Our top 5 strategies to grow your small business online

How to grow your small business online

No matter how big or small your business is, as an entrepreneur growth is always on your mind. There will always need to be a sales pipeline and professional, informative website should be part of your sales strategy. In addition to your website and brand strategy, this comprehensive guide will help guide you on how to grow your small business online.

1. Brand Strategy and Web Design

Brand strategy done well is a huge part of sales success and really hitting a home run with your customers.  There are those that would tell you that you can use Facebook instead of a website. And sure a Facebook page is helpful and easily searched…but what kind of message are you giving your potential customers by not having a site?

In order for customers to find, trust and buy from you, it’s essential that you have an online presence that has all the elements of a well thought out brand. If you want serious clients and serious sales, hire someone to brand your company and web presence for you. A professional site WILL lead to more sales. Buying online is all about trust and nothing says “I”m a true professional that you can trust” more than a good lookin’ website and brand.

2. Partner with other small businesses

Working together is a beautiful thing. There are literally hundreds of places online that you can list your business.

  • When you are your brand (coaches, therapists, trainers) find industry related organizations that will let you list your profile with a link to your site. For example: if you are a therapist, get listed on Psychology Today. Personal trainer? Get listed as a certified trainer on the numerous sites out there for each accredited program.
  • Those of you that sell products – Can you start a shop on Etsy? Or find another retailer that sells complimentary products.
  • Local businesses (restaurants, boutiques etc) – If your business relies on local traffic, who else can you partner with in your part of town? Are there events that you can sponsor? Get listed in your local business directory.

3. Claim your social media pages

I know it’s often overwhelming to know where to start with social media. Take a look at which platforms work best for growing your small business online.

  • Service based businesses –  I recommend using LinkedIn as one of the essential platforms, make sure you list your professional resume, qualifications and get endorsements. I also strongly advise you to start a Facebook page to connect with your audience. If you are feeling really ambitious, YouTube and Instagram are the way to go. I’ve seen some of my clients have huge success with video, it helps build trust and people get to know you.
  • Product based businesses – Get your butt on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook immediately. Product based businesses are perfect for these platforms because its all about the visuals. Take pictures of your process, new products and customers using/wearing your stuff. These social platforms are also great for holding contests and getting people to share your stuff with their networks.
  • Brick and mortar/ local businesses – Local businesses need to get the word out on Yelp, Facebook, Instagram and possibly Twitter. Make sure people can find you when they google your type of business and the city you live in by getting listed on local resource lists also.

4. Boost your SEO by blogging

Blogging and SEO go together like Batman and Robin. Your SEO (search engine optimization or ranking) depends on the amount of content on your site. Blogging about your industry, products or services is hands down the BEST way to get found online. The more you blog, the higher you’ll rank. The more keywords you insert into your posts, the higher you’ll rank. And so on.

No matter if you decide to do your own SEO or hire a professional to take you to the next level, blogging and SEO best practices should be part of your online strategy. WordPress offers certain benefits that help boost your SEO without a ton of work. For instance, there are certain themes that have SEO features built in and there are plugins you can add to help boost your visibility online.

5. Keep customers coming back to your site

In addition to all the stuff I listed above, here are a few extras you should consider when growing your business online.

  • E newsletter – Hands down the BEST way to build an audience for those interested in your products or services, even better than social media. Give people a reason to sign up for your list (free PDF or ebook) and then get busy creating fun content and helpful tools for your audience.
  • Comment on other blogs, or do a guest post – These are great ways to get exposure and get clicks to your site.  Don’t underestimate the comment section, write a thoughtful comment and include a link to your site, people WILL find you this way. Another tip is to reach out to targeted blog owners with great traffic and pitch them a post idea.
  • Branding –  If you really want to stand out in the crowd, find a branding expert to help you craft your logo, web graphics and messaging. 9 times out of 10, your branding is the first impression people will have of you. Make sure its a good one. Get tips on personal branding here.
  • Keep visitors on your site – Even though you are tempted to include links to other people’s content, please please don’t do this. You worked hard to get visitors to your site, don’t give them a reason to leave. Some marketing experts I know, are against even listing your social media links on your site because once people click through its unlikely that they’ll return to your site.

If you’re serious about trying to grow your small business online contact us today to schedule your Distillery Session!

Does your brand strategy suck?

Is it time to re-think your brand strategy, are you relying on old branding and ideas to take you into the future?

Keeping a business running is all about knowing your customers and knowing how to give them exactly the products and services they most want and need.  After all most businesses rely on repeat customers, so you really can’t afford to get it wrong.

Perhaps it’s time to reassess your value proposition. Meaning the unique innovation or service that only you can offer.  And though the name sounds harsh, the concept itself is pretty easy to understand.

Value proposition is about strategy

Why should customers buy from you when you offer the same service or product as someone else?  A good value proposition statement will answer this question.

What makes you better than your competitors?  Why is the value from your company better than anything out there?

Your value proposition is your unique reason of why you are better than the competition and it explains the value you offer that makes people want to buy from you.

Imagine selling your product or service door to door.  You have to physically go up to their door and ring the bell.  You put on your biggest smile and then the door opens.  You start to tell them about your product, they start to frown as they realize they are being sold to.

What can you say to make sure they don’t slam the door in your face?

Can you tell them that by using your service, they will save 15% or more on their car insurance?  Or that they will be able to relax and unwind because of all the time and energy they have after using your product?

