Starting a business is easy, but getting your first client and growing your business is a different story…
If you’re looking to take your offline business online or grow your online business, then you’ve come to the right place! I’m going to talk you through my top tips to grow your business online, so you can spend less time promoting and more time making money.
There’s nothing worse than launching your new online-based business, or opening the door of your brick-and-mortar store for the first time… and hearing nothing.
But this is where I can help you by sharing my experience on how to promote a small business (I’ve been there), so keep reading!
I’m going to tell you exactly what to do to get this first (and next) precious client for your small business. In the end, you want to grow your business, right? My strategies also apply to already established businesses.
First of all, I’ll tell you what NOT to do.
If you’ve started your business or blog and haven’t yet reached your first $500 per month, you may feel a little fed up and discouraged.
Please, listen to this advice: do not give up. A new business or blog takes a lot of time to become successful.
In fact, I recently worked with a client on their new business website. Their business is new in the online world and struggled to attract new customers, so they needed a new website design.
We built them a beautiful and simple new website, optimized it for search engines and after only 2 months the business started seeing a steady growth in leads and conversions. In the end, it was a win-win – we are happy that they didn’t give up on their new venture, and they are getting more sales. So, the main point here is, do not give up and stay strong. Most businesses start slow, and only patience and consistent work can help you grow your business and become successful. It is not easy.
Let’s jump to the main topic, how to easily and effectively promote small businesses.
How to Grow Your Business Online.
1. Create a website (and ideally a blog!).
If you want to grow your business online, then the first thing you need is a website.
Whether you’re service-based or product-based you absolutely must have a website.
Do you know that little feature that gives you product recommendations on Etsy and eBay? Yeah, that’s going to take people away from your shop and send them to someone else’s.
You don’t want that.
Similarly, if you’re service-based, and you don’t have a website to send potential leads for more information and portfolio examples, you’re going to lose that sale because there will be someone else who does have a website, and they’re going to stand out in that customer’s mind.
The beauty of having your own website is that it can be whatever you want it to be! Not like a Facebook page or Etsy where your business branding and style are not expressed, so even with many great products your brand doesn’t stand out. Your own website is your brand, from colours to fonts and interface, it is your brand.
Want to take bookings directly on your website? Want to set up a monthly subscription for your products? Want to have full control over your product pricing, and how much profit you make? All of those things are possible and more with a website.
Here it’s worth mentioning that I do not recommend building your business website in one of the DIY website builders, like Wix or Squarespace if you’re planning on expanding and growing your business online. The main reason for this is that those platforms are extremely limited, and it’s difficult to migrate your business website from these platforms if you find it unsuitable.
I recommend getting a reliable website hosting, like BlueHost or TsoHost and a good domain name, for example from GoDaddy, and starting a professional website that will grow with your business without limits.
If you’d like to work together to create a website for your business, let’s chat. I work with a variety of businesses to design and build beautiful websites that convert and help them grow their business, so I’m sure we can create the perfect online solution for your business too.
You may ask, can I build my own website myself?
Sure, you can! If you have time and some tech skills, I recommend you use the WordPress platform (I talk more about why you should use WordPress here) and the drag-and-drop website builder – Elementor.
Elementor is a totally free website builder, which you install as a plugin on your WordPress and start designing. The possibilities are endless, and with their Elementor Pro version, the sky is the limit!
If you’re interested in using Elementor, below is a list of my favourite YouTube channels which talk about how to build a website step-by-step:
- How To Make A WordPress Website With Elementor – 2021 by Darren Wilson
- How To Make A Website With Elementor Pro 2021 by Ferdy Korpershoek
I haven’t even touched on the powers of SEO for your business, which you absolutely must have a website for. More on that below
2. Do your research and keep learning.
The last thing you want is to devote all your time to something that won’t benefit or help to grow your business. With that in mind, it’s crucial that you do as much research as you can:
- Read about digital marketing best practices.
- Follow experts like Neil Patel or HubSpot.
- Take courses on Udemy.
- Listen to marketing podcasts.
- Invest in books about digital marketing and content marketing, such as:
Regardless of your preferred method, the more you understand about different online marketing strategies, the easier it will be to identify the ones that may benefit your business.
In addition to learning as much as possible about different marketing methods, you should also learn how to utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Incorporating strategic keywords and keyword phrases in your copy will help your website show up in Google search results (read till the end where I talk more about SEO).
3. Be the expert in your trade.
You may ask, how can I call myself an “expert” if I only just started my business? We all sometimes feel like imposters in our lives, and this is ok.
But try to think about it differently; nobody ever knows everything, and the fact that you started your business or blog means that you already know something more than others about your trade. Use it! And grow confident.
What does it mean to be the “expert”? When someone has a question, answer it for free. Just because you share your knowledge without charging for it, doesn’t mean you’re putting yourself out of business.
The opposite usually happens: by sharing, you’re building trust, and trust helps you grow your business.
To grow even further, I recommend starting a blog that helps you research the topics and your industry.
It gives you a platform to create content about your trade, get to know people who are already doing well, and connect with them!
This also leads us to my next point – networking!
You can’t be an expert if you never give yourself a chance to show your expertise!
Join Facebook groups and online forums where YOU are on the expert side. Most groups offer self-promotion days or threads where you can go for the hard sell and promote your products or services but
I found the most success with offering my services in response to relevant posts from other users.
Many times, the questions I answer online lead to more leads and also paying clients. I use networking to put my business and skills out there to the right audience.
To do the same you should aim to join groups where your target audience hangs out. As I work with small businesses, I’m a member of groups for startups, small business owners and entrepreneurs.
The goal with Facebook groups is not to be spammy or go hard on self-promotion, but instead to join the community. So keep that in mind to avoid being kicked out or driving people away from your business by being too pushy.
5. Understand SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a must if you’re looking to grow your business online, which is another reason why you need a website!
I’m going to give you a real-life example of how SEO can grow your business online.
Example: You’re a florist based in London.
You’re smashing it in terms of followers and likes on social media but you aren’t selling any products or bookings because most of your followers aren’t local to your business.
This is where SEO becomes your new best friend. With the power of SEO, you can target customers in Liverpool and surrounding areas so you come up on the first page of Google when they’re searching for “florists in London”.
Your business website should be SEO-optimised for the keywords that work for your business. This is crucial for your website to be found by the right people.
I build and maintain websites on a monthly subscription plan. The websites I design are already SEO-optimised, so right from the start, you’re on a good path for being found high in SERP (search engine result page)! Contact me for more details or visit my website (link in the header).
6. Start an e-mail list.
This is where the blog comes in handy. Let me explain why.
Popping up in someone’s inbox is an incredibly personal thing, and it’s a true privilege to be invited to keep coming back to talk about your services or products.
Those are the sorts of people you want to be connecting with to grow your business.
The people on your e-mail list are considered to be ‘warm leads’ because they’re already interested in hearing from you and so are much more likely to buy your services or products.
You know they’re interested in what you’re offering and they want to hear more about it.
The best way to start an e-mail list is to provide a free resource (‘freebie’) related to your services or products.
You can place a link to this resource on your blog or website and ask people to subscribe to your mailing list in exchange for something useful and FREE. To manage the subscriptions and emails I recommend using Mailchimp, which is fun and easy to use.
Remember to provide value as well as promote your business!
This is it! It’s not so scary, and it can also be fun to grow your business online. I’m sure that by following my tips you will see steady growth and more customers or website visitors very soon. Remember to be patient and consistent!
How did you find these tips? Do you feel confident in how to grow your business online?
Comment below 🙂