By Hâfi Martinsdóttir
Estimated reading time: 18 minutes | 3598 words
In this post I will share with you the 6 key ways to grow your business online.
If you’ve been feeling frustrated at your lack of growth online and are wondering where all your customers are hiding, then you’re in the right place and I commend you for taking action to move your business forward. Perhaps you’ve been spending good money on driving traffic to your site with adverts and social media but you’re just not seeing these efforts converted into actual paying customers. Or perhaps you launched a website and since then all you’ve heard are crickets compared to the explosion of interest and sales that you were expecting. Maybe you’re disheartened by the late nights of work and missing out on time with your loved ones because you’re struggling to tread water amongst the competition who all seem to know what they’re doing.
After investing time (17.5 minutes to be precise) into reading this post, putting the key steps into action within your business and working smart rather than just hard in a focused and strategic way you can rest assured that things will begin to shift for the better within your business.
Chances are that a phrase you keep hearing is “focus on your SEO” because apparently that is the way to drive traffic to your site. But I’m sorry to tell you, this just isn’t going to cut it. Instead try switching your SEO efforts over to giving your website visitors free, valuable and helpful content. SEO is certainly one way of getting your business up there in the rankings, but if your site visitors aren’t finding much of interest when they get to your actual site, then they’re going to exit and look elsewhere. This means that you can have a beautiful site that works perfectly but without providing your visitors with real, helpful and actionable information then your SEO will tank anyway. This is because Google only wants to send people to a site that actually helps the people browsing find the results they want.
So instead, let me show you what works
The trick here is to be as helpful as you possibly can to your site visitors and the way we do this is the exact same way you’re reading this now, through blogging. If you don’t like the word blog then you can call them articles, either way, the outcome is the same. The site visitor finds a wealth of helpful information and you are positioned as an expert in your industry.
Regular, informative and relevant blog posts to your industry are like SEO gold dust. It does take a bit of time to learn how to write well for SEO and I have covered that and more in this blog post here: The Winning Process for Writing Successful Blog Posts. But once you know the ins and outs and you’re producing weekly or monthly (weekly is highly recommended for faster results) content for your site visitors then you’ll really start to see a shift in your growth.
And the good news is, if you don’t like writing then you can always outsource it to a certified SEO content writer. You simply provide the topics and they will get busy writing on your behalf as your very own ghost writer. You can add your name as the post’s author, thus increasing your credibility with your audience.
The key is to provide immense value through informative and relevant blog posts and then somewhere in the blog post make them an irresistible offer related to the topic they are reading. For example “if you’re serious about learning XYZ then you’re going to love ABC – click here to access.” And because you’ve already provided so much value to your audience within this blog post they are going to be thinking, “wow, if this is the value of the stuff they give away for free, I can’t wait to see what they share when I sign up!”.
It’s the equivalent of throwing a wonderful dinner party, all of your guests are sitting around your table ready to eat and yet instead of appreciating those who showed up, you’re outside running around trying to get more people to join the party! So naturally, your guests leave and they’re not coming back!
The crucial element to persuading people to enter their email address is to provide an enticing reason for them to do so. Make sure the promise of what is to come is related to the blog post they are currently reading and positioned as something that provides them with even more value or perhaps some actionable steps to get to their desired outcome faster/easier. The variety of possible “lead magnets”, as they’re called, are numerous.
For example, if you are a florist and your article is sharing top tips on how to take care of indoor plants, your ‘lead magnet’ could be a schedule for watering specific plants that your audience could print out and place on the wall. Or it could be a chart of which plants grow best in which indoor environments. It must be something that your audience values and that is connected to what they are already reading about.
Immediately after they sign up and receive the worksheet, eBook or whichever lead magnet you provided, send them a welcome email (this needs to be automated). Thank them for joining your community and tell them some more about your business, who you are and what your plans are for the business. This makes the subscriber feel as though they are a part of your community and is a wonderful opportunity to show the humanity behind your brand.
