The Internet has made it easier than ever to start a business. A simple idea can spur disruptive empires seemingly overnight. Even the oddest ideas have merit as you’re bound to find an audience somewhere out there on the Web.
The ease of starting a business is equally shared with your competition. It often turns out that your ideas aren’t as unique as you thought. Even now, you may be finding new competitors racing to your market that wasn’t there yesterday.
You also have global brands pumping millions into their ads & marketing campaigns. It seems like building a successful business is a long-shot, doesn’t it? In some ways, it can be, unless you know how to grow your local business.
The faster you grow and reach the market, the better chances you’ll have competing against these startups and global brands.
Don’t know how to start learning and apply growth strategies? Follow along as we get into a collection of our best ideas and strategies.
You’re in a fantastic position as a small, local business:
You’re lean. You’re agile. You’re a go-getter.
You don’t have bureaucracy sabotaging your efforts. You control the direction and keep each marketing attempt succinct and affordable.
Here is the point saying all of this:
Now, consider each of the following items below for your growth efforts. Keep these items in mind moving forward with your campaigns and business goals.
Every growth strategy involves some investment. Since many small businesses don’t have big budgets, they’ll make it affordable by DIY learning and doing.
Most of the following growth strategies you can start today. Or, at the very least, you can lay the foundation to let someone else later take over.
Try at least every item mentioned below.
Don’t feel shy about promoting your business. You’re not “slimy” when pitching people you know. Tell everyone you can about the business if they show any semblance of interest.
Try sharing the business pitch via:
Use all those platforms you use day-to-day, too. If it gives you a voice then use it to get your business and brand out there!
Get your fans and customers talking about the business. Encourage them to refer people to your business. Or, incentivize it with discounts or revenue share.
Here is a 4-step process of the revenue share method:
Set up a referral system and you’ll have turned fans into a sales force. A lot of people will do it free without the incentive, too, simply because they love your business. It’s like your own promo efforts — have a platform and you’ll notice your message gets spread!
90%+ of American adults find businesses through an online search. Google does a great job matching local businesses with local queries. As expected, people looking for your business weigh its reviews found in search.
How can you earn more online reviews? Try these:
These take near zero effort but has a lasting impact on growth potential.
Regular, high-rated reviews convince and convert new prospects. Additionally, getting online reviews build trust and even improves search ranking performance. The review also creates a touchpoint you could use in user-generated growth efforts.
This brings us to
Who knows the intricacies of your products and services more than its users? They’re first to pick apart what you offer, taking to the Web to share opinions. They’re passionate, getting to know the ins and outs of what you sell.
What are customers creating and sharing?
Their efforts appear in search engines and garner views. Imagine if those views were on your website where you could include a sales pitch! That’s the power of user-generated content, and it’s possible when you’re open to it.
You can bring on user-generated content (UGC) doing these actions:
Interviews, too, are a fantastic way to begin exploring UGC. Find and connect with a fan, seeing if they’d share their brand experience. Package the work and get it published on your channels, sharing it on social, too.
Before long you’ll notice people coming to you. Have your channels open to it, and you’ll get free, promotional content for your brand.
Creating killer content is what you really want to do for growth efforts.
Why create content? Well, the benefits are amazing:
Creating great content comes down to three important elements:
Now, here’s what you can do:
Create blog posts for the business blog covering product tips. Or, record videos showing how to use your items. Share your expertise so people get informed and feel entertained, and they’ll want to connect with your brand.
A few ideas to get the content started include trying one of these:
Yes, it’s that easy when you look at it from a top-level perspective. The nuances change as you get into it — but you’ll get the hang of it!
Search Engine Optimization makes content and web pages shine. It improves search rankings through best practices. Higher organic traffic is the result of a well-maintained SEO campaign.
Here is a simplified on-page SEO process you could replicate:
SEO works best when you’re committed as it can take months to show real results. You can get a win/win by DIYing the content. Then, exploring the advance tactics through expert SEO services (hint, hint).
It’s time to make good use of those professional connections. You should network with everyone from supplier to the person delivering your packages.
What’s the point of these contacts? Well, to discover ways you can reduce costs by streamlining operations. They have likely been where you’ve been, and probably have a lot of great information they could impart on you.
