In the era of increased e-commerce competition, learning how to strategically grow your business can seem overwhelming. The truth is that it doesn’t have to be so complicated.
When properly executed, you’ll begin to see how talking small, calculated actions and applying them to what your customers care about most can deliver massive results! We’ve gathered 18 simple ways that you can grow your business in 2018.
1. Share Your Story
Customers like shopping at businesses that inspire real feelings of connection. Even in the digital age, consumers want to know why your company exists and what it is about your business that makes it unique. Every organization has a culture and story to tell. Leverage your digital channels to connect with your customers by sharing a little more about yourself and your business. Don’t underestimate the value of establishing connections with your customers.
2. Create Useful Content
Your business should also create relevant and shareable content across your marketing channels. Whether it be a blog on your homepage, stories across your social media channels, or tips on each of your product/service pages, always remember to provide value beyond just what you sell. Sell furniture and decor? Provide customers with tips on decorating trends to create an immediate connection to your products. Regardless of why a consumer engages with your brand, they’re more likely to come back if you’ve provided them with a resource they can apply to their own life.
3. Host Local Events
Getting involved with your community can make all the difference for your business. Be part of the local chamber of commerce and host an event that encourages community members/leaders to see your space in person. Once they’ve met your team and gotten to know your business more, they’re more likely to connect the next time they’re in need of your products/services. Plus, hosting a community event shows you value people, which can help increase brand affinity.
4. Leverage Social Media
Social media is a business’ best friend. No matter the size of your company, using social media to engage your most loyal customers can provide a major boost to your business’ success. Whether it’s to share useful tips (see point No. 2), promote sales, or merely to keep your brand top-of-mind, social media is an efficient channel to market your brand without investing too much time or money.
5. Give Back
Just as customers like feel connected to your business, they also like to transaction with organizations led by those with a social conscience. Offer products & services where a portion of the proceeds goes to a charitable cause. Host events to help drive donations for worthy causes and share how your company gives back to the community. Demonstrating social responsibility will build brand affinity, increase customer acquisition/retention and help your community. That’s a win-win-win!
6. Add Rewards Programs
All customers want to feel they got the best deal. Loyal customers want to know there is value for continuing to shop with your company. Creating brand-specific loyalty programs allows your business to generate a stronger connection with customers since they’ll feel their purchases are helping them earn rewards. Offer deals for members and market the benefits of joining your loyalty program.
7. Ask for Reviews
The best way to gain more customers is through customer-referrals. Before doing business with any company, most customers will seek reviews and testimonials. Allow and encourage your customers to provide honest feedback, and host their reviews on your digital channels. Allowing customers to act as your brand ambassadors is the best way to prove to potential customers that you have a proven track record.
8. Create Customer Case Studies
Ask your most satisfied customers to share their experiences using your products or services. These stories add real-world credibility to your offerings and help you get more customers. If you need a bit of inspiration, use Google to find examples of case studies or customer stories from other businesses in your industry.
9. Have a Web Presence
This tip may seem obvious heading into 2018. But many businesses don’t have a strong enough digital footprint. Having a website is not enough in today’s world where competition grows frequently. All companies need to have a professional website that’s easy for your customers and potential customers to navigate through. Create a site that’s clean, with clear messages and one that connects consumers to your brand’s value.
10. Optimize for Mobile
Speaking of digital, don’t forget your mobile channels. Whether it be on a mobile browser or an app, customers are going to engage with your business through a variety of devices. Ensure your site is fully functional across all your digital channels. Not having a fully-optimized digital presence can harm your reputation and turn customers away. Your business has greater opportunities than ever to connect with customers and mobile should be the starting point in 2018.
11. Be Customer-Centric
The customer may not always be right, but they’ll still expect to be treated properly. Have a system established how to communicate with your customers across each of your touchpoints. Whether it be by phone, email, chat, or in-person at your physical storefront, you must make it easy for customers to get answers to their questions. Don’t let emails go unread or calls ignored. Customers notice when you aren’t paying attention.
12. Educate Customers
An empowered customer is the most valuable type of customer. Providing consumers education about your products and services is the first step in engaging them with your brand. Give them plenty of information to adequately educate them of the features and benefits of your product or service. Providing detailed information will help your customers to trust your business. Continuing to educate them even after they’ve bought will ensure they’ll keep coming back.
13. Use Marketing Tools
The best part of being a business owner in 2018 is the endless number of tools available to help market your products/services. Engage with marketing tools that can help streamline your customer engagement process. Whether it’s to help boost your presence on Google, send emails to your customers or advertise new deals, investing in marketing tools such as PPC advertising and email automation can help grow your customer base beyond what you can do organically.
14. Collect Customer Data
Data is the new currency in today’s modern business world. Besides leveraging marketing tools, your business should work to collect customer data. Asking customers to provide emails when checking out and creating an account, or at in-person checkout can help your business keep connected with people who’ve already bought into your brand. Plus, this data can provide you with insights into who your customer in, which can help you create better-targeted offers.
15. Market Targeted Offers
Once you’ve got a sense of who your most loyal customers are, you should use that data to your advantage in creating bettering marketing messages. Armed with email addresses and customer persona information, business owners should attempt to customize communication with customers as much as possible. Personalization establishes an instant connection with brands that will keep your business top-of-mind.
16. Work Cross-Channel
In 2018, businesses also have the challenge of having to communicate with customers in-person, via email, and through digital channels. Create a clear communication strategy for how you want to connect with your customers and execute it across all your marketing channels. Customers need to be engaged with through a variety of methods today to remind customers about your products/services.
17. Be Relevant
Technology is always changing, and your business must be able to adapt. Whether it’s your website, POS terminal, payment processing technology or the methods in which you interact with your customers, businesses must evolve with the times. Stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends influencing companies today and see where you may be falling behind. The quickest way to lose a customer is to appear behind the times.
18. Create Brand Value
Collectively, if you implement the above 17 tips, you’re bound to quickly and easily add brand value to your business. But building brand value should be thought of on its own as a way to better market your products/services. Whether it be through creating connections within your community, executing clever marketing strategies, handing out branded swag, or building a solid customer service reputation, creating brand value can’t be done overnight. Like generating revenue, this takes time. Determine what your loyal customers care about most and stick to what you’re best at. Learn how to strategically manage growth to implement the above tips when thinking about how to scale in 2018.