Opening a business today is entirely different from what it used to be a couple of years ago; especially in case of online businesses. A lot of the growth tactics that worked yesterday will not work today, but there are a few evergreen ones that transcend time. With new technologies on the rise, such as chatbots, we now have more tools than ever that will help us grow our businesses. Making use of them is one of our main duties as entrepreneurs. Being an entrepreneur means creating, connecting and investing into systems that help our ideas become a reality and make our company grow.
Even though as entrepreneurs, this is our main way of operating, we often forget that our main job is to bring value to the market. We get too caught up in growing our businesses way too often, and forget what matters the most. Our most important goal should always be to bring value to the table. It is the core of our business and it’s what helps it grow.
People often think that they need some major capital or plenty of cash to help their business grow. While that definitely helps, it isn’t necessarily an effective shortcut. Sometimes having loads of cash to rely on can actually sidetrack you. It might distract you from the most efficient and targeted ways you can reach your audience and become more profitable. It can easily get us to spend more while looking to grow more. But instead of spending more, you’ll have to focus more on your conversions.
If you can’t offer something that gets you conversions and the ability to track how much people convert, than you’re wasting energy and time. Your first and most important job in running an online business is to get your offer to work for you. Which means if you’re looking to spend $5 to acquire a customer, it will have to get you back that $5 and earn even more in profits.
Without the right kind of sales funnel, growing your business isn’t going to be easy. You have to have the right systems in check to make it happen. Here, I’m going to show you what you can do and adopt to make the most out of your business. By following these simple tips, you can give your business’ growth a major boost.
1. Carefully Target Your Audience
Anything you do in eCommerce, largely depends on how trustworthy, reputable and accessible your online presence is. You can’t expect anyone to know or care about your business. This is why you have to go out of your way to make your product or service available for those who are most likely to notice. Identify the demographics of people who would find what you offer the most valuable.
The best way you can go about it is to develop a precise customer persona. Create a fictive person and give him the attributes, and demographic characteristics that would make them the ideal person to buy your product. Make multiple customer personas and target them in your online marketing efforts.
Looking at your competition is also a very good idea to find your potential customers and enhance your marketing strategy. Use it to learn about their marketing habits to find the gap within the market and fill it up. Type your business’ keywords into search engines and find out who else is offering such products and services. Find out what works and use it to build your vision. If you pay attention and do the right research, you’ll know what your competition is doing differently and use it to your advantage.
Track your Google Analytics account as well and make use of other free marketing tools. You can get a good idea of who likes what and who can you better target.
Just remember that once you’ve established your customer personas and understood the competition, you’ll have to play an ongoing game. Frequently reevaluate your assumptions and keep up-to date with the audience you’re looking to connect with.
2. Craft High-Quality, Unique Content and Deliver it at Top Speed
High-quality content adds amazing value to your site and your business. It is relevant and engaging information that people are thankful for and what will keep them coming back to your site in the future. Your content should reflect your brand in its tone, style and include its mission statement and policies. But it should be educational and useful first and foremost.
For an internet-based business, visibility and credibility is everything. It’s what gets people buying and it is going to be judged by more people than just their own customers. It’s going to get judged by every eye that sees it and by robotic search engines. As you already know, SEO plays a large part in your visibility and credibility. So you should seek to optimize your content to the fullest, in order to make it as accessible as possible. It’s also important that you make sure that your website runs at top speed. It shouldn’t take it more than 2 seconds to load, as there’s a high chance that a user will leave it if he or she finds it to be slow.
One of Amazon’s studied reported that every 100 milliseconds cut down from a sites loading time, increased the revenue by 1%. This is why VPS hosting and other more powerful hosting plans are becoming increasingly popular for businesses.
3. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile Friendly
Business on mobile devices is growing every year, which is why it’s crucial to have a powerful mobile eCommerce platform. In fact, you shouldn’t even launch your website until it’s not mobile friendly, since about 52% of online traffic comes from mobile devices. The number of smartphones in use continues to grow every year, so if your website isn’t fully responsive, you should get to making it so right now!
- Having a mobile-friendly, responsive design is not enough. There are couple of other things to consider, when optimizing your website for mobile:
- Reduce image size to reduce bandwidth consumption and reduce loading time
- Verify your website from real smartphones and ask customer feedback to see which elements of your website to tweak
- Create an easy to use and clean navigation; do not fill the screen of the phone with navigation, because it is overwhelming
- Avoid using old technologies such as Flash, not only because it is outdated, but Flash no longer works on mobile phones
- Focus on usability more than anything else; keep in mind, that your users will have to manage everything on just few inches of screen
4. Diversify Your Business Strategy
Stand on as many legs as you can when it comes to running your business. Growing your business requires you to diversify your operation. This means that you should offer a more diverse lineup of products and services. It would serve you well to attract a completely different audience and you can make your already existing audience even larger.
