First Up – It’s Not Easy… But You Can Do It!
Why are we saying that it’s not easy? Well, because it isn’t. Any company selling half-truths on pay-per-click ads or SEO should be ignored – Don’t get us wrong, these tools are helpful to be sure, but should not be relied on (alone) to grow a business online. Pay-per-click ads are great; we’re not blindly displaying our product/service to random individuals now, instead we have a real opportunity to target specific demographics (depending on the platforms being used). However, there is a learning curve, and despite being able to have direct control over the cost-per-click daily budget, our overall spend can rack up very quickly.
So What Are We Saying?
It may not be easy, but it is accessible.
Nothing new here – We’re not forced to rely solely on print, TV, or radio, anymore. We’ve finally been blessed with a seemingly infinite number of tools (freemium or otherwise) that can help to grow your online business – tools such as email marketing, newsletter/subscriptions, social media platforms, pay-per-click ads, SEO, and much more. However, with an infinite number of tools at our disposal, we need to first consider our budget and (we would argue more importantly) our time.
So, to achieve success on the WWW (world wide web), we need to prioritise our time and money, spending both on the more helpful (more relevant) tools, reflective of our business. For example, Instagram is a universally acclaimed social media platform that relies on visuals. If our business activities are legal in nature, and we are a law firm, an Instagram account would absorb a great deal of time and effort, likely never producing meaningful leads. Long story short – Small law firms should stay away from Instagram, there are better suited platforms out there.
In this article, we run through some of the key methods to success, and how to grow a business online efficiently. Please note: while not all of the following methods are strictly possible for a small business, they are options to consider when starting up, and when looking to expand.
Here Are 19 Ways to Grow a Business Online:
Remember: we offer support in ALL of the following methods to growing your business – contact us directly for more information.
It all start’s with the website.
It’s pretty obvious that the experience shared by the user (your potential customer/client) is paramount; the design and functionality of your website will determine how a visitor interacts with it and, ultimately, how they want to proceed. There are plenty of freemium options for this, like WordPress and WIX, that can optionally include ‘free’ domain names (e.g. www.yournewwebsite.wordpress.com), but since it can cost under €17.00 for a professional domain name (e.g. yournewwebsite.com), we would recommend the latter. Please note: SEO may be strengthened by the domain name – contact us for more information.
A website is really important because of online presence – you can’t grow your online business without having an online presence, so if your serious your desire to achieve success on the WWW, you need a website. It’s your convenient online reflection, readily available for people to find your business from around the world, whether they know your domain name or not. All businesses should have a website – big and small.
Good design = Smooth Sailing.
Web Design is the process by which the website is built, and in 2019 (when this article was written) designing a website just hasn’t been this easy. However, without a creative touch and considerable experience in using/viewing websites, it’s not very likely that your website will have good design, and it’s actually more likely to end up lost in the millions of generic websites, all built using ‘free’ web builders like WIX. Depending on your business activities, this may or may not be an issue. We design our websites using premium WordPress themes and tools with added customisation via CSS, and HTML, giving our websites an original finish, with the best functionality. Check our our website package deals (starting from only €51.00) to get things done the right way.
Good design isn’t all pretty colours and picture – it’s also the UI (user interface) and site functionality. If pack your website full of amazing HQ pictures from your last conference, depending on your hosting package, your site will slow down to a snails pace, and you’ll lose potential customers/clients. They say that for every 1 second delay in loading a web-page, page views is reduced by 11%. Also, allowing your visitors to find what they want when they want it is equally as important; there’s nothing worse than a website without direction.
Contact us directly for free advice guys, we’d love to help.
3). Customer Support
In a majority of businesses, customer support is the front-line.
Jeff Bezos said ‘Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room’, and your brand is comprised of numerous elements, including the voice; its customer support. What do you want your customers/clients to say about you when you’re not in the room?
There are ways to further enhance customer experience via real time support. This can come in the forms of online chats, email, phone calls, video conferencing, and more. The internet has become a virtual society teeming with platforms that rely on shared information, fast. There was a time when it took days to hear from a village miles away, but now we can get an update from around the world in seconds.
To simplify things for you, we can undertake to manage com channel implementation of your website (Jivo Chat, Live Chat, etc.), utilisation of your social media assets (Facebook messenger, Google My Business, etc.), setup and oversight of online calls (Skype, WhatsApp, etc.), setup and maintenance of newsletter/ subscription functions via MailChimp, and more.
Another obvious one, but important nonetheless.
Get reviews! If you’re following these tips so far, then your customer support (and presumeably your product/service) is amazing, so ask your customer/client to kindly share their experience. Reviews can be added from anywhere: your website, and on external platforms such as Facebook, Google My Business, Trustpilot, and more. Where your reviews are posted should be dependant on your business activity and your choice of marketing/advertising, however Facebook and Google My Business should be top of the list wherever possible – more people are likely to see these.
