A quick TL;DR - Growing your business in a competitive market is tough. by knowing your audience, building a strong brand identity, maintaining an active presence on social, designing enticing landing pages, and a few other best practices, you'll attract the right customers and even engage new waves of audiences.
Getting your business started is a formidable challenge. Continuing on a journey of sustainable growth is just as difficult. There will be bright days where you experience success. There’ll be stormy days where you have to pick yourself up after a fall. Life is never predictable as an owner of a small business.
But some things can veer it in the right direction
Here are 10 proven ways to grow your business:
1. Know your Audience through buyer personas
By knowing your audience you need to understand who you can help most by your products and services that you already provide. The first step is to create a buyer persona which describes your ideal customer.
Part of creating a picture of your target audience is understanding their pain points and how you can solve them. Your persona should include their profession, how you can make their job easier and also describe their goals.
Once you do a bit of research on your ideal customer, you’ll be able to create messaging that resonates with them in your email and ad campaigns, and blog posts. You’ll also boost your ranking on Google by knowing what services and products they are searching for.
2. Create your own brand identity
Knowing your target audience brand identity is just as, and arguably more important than understanding who they are. Maintaining a consistent brand identity supports and reinforces your brand’s reputation. Being clear what your company stands for, its message and values, retains existing customers and attracts new ones.
Research from Facebook shows that 77% of customers are loyal to brands. Like Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon says, “your brand is what others say when you are not in the room”. In other words, how do people react and feel when they see your brand. As an owner of a small business, you have to decide how you want to be perceived by others. Your company’s name, logo, messaging and design all help to make up your brand identity.
3. Bolster your online presence
Whisper it carefully, “ the world’s gone digital” and so must your business. Maybe your website hasn’t been updated in a while and you see some cobwebs forming.
If this is you, you need to make changes. If going online is unfamiliar territory, perhaps you should think of hiring an agency or freelancer who knows and loves everything digital.
Be present on social media. Start sharing your perspectives and ideas with people even if the platform feels new to you. Post helpful and generous blog articles that your customers will find valuable. The potential of social media to boost your online presence is immense because of how populated it is.
According to Statistica, Facebook users currently number 223 million, YouTube has 210 million users, and Instagram has 120.7 million users. Think of how your business can harness the power of social media to immediately increase its visibility.
Why not start promoting the good work you do in a newsletter and add a click worthy Call To Action at the end. Take a dive into Social Media and share engaging original or curated content.
4. The benefits of a Google My Business Account
You may think “Why do I need a Google My Business Account?”. After all, you have your business address, phone number listed on your website. And when someone types a search into Google, they can find your information.
With the increase in near-me searches, a Google My Business listing is a must. Research published on Forbes shows that 95% of smartphone users conduct near-me searches. 61% of those users call businesses and 59% visit businesses.
Google My Business helps people searching locally to find your business. On your listing you can add your address and phone number and directions to help shoppers find you. At a glance, visitors can see other customers ratings which boosts your reputation and creates trust. Local searches tend to drive conversions.
Studies show that 88% of customers searching using their mobiles “are likely to call your phone number within the next 24 hours”. So having a phone number prominently displayed is key. Google My Business listings helps Google and other search engines know how to effectively tell users where you are, who you are and how they can directly contact you.
5. Optimize your content to maximize your reach
High quality and helpful blog posts are another way to get noticed on Google. The more frequently niche-relevant keywords appear in your posts, the higher your business will be displayed on search results pages. Well written posts will help you build authority in your niche area and customers will come to you for advice on products and services. When you create content, make sure you have SEO top of mind.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Improving your SEO means boosting your website rank. Crazyegg.com defines SEO as “a process of improving a website [or blog content] in ways that help it rank in search results when users search for specific words and phrases”. These results are based on what Google thinks will be the most helpful for a specific search query.
Something that helps me, and I know it will help you is HubSpot’s checklist for bloggers - Click Here.
6. Ask for Referrals
While it’s true that by following our suggestions up to now will help grow your business, taking an active role in getting referrals won’t do any harm.Take the initiative by developing a system that gets referrals from your happy customers. A good idea is to apply it in your sales process especially with repeat or retained customers. If you receive rave reviews on feedback forms, it’s a good idea to ask for referrals.
7. Expand your Reach with Social Media
As the We Are Social 2020 Global Digital Review shows, there are 3.8 Billion using Social Media. Facebook alone has 1.95 Billion that can be reached with digital advertising. More people are watching videos on YouTube. Social media has the potential for every small business to extend their reach to new audiences.
Social media has a number of uses. Of course, it’s another way for your customers to find your products and services.Facebook businesses pages are another place you can list your phone number and business address. Other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are great places to share written posts, pictures and videos. You can also respond to customer inquiries and questions on social media making a great customer services tool.
8. Engage your customers via email
Email is a useful way to engage your audience by sharing written, audio and video content. While the last thing you want to do is overwhelm your subscribers, you want to engage them enough so they have your brand top of mind.
Email is also an effective tool for promoting incentives like coupons. A customer that has paid a discounted price for a product may also be happy to pay full price. You can also share codes with your customers for free product trials.
9. Keep testing what works
A/B testing, also called split testing, helps you to know what works, and what doesn’t. For example, you can test which subject lines in your emails get a higher open rate. You also may want to test different types of Call To Action buttons simultaneously.
For example, you add two different CTAs on two identical landing pages and see which one gets more clicks. On social media, you can post the same post on two different days and see which one gets the most shares and likes.
10. Increase conversions through landing pages
Designing engaging landing pages will increase the opportunity for conversions. For example, a prospect finds your blog on Google. In your blog you have a link to one of your landing pages with a downloadable resource like a free email template. They love it and this leads them to buy something from you. Because landing pages are effective conversion tools, you want yours to capture the eye of prospects.
Landing pages are usually stand alone pages on your website. The difference between these pages and other web pages is that they follow up any promises you’ve made in your content. It’s the next stage in a visitor becoming a customer.
Landing pages usually have content offers in the form of an ebook, product trial, or webinar in exchange for a visitor’s information. Effective landing pages should have valuable content offers that persuade visitors that it will be worth their while sharing their personal details.
Our Bottom line: There are many ways to grow a small business, but knowing your audience, Google My Business, building a strong brand identity, expanding your reach on social media are the most proven and effective ways to create a thriving company.
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Jonathan Gordon is the chief writer and PR liaison for an HR firm. His passions are creating inspiring and engaging content. Jonathan has a love for learning about new industries and acquiring new skills. Jonathan is also a trained classical and jazz pianist and loves meeting new people and is open to new experiences.