Then within the first 3 days after they sign up you can send them one automated email per day, each one adding value to the receiver. It’s important that you continue to establish yourself as someone who knows what they are talking about as this builds trust with your audience. Eventually after 10 days or so and 3 – 5 value-add emails you can send an email containing a product or service that you’d like them to buy. It could be a product or perhaps just an offer for them to sign up for a free consultation with you. This way you can get them on the phone, on a video call or to meet in person to discuss a particular project they are interested in starting and work your magic!
If they don’t make a purchase this time, simply add them to your weekly or monthly newsletter. This keeps you top of mind when they are ready to make a purchase down the line.
It’s better to have 5 people interested in your product, than 1000 random people who have expressed no interest.
This is why you must become specific about who you send to your site. We want quality over quantity when it comes to site visitors. You can get clear on who your customer is by creating a customer avatar. If you haven’t already, click here for your free avatar worksheet. Having your ideal customer clear in your mind helps you focus on writing just for them, your avatar.
Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what it is they would like to see in your shop or learn more about. This invaluable feedback can help you provide an even better quality service to your audience and will increase your position as an expert who truly cares about and adds value to their community.
It’s crucial that you’re measuring the results from your increased efforts in driving people to your site and encouraging them to sign up to your newsletter. To do this, set up analytics within your website to track these.
By tracking the data, you can track the growth. Now is the time to experiment with a variety of lead magnets to see which entices people in the most, ie. has the biggest conversion rate from site visitor to subscriber. Play around with different headers, the lead magnet placement on your site, sharing different benefits to the customer, changing the text, experimenting with the colour or page layout. The results for each website will be different because each website will attract a different sort of visitor. The key is in working out what works for your audience.
If you’re selling products on an online store, it might be worth experimenting with different product prices or adding additional bonuses when a customer makes a purchase.
A few examples of what generally work best on websites:
There are numerous tests out there that can help you decide which wording or placements you should be experimenting with for your website. Simply type into Google the test you wish to research followed by A/B testing and I’m sure you’ll find some interesting results. For example “different colour websites A/B testing” will tell you all about the websites that perform the best based on their colours.
But the best way to find what works for your audience is to create these tests yourself. Taking pop ups as an example, try one pop up location for a minimum of 3 weeks and track the results. Then switch it to a different location and observe the conversion rate to see what differences, if any, are made.
It’s a painful truth that most businesses don’t keep a track or in touch with their existing customers. When a person purchases from them they simply thank them and let them go without realising just how much opportunity has been wasted.
Your existing customers are the low hanging fruit within your industry. They have already purchased from you, and as long as you provided value, which I really hope you did, then they already trust you.
Then take it one step further, keep a record of who has purchased from you once. But also keep a record of who has purchased from you a 2nd and a 3rd time. These repeat customers are people who clearly value what you offer and it is your job to offer them more of what they want and need. Place more products and services on the market for them to browse.
Don’t put a ceiling on how much they can purchase from you. In the same way that you might walk into a shop and see hundreds of products, so too can your existing customers.
Another thing to bear in mind when it comes to your customers is that you need to make them feel looked after, make them feel a part of the growth of your brand by offering them exclusive deals and remembering to say thank you. Make them feel appreciated, ask for their opinion, get feedback, reach out and have conversations with them. Treat your customers in such a way that they become lifelong loyal customers of you and your business.
Feel free to reach out to them in a personal way, ask how they’re getting on with the product or service they purchased from you. Did it help them the way they thought it would? Listen to them and make changes accordingly, let them know that their opinion matters to you and show it by implementing some of their suggestions if suitable. Give them behind the scenes knowledge of your brand, make them feel as though they are a part of your community, as they very much are.
Get to know them, what they like, what they need. Don’t pitch to them or try to make a sale, just talk. That’s how sales happen anyway, just through talking.
So when was the last time you reached out and talked to an existing customer to see how they are?
Consumers want to test out your brand first with a smaller purchase before committing to a bigger sale.
To encourage people to try you out, create splinter products. These offer an insight into a bigger product to convince them to make the bigger purchase. As an example, say you sell a course related to your industry, let’s use a dive centre as an example because I love diving, perhaps a dive centre wants to increase their number of enrollments for their Open Water Scuba diving course. Typically a course such as this would cost several hundred dollars. A splinter product would be a Discovery Dive, this is where a person gets to try the dive company out with a much cheaper one-off dive to see whether they even enjoy diving, whether they liked their instructor and whether or not this is something they’d like to invest more money in. By having a cheaper option as a “taster”, it takes the risk out for the customer and, if successful, can lead to them making the bigger purchase. But if not, then you still made money on the smaller, cheaper product.
