The world is filled with brilliant products but if the marketing isn’t right, the product remains on the shelf (or virtual shelf), unknown by those who could most benefit from it. To grow your business, you’ll need to learn which promotional strategies will get your product examined and purchased by your desired audience.
Listen for tips on using social media to get more customers:
Grow your business in 3 steps
Even the smallest business can use these strategies to find new customers.
Create a community on social media.
Direct them to your website.
Keep in touch with email.
There’s no secret to business growth. Just follow these steps.
1. Create a community on social media
Defining your audience and their preferences is key to delivering good social media content. According to Jess Stolberg of Marketing with Jess, “brands that make people feel good and inspire meaningful connection will have far better success in converting leads to customers.”
Jess suggests asking your audience lots of questions and requesting their input, encouraging both comments and queries. “When you post an inspiring quote or graphic, pair it with a personal story that will uplift and encourage your audience to relate and connect with you,” advises Jess. She feels social media gives us an incredible platform to celebrate together, inspire each other and connect.
Alana Joynes, a social media expert from Xpozur recommends consistency with the social media platforms you choose. “It’s better to have the key ones utilised properly than use all platforms just for the sake of it.” Choosing the right combination, whether it be Pinterest and Instagram or just Facebook or Twitter helps get your product to the right audience.
How to engage followers
Short videos are popular on social media because people have short attention spans and plenty of content competing for their attention. Videos should have content viewers can relate to, touch us emotionally and (if possible) promote the underdog. If you tick all these boxes you might just go VIRAL. Remember, branding these videos is also important to increase brand recognition.
Jess says engagement should be your most important metric for bringing in new business through internet marketing. “Engagement refers to the ways potential customers connect with your brand and is an important part of brand-building” she advises. “Engagement isn’t only WHAT we post, be it a gif, quote or article — it’s WHY we post it and HOW it relates to the person receiving it or reading it on the other end.” Jess believes interaction between potential customers and your brand should be a two-way street, with an opportunity for both to communicate with each other — not just all about the brand.
Encouraging user-generated content is one way to build this community, whether via a competition or specific hashtag. Reposting such imagery is one way to show your audience you are ‘seeing’ and connecting with them.
2. Direct them to your website
Having started a conversation on social media, you’ll want to encourage followers to take the next step and learn about your business. A website is the right place to send them since it represents a one-stop source of information about your hours, service area and goods or services.
Do-it-yourselfers need only choose a website template, then customize it with their own images, text, videos and social links. Easy tools like GoDaddy’s Website Builder guide you through the process, while hiring an expert allows you to delegate the work to someone else.
Plan before you build
Kadi Hainas from Estlanders Marketing recommends using clear messaging on your website. She suggests planning your website structure beforehand and keeping it simple. She says, “People will most likely browse your website with their phone, so don’t confuse them with long and complicated wording.”
Many people also don’t scroll down too far before losing interest, so keep your website easy to navigate with a menu bar and key information visible at the top.
Your website plan should:
- Identify your business goals.
- Determine who your audience is (age, gender, interests, etc).
- Define your unique selling point (what you offer that no one else does).
3. Keep in touch with email
Getting prospects to your website is only half the battle. The other half is getting them to come back.
Email is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools you have.
To grow your business by engaging prospects by email, you’ll need a list of email addresses; giving potential customers an incentive to sign up is a good way to collect them. For example you might offer:
- An eBook or worksheet
- A free consultation
- Discount vouchers
“Ensure emails are personalised and aimed at your ideal target audience,” Alana stresses. “No one likes to receive generic emails that are so broad they don’t add specific value.” Try and capture email addresses with a first name as well, so that emails can be personalised later on.
She sees too many businesses offering just a tiny bit of value, then promoting their product too much. “The emails end up spammy, which reduces engagement and people just unsubscribe.” It’s in your interest to keep people subscribed to your email list, so don’t email too frequently. There’s a fine line between offering potential clients welcome discounts, samples or information and overloading their in-tray.
Give them something valuable
The need to deliver value doesn’t end when you have their emails. Alana thinks offering value to your target market should be your No. 1 marketing technique. What you give your market depends on the type of business you have and what your target consumer is searching for. “The more specific the value you can add, the better the results,” she advises.
Great relationships are built through trust. If you deliver your products on time, give refunds even when it’s a grey area — customers will come to trust you. Answering emails and product queries cheerfully and truthfully also helps. According to Jess, this kind of relationship-building throughout your online marketing is the key to growth.
Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance
It can be difficult working solo to grow your business, especially when the budget is super-tight. Don’t be afraid to reach out on entrepreneur Facebook groups or to friends, acquaintances or former colleagues and ask for feedback or advice. If they’ve used your product or service, ask them to add their genuine product reviews to your website or social media pages.
Professional help like PR agencies can be expensive, but smaller boutique agencies or professionals who work alone from home can be a more affordable option.
The keys to growing your business
Producing a product or service is only part of what it takes to build a successful business — the marketing can make or break a good idea. So do your research, be true to yourself and interact with customers honestly. In time, it will yield a pool of happy customers who are willing to recommend you to others. And good luck.