEO boost.



3. Does your website have a responsive design so that it is mobile friendly? Google has shifted to a mobile-first mindset. Your website should also cater to the mobile user first.



4. Is your website optimized for search engines so that when people search for queries that are relevant to your business, Google is showing your website in the results?



Google My Business

5. Have you claimed and verified your Google My Business account?



6. Is the business category correct? (Choose a category or categories that appropriately describe your business).



7. Do you regularly review your Google My Business profile to ensure that your business details are correct?



8. Do you regularly upload high quality photos of your business? Videos?


9. Do you have a verified Facebook page for your business?



10. Are you posting engaging images and photos to your Facebook page?



11. Are you posting at least one to two times per day?



12. Answering messages in the inbox quickly?



13. If you have a blog, are you sharing blog content to your social media in order to drive traffic back to your website?



14. Are you creating valuable content for your end users at least 1-2 times per month?



15. is your blog in a nice, readable layout for mobile?



16. Is your blog being used to help optimize your search engine optimization for relevant keywords?



17. Are you actively building your database (outside of taking e-mails from your waivers)?



18. Have a custom template / layout matching your branding with hyperlinks to your website?



19. Is your e-mail marketing providing valuable content or is mostly only offering a discount?



20. Send out 3-5 e-mails per year to your tandem database?



Reviews and Reputation Managment

21. Do you have verified accounts that you know how to access with major review platforms such as Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Facebook?



22. Do you have a strategy to increase your customer reviews?



23. Do you have a strategy in place to respond to all of your online reviews?



200 – 150     YOU ROCK! Great job! If you’ve figured this out, then you’re ready to take on the next steps of marketing such as SEO and Google Ads. If you’re not sure where to go to begin, give us a call!

149 – 100     Not bad! You’re on your way but sounds like you could use a boost. If you’re feeling like you know what needs to be done, but you don’t have time, we’re really great teammates and can give your business the boost it needs!

99 – 50         Now you know where you need to invest your time! Adding clarity to where to spend your marketing dollars in this noisy, ever-changing digital world is half the battle! Just know you’re not alone in this – if you need a hand, we’re here for you!

49 or less      You need to develop a marketing plan. If you’d like to chat, we’d be happy to offer a complimentary consulting call to help get you on your way.


Growth Hack Marketing is finding the few key places in which to better focus your marketing dollars. Since the digital platforms have matured, so have marketing strategies. Today, Growth Hack Marketing is not only about being present on digital platforms but knowing how to use each platform to better market your business.


Fun Fact:

Did you know that hiring Dropzone Marketing you get a team of experts in each platform of digital marketing at the same or less than a part-time employee? And you don’t have to pay health insurance or workman’s comp!

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