5 Tips to Improve Your Small Business
Chris Grosser once said : "Opportunities don't happen. You create them."
So when it comes to improving your small business, it’s worth remembering that nothing will be handed to you on a silver platter. Nothing is going to happen for you unless you go out of your way to create opportunities for yourself.
Even better, small things can equal large outcomes. Taking even the smallest positive actions can open big opportunities - and big opportunities can catapult you forward to experience amazing new results you may not have imagined.
As the owner of a leading digital marketing agency, I understand how important creating opportunities is for a business. Try putting these five simple tips into place and see for yourself how powerful small actions can be
1. Create Your Ideal Customer Persona
Getting inside the lives and minds of your ideal customers is something that the big business owners, Apple’s Steve Jobs and Virgin’s Richard Branson - do well.
Why do you think their businesses are such huge global successes? It’s because they know exactly what their customers want and how to talk to them in a way that keeps them wanting more.
This process is called creating your customer persona or customer avatar.
Often, customer personas are built from an imagined scenario - you create a descriptive picture of your perfect customer, give them a name, imagine their lives, their hobbies, their income level, and how they spend their spare time.
There are any number of questions to ask to get to the core of your customer persona, but basically, the more detail you can put behind the persona, the more closely you’ll be able to direct your products, services, marketing, and offers toward them in an appealing way.
2. Think Like a Journalist
In case you hadn’t noticed, we now have media outlets at our fingertips everywhere we turn. Your blog, social media, and email are all types of media that give your business a voice in the market.
Though they often tend to get left behind with online media, there are a couple of very useful journalist tips that can help you stand out from the crowd.
Create fresh content
There’s far too much regurgitation of the same boring stuff out there. While there are many topics that cross over in various fields, it’s important to think about how you can take a fresh viewpoint on things. That’s the skill of a great journalist. Draw some stories from your own personal or business experience, or use case studies to highlight a fresh perspective. Either way, bring something new to the table with every piece of content you create.
Aim to challenge yourself to see things from a different angle.
Jeff Goins, best selling author, suggests you should start by just being yourself. You can certainly learn techniques from other writers, but you still want to develop your own voice by being unique.
Practice your craft and start small. You only get better by doing. The great thing about starting with something like an email, a social media post or even a blog post, is that they’re relatively short. It’s not like you’re writing a book. With every piece you publish, you’re getting a chance to hone your skills. Don’t let those opportunities go to waste.
3. Use Your Email List
All too often, I hear that people have an email list - but it’s just sitting there, doing nothing. Well I can tell you now, that isn’t going to grow your business.
Regular customer communications are essential. Whether it’s once a week, every fortnight, or even once a month, aim for a regular routine with your email communications. When composing emails, use a checklist to ensure you include all the appropriate and essential things, such as a benefit-driven headline, a professional and appropriate tone, a message that’s on point, and a compelling call to action.
Most importantly, proof-read the email. Send a test copy to yourself, double check the links, and make sure it’s perfect before sending it.
4. Create Magnetic Content
Content on the web comes in many forms, from blog posts, to white papers, to short reports, to polls and to surveys. When done well, your content acts like a magnet, attracting customers to you. The more consistent you are about creating content, the more you attract those customers to your virtual doors. To give your business that competitive, unique edge, the key is to find ways to create interactive magnetic content.
Could you include videos or components in your whitepaper that are interactive, such as clicking through to a calculator, tool or quiz? Could you teach something valuable through your words by providing a short mini ecourse of some kind?
Using case studies and interviews - along with images that inspire or engage - are all further ways you can make your content more magnetic.
Really, the options are endless.
5. Track Your Online Stats
As someone who specializes in helping people track stats and improve their online presence, it’s surprising to find that only a very small minority of businesses really use their numbers. One great advantage we have with online marketing is that we can track everything - something that wasn’t nearly as efficient with traditional styles of marketing. You can find stats for your website with free services like Google Analytics. Your email service provider will have a separate set of data - even your social media accounts offer analytics. Use those numbers to help you make decisions about the direction of your business. At a glance, you should be able to use this information to identify the things that are working well for your company, so you can do more of those things.
Likewise, you will - unfortunately - find things that don’t seem to be working so well. Use this information to scale back on activities that are costing your business either time or money.
Ultimately, the point is that if you measure things, you can manage them. It’s a critical part of improving your business.
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