Starting a business is a difficult journey not for the faint-hearted. Today’s entrepreneurs face many challenges in getting a business off the ground, but once it begins to run, the challenges will keep coming. Whatever stage your business is at, growth is an important area. Growth is important, be it from 1 to 10 customers or 10,000 to 1 million customers, and without a good growth strategy, your business will struggle to succeed. So, here are five tips for business growth in 2018.
Get a Plan
Without a proper plan and strategy, business growth can be very difficult. To grow and acquire more customers, a business must have a clear idea of who they are targeting. A business must also be able to measure their growth.
This means that, firstly, you must research your customers. What is your product solving, who does it benefit and how? Understanding this will help give you a clearer idea of who to target.
Secondly, the strategies you use to target these customers must be measurable. Make sure your marketing strategy has clear goals which can be tracked with key performance indicators. For example, your strategy might have the aim of growing your website traffic by 15% in 6 months. Such a goal is relatively easy to track with things like Google analytics, which is an essential tool for any business.
Know your competition
Another area that can help your business grow is to know your competition. If you perform strategic analysis on your competition, you will know what they’re doing well and what they’re struggling with. Understanding this will allow you to know where to focus your efforts. What can you do better than your competition? These are the area’s you should focus on.
Optimise your site
In 2018, your website is one of your business’s most important assets. Today, more people look for information, shop and communicate online than in any other way. Therefore, it’s crucial that you have a website, but more importantly, that you have a site that’s optimised to rank on Google through SEO and a site that can convert your traffic to sales.
Web development and SEO are huge areas of expertise with dedicated professionals in each field. However, with the tools available online, you can build your own website and implement basic SEO strategies while seeing good results. Of course, this depends on how big your business is, but for a small business, doing these things yourself is definitely possible.
Sites like WordPress make it incredibly simple to create websites and even have SEO plugins to help you optimise your site. This is a huge area with many facets, but generally, a website should be easy to use for your customers with clear information. Make your content easy to understand but make sure it also provides value.
Email marketing is crucial
Email is one of the oldest parts of the internet, but this doesn’t mean it’s outdated. It’s estimated that over 280 billion emails are sent and received every day, and this is only going to continue to grow. If you’re not building an email list, consider how much potential business you are missing out on.
Somewhere on your site should be a way to collect email addresses. This can seem like a hard task, especially if you’re starting at 0. There’s several ways you can collect email addresses. One way is to create unique and valuable content that your audience is interested in and send it out as a newsletter. Alternatively, you can offer discounts and specials for those on your email list. The important thing to do is to make your email list an exclusive place. Once you have an email list, you have direct communication to your most engaged customers which is invaluable to growth.
Get amongst social media
Newer than email is social media, which is just as important for business growth. Of course, what mediums you focus on will depend on your target customers. Your audience may engage in emails much more than social media, however having a social media presence in 2018 is important.
When it comes to businesses, social media is about more than posting what you had for lunch. Firstly, you must decide what platform will be most effective for your business. Spreading across every platform will be a waste of time and your profile’s will become disjointed. Instead, consider where most of your customer base is. The safest bet is Facebook. However B2B business might be better focusing on LinkedIn, whereas visual businesses like restaurants or tattooists may find more success on Instagram.
When it comes to content, try to find your business’s voice and convey this through what you post. Social media is all about engagement, so encourage it from your audience and also engage with them.
In 2018, much of business growth relies on your digital, online efforts. A great website, an email list and a social media presence will help your business grow, but only if you have a good plan and implement strategic analysis.
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About the Author
Karren Smith is a content writer at HashChing, Australia’s first marketplace for home loans.