Energize Your Small Business Growth
What do all businesses strive for? Leads. Sales. Profits. A solid customer base. Happy clients. Continued referrals. No matter what the ultimate goal may be, we are all united by a desire to expand and improve. What we are after is growth. When our businesses grow, we see positive visions for the future taking shape. Without that visible small business growth, it can be a challenge to keep moving forward.
Stagnation is a frightening prospect for any business owner. While small dips in sales and growth are normal and not a red flag, extended lapses can spell bad news. Without action, long-term stagnation could reverse into collapse and shrinkage, resulting in alarming losses for a business. If this is happening to your organization, you are right to be concerned.
But, there is good news. You have the opportunity right now to turn it around. Growth can continue, and stagnation can reverse. Your business growth is unwell. You know the symptom. The next step is identifying the cause. Then, we will prescribe the perfect treatment to keep your small business growth robust and healthy. If your small business has stopped growing, there are likely very specific reasons you can point to. Ruling out obvious problems such as supplier shortage, an excessive nationwide financial crisis, or a lack of sufficient staff members, here are a few the underlying causes we can suspect are to blame:
1. Social media marketing has changed…but your strategies haven’t.
In the early days of social media marketing, businesses could have a field day. Posts shared on your business page had a remarkable reach. However, things have changed. Facebook has complicated algorithms (or recipe) which aim to help users see the most relevant items in their newsfeed. And unfortunately, your business post just might not meet the criteria. Even Facebook has stated that posts from pages will appear less frequently than those of general users.
If you’re trying to succeed via content alone and pumping out multiple social media posts daily, you’re wasting your valuable time. In fact, experts recommend one post on Facebook per day, and data suggests that posting more often than that significantly reduces click through rates for businesses. If that’s been your M.O., you’re likely lamenting over a pathetic lack of reach per post and depressing engagement numbers. It is time to adjust your strategy. To gain traction on a platform like Facebook, paying for ads is the only way to go. Even a few advertising dollars a day (when used with precise targeting) can yield great results.
But social media is not the be-all, end-all. In fact, many businesses rely too heavily on social media, even if they are getting it right. Facebook and Twitter are valuable tools, but are you focusing 100% of your efforts on social when you could be missing opportunities elsewhere? And is your social strategy working properly to bring you the leads and sales you desire?
Social media is the initial channel that can get users’ attention, but it has to move forward from there, or you’re simply feeding your audience entertainment and getting very little in return. Creating a genuine sales funnel that incorporates your social media marketing is one of the smartest ways to boost small business growth.
And let’s not forget that email marketing still outperforms social media followers when it comes to conversion. Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, and email campaigns see 5-10x more click rates than Facebook or Twitter. You cannot afford to miss out on devoting significant attention to the incredible lead-generation machine that email marketing can be.
2. Your lead generation approach relies on outdated, ineffective methods.
Always Be Closing.
This statement formed the basis for the standard sales approach for many, many years. But times are changing. In 2016, customers are seeking something different. The graphic below demonstrates the massive impact that a more modern, connection-based approach has on customers.
Today’s consumer looks for value in more than just the product or service they receive. They rely on a positive experience, prefer brands they trust, and choose providers that meet their needs and solve their problems. What turns off consumers is those brands that do little more than pitch and sell. The consumer of this era is far savvier. We’ve all seen Mad Men. Customers can spot an advertisement a mile away. People don’t like to be sold to…they want to be helped. And today’s online world makes that even more possible than ever.
You must provide real value to your consumer. These individuals want to shop when they want, how they want. Many consumers want to buy things fast—hence the popularity of online shopping. They also like options; the freedom to make decisions. What your business can uniquely provide is a wealth of resources to help them come to that decision easily. This is where good content marketing steps in.
However, if you’re not seeing great small business growth, it could be because….
Your content marketing needs a tune up.
Content marketing is often the primary source of value you offer your customers—in addition to excellent products, services, and customer care. This means your content needs to be tremendous. To provide information, answer questions, or even to entertain and inspire.
Content marketing is often centralized in business blogging, which is a top tactic for generating quality content on a regular basis. But you can expand this further to free downloadable resources, infographics, ebooks, and even image and video (think Instagram and YouTube). Whatever you are creating for your audience, make sure it’s something that will benefit them directly, and ideally, a piece of content they will also want to share with their friends and family.
To blend the dual benefits of content and email marketing, you might consider offering a free, valuable piece of content to those who join your mailing list. Routinely, this leads to an increase in subscriptions. However, don’t miss the opportunity to use the subscriber opt-in as a real lead generator. This is where many businesses go wrong, and where their small business growth hits a roadblock.
Get the right leads. Make sure the free resource you offer attracts the type of people who are likely to become real paying customers, not just those who are in it for the freebie. This will require some market research, but the payoff is fabulous. Essentially, provide an item that aligns with your products and services. A coupon for free pizza will get you many email subscribers, but if you’re selling vacuum cleaners, it is not the best option for filling your list with active consumers seeking to make a vacuum purchase.
3. Your online presence falls flat or fails when it’s needed most.
One of the primary ways small businesses stunts their growth is through their poor web presence or lack thereof. You can check all the boxes: website, social media profiles, email marketing service, but if the quality is too low, you may as well not have an online presence at all.
Slow websites are a big problem. If your website doesn’t load in as little as 3 seconds, studies show users won’t hesitate to exit. Likewise, a poorly-functioning, hard to navigate site turns off users almost instantly. The result is a significant loss of potential customers. Plus: Google says 61% users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing. One chance could be all you get. It’s not hard to see how a functional, user-friendly website is essential for small business growth.
Is your website mobile-friendly? If not, you may as well close up shop. A couple of years ago, Google announced that more searches were being performed on mobile devices than on desktops or laptops. For users searching for a local business or a particular product, your business may be missing out on an opportunity for an instant lead.
Speaking of local, be sure you’re not neglecting your local SEO and your local focus. In the mad rush to build an online presence, it’s easy to look outward too quickly. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business or a small company that works regionally, local SEO efforts will remain paramount to your success. When potential customers search for a business on their mobile, if your SEO is on point, they’ll be headed directly to your shop. And even if you’re competing with bigger companies, a large percentage of consumers choose to buy locally whenever possible. Ignoring that crucial local market could keep you from experiencing the amazing small business growth you are after.
4. The various aspects of your online marketing aren’t working in harmony.
Your website and your web marketing strategies are much like the human circulatory system. The website is the heart itself, and the related processes (content marketing, social media, email marketing, SEO) represent the veins and arteries. Each piece is vital to keeping the heart pumping. Every aspect of your online marketing strategy works in tandem to funnel customers to your website and ultimately, result in sales and profits. That’s a healthy web presence.
Is the real problem preventing your small business growth a simple lack of cohesion?
An integrated strategy that doesn’t just focus on one area is so important to your company’s overall success. What you need is a sound, well-conceived approach that brings it all together. Every part of your strategy must be lead-generating and brand-image-building. Can you do it on your own?
Maybe not. We’d love to show you the difference a dedicated web marketing and web design agency can make. Simple Solutions.io is passionate about helping small businesses in all industries experience the impressive growth they deserve. Are you next?
Also published on Medium.