Other examples might be an eBook before you purchase an entire online course. Or a meal at a restaurant before you hire them to cater at your next party. So, take a look at what your business offers to its customers, can any of these products or services be ‘splintered’ off to create smaller, low-level entry products to make the leap of faith less of a leap and more of a baby step?
Encourage people to become customers by making ‘easy’ entry-level products or services for them to join your community.
To position yourself as an expert in your industry, it is imperative that you offer a full range of services and/or products to help your customers at varying price points. Because as we have already discussed, an existing customer is much more likely to purchase again. And once they have tried and tested you and your service, they are likely to purchase a more expensive product or service.
This is another reason why it’s crucial to keep a track of who has purchased from you in the past, because those are the people that you can up-sell to. You can occasionally place more expensive products within the weekly or monthly newsletter for them to consider. The more expensive a product, the more value it must give your customer and as they already trust you, they know that this next product can further help them achieve their particular goals. But for this to be successful, the products you share within your newsletter need to be related to what they have already purchased and what they have shown you they are needing help with or interested in.
Another way to provide a low entry point to make the switch from a browsing consumer to your customer are through cheap eBooks, books, short courses, smaller products.
One of the most important methods to grow that so many businesses miss out on is to generate recurring revenue.
Take a look at the services or products that you offer, what can you offer your customers as a recurring product or service such as a membership or a repeat delivery?
For example, a florist could step up their services from offering flowers to people in store to automating weekly deliveries to a customer’s house to keep their home feeling fresh and bright. A customer would opt in with a subscription to this service of receiving bouquets regularly and pay for them automatically as a direct debit.
Or perhaps you’re a diving centre and you want to offer locals the opportunity to become club members where they can choose different levels of participation such as silver, gold or platinum. Each level comes with various stages of service included, such as 15% discount on guided dives for silver club members up to free guided dives for platinum members. The fee could either be paid monthly or annually, but the point is that you would be able to predict your income from month to month with more certainty.
What do you do in your business that can be automated? Certainly, you could automate your value-add and sales emails. Can you automate certain services that you provide clients, or outsource to someone who can perhaps do it better and faster than you? Giving you the time and space to focus on growing your business in more areas simply because you’ve now got a bit more wiggle room within your company. Automating the generation of recurring revenue is the fastest way to grow your business. To help make it even more scaleable you should document all of your processes so that you can easily pass them on to team members to work on, freeing you up for more important work.
One thing we all struggle with in our businesses is being the bottleneck to our brand’s growth.
The goal here is to have the processes in place to be able to remove yourself from certain areas of your business entirely, relying on other team members to take care of those tasks and make those decisions in your stead. This takes a lot of trust and the right team members, but by being able to step out of your business and have it still run smoothly leaves you with the ability to observe your business from the outside, to see where things need to run more efficiently, which areas need help, which areas might be doing more harm than good. It will give you the time to talk to your team members, listen to their thoughts and opinions on which areas they also think can be improved.
The good thing is that when it comes to your online services, so much can be automated or delegated. Some of my clients don’t want to run their website at all as they would much rather leave it to someone who knows what they’re doing, saving them time, money and the stress of having to learn something new. So, instead of hiring a full time team member to run their online business, they hire me to take care of any changes or updates that their online service requires, for a fraction of the cost a full time staff member would cost. If this is something that interests you then reach out to your website developer to discuss what systems can be delegated to them, leaving you with a clearer schedule to focus on what you do best. If you need help from me in this area, take a look at my Website Care Plans to see how I can help you.
I hope after reading this you are getting excited about the potential growth that your business can have. The sky really is the limit!
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About Magpie Creative Co.
Magpie Creative Co. is a digital marketing and design agency with a worldwide client base. We offer branding, web design and online marketing for luxury guesthouses and small independent resorts.
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