GROW YOUR ONLINE CLIENT BASE
As we head into 2021, a major thing we should focus on is the rebuilding of the small business industry. Small business took a pretty big hit this year and as the heart of our economy, we can’t stand by and watch the small business industry bleed.
SO, LISTEN UP!
If you are a small business owner, this is not the time to sit around and wait for the government to come to the rescue. Ask yourself what’s holding you back? You have the power to uplift your business, without having to put yourself in debt to the government. Things have drastically changed over the last year, so if you haven’t already, it’s time for you to pivot. Perhaps, the most important element of your business that you will have to pivot is the way you reach your client base. The threat that another lockdown is brewing around the corner. Therefore, small businesses should be wise and get in the online mind frame. However, with the online market saturated with businesses following the same typical online advertisement processes, it’s up to you to find a way to stand out. Check out these tips to help you masterfully drive online traffic your way without falling wayside to the competition.
UTILIZE YOUR NETWORK
Your current network is probably the most powerful tool that you have in your arsenal. Not only are there a million ways you can take advantage of your current online network (email campaigns, social media posts, etc), but you can also use your network to build even greater online traffic. For instance, bringing in the referrals! Referral programs are a great way to get your current network actively working to bring your more business. The key is in the incentive. After all, life is all about negotiation. If you want your network to work for you, you have to give them something in return. For some, this may be discounts on future purchases. For others, this may be in the form of an affiliate program. Nonetheless, you have to get your network buzzing. New clients are more likely to try your product or service when recommended by someone that they know and trust. The trust factor gives you an upper hand on the competition, who they may have never heard of outside of seeing a digital ad or too.
Another way to utilize your network to increase your online presence is to find a way to reach your offline network online. With the way the world has shifted, even your clients that may not have been big on technology before have probably been forced to catch up on the digital side and leave it to the Democrats, that’s not changing anytime soon. So don’t wait around for them to try to find you online, make yourself readily available to them. If you are smart, I’m sure you have already been collecting data like emails and phone numbers from your loyal in-store clients and customers (if you haven’t, you better start). You can utilize these databases in email marketing initiatives, social media campaigns, etc.
A mistake that a lot of people make when doing online marketing is constantly drilling the hard sell. This isn’t effective. No one wants to be beaten over the head with your product or service and it’s actually a big turn off for your online audience. But you know what everyone likes? Help. Your small business is more than just a product or service. You and your small business are a source of expertise in your industry. People enjoy it when you share your advice and insight with them. There are many ways you can do this. It could be a weekly newsletter. It could be an online course. It could be a webinar. You can get as creative as you want with how you present the information. And in some cases, like a course for instance, just delivering your advice can be a source of additional income for your business. Never forget that people will pay for your expertise in more than one form. Not to mention, even if you are sharing free advice, you’re still essentially driving the growth of your business revenue. Why? Because you’re promoting your business without going for the hard sell. You can utilize the advice you share to flex your expertise and show customers exactly why they can trust your product or service.
My last piece of advice for you, remember that there is strength in collaboration. You don’t have to take on all these changes alone. So partner up with other businesses and create a powerful force to be reckoned with. Partnerships will not only give you the opportunity to expand your online customer base, but it can also pan out to give you access to online tools and resources that you may not have otherwise had access to. For instance, doing a guest blog post may help increase your SEO if you don’t have your own blog to begin with. Being a panelist for a webinar may give you the ability to speak to hundreds of people that you otherwise would have had a hard time reaching through digital campaigns. Partnerships also give you the opportunity to help uplift your fellow small business owners and help strengthen the overall economy (trust me we need the economic boost at this point).
So, you see, navigating this transition into a more digitally-driven business world has been harder for some than others. But, hey, that’s all a part of the game. If you’re waiting for things to go back to “normal,” I wouldn’t hold your breath. Get with the program and find a way to pivot. Don’t resist the change, otherwise, you’ll end up just another one of the millions of businesses that have had to permanently close their doors due to the chaos this global pandemic has brought. Remember, whether you’re doing business on or offline, you are in control of the future of your business. So don’t sit around waiting for someone to come save you. Hop in the driver’s seat and navigate your own way to success.