12 Big Tips for Small Businesses
Starting a business can be a hard task; and if you’re doing it on your own or only have a small number of staff, it can be really hard to know what you should be prioritising to help your business grow. These are our 12 Big Tips for Small Businesses which we believe are key if you want to succeed.
1. Social Media
Now, you’re going to want to leverage the power of social media. It’s no longer a choice for businesses to build a presence on social media, it’s become completely mandatory for anyone looking to succeed in their business. Have a look through your options and find what network(s) work best for your company. To increase your following, you’ll need to cross-promote your social media accounts through things such as newsletters, emails and blog posts. You’ll also want to engage followers with catchy and easy-to-share content; leave the “corporate speak” out, unless that fits with your target audience. You want to be friendly, approachable and somewhat informal to connect to your audience here.
By using your social media channels, you’ll be able to connect, chat and stream your daily activities instantly! You’ll be able to give immediate help to your customers by being contactable anywhere, anytime. Building this kind of trustful relationship with your customers is essential and can make a HUGE difference in how your brand is perceived by your audience.
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing is still an extremely useful and effective way of contacting your audience. Social Media may be taking over the world, but we still need and use emails more than you think. You can try all sorts of campaigns, such as returning customer or first-time customer campaigns. Offer subscriptions to those who want to stay informed about updates, sales, special offers, discounts etc… You should also use it to promote some of your best pieces of content too.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing is another very effective tool for your small business, however you don’t want to stay focused on one type of content; experiment around a bit until you find what works best for your niche. There are lots of content types to choose from, such as; blog posts, videos, webinars, infographics, podcasts and the list just goes on. When you create your content, try to reach an audience besides the one(s) you’re directly targeting. This will help to get more people interested in your business and potentially bring you more customers.
As an eCommerce business, you’ve probably noticed the struggle of abandoned carts at one point or another. What you want to do is recapture the attention of these potential customers. This can be done via emails or ads, show them what they’re missing out on by abandoning their cart. Retargeting can help you win new customers as well as boost more orders from your current customers. There are a number of things that may encourage the client to abandon their cart, such as finding a better offer elsewhere or a difficult / lengthy checkout process. You obviously want as few carts to be abandoned as possible, but you’ll always get the odd few. Ensuring your checkout process is quick and simple will really help reduce those numbers. You also want to make really good use of those ads. When a potential customer leaves your website, they may be doing some comparison research with your competitors. However, by using retargeting, you will show up on their Facebook feed, in google ads and basically follow them around the internet as they browse. It ensures your brand is in their mind and gives you a higher chance of them returning to their cart later on.
5. User Experience
The most important aspect of your site is the User Experience, which starts from the moment a customer arrives on your website. How fast does it load? Is it easy to navigate? Is it professional? You’re going to want to ensure the running and operating of your site is as simple and smooth as possible, whilst maintaining a good level of professionality. If you add too many features, you’re likely to repel potential customers. It may look cool and seem like a good idea, but you need to look at it from the client’s perspective. If it makes the shopping process difficult, it’s not in your best interest.
6. Put the Customers’ Needs First
One key thing to consider is investing in your customer’s success. If the customer gets the impression that you don’t care about them, the perception of your brand will become more negative. Customer success is really about giving your clients everything they need to be successful, not just with the product itself, but with your entire service. By helping customers feel achieved and successful with your products / service, you’ll be able to create a relationship with them and receive valuable feedback. They’ll be more inclined to stick around in the long run, giving you the opportunity to gain those all-important returning customers.
7. Exceed Expectations
To really ensure that you get returning customers and a positive perception of your brand, you’re going to have to set and meet your customers’ expectations. First of all, these expectations are going to have to be realistic and the need to be outlined accurately to your audience. The best way to manage or exceed your chosen expectations is to be certain that they are grounded in reality. They also need to be explained from the get-go. If your audience has expectations that are impossible, you’re only setting them up for disappointment. It’s also a good idea to establish regular communication, this will help you stay on top of expectations and perspectives about how the relationship is going. Whether it’s a personal email or a quick comment on social media, staying in touch is essential.
8. Target the Right People
Possibly the most fundamental online marketing tip for your small business is to target the right audience for your product! It may seem obvious, but it can be easier than you think to market a product to the wrong audience(s). I won’t bore you with the gritty details as I’ve already given an in-depth look into finding your right target market in “Capturing Your Audience”. However, I will say that this aspect is ESSENTIAL to the success of your business; if you’re targeting the wrong audience, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
9. Offer Incentives
even small incentives can get customers returning to you. You could offer discounts, bundle promotions, free gifts, free trials etc… there are so many options for you to get their attention. You should also contemplate having a contest from time to time, just to show your customers that you appreciate them and to help them feel included in your journey.
Blogging is a win-win strategy! You can provide useful or entertaining content for your customers / readers and, in return, they will get to know you and your product better, as well as learn some potentially really useful lessons. You can promote your business brand even more effortlessly as blogging well can establish you as an expert in your sector.
11. Be Visual
In this day and age, especially with the growing demand for instant gratification, attention spans are getting ever-shorter. Adding photos and videos to your content will help boost engagement and is a great way of showing off your products. Your go-to image(s) for products are probably simple with a plain white background. This may look professional, but it doesn’t inspire anyone to buy the product. Customers need to see part of the product “experience”. For example, if a product is based around Christmas, you should use images of the product being received joyfully as a gift. Showing your product in use by the target market will guide your customers to empathise and to see themselves in that situation, enjoying the product. Platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest, can often be overlooked as they are visually-oriented. However, they’re a fantastic way of connecting with your audience and showing off your products in a quick, simple and effective way.
12. Think BIG
If you don’t have to; don’t limit your business to just one country. You want to try to sell to as many places as you can; take full advantage of the lack of restrictions you have being an online business. And just because you’re a “small business” doesn’t mean you always will be. Assuming and planning for that will decrease your chances of becoming a big business. Selling globally is a super effective way to expand your list of customers and increase your revenues. If you’re selling something that is easy to ship, a digital download, or an online service, this is easily doable for a business. Reaching customers worldwide can expand your small business and increase your brands popularity.
You may be small now and that’s okay, but following the right advice and reaching the right people can turn your business into the next big thing.