Now for the less obvious methods…
5). Online Chat
We briefly touched on this in Customer Support – the ability to better serve your customers fast, with little-to-no-cost – online chat functionality allows for your website visitor to chat with you (or an appointed admin officer) directly through your website. This is accomplished via external software (plugin) providers, through which you can accept immediate telephone calls, instant chats, attachments, etc.
What are the benefits? Well, it’s your immediate ability to welcome the visitor to your website, offer any assistance on a specific page or if they have been browsing for a certain period of time, the possibilities are endless. For a majority of online businesses, communication is key. Plus, for a business to truly succeed in this day and age, it should reflect a level of transparency; online chat helps.
While there are certainly freemium options available, depending on your business activities, this is another case of ‘you get what you pay for‘, and with something as powerful as com features, we also recommend investing a small amount into a premium service. Feel free to contact us for your fee advice.
This method is a form of re-Marketing: A reminder to potential leads (customers/clients) that your business can help.
Sending weekly or monthly newsletters (emails) out to people who have subscribed to your website (via MailChimp for example), will have regular reminders of your business as you keep them updated on upcoming events, present offers, relevant news, etc. It’s another form of communication between yourself and people who have actively displayed interest.
Using automation platforms, like MailChimp, you will be able to design a customised ‘welcome’ email that is automatically sent to anyone who subscribes – this is an automated email, meaning you do not need to prepare an email for each individual subscriber. Then you will be free to schedule emails (prepared in advance by you) that are sent to all of your subscribers.
7). Loyalty Program
A loyalty program is great – depending on the conditions you apply, when a customer/client makes a purchase with you, they are awarded loyalty points. In most cases, loyalty points are given to customers/clients who frequently purchase goods/services from the business in question, leading eventually to discounts, coupons, free goods/services, etc.
What’s the point? Well, the aim is to increase customer loyalty: loyalty to your business/brand. By extension, a good loyalty program strengthens your image, and reinforces trust in your business/brand.
It’s an art AND a science.
The world wide web is pretty big – It’s so big that smart people like Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Google to catalogue web content (websites, images, etc.). It’s similar to the index that you’d find in the back of an Encyclopedia book. A website that does this, like Google, is what is called a Search Engine. We use search engines like Google, or Bing, to find content; if you search for ‘Kwibsy’ via any search engine, it’s very likely that we’ll appear at the top of the results. This is (in part) thanks to SEO.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and as you would expect, its the process by which your website becomes optimised for search engines – increasing your chances of being displayed in the results of someone else’s search. So, how does a search engine know which web-page to display, and which not to display? Through keywords and keyphrases. By registering the relevant keywords/keyphrases that best reflect the content of this specific web-page, search engines more easily distinguish between a non-relevant web-page, and your own.
Compared to having a physical office/shop on a busy street, with plenty of passerby’s – a website with advanced SEO grants the ability to attract the right kind of people, boosting conversion ratios and optimising the site for business. Coupled with advertising, and social media, SEO will give your website the best chance to out-perform competition.
9). Social Media
Social media is the medium by which your business will have ongoing interaction with potential visitors/customers/clients. Here, your business can have an account/page/profile that is setup to include key details such as contact information, HQ address, opening hours, news, etc. In addition to this, your business will have the opportunity to post recent news, pictures, videos, special offers, and more; the post-type effectiveness will vary from platform to platform. For example, Youtube is a well known video-based social medium, but Facebook is a social multimedia platform – anything goes. The key differential between the platforms is the user demographic.
Another way of growing your business further (through the likes of Facebook), is to join groups – find appropriate groups that you think may include your target demographic, and share anything you can to attract attention – the right kind of attention. Always be sure to add value to the group.
Bottom line: Social Media essential. To some, it’s an informal confirmation that your business is legitimate and established as an active business. In this day and age, a business is expected to have an online presence with social media supporting as an extension of your presence where you can market via graphic design, advertised offers, and more.
Social media platforms require care and attention – read more about how you can use social media to better market your business.
Advertising has come along way in the past 10 years.
There was a time when you’d be at the mercy of print, TV, and Radio, for advertising your business. But now, you have a long list of varying options that include social media ads, Google Adwords, Adwords Express, Social Media Influencers, and more. How you choose to advertise should ultimately be determined by your budget and your target demographic.
It’s easier, cheaper, and more accessible – but please note that it’s not without it’s challenges. Be careful on your spending at the start of a campaign and test the ads performance before increasing the budget. If it was easy, everyone would have booming business.
