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!