Do you notice a pattern with the items we’ve already covered? They’re very much aligned with what you’ll do on social media:
This just goes to show that social media isn’t a difficult concept. You have the skills to connect and create sales. You just need to learn the platforms.
Your business should be on:
These are great starting points.
You should then do these on each of the social channels:
If you don’t feel comfortable using social media beyond the basics then leverage social media marketing services to make it more professional. Let SMM pros handle the campaigns while you and team do the interactions.
Print materials remain an effective way to get your brand known.
You should invest in:
Get these around town by passing them out or leaving them in busy areas.
You can keep a print campaign super cheap by doing the following:
You can get inexpensive graphic design services through freelance boards. Or, let the in-house team make an attempt at them. You may have someone in your professional network who could do it, too.
You have a few, cheap ways to explore beginner-friendly advertising:
Start with something super simple like a banner ad on an industry site. You can create these banners using templates or design DIY. Pay the placement fee and you’ll get your brand image on sites people like going to (and sharing).
Feeling up for something more advanced? Try Google Ads.
Here is a basic, 5-step process for starting a Google Ads campaign:
Keep an eye on the campaign since it can become a wild success or burn your money fast. If you’re hesitant about putting big money on the line, hand it off to a team that does PPC management to optimize campaigns and keep them effective and affordable.
You could try Facebook as a Google Ads alternative — which is a great idea because it gives you a few extra features you may like:
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the banner from the prior campaign with the copy used in the Google Ad. Then, tweak it so it’s applicable on the FB ad platform.
Set up an email marketing account through services like:
These provide tools to set up autoresponder emails and lists. You’ll also get embed code for opt-in forms you can place on your site.
Create and use a simple email funnel by doing the following:
Treat email the same as you would your business blog. Fill it with great content people want to read and share. And, leverage it to build stronger connections with your audience. This builds awareness and makes selling way easier.
Contests and giveaways are great ways to build general brand awareness. Don’t expect great conversion rates in the follow-up pitch. But, do expect a bigger community given you tailor the experience.
Here is a sample contest you could attempt:
The goal is to collect contact info so you can do follow-ups. In the follow-ups, you could include coupons or promotional offers. Or, don’t promote and use the opportunity to get people involved in your community.
Congratulations if you’ve made it this far! Your journey is not over, though. In fact, it’s just beginning. You’ll soon realize growth hacking is boundless and that’s a tricky thing because you’ll want to try all the tactics you come across!
We’ve got a few extra growth strategies you’ll want to try. But, do these after you’ve done the previous ones since these are tough.
Combine tactics with business professionals in your niche and work with those in relevant, related industries. See their owners as peers instead of competitors.
Work together exploring similar ideas in these areas:
Draft a joint venture agreement and explore the risks and rewards. As the old saying goes, “Two heads are better than one!”.
Suggestion: Attend more industry events and build a network.
Let numbers drive decisions by using performance data and analytics.
Your data reveals a trove of valuable insights:
Insights reaffirm “what’s working” so you can do more of it and see more success. It also reveals what’s not working so you can “trim the fat”. This creates an efficient workflow, improving all aspects of your growth efforts.
Suggestion: Explore lean and agile business tactics.
Outsourcing lets someone who knows what they’re doing work on your projects when you’re stumped. This also lets you focus on what you enjoy doing.
There are many areas of your local business you could outsource:
Outsourcing includes a dozen other areas that take up you and your talent’s time. Whole parts of the strategies detailed in this post can get included in outsourcing, too. Combining growth with outsourcing is a smart way to scale.
This brings us to our closing suggestion
A business has limited runway often dictated by its budget. The breadth of knowledge is another factor in whether it will reach fruition.
Learning how to grow your local business kickstarts your success. It gives you the knowledge to reach business goals while keeping it affordable.
You will find a point where spending your time doesn’t have the same return on investment. You’ll find yourself using up valuable time doing more learning than doing. This means it time to reach out to professionals to fill the skill gap when you hit this point.
IntoClicks is a local online marketing agency and we would love to be those pros that guide and break your skill and growth ceiling.
With years of experience, tools, and tactics, we can help your local business grow and succeed beyond your wildest expectations. We we provide marketing services to our local communities in Tucson & Anchorage and across the nation
Schedule a talk, today, at 520-333-3374. Or use our handy request form.
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