If you’re wondering how to make a small business grow, listen up. There are lots of ways to do this and in this article I’ll be sharing some proven methods. Some of them are completely free methods which can give you a lifetime of free business. Yes, free business listings are available on the internet for locally based businesses.
So if you’re based somewhere physically, and you’re not an entirely online business, you can benefit from a free listing. Pay per click marketing is also a strategy you really need to learn. If you’ve tried this and “failed”, you really need to try harder! Let’s take a look at the free listings first.
(If you want to skip to the end there’s a brief summary of the tips in this article)!
How To Make A Small Business Grow
Here’s how to make a small business grow with a free listing on Google. So, if your business is a local one, that is, you have a physical place of business; you can create a free listing on Google with Google Places For Business. Simply create a profile for your business through the online platform. You will then be required to verify it somehow. Usually Google will send out a code in the post, and you’ll use a code to prove that you are actually at the address you say in your listing.
Google Places listings often show up at the very top of the listings on Google search. So if someone is searching for a specific business like yours in your town, your business listing should come up. Depending how competitive your local town is for your particular business, you can rank anywhere within the top 20 results, depending on how many are listed.
This is a totally free resource and well worth a few minutes of your time to get your business listed. If you seriously want to know how to make a small business grow, start with a local listing.
Once you’ve created a local listing for your business through Google, you will have to wait until you receive a code in the post. When you do, you should be able to verify your business and your listing should be up and running shortly afterwards.
How To Make A Small Business Grow – Business Model
Before we go into further advertising methods, it worth mentioning that growing a small business isn’t just about acquiring more customers. Yes of course more customers helps. But there a couple of things that you might be missing out on if this is your only strategy. So, how to make a small business grow without solely focusing on acquiring new customers? What about your existing customers?
Leveraging Your Existing Customers
Yes, leveraging your existing customers is a great way to grow your small business. You can use your customers in a couple of ways. Firstly, your customers obviously like you already since they shop with you. Offer a reward for referrals through your customers.
Give your customers discounts or rewards when they bring a new customer into your business. You can do this in a couple of different ways. Create discount vouchers and give them to your customers with individual codes. When someone new comes to your business, you’ll know who referred them. They you can give the customer who has referred the new customer some kind of reward. If you’re worrying about giving away profit, think again.
Value Of A Customer
A new customer is worth far more than a discount or prize which you can offer. Knowing the value of a customer will help you determine how much you should be paying to acquire one. For most businesses, a customer is worth more than you might think. If a customer repeat buys every week, consider how much they are worth to you over a year.
Leveraging Customers With A Range Of Products
Your already existing customers can be ‘leveraged’ in another way too. Growing your small business isn’t just about finding new customers, it’s also about creating a better business model. Think about what else you can offer to your existing customers as an add-on product. Can you create a product to sell from your website (hands free)?
Your existing customers are really a great asset to you. You just need to know how to make more of them. Creating more value and offering a better service, or more personal service is one way of doing this. Add-on products can be worth a lot to your business, and you can offer new products to existing customers at a very low cost.
How To Make A Small Business Grow – Test Your Pricing
Testing a small price change is a good way to judge whether your customers will still purchase from you. Although you may put off some customers, you’ll also keep many of them who don’t buy on price alone. In fact most people won’t buy on price. They purchase based on the perceived value the product gives them. Testing a price increase can tell you where to set your pricing for optimum profit.
How To Make A Small Business Grow – Adwords
Google’s Adwords platform is a good place to start with direct response marketing. Direct response refers to the ability to measure the response of a potential customer every time someone clicks your advert.
Adwords allows you to create adverts on Google search platform which show up when people search for phrases which match your business. So if you have a shoe shop in Manchester, your advert would be shown for searching with those keywords in it. This is very effective because you can specify which keywords you want your advert to show up for.
Adwords also allows you to track your adverts to see how they perform. Once you have tested enough advertising, you can scale up to increase the customer interaction with your website. Once you get this right, you can continually increase the number of people who see you business, just by increasing your advertising spend.
Although many people attempt using the Google Adwords platform and give up, this is a mistake. It’s well worth learning how to successfully use this platform if you have a small business. When you know the value of a customer, you won’t be afraid to spend money to acquire them, even if at first it seems you are spending more than you are making. Keep in mind the annual income you make for each customer you acquire. Then you’ll realise that even if you make a loss initially, you’ll recoup it over time, while building your business.
Bing also offers these services too, and your Adwords platform easily transfers over to Bing.
How To Make A Small Business Grow – Facebook
Facebook is a great advertising platform for small local businesses. You can advertise your business and target very specifically the location you want to show your advert. You can also target your demographic very well too.
This means if you have a certain type of person who uses your business, you can narrow down your target audience and define who you want to show you advert to. You can do this by sex, age, location, interests and a number of other criteria. Targeting by your location is great for small businesses. It means your advert will only show to people near your business. This can save you a lot of wasted time and money which you would need to spend when using other traditional advertising methods.
