Elementor Growth Roundup – 15 Experts Share How to Grow Your Business in 2020

To celebrate Elementor's milestone of reaching 3 million websites, we decided to share our growth knowledge and invite top companies and experts to share their own.

Elementor’s growth journey has been an amazing rollercoaster adventure.
3 years, 3 million websites, how did this happen so fast? 

We have decided to take this advantage, of our reaching 3 million active installs, and explore growth. We began with a roundup of some of the fastest growing digital companies,  and the top experts in the field.

The roundup delivered great marketing insight as to how a company can achieve substantial growth regardless of its size. Whether you consider yourself a  small business or manage a big agency, we are confident that you will find this advice insightful and constructive.

We’ve asked 15 top leading marketing experts, including our very own CEO, 3 fundamental questions:

  • What was the no.1 factor for the growth of your business?
  • What challenges did you face and what did you learn from overcoming them?
  • What are your top 3 tips for someone looking to grow their business in 2020?

     

The tips are ONLY available in the ebook we prepared. We’ve put them all into a single downloadable document that you will definitely find well worth reading.

Yoni Luksenberg

Yoni Luksenberg

CEO of Elementor

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

The number one factor for us was the fact that our product was built to answer the real problems we ourselves were experiencing as web designers. To succeed, a product must have a real product-market fit and  be able to answer the exact needs of the users.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

The biggest growth challenge is high-speed intense company growth. While seeing your company succeed and grow is great and humbling, it also comes with a lot of challenges. It has taught me to accept the fact that there’s a lot that I still don’t know and that consulting with other experienced individuals is a must.

Kevan Lee

Kevan Lee

VP of Marketing at Buffer

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

Early on, we saw great growth from content marketing and guest posting. We’ve since evolved that strategy to include a strong organic SEO component, which is how we drive most of our demand generation today.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

Our biggest initial challenge was finding the right niche for our content marketing. We grew fast by writing about topics that weren’t central to our product offering. So we pivoted in order to become more of an authority in the social media space. This ended up being a key move for our SEO strategy, too, helping us rank for high-intent keywords. Along the way, we learned that it’s okay to question your cornerstone assets – nothing is sacred. This helped us move ahead without getting stuck.

Scott Tousley

Scott Tousley

HubSpot Head of Growth Marketing & User Acquisition

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your company?

Product retention and revenue retention will always be the top priority. Referrals from existing customers drive new customers. That’s how the world operates today. You build a great product and deliver excellent support. Afterward, you can scale through particular acquisition channels. However, acquiring users at scale is pointless until you have a product with strong retention and excellent customer service.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

HubSpot is 12+ years old, with plenty of hurdles along the way. I can speak to a recent growth challenge we encountered. As we grew into a freemium model, with thousands of new signups every month, we needed to identify qualified leads who began using the free product. We built a Product Qualified Lead (PQL) model, which helped qualify the users that are most likely to purchase based on product usage behavior. We attached that to our marketing automation to send personalized emails from sales reps related to the features that the user had explored.

Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin

Founder of SparkToro, co-founder of Moz and Inbound.org.

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

For Moz, it was the blog I built initially as a side project, but later as the central hub for how we helped educate our customers and potential customers. We didn’t even know to call it “content marketing” back in 2003/4, but that’s certainly what it became over the next decade. Visitors who read our blog, watched the Whiteboard Friday videos I published there, and then tried our software became our best, highest LTV, lowest churn customers. They’re what made the business scale.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

Churn was the biggest challenge at Moz. We never built the business or toolset intelligently to take advantage of a high-churn-likelihood audience (SMBs and VSBs attempting to do their own SEO, as well as solo consultants and agencies), and thus had a constant problem of refilling a leaky bucket through our funnel.
In retrospect, Moz could have optimized around the inconsistency of use, working to provide latent value for non-paying customers and then converting them to paid products/services/data when they had a need (like when their Google traffic stumbled, or when they needed another audit, were re-investing in SEO, etc). Hopefully, I can take that learning into SparkToro and build a business that isn’t so addicted to getting revenue from every customer, every month.

