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8 Steps to Digital Business Growth Success


Note: Following is an edited transcript of this video, featuring Dave Conklin, 5K | Formerly Conklin Media’s founder and chief executive officer and business growth expert.

Have you been pondering the idea of growing your business online? Perhaps you’ve questioned what the steps are to digital business growth success. If growing your business is something you’ve been considering, you have come to the right place. Today, I’m going to reveal a step-by-step guide on how to promote your products and services to buyers without causing stress for you or your team members. It’s as easy as eight simple steps.

Here at 5K | Formerly Conklin Media, we often meet with people who have a desire to grow their business. Many times, they will go to a talk that I do with Vistage International or some other organization, and afterward they come up to me saying, “This was awesome, but I need simple action steps on how I can actually make this happen.” So we’re going to try our best to go through some of those action steps today.

I know that if you put these things into action and execute on them, then you’ll have a tremendous amount of success when growing your business, as we’ve helped other companies to grow theirs using the same exact strategy. So let’s dive in and discover the eight tips for growing businesses online!

How to Grow Your Business Online

Before we go any further, I want to go over what these eight steps are and summarize their purposes. Later in today’s article, I’ll go in-depth on how to use these strategies for growing your business.

DeBubble Your Business

The first step is to DeBubble your business. This basically means to get yourself out of the world that you’re in every single day and take a look at your business from above, from a 30,000 foot view. Lost at 30,000 Feet is literally the book that I wrote and talks about that in detail.

DeFine Your Business

The second step is to DeFine what specific product or service you want to sell and who exactly you want to sell it to. This is where 95 percent of the people I talk to screw up completely because they’re looking at the whole business in general rather than focusing on one specific item that they want to crush. As a result, they don’t drive as many buyers to their business. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.

DeScover Other Businesses

Next is to DeScover what your competitors are doing on social media and search. There are many tools out there to use to make this process easier. Later today, I’ll share with you what kind of tools you can use to find out what other people in your industry are doing to crush it. What’s great about these tools is you can follow what they’re doing but make your business’ advertisements even better. By doing so, you can absolutely annihilate the competition because you’re starting from what they’ve already learned to do through trial and error.

DeComplicate Your Business’ Ads

The fourth step is to DeComplicate. This means you have to make your message super-simple, very consistent and extremely valuable. Too many people overcomplicate their Facebook ads. With Facebook ads, you’ve got to be really consistent and simple. In addition, you’ve got to be visually consistent with the branding in your ads. That way, when people see your ads, they will quickly recognize your business. On | Former, gradients are often found throughout our website, and that’s one of our ways that we create branding within our stuff.

DeWhelm and Simplify Your Goals

The next step to digital business growth success is to DeWhelm. Most marketing teams, business growth teams and sales teams are completely overwhelmed by their leadership. They know they have 18 different objectives that they have to accomplish to grow their business, and they feel that, if they don’t get them all done, then they’ll be losers.

Well, what happens is because human beings have an inability to multitask, no matter how many people say they’re great at multitasking, it is physically impossible to actually multitask. So when trying to grow your business, you have to close the world out and focus on one very specific thing for at least one day a week.

DeSign Your Strategy

After DeWhelm, we have DeSign. This step requires a little creativity. You’ve got to start by building a simple plan, not some bloated, complicated, massive flow chart. In just a moment, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step plan of each one of these eight digital business growth success tips.

DePlan With Simple Goals

The seventh step is to DePlan. For example, instead of presenting your team with a long strategy, have one little goal for your team each week. Deplanning is actually a recurring theme in these eight steps for growing your business. Rather than telling your team, “Here’s these 18 things we’re going to build,” you or a project manager will focus specifically on the one weekly goal. And before you know it, these simple goals will bring your business closer to the main goal that you created in the previous design step.

DeBrief With Weekly Meetings

The last step is to DeBrief, or hold weekly meetings. There are two elements to these weekly meetings. The first one is that everyone who had a goal assigned to them visually shows what they did. After they reveal what they’ve accomplished, your team can set a goal for the next week. Hence, this gets you closer to your end goal.

So let’s break this down a little bit further.

Digital Business Growth Tip No. 1: DeBubble

Let’s begin with the first digital business growth strategy, debubbling. As I mentioned earlier, this means to get out of your bubble and take a look at your business from above. For this to work, you’ve got to have an open mind. Take yourself out of the world you live in every day and get rid of the thought, “Oh, this won’t work because we don’t do it that way.” You have to completely remove these thoughts in order for you to have an open mind.