Entice the person behind the door to ask you questions.  Intrigue them.

But then they ask, what about that other place that sells the same stuff?  And you proceed to tell them why you wipe the floor with those “other guys”.

Give them statistics, testimonials, tell them what’s in it for them, and why they should switch from the brand they use now.

To determine your value proposition, decide which area of differentiation applies to your brand.

  • What compelling reason can I give to customers to switch brands? Is your product bigger, better, faster?
  • Will your business save your customers money, time or hassle?
  • What about accessibility, ease of use or convenience?  Are you a better option than what’s out there because you make is so easy for customers?
  • Or maybe you are all about being the first one to come up with a product or service like this, maybe you are unique?

 

Need some help getting your brand strategy up to snuff?

Schedule your Distillery Session right now!

6 ways to rock your personal brand

How to stand out from the crowd

When you are your brand or you are the face of your company, it’s hard to know what to add to your site to make you look professional, show your expertise and encourage visitors to trust you and your brand. That’s why it’s important to add a few key components to your site to show how your personal brand is a force to be reckoned with, that you have what it takes to make a difference.

The thing about brands these days is that customers want to peek under the hood.  They want to see who is running the ship, to make sure it’s not some old dude with a bunch of smoke and lights behind a curtain. Customers want transparency, honesty and a to get to know you a little bit before they spend their hard earned cash.

If you are a solo-preneur or the genius behind the services you offer, make it known. Your brand is you.  Maybe it’s time to show you off.

Let’s take a look at some of my favorite personal brands and why they got it right.

1.  Hire a Photographer

This is THE most important aspect of a great site. Do not skimp here and hire a friend to take your photos.  Nothing says “Hey, I’m a super awesome professional” quite like quality photography.  This is often the first impression that people will see when they come to your site. Your photos should capture your personality and make you look like a million bucks. Good photos will help website visitors establish that you have the goods. They can help someone to understand what you are all about, they really make or break your website.

Kris Carr‘s site is visually stunning. Here she used cohesive photo color palettes and designs a featured part of the overall web design.  They are colorful, give you a great idea of who she is and what she’s all about. A major victory in the personality department.

2.  Great Copy and Headlines

Wanna keep visitors on your site?  Make sure they know who you are in less than 5 seconds.  Yep, that’s all you get to make an impression. I know, writing about how great you are is complicated and you may not know what to say.  How much do you include?  Does it sound like bragging? Do they want to know the personal stuff?  The answer is to talk less about YOU and more about your CUSTOMER. Your headlines and copy should be about your target customer, what do they want, need, value?

personal-brand-website

Marie Forleo is the BEST of the best when it comes to web copy.  Just in this headline she is appealing to your desire to be rich, happy and hot I mean, who doesn’t want that?  She is clear about what she can do for you and throws a little personality in there too.

 3.  Invite visitors to learn more

Invite visitors to your site to get to know you and explore a bit.  Ask them to participate by leaving a comment or share anything they found useful.  Most people will need to hear from you about 7 times before they are convinced to buy.  So give them options on how to stay in touch.  HINT: The #1 BEST way to do this is by having an email newsletter.

Chris Brogan, social media and business expert is inviting you to have a cup of coffee with him.  He’s telling you how to get his best ideas and inviting you to keep in touch.  It’s personal, inviting and non-sales-y.

4.  Amazing layout and design

Do NOT skimp on this part!  If you want people to pay you a lot of money for your expertise and knowledge you need your site to look like you are rollin’ in the cash.  So hire the most expensive or best designer you can afford, and work with them to create a look you LOVE. And here’s a tip, they are professionals, they design for a living, so if they tell you that your logo needs to go in the upper left-hand corner, do not argue!  You are paying them to make your personal brand look great, so make sure that they can deliver.

Tony Robbins’ site design is all about the great photos/ video and color scheme.  The buttons jump out at you, the photos are inviting and the navigation is simple. And again the copy jumps out at you and invites you in.

5.  Testimonials

You know that you are great and provide amazing solutions to your clients, but how do you gain trust from those that don’t know you?  That’s where the power of proof comes in.  Get your curent or previous clients to give you some feedback.  Include a photo so that people know that you didn’t make that person up.

Testimonials or praise should be highlighted on your site.  (And if you can get Richard Branson to give you a testimonial, that doesn’t hurt either) They should be short, sweet and make you sound amazing.  Don’t be afraid to let people know how awesome you are.

 6.  Use Video

The absolute best way to communicate your personal brand, ie: who you are and what your company does is with a video starring the incredible Y.O.U.  Your videos are the best way to show that you have a personality and that you are an expert in your field.

 

Kyle Cease has a great video right at the top of his about page that let’s you know exactly who he is and what business he is in.  He’s not just some airbrushed face on top of a website.  He is the real deal.

Ok let’s review:

  1. Photography – Spend money to make money.
  2. Headlines – Write some great copy, let 1st time visitors know what you are about in 5 seconds or less
  3. Invitation – Make it so tempting they want to learn more
  4. Design – Make it pop, hire a great designer
  5. Praise – If your clients think you are great, shout it from the rooftops!
  6. Video – Show your personality.

Ps. Don’t forget to buy your own name as a URL if available. All of the examples I highlighted did just that and I gotta say it works!

Does your personal brand need a little makeover?

Schedule your Distillery Session right away!