David Vogelpohl

David Vogelpohl

VP Web Strategy, WP Engine

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

Giving to others. WP Engine has been blessed with a rich and diverse community of customers and agency partners whose loyalty and advocacy we work hard to earn every day.

We do this by using our core values as a roadmap for the situations we encounter. These values include notions like “customer inspired” and “do the right thing”. Taking action on these values often leads us to support customers in ways that don’t always present a clear benefit to our business, but do present a clear value to those we serve.

Ultimately our mission is to help our customers win online, and one of the biggest keys to our success is that we give everything we have in that pursuit. By focusing on giving to others and earning their loyalty and advocacy, we’ve been able  to retain and grow revenue in ways “optimizing our funnel” never would. You can often drive your business further faster with your heart than with your smarts.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

Scaling a business is difficult. Scaling a purpose is even harder. We’re overwhelmingly proud of the work the people of WP Engine have done to scale our systems and teams, but the true challenge in scale is nurturing a culture of purpose that permeates every corner of your business and unites those you serve.

One of the key moments for us in scaling our culture of purpose occurred early in WP Engine’s existence. In 2013, just 3 years after being founded, Heather Brunner joined WP Engine as CEO. This was during a time of extreme growth for the company. We were moving from a stage of huddling around a desk in a co-working space to needing to grow our team. Fast.

I worked as a consultant for WP Engine back in those days, and I remember being able to taste the sense of purpose in the air. It was incredible. I also remember wondering “Will this actually last?”. As Heather tells this story, she too pondered on similar points. How would she, as a leader, help WPEngine grow as a business and not just preserve a culture of purpose but nurture one that lives and evolves. Cultures aren’t made, they’re lived. From my view, Heather went about scaling a culture of purpose in two key ways.

The first way was to convene everyone in the entire company to work together to create WP Engine’s Core Values. These values are the blueprint that help define our sense of purpose and the framework we apply to our decisions and actions.

The second way Heather has helped scale our culture of purpose is in her role as “Chief Repetition Officer”. As a member of the senior leadership team, I can attest that we all share this role and remind each other of it constantly. Ha.

 

By repeating and reaffirming our commitment to our core values every day it allows us to nurture a culture of purpose that is more than words written on a list, but rather a living part of our business that provides value to the business that effort and intellect could never do alone.

Brian Dean

Brian Dean

Founder of Backlinko.com

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

Focusing on SUPER high-quality content. When I first launched Backlinko I knew that I was entering a crowded, competitive space. A space full of blogs that were banging out daily content.

As a one-man show, I had no chance to compete with that. So instead of trying to compete on quantity, I pored all of my energy into quality. So instead of publishing every week, I published a new post every month. And I made sure it was the absolute best piece every published on that topic. And it worked! Within a few months, traffic started to roll in. This same approach has helped us scale our traffic, email subscribers and customers.

 

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

My biggest growth challenge was conversions. I was getting decent traffic. But conversions were just so-so.

The one thing that turned things around for me was actually talking to customers. I had calls with around 5 customers. And I learned more in those 5 calls than I did in any survey that we sent out.

 

Sujan Patel

Sujan Patel

Co-founder, Right Inbox

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

Building a product people “love” is the key growth drive in all of my businesses. The value from this trumps any direct marketing & sales strategy we’ve ever done.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

Biggest challenge is getting marketing & sales to work together at a fast moving organization. At Mailshake & RightInbox we added a sales team earlier this year which means the marketing is responsible for customer acquisition and for generating leads for our sales team. We over came this by getting the teams to work together, aligned our goals and had an open line of communication.

