If you’re not growing your business online in the current climate, you will likely leave a lot of money on the table. As 2021 begins, we’re witnessing a fast-changing landscape.
To ensure your business continues to take advantage of the changing tide, here are some ways to help accelerate the growth of your new business in the year ahead:
Become a prolific content creator
More than ever, people are watching videos, consuming stories, reading posts and scrolling newsfeeds. How can your brand be a source of information, education, entertainment or inspiration?
Too often, brands focus on just showcasing products or services, but the best way to attract your target market is to focus on the benefits your product or service brings. What problems do you solve, how do you improve your customer’s life, how do you meet your audience’s needs?
Look beyond what you sell and tap into your brand’s higher purpose. Dove, for example, sells soap but consistently posts content about positive body image.
How might you create a prolific content strategy which resonates with your audience at a higher level?
Build a content website or add a blog
If your current website is simply a static online brochure listing your products and services, it’s time to increase your organic traffic by creating a content-rich experience.
Your website is where you showcase not only your offerings, but also your expertise. How does your site add value to a potential visitor? So much so that they want to stay, read, scroll, and potentially buy?
We’re in the age of dynamic content and inbound marketing. People hate to be sold to, but they love to buy, so be sure to add some insanely valuable content that encourages your audience to return time and again.
Build your email list
One thing Netflix, Amazon and Facebook have in common are large databases. Big data is a hugely valuable asset these days, and not just to your company’s overall valuation.
By building an email list of targeted and interested prospects, you have a direct line to their inbox to announce new content, promote new product lines, encourage feedback and boost engagement across all of your other online channels.
Start by offering something of value for free to your potential audience in exchange for an email address, such as a discount coupon for your products, a free e-book, workbook, or even a free trial period for your service.
The goal is to encourage interested visitors to leave their email address, so you can begin to nurture a long-lasting and profitable relationship with them.
Create and grow a Facebook group
A Facebook group is a modern day forum built around a group of people with a similar interest. The beauty of a Facebook group is the camaraderie, conversation, communication and instant feedback.
Increase organic traffic using Pinterest
I’ve always been a Facebook girl myself, but I recently discovered the power of Pinterest!
Most social media platforms are incredibly transient, with content disappearing as fast as it gets posted. However, Pinterest is a search engine in its own right, meaning your pins are immortal. Much like an article on Google, if your pin matches a user’s search intent, it could show up months, even years, after you posted it!
The best way to get started is to connect your website with your Pinterest business account and optimize for rich pins. I use a plugin called Grow, which does all that for you. Then create multiple “pinnable” images for each of your posts, and pin away!
Host a quiz
Much like contests and giveaways, quizzes are fun, viral in nature, and a great way to increase your brand profile while doing necessary market research!
There are many user-friendly online quiz apps, but my favorite is Interact.
Easy to set up, interactive, and multi-media friendly, you can create a quiz that asks the questions you’d love to know the answers to about your prospects and customers.
The quiz includes a dozen creative questions, giving the company a mass of information about the styles of branding their quiz takers like and where their roadblocks are to creating the perfect website.
Encourage user-generated content
As with my prior RedBull example, the best content is content created and published by users of your products or services. Word-of-mouth remains the best way to market your business, and there is no better recommendation than a customer who’s so impressed or engaged with your brand that they’re prepared to voice it!
User-generated content can come in the form of reviews, videos, images, or even just comments and shares. All are welcome; however, the more you can encourage users to publish content related to your brand, the more engaged they’ll be.
Live a Great Story is a great example of a brand with user-generated content embedded into its brand. The whole point of buying one of their products is so you can take a picture of yourself wearing the T-shirt, holding the flag or displaying the sticker and telling your version of how you’re “living a great story.”
As a result, the company’s social media accounts are full of user-generated stories.
I’ve talked about partnering with brands, connecting with influencers and leveraging others’ audiences, all of which help in building a network of collaborators and peers. However, just general networking will go a long way to attract both peers and potential customers.
While we used to head to a local networking event and chat with strangers over wine and cheese, nowadays it all happens online in groups, direct messages and comment threads.
This new networking is done remotely, but can be equally as effective if you’re willing to put in the work.
Diversify your income streams
I’m a huge proponent of starting with one, particularly if you’re a solopreneur. It’s unlikely you have a bottomless budget to spend on all the resources needed to grow your business, so it’s crucial to prioritize and focus on the most important strategies that will significantly impact your business.
If you start with too many products, too many services, and too many strategies, you can quickly become overwhelmed and end up going nowhere fast.
That’s why I recommend starting small and building as you grow. As your audience increases, so will your sales. As your sales increase, you can afford more team members to work on more strategies to grow your audience, and so on.
However, as soon as you’re ready, I recommend diversifying your income streams to accommodate more of your customers’ wants and needs. The beauty of the online world is the ability to add different business models as you grow.
If you currently sell physical products, explore adding digital products to the mix. If you’re selling information, perhaps there’s the opportunity to add physical products to your offerings.
Think creatively and always listen to your customers. They’ll soon tell you what they want from you and what they don’t want!
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