You can also create a Facebook business page for your business. This is free if you have a Facebook profile and well worth doing. Fill out your business page as much as possible and from there you can link through to your website. A free Facebook business page can rank on Google depending on your competition too, so it’s a useful option if your budget is tight.
Traditional Advertising Methods
Despite the amazing digital platforms which allow you to target customers very specifically, it’s worth remembering traditions advertising methods too. There’s many other digital advertising platforms you can use which haven’t been mentioned already – Linkedin, Yahoo, Bing, Adwords, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Learn one first such as Bing and Adwords and then look at the others once you have one strategy working.
Traditional advertising includes things like banner advertising, newspaper advertising and advertising through local newsletters and grapevines. There’s also radio and television if you have the budget. However, for small local businesses, it’s worth sticking to local advertising methods which are cheaper. A well placed banner advert can bring in customers for free if you can find place to put it. Whatever your method, you should always make sure you track your customers through your adverts.
How To Grow Your Small Business – Tracking
Tracking is an important part of any advertising campaign. Without it, you won’t know whether your customers just saw your shop, were referred by another customer, saw a Facebook advert or came through an Adwords campaign. Your customer might not necessarily know either, so asking them isn’t a reliable strategy. To track online adverts you can offer giveaways on your website and get your website visitors to opt in to your rewards email system, more on email marketing later.
Tracking newspaper adverts can be done by offering discount codes which are specific to your advert. Or you can offer a tear off discount voucher, for example. However you do it, it’s a necessary step if you want to grow your business. When you can understand which methods are working and which aren’t working as well, you can increase your well performing adverts and cut back on the less well performing ones.
How To Make A Small Business Grow – Email Marketing
Email marketing is a vital strategy which any business can use to grow their customers and profits. By offering a discount code, or some other useful giveaway on your website, you can get your website visitors to opt-in to your email list. From an email list you can update potential customers on your products and give them value, building a relationship with them over time. This puts your business in the minds of potentially thousands of new customers. Over time, an email list can build your business dramatically, if you offer value and help your subscribers in some way.
How To Grow Your Small Business – Develop Yourself ‘The Owner’
If the owner of the business isn’t growing, neither is their business. A business can’t grow beyond the decisions of its owner. If you’re making decisions based on lack of knowledge, or poor insight, your business is probably going downhill. As a business owner, any investment you make in yourself in personal mindset growth, is well worth the money.
It will pay you back in dividends if you make a habit out of growing yourself as a business owner. How do you do this? Take some action on at least one of the suggestions in this article. If you’re serious about growing your business with online marketing, access my ebook The Ultimate Guide To Online Marketing.
How To Grow Your Small Business – Blogging
Yes of course! Let’s not forget the power of blogging to grow your business. This does work if you do it in the right way and depending on your business model and the relative competition. Want to know how to grow your small business by blogging? There a few different ways of blogging for your business. I share a strategy based on finding long tail keywords which match your customers in my ebook Niche Blogging For Profit.
Blogging is a cheap way to generate more presence online for your business. It’s a much slower method than paid advertising though, and it’s not guaranteed to work either. You need to keep at it for the long term. Over time, and as your blog archive increases in size, you should notice people visiting your website more and more. By writing useful content, and sharing it and linking to it, you can create a stream of free potential customers to your website.
Once you get them there, make sure they see your opt-in subscription offer and that it offers them huge value. If you can get your website visitors on your email list, it’s much better for your business. A website visitor can spend only a few minutes on your website. Get them to opt in to your email list, and you can communicate with them and turn them into a customer, potentially even years after they joined the list.
How To Grow Your Small Business – Summary
To finish up this article on how to grow your small business, here’s a quick summary.
Use free advertising methods such as:
- Bing and Google Places For Business (Also Yahoo)
- Obviously get a website!
- Blog regularly on your website use my ebook Niche Blogging For Profit
- Get a banner and place for free if you can
- Leverage customers and offer a referral program
- Get a free Facebook business listing page
Use paid advertising strategies such as:
- Adwords pay per click – also Bing
- Facebook advertising targeting specifically to your locality
- Newspapers and local magazine (make sure you track all adverts)
- Work your way through different advertising methods studying one at a time and then moving on when you have a profitable one. (Use my ebook The Ultimate Guide To Online Marketing)
Remember your business can also grow in other ways – not just by acquiring customers:
- Test a price increase – most people don’t buy on price alone
- Offer more products for your existing customers
- Create digital/physical products you can sell from your website (hands free).
Finally, remember if you’re not growing as the business owner, your decisions are based on previous knowledge – which brought you your current results! Become a better marketer, learn the value of a customer in your business. Choose at least one strategy shown here to learn and implement. Work through the strategies in my ebook one at a time (The Ultimate Guide To Online Marketing).
If you want to learn more about marketing, or even grow your own online business from scratch, join the online business community I’m already part of. Access this free video series to learn more.
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