Larry Kim

Larry Kim

CEO of MobileMonkey, Founder of WordStream

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

The biggest source of growth is our product – we spend nearly nothing at all on “marketing”! Our biggest growth spurts when we deliver something new product functionality or experience that is significantly better than what we previously had – new features like a WordPress chat plug-in or live customer support chat have opened up our product to new ecosystems and use cases which fuels real growth – not just small 2-5% incremental growth – more like 2-5x step-functions! Elementor’s recent expansion from website design to now include marketing tools is another example of this strategy which I think made a ton of sense.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

The biggest growth challenge is truly having a growth mindset. I know, most people reading this will think to themselves: “I have a growth mindset!”, right? But in reality, I estimate that 97% of marketers are donkey-marketers who suffer from “donkey delusional syndrome” which is an unfortunate tendency to waste time and resources on stupid marketing initiatives that produce no results (and despite producing no results, they keep doing the same thing over and over and over..)  For example, if an email campaign generated a 10% open rate and 1% click through rate, most marketers would try to send out the offer to even more emails, which is totally the wrong thing to do. (Expert Tip: come up with a more interesting product and offer to promote instead!)

The key is to identify super-leveraged unicorn growth strategies such as the examples that I have provided, which have an enormous impact on the business. Also, it’s a numbers-game. Most marketing growth initiatives actually fail to make any impact and thus it’s important to execute on a larger portfolio of dozens or hundreds of innovative marketing campaigns with the hopes that 1-3 of the ideas catch on like crazy in any given year.

Syed Balkhi

Syed Balkhi

Founder of WPBeginner

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

The #1 factor for our growth was putting users first. We started by writing tutorials for businesses struggling with their WordPress sites. We then asked our users for feedback and listened to them. Many of their responses had one thing in common. They wanted to be able to customize their WordPress sites without having to code. So, we gave them what they wanted. We created user friendly products that made it easy for them to design their websites.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

Our biggest growth challenge was lack of processes in various areas. We have been overcoming it by adding documentation for every area of our business – from operations to growth to customer success. This has made it easier for new employees to ramp up quickly. Employees now have a resource hub where they can search and find answers.

Joanna Wiebe

Joanna Wiebe

Creator of Copyhackers

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

The day I incorporated my business and started paying myself a salary was the defining moment in turning what I was doing into an actual business. It’s not sexy, but there is a huge shift that happens when you start keeping money in your business and piling up some cash so you can then invest in your business. I was able to hire my first employee shortly thereafter, and that’s, of course, when I was able to start scaling.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

Our biggest growth challenge has always been finding the right people to help us grow. I can’t say I’ve overcome the challenge or that I believe I (or any business) ever will. That said, recruiting, hiring and retaining people has taught me to be far more patient and deliberate in my expectations of people. Like, set clear targets for people and listen to what they need to get there: do they need more of me, less of me, more training, more tech, less tech, more people, fewer opinions, more opinions, bigger ideas? Before hiring people, I assumed everyone just basically understood what to do in their jobs to be successful. I was wrong.

David Brice

David Brice

General Manager of the Envato Customer Group

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

Establishing a thriving community of authors and continuing to invest in the growth of the community over time.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

Ensuring that you understand and stay focused on your core value proposition for customers. In our case, this means ensuring great content is always available at great prices. More sales, leads to happy authors and more great content for our customers.

Eli Overbey

Eli Overbey

Head of growth, Help Scout

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

Whether it is Sales as a Service (being a trusted advisor throughout the buyer’s journey), Support Driven Growth (shifting the perception of customer support as a cost center toward CS as a critical revenue driver), or creating tons of helpful content for teams that work in support, success or service, our growth has been influenced by our fierce dedication to putting the customer first, and our belief that providing excellent service is a growth differentiator for SMBs. And as we’ve been building the Help Scout customer messaging platform, we’re able to use our own products to focus on the customer experience and lead by example by dogfooding our own tools.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

Maintaining a high bar of excellence while trying to scale quickly. We’re a high growth company with values that we won’t compromise on – and it’s challenging. There are easily a few shortcuts or hacks we could take to grow faster, but in the end, it’s not the right thing for us to do, so we won’t do it. I don’t think this is a challenge that we will, or should, overcome. Instead, we choose to see that high bar of excellence as a competitive differentiator, and one we’ve come to embrace. That restraint brings us clarity of focus, and is even shown to boost creativity.

