I see a lot of people asking the question “How Can I Grow My Small Business Online?” I assume that most of those asking this question are small business owners, entrepreneurs or professionals planning to start their own business.
But before you know if your business idea is viable and whether you can market it online, you need to first find out if people are searching for your products or services. Because if they aren’t, you might not have a viable business idea in the first place, and you don’t want to start a business that is destined to fail.
1. Test It Out
The beauty of the internet is that it can help you find out, in a matter of seconds, whether you have a viable business idea or not. Of course, if your idea is totally revolutionary, and has no competition, go for it. At the very least you will fail fast.
If your idea is not so new, but fills a need that you believe people have, then you need to ask yourself whether people want what you have to offer. And then test it out using Google keyword tools.
If you already have a business and want to find out how to grow it online, here is what you need to do. Go to Google Adwords and create a free account. Then type in the keyword that prospects would use to search for your products or services online.
If your keyword turns up a substantial number of search queries, that means there are a large number of people looking for your products or services online and it makes sense to grow your business online.
If there are very few search queries, the online route may not be the best way to grow your business and you might get better results with other methods. However, most businesses can benefit from an online presence nowadays, so here’s how to go about creating one.
2. Generate Leads
If you don’t yet have a website or a blog (or both), you can still start growing your business with advertisements. Google Ads might be a good start, followed by Facebook ads, especially if you’re a B2C business.
Include a phone number in your ads to generate leads, until you have a website to send people to. Test out different ads and different headlines. Create special offers, discounts or giveaways in your ads.
Collect the emails and phone numbers of your leads and put them into an Excel file that you can use to import into your CRM, so you can follow up with prospects who don’t take the bait immediately.
At the same time, hire someone to create your online presence so you can get onto the job of creating your online community.
3. Create a community
Following up with prospects means you have to give them good reasons to keep in touch with you. The most effective way of doing this is by creating content. And where do you post this content?
On the places below:
- Website + Blog
- Social Media Profiles
Use your CRM to add your prospects to your mailing list. Invite them to connect with you on your social media profiles. Publish a regular blog and send out updates as part of a newsletter. And follow these 7 best practices to give your new business website a head start.
That way, even if prospects don’t convert into customers at your first contact with them, you can still stay top-of-mind with your content. It can take up to seven contacts with a prospect for them to convert into a customer. Having many points of contact can only increase your chances of success.
The steps above will give you the best chance of growing your small business online. Focus on adding value to the lives of your customers and your business will surely succeed.
© Priya Florence Shah
© 2015, Priya Florence Shah. All rights reserved.
Priya Florence Shah is a bestselling author, an award-winning online publisher, and an online branding consultant. Download her free personal branding eBooks and check out Devi2Diva, her book on emotional self-care for women. In her spare time, Priya writes science-fiction novels and poetry and chills with her two-legged and four-legged kids.