How to DeBubble

Here, at 5K | Formerly Conklin Media, we’ve had so many experiences with helping companies debubble. In fact, across our team, we’ve had thousands of clients over the past 20 years. Because we’ve helped so many businesses reach their goals, we can use the same theories, strategies and ideas that we worked on with other clients and plug them into our current clients’ businesses, even if they’re unrelated businesses. This example of having an open mind shows that you can use the same strategies that other companies use and use them for growing your own business.

I once had a conversation with one of the founders of and asked him, “What is the one big thing you think has helped you more than anything else to be as successful as you are?” His reply to me was, “I read trade journals that have nothing to do with my business.” That answer was really interesting to me. The reason he does this is to find ideas that other industries are using and then to implement them into his own industry.

In short, this first step to growing your business is to get out of your bubble. Focus on looking at your business from a very high level and brainstorm some ideas.

Digital Business Growth Tip No. 2: DeFine

After you DeBubble, the next step is to DeFine. Simply pick a specific product or service you want to grow and find a specific buyer. It’s interesting that every time I ask a business owner, “What are the top three most profitable products or services that you sell?”, they always know the answer. The problem, however, is they don’t have any specific revenue generation system or plan to increase those specific things.

Most often, if there are things that are really highly profitable, they are things that are getting referred. In other words, current customers are referring to somebody else or they have some kind of industry partner. So these companies always get business coming at them rather than seeking out more customers.

This can create some problems for your business. If you don’t have a specific strategy for introducing yourself to specific buyers, you’re just not going to win. It’s super-important to define the specific product or service you want to grow and a very specific buyer who’s going to buy the most of that product or service.

How to DeFine

A great example of this is an LED lighting company I talked to one time. I asked them, “Well, what’s your highest-profit item?” And they said LED streetlights. So I asked who buys the most LED streetlights. Their answer was that high-end homeowners will sometimes line their driveway with them. My first thought was, “That’s the biggest potential customer?” And they thought for a minute and they said: “You know what? No. Actually, the biggest potential customer would be municipalities, townships, boroughs and cities.” These governmental entities will often line all their streets with these lights. I said, “What do you sell to that group?” And they said: “Well, a little bit. We’ve had some great orders come in, but we don’t really have a thing.”

As you may guess, the road masters at those municipalities, townships, boroughs and cities are great specific buyers for that business to define. So now it becomes, “How do we get those specific buyers?” One way is to target them on LinkedIn and create a Facebook audience with that LinkedIn group. Thus, we can market specifically to them with our LED streetlight offers. But that’s not always the best way to build value with your audience. Just as you wouldn’t hand a catalog to a person you just met, it’s important that value comes before sales. We’ll talk a little more about this in a minute.

Digital Business Growth Tip No. 3: DeScover

The third step is to DeScover what your competitors are doing on social and search. (Yes, we know that “discover” is spelled wrong, but we thought it was fun to use “de” before everything.) Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be super time-consuming. Below, we’ll take a look at the best tools for digital business growth success and how to use them.

The Best Tools for Digital Business Growth Success

There are many tools that come in handy for researching your competitors. Two tools that are great to use are and These sites allow you to find out what your competitors are paying to rank for. When you put your competitors’ websites into Ahrefs or SEMrush, you can see exactly what keywords they rank organically for in the free section of Google. But that’s not all. You can also see what they’re paying for. These tools will show you the ad text that they’re marketing, the display ads they’re running across Google’s display network and their retargeting campaigns. Discovering what your competitors are doing is going to help you in the next steps for defining a strategy. So you definitely don’t want to skip this step.

In addition to Ahrefs and SEMrush, Facebook has something called Facebook ad library. With Facebook ad library, you can also see what your competitors are doing in Facebook and what kind of ads they’re running. You can look at the landing pages they’re sending traffic to and the value they’re trying to build in their Facebook ads. All this will help you define a strategy for your business.

Digital Business Growth Tip No. 4: DeComplicate

After DeScover comes DeComplicate. In other words, your message has to be simple, consistent and build value. But what exactly does this mean? Well, although you may have a bunch of different ads running on Google and Facebook, they should all have a very similar look, feel and message. For example, eight steps to business growth success is a super-simple message. And by adding a brand to it, customers can easily recognize your business. But what’s even more important is building value.