Nick Bosch

Nick Bosch

Director Marketing Communications at ActiveCampaign

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

We listen to our customers first and foremost. They come above all else. From there, we invest in product and build solutions for broad markets, offering them at affordable price points. When we see an opportunity, we act fast too, continually delivering value and improving through iteration.

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

One of the biggest challenges has been continuing to listen to our customers, especially when making decisions against best practices or the status quo. It can be tense, although it has always paid off. It paid off when we decided to be a stackable solution that helps our customers bring their best tools together (versus being an all-in-one solution), when we decided to do over 200 local training events (versus doing a couple big customer conferences), and when we decided to focus on small businesses first (versus going upmarket early and often). All three decisions continue to pay-off.

Troy Dean

Troy Dean

CEO & Co-founder WP Elevation

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

Focus. Every time I take stock of where we are at and double down my efforts and focus on the one to three big items that will give us the biggest growth, it works. There are a hundred things you can do everyday that will make you feel useful and productive. There is usually only one or two things that actually matter in terms of growing your business.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

People. Making sure you have the right people in the right seat working on the right things at the right time. Overcoming this challenge (and we still are) has taught me the importance of having values and a clear vision. Vision and values are the ONLY things that differentiate you from your competitors and allow you to keep your team in alignment. Growth is hard. People are the answer. A shared vision and shared values are what keep people working together.

John Jantsch

John Jantsch

Duct Tape Marketing

What was the no.1 factor of growth for your business?

Hustle I think, at least originally, I  worked hard and wasn’t afraid to self-promote and make connections by adding value.

What was the biggest growth challenge? What lessons did overcoming it teach you?

Managing people – like so many entrepreneurs I like doing the stuff and don’t know why everyone doesn’t just know what to do. When I put someone in that role I was able to get out of the way of growth.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these insights on growth just as much as we did. But wait, there’s more to come! 

In the following weeks, we’ll be releasing podcasts with top executives from leading companies, who will be sharing their growth knowledge as well. Stay tuned! 

In the meantime, we invite you to download the growth eBook and get the best tips possible that will help you grow your business for 2020.

Get your free copy of “Expert Tips: How To Grow Your Business in 2020” ebook!

About the Author

Ben Pines
Ben Pines
Elementor evangelist & head of content. Ben has been in the online marketing industry for over 10 years, specializing in content marketing. WordPress has been Ben's platform of choice since the time it was used solely for blogging.

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Comments

13 Responses

  1. It’s great to get such a wide perspective from experts in the field on the factors that generated growth for them!

    What stood out for me is that “focus” comes up often, whether it be focusing on the customer experience, or focusing on generating quality content (or a high-quality product).

    Elementor has become my go-to page builder for exactly the same reason; because it allows me to focus on building feature-rich websites that are fast, easy to navigate and include high-quality design elements & functionality!

    Congrats to the Elementor team for reaching an amazing milestone in just 3 years! 👏 🍾 🚀

  2. This is great for business strategy. If you don’t take the time for strategy, you just end up on the hamster wheel trying to get work done and never get ahead.

    This is a great group of successful people, and I love seeing how they mention big picture areas to focus on consistently, not minute details, that helped them to break through into growth.

  3. It’s good to have such a broad view on the variables that created development for them from specialists in the sector!

    What stood out for me was that “focus” often comes up, whether it’s focused on customer experience or focused on quality content (or high-quality product) generation.

    For precisely the same reason, Elementor has become my go – to-page builder; because it enables me to concentrate on constructing feature-rich websites that are quick, simple to navigate and include high-quality design components & features!

    Congratulations to the Elementor team in just 3 years to reach an incredible milestone!

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