Being diverse in your business will protect your business from market shifts, pitfalls and other dangers. Not to mention that it will also increase your revenue. As the old saying goes, „never put all the eggs in one basket”. Make sure that your business is flexible enough to adapt to new changes in the market. Do whatever it takes to keep your business afloat and successful throughout an extended period of time. Below are a few things that you can do to make your income stream more diverse.
- Expand Your Inventory – Include whatever might be useful within the context you’re providing a product or service in. For example, you can buy toys and vitamin rich pet foods along with other items at some vets. Though their main income stream is still from providing medical services, they make a lot of additional money from diversifying their business a little. Same goes for computer and gaming stores that also offer energy drinks. Every gamer needs a boost for a long night of gaming, so it’s highly likely that they’ll buy some on the spot. Expand your own inventory in such a way, to include complementary items.
- Sell Digital Assets – It would be awesome if you could sell a single product over and over again, right? Well, the problem with physical products is that they run out and you have to refresh your inventory; but not with digital products. You can create „digital assets” which you can rent out or sell to as many people as you want. It will constantly generate passive income for you, which will greatly benefit your business in the long run.
- Create a YouTube Channel – Running a YouTube channel might be well worth your time if it’s a perfect fit for your business niche. It will not only engage your audience but also has the potential to earn you some ad revenue on the side. Although, it will require a lot of creativity for your channel to become diverse enough. If you succeed, your YouTube channel will not only earn you some extra cash, but it will also be one of your most valuable marketing tool. Showing people how to use or make the most of your products and services might be just what your business needs!
- Include Ads on Your Website – You can make use of the constant influx of traffic on your site. You can place Google AdSense ads on your pages, which will help by generating a bit of additional money. Even if it only makes enough to pay for your website’s hosting, it will be well worth it to have it around. Some won’t use it because there is a chance that it will take the buyer to a competing website.
5. Implement Social Media Marketing
No marketing strategy is complete without social media marketing. The most beautiful thing about social media isn’t just that it connect people, but how effective a marketing tool it is. Create a free profile for your business and start building it.
- Write Daily Posts – Post at least once or twice a day, when your perspective customers are most likely to be active. Though the number of times you should post a day varies from business to business. So does the time when you post. It all depends on exactly who your target audience is. The most important thing is for you to remain active if you want your audience to know about you.
- Post High Quality Images – Images matter a lot. In fact, sometimes they matter more than just plain texts. Images and videos have proven to engage users more than simple text does. Posts that have images on LinkedIn, have 200% more engagement than a simple text based post.
- Only share meaningful content – Content that’s too salesy or even spammy will be ignored without a thought. Make sure that you post content that your audience will want to read, watch or see. This includes sharing other’s posts, websites and any other piece of content you find on the web and deem it useful to your audience.
- Include Social Sharing Buttons on Your Site – No website can survive these days without social sharing buttons. Don’t forget to add them to your website’s content and to your store items as well. Someone might want to share what you have to offer with their followers, which is good for business.
6. Leverage Free Marketing Tools
You have plenty of free marketing tools at your disposal, for social media marketing, email marketing, SEO and more. Though it will take some time and effort to find the tools that are best for you and some will turn out to be not free, it’s worth searching for them. Once you have the right tools, you’ll have a much more streamlined system.
For example, if you want to frequently post on multiple social media channels, than you can use a tool like Buffer. Buffer allows you to set schedules for your post and to handle almost all of your social media channels from one place. There are plenty of other social media marketing tools you can use to make posting much easier, like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Zoho Social and more.
Invest some time into finding the right tools that help you reach your audience in the most efficient manner possible. It will spare you a lot of time and effort in the long term.
7. Find the Right Partners
Partnering up with other businesses can be very rewarding. Obviously, you will not go to your competitors and ask for partnership opportunity (it can work some time though), but networking with complementary businesses is quite a good way to grow your business.
For instance, if you run a SEO agency, partner up with a web development company and refer clients to them in exchange for their clients. This is a win-win situation for both companies.
Networking with other people is a bit time consuming, but it is very effective. LinkedIn is a good platform to find business partners and meet new people who can contribute to your growth.
Growing your online business is not an easy task, however using the proper strategies and tools, you can achieve good results really fast. Whether you create content that attracts more visitors and customers or use Facebook or other social media platforms to promote your product or services, or use your communication skills to network with other people, it takes a lot of work to be successful. But don’t forget, hard work always pays off.