11). Additional Platforms
There very little reason to limit yourself to only a website and accompanying social media accounts – as we said, the WWW is a very big place, so why not extend your reach? There are many options to consider, depending on your business activity. An eCommerce-store owner could entertain the idea of leveraging an eBay or Amazon account to promote/sell products/services. A hotelier could very easily register accounts with multiple travel metasearch engines, such as Booking, Expedia, etc.
The internet is infinite, but limits lie in time and money; do you have the time? do you have the money? Otherwise, there are multitudes of additional platforms ready and waiting to be utilized. Our high-end website packages offer free consultation on additional platforms.
As a scheduled event, webinars typically carry an air of importance, plus, in terms of marketability, webinars get attention thanks to a strong contrast against the slew of information blasted through search results. It’s how to grow a business online without having to leave your office/city/country, but still being able to interact with potential leads from all around the world. In short, some people prefer to be taught rather than being left to commit to a lonely study schedule.
With a captured audience, your free to talk directly to them and engage online, from anywhere.
13). Video Creation
Video creation is a secret weapon. Why? Because it’s 3 birds with 1 stone:
- Video – for use as restricted content on your website, YouTube material, and more.
- Podcast – take the audio from your video and use it in podcast directories such as Stitcher, or Apple.
- Snippet post – a short cut of the video for use as brief marketing on social media.
Additional benefits lie in today’s standard of businesses being transparent; give your business a face and voice. This will improve connection to your brand, with potential in widening awareness of your website/business/brand/products/services.
Contact us to learn how to grow online with the aid of our video creation service.
14). Networking Events
You know how to grow online? Offline. Ironically, one of the best ways to grow a business is through networking (mostly offline – in person).
At the end of the day, a networking event can be any event, so it’s a case of taking every opportunity to extend your networks, build trust, and build a contact list. Unfortunately this is a neglected method given it’s requirement to physically interact with people, but it is a highly effective way to promote awareness and learn more about other professions/professionals. There is always a chance that you meet someone who can help to grow your business in some way – whether they be an employee, customer, partner, investor, etc.
15). Another Website
When your business is more developed, you might seek to further expand on everything already discussed: advertising, social media marketing, etc. It’s no different with your website; you can have more than one website selling products/services, with a different SEO setup and a more effective domain name, allowing for future organic leads to come in at low ongoing costs to time and money.
Another key difference between your existing website and this new proposed SEO empowered website, is it’s ability to come in the form a sales funnel. Less concerned with a message, and more sales-focused. Your sales funnel will be carefully conceptualized, stringing together domain name with SEO with functionality, all prepared to attract your ideal customer and guide them through a sale, and with our help, this will effectively automate another aspect of your business.
16). Customer Management
Very much concerned with time management, customer management is a factor for all growing business.
Forever multiplied by the success of your business, manually tracking transactions and customer status is difficult without the right kind of support. To better manage business development, you need to use customer management systems. Depending on your business type, there are numerous systems to choose from.
Contact us today for support.
17). Form Partnerships
As we’ve learnt from attending networking events, knowing how to grow online is not always dependant on the web – sometimes there really is no school like the old-school.
Partnerships are a mutual growth tactic aimed at increasing reach, or perhaps even altering public perception. It’s a good chance to be strategic in who you partner with; a business that best compliments your own, and vice versa. When discussing the option of partnering up, include your reasons and how the partnership can benefit them, as well as yourself. To whatever degree, transparency is good route to success.
18). Licensing Deals
In terms of managing the cost of time, licensing deals are a great way to the grow your business with very little effort. For example, if you have a product that you license out to others, you’d be free to take a share from their revenue as a passive income stream. Also, for a product that’s successful and in demand, finding a company with a larger footprint can carry additional selling power, helping to saturate the market much faster than if you were to continue at it alone.
19). Franchising Model
If you want to know how to grow online attention, sometimes the answer hides offline, as a business structure;
If your business has developed, and you’re moving on to consider faster means of expanding, the franchising business model may be just the thing for you. But don’t be fooled, costs are high, both in terms of time and money, and the process is complicated with a strong requirement for considerable marketing knowledge. If you can get passed that, this model is a popular method in growing business fast.
Contact us the possibility of franchising your business.
Now You Know How To Grow a Business Online & Offline…
So, what’s next for you and your business? We really hope that this short list of methods has helped to (at the very least) spark some inspiration in find alternative means to boosting business.
Remember: we offer all types of development and support services dedicated to seeing your business grow and flourish; if you’re business growth seems to have stagnated, and you’re not sure where to begin, contact us now; we offer free advice, with over 10 years experience. Or, if you’re new to business, or just about to start up, take a look at our How to Start a Business Online article – it could be the article you need to hit the ground running and get your money-maker into gear!