Since that first lockdown in March 2020, the shift to buying online accelerated at a pace few of us could ever had anticipated. For businesses to survive it required an ability to adapt, with some completely changing their business model. Those of you reading this who are small business owners still operating, it is worth pausing to take a bow and congratulate yourself because you didn’t get here without been resilient and batting every challenge that came your way over the past two years.
But what next for 2022? Well, covid is still here, and however this year pans out, we can be confident that consumers will continue to favour online shopping. That means regardless of how well your small business is established or if you’re about to launch a new one, you’ll need a solid presence online for success.
To help build your business and generate additional revenue, below are 10 strategies for small businesses that are crucial to success.
1.Audit Your Online Presence
The beginning of the year is a good time to audit your online presence to make sure everything is up to date and an accurate representation of your business. Aside from your website and social channels, make sure to include your Google my Business profile plus any online directories that you are listed on.
2. Never Forget the Power of Happy Customers
If you have satisfied customers, they are more likely to buy from you again plus recommend you to others. While new customers are key for growth, it takes more marketing effort and budget to move them through the sales funnel. Stay focused on retention as it contributes to a higher return-on-investment (ROI).
3. Know Your Niche
It is a rare product or service that everyone wants so don’t waste marketing efforts trying to target them. Instead, build a profile of your ideal customer, then create the content that will attract them to your business.
4. Solve Don’t Sell
Remember your ideal customer wants you to solve their problem and not be constantly sold to. So, unless you are a budget airline with constant flight sales, forget the sell, sell, sell type posts and instead focus on creating content that your customer wants to see from you. Mine content topics from your customer’s what/why/how/where questions.
5. Collect and Share Reviews
Nowadays we trust the online reviews of strangers which is why you need to ensure you have reviews on your Google My Business profile, social sites, and websites. In a report conducted by Yelp, they found that 75% of consumers read more online reviews now than they did in the past. Do not underestimate the power of reviews so make it your mission to start seeking reviews from your happy customers.
6. Grow an Email List
Often forgotten is email marketing, yet it is a powerful way of building a strong relationship with your customers. There are free and low-cost tools like Mailchimp which has easy to create sign-up forms to help build your database plus drag and drop templates to give your newsletters a professional look and feel.
7. Broadcast Your Talent
Never be afraid of broadcasting anything that shows your expertise. It can be awards you’ve received, industry articles that mention you or your company, photos from conferences where you have been a guest speaker, or workshops you’ve hosted. It might feel a bit like showing off, but to an onlooker, it could be the deciding factor in buying from you and not a competitor.
8. Invest in Advertising
If you’re new to online advertising, start with a small budget to get familiar with how it all works. If Facebook and Instagram are your socila channels of choice, go to Ads Manager, where you can create ads to run across Facebook, Instagram, and even Messenger. You’ll find lots of guides supplied by Facebook to walk you through the process.
9. Start Blogging
Blogging is a great way of keeping a website updated with fresh content which is key for search ranking on Google. Content topics can include company announcements, upcoming events that you’re exhibiting at, team news, how-to articles that educate your customers, introduce a new product, and case studies. The added benefit to blogging is, you can then share across to social sites and in newletters.
10. Outsource to Grow
If the business is growing, rather than overwhelming yourself with too much work or indeed refusing work, think about outsourcing. There are lots of freelancers around that you could hire to manage your online marketing who offer fluid contract terms. Just make sure they understand your business and the goals you want to achieve.
And finally, if you need help with planning the marketing strategy for your business, get in touch.
To Your Success!
Carole Smith, Online Marketing Coach and Consultant