How to Build Value for Your Business

As you’re reading this, you are most likely getting some value out of it, or so we hope. If you get enough value from me and my team, over time when you have a need, there’s a chance that you’re going to give us a call. This is because you got value out of what we said and you believe we know what we’re doing. Another example is that people go back to restaurants that they love. They got value either out of the experience or out of the quality of the food. Bland, boring, old restaurants that don’t have any kind of sizzle to them don’t get as much attraction as restaurants with value.

Let’s take a look at the LED street lighting example again. You could look at what the needs are of those roadmasters in the municipalities and boroughs and provide them with a ton of value. As you’re giving them that value, it will become very clear that you sell these LED streetlights. As a result, there’s going to be a chance that they’re going to contact you when they actually have that need. And that’s what it is all about.

Digital Business Growth Tip No. 5: DeWhelm

One of the biggest problems that we see is marketing teams that are understaffed in comparison to the goals of the organization. We often hear these teams say, “We want to grow from $18 million to $32 million in the next five years.” The problem is when these companies have only two marketing people on their team to make this significant growth happen. And in order for you to reach your goals, you need to get your team to focus specifically on nothing but this business growth strategy at least one day a week. As you may imagine, this can be quite overwhelming.

Many times, marketing companies need to outsource to drive and build out this growth strategy. But instead of hiring an external source, they have their internal team do the job, claiming they have some really good writers.

Well, then we go on to talk to those great writers on their team, and they’ve already got 50 hours of work that needs to be completed in a week’s time, and they have no possible way they’re going to be able to fit in all this content writing. This is a common issue, where leaders in organizations throw assignments at their team and then question why things aren’t getting done properly.

That’s why it’s extremely important to give your team simple goals and leave them alone to complete them. DeWhelming your team allows them to actually focus on the specific plan.

Digital Business Growth Tip No. 6: DeSign

The sixth tip for digital business growth is creating a simple plan. First, you have to ask yourself how you’re going to introduce yourself to this new audience for growing your business. Second, you have to build value.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you going to provide them with a tool, a white paper, a presentation, a video or an article like you’re reading right now?
  • What are you going to provide that is super valuable to them so that they will trust your business?
  • And then how are you going to close it?

For example, let’s say you have a white paper that you want to advertise on LinkedIn. You pick an audience on LinkedIn and you show an ad to them that is not an advertisement for your business but an advertisement for the super valuable content you create. Again, is it a tool? Is it a white paper? Is it an infographic? Or is it a video? Once you send those people to your website, they’ve now been exposed to you. And that first introduction was a positive one because you provided them with a lot of value.

Promote Deals to Your Audience

Additionally, you have the option to promote deals and sales to your audience. This could mean asking them, “If you want a free quote, stop back and we will be happy to do that for you.” Or if you’re in e-commerce: “First time customers, we’re offering 50 percent off.”

If you have an e-commerce strategy in your business, this can be a great way to get a new customer. It is especially great if you have a recurring purchase product such as skin care products or pet food. After they have a great experience buying from you the first time, they’ll come back again. And it may all be because you simply offered them a deal when they first visited your site.

Digital Business Growth Tip No. 7: DePlan

The next step is DePlan. This means allowing your team members to focus on one weekly goal rather than the entire complicated plan. Once again, a big issue that project managers have sometimes is they’re overwhelming their team members, who are basically like button pushers or troops on the ground.

This is why it’s super important to have a project manager decide what the big plan really is instead of having your team figure it out. Once you define what the main goal is, you can assign your team members with one specific goal each week so that they are constantly moving forward.

Digital Business Growth Tip No. 8: DeBrief

The final element that we want to focus on is the DeBrief. A DeBrief is a weekly meeting in which your team members show their accomplishments and decide on the next goal. Once again, the next goal will be something the project manager or leader decides on and then assigns his team members to complete.

Summing Up: Digital Business Growth Tips

In conclusion, growing your business digitally is really based on these eight tips. It is so important to take these steps and look at your business growth through this lens. I promise you that you will end up having a tremendous amount of success in your business growth strategies.

Still unsure about how to grow your business online? No worries! Here at 5K | Formerly Conklin Media, we are happy to help you get started with expanding your business’ audience. Contact us today and together we’ll work out a strategy for your company.

Dave Conklin

Dave Conklin

Dave’s not just a marketing nerd, but a business growth expert. He and his team have helped more than 1,000 companies over 20 years to create business growth.

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