If you run a small business, then you know just how important it is to keep track of all of your profits and to try and bring in as many new sources of income as possible. As a small business, your first priority should be able to achieve sustainable growth, and one of the best ways to do that is to incorporate the internet into your business strategy.
To some, this may sound obvious, and you may already have an online presence in the form of a website or a facebook business page. In today’s world, however, this simply isn’t enough. Your business page will get lost and buried under the hundreds of other small businesses who are competing with you.
Your business needs a strategy that will take it the next level and will set it apart from all of your competitors. To do this, you have to be willing to adopt new marketing tactics, consider implementing an online sales model and change the way that you look at the internet.
The Most Important Business Strategy Of All
Generating profits online doesn’t just mean selling things on a website, although that can certainly be part of it. What’s more important is making your brand known through online resources.
In other words: the most important business strategy of all is to increase brand awareness.
In the old days, this meant newspaper ads, door-to-door sales, and getting your name on the radio. Today, people rarely read the paper or listen to the radio, and neighborhood solicitation is highly frowned upon. More people would see a micropiles ad online than they would see in a local ad don’t waste your time and money post ads on social media.
The internet is the solution to all of your marketing and sales troubles. On the internet, you can do for free (or at least cheaply) what would have cost you thousands of dollars to do in the past. The only challenge that you’ll face with the internet is that you’ll have a lot more competition since everybody can have a piece of “online real estate” for dirt cheap.
The best way to differentiate yourself is through increasing brand awareness. The more popular that your brand is, the higher the value of your “real estate” will be. Once you’re able to start blowing past the competition, you’ll have more phone calls, meetings, and hit higher sales goals than ever.
Let’s take a minute and discuss two of the easiest ways to accomplish this; social media and targeted local ads.
Social media has grown so much in the past few years that you can even get a degree in social media marketing. The reason why it’s such a hot marketing platform is that everybody uses it, and most of the time it’s free. When it comes to bringing in new customers for your small business, you need to embrace and use the power of social media.
This means setting up a Facebook business page, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter; you name it. If you think that people are using it, you better be right there shoving your product in their face 24/7. You need to be relentless with it. Post pictures and videos every day, interact with your followers and give them valuable and interesting content to digest.
The more likes and followers that you get, the more people will constantly be exposed to your brand every day. The next time somebody has a problem, the first name to pop up in their head will be your business because they saw a cool post from you at their lunch break.
The importance of mingling cannot be overstated. As a small business, you don’t want to be one of those business pages that just post advertisements. You need to spend time mingling with both your followers and other influential people in your circle.
Develop partnerships and relationships with other companies that sell similar (but not directly competing) products and services. For example, if you’re selling clothes, team up with a jewelry brand and tag them in some posts and request that they do the same. This is a win-win business strategy that will result in both parties getting access to each other’s followers and being able to increase their brand awareness.
Targeted Local Ads
One of the next great things that you can do with social media sponsors yourself. Facebook is one of the most popular platforms, but Instagram, Snapchat, and even Tinder are other great platforms to tap into as well.
The thing that makes social media marketing so successful is that you can directly target certain demographics. You can market to groups based on age, region, interests, and more. This means that you won’t be wasting a single penny advertising to people who don’t have any need for your products and services.
Maintain A Blog
Like we said above, having a website is no longer enough. You have to be willing to give your visitors useful or interesting content in exchange for them recognizing their brand. If you can make your customers visit your site for personal enjoyment and knowledge (outside of needing you), then you’ll have a loyal following who won’t mind it when you do advertise to them.
The best way to provide this content is by maintaining an online blog. Provide relevant, useful information that applies to the industry you’re in. For example, if you’re selling lawn mowers try to write posts about great new landscaping ideas. If you’re selling workout supplements, post some interviews with bodybuilders and athletes who use your products.
If you want to target your blog posts, you should also consider ranking them for certain keywords. Use a keyword tool such as Google Adwords to search your niche for popularly searched keywords. For example, if you’re selling hair and beauty products, some keywords you might use in your blog posts could be, “how to grow thick hair,” “how to dye your hair,” or “how to remove blackheads.”
If you can get your blog posts to rank for certain popular searches, then people will come across your blog, and then become acquainted with your brand. This is why content marketing is such an important way to generate new income online.
You should also incorporate your blog into your social media to get two birds with one stone. When you write new posts on your blog, link to them in your social media. Keep your Snapchat and Instagram stories updated and relevant, and always use them as a funnel for them to directly access your main site where you can convert them into a sale.
Now, that might have been a lot of information to digest all at once, so here are the Cliff notes to make things a bit simpler.
- The most important business strategy to generate profits online is to increase your brand awareness.
- Brand awareness creates trust and interest in your visitors and followers which eventually leads to converting sales.
- One of the best ways to increase brand awareness is to utilize social media.
- Post interesting pictures and videos
- Mingle with influencers in your industry
- Interact with your followers
- Make use of targeted advertising provided by these social media platforms
- Another great way to increase brand awareness is to maintain an active blog.
- Write niche-related articles and post instructional videos and interviews
- Optimize your articles for popular search engine keywords
- Connect your social media accounts to your blog. Use social media accounts as funnels that will attract users to your site where you can convert them into sales.
Other Helpful Methods To Generate Profits Online
Building your brand awareness through your online presence will ensure long-term profits and sustainable growth over the years, but along the way, there are several other ideas that you can incorporate into your business strategy to earn extra income and convert more sales. Let’s take a look.
Give Coupons To Your Online Customers
Everybody likes to save a bit of money from time to time and giving them a coupon is often the best way to gain a new customer or encourage an existing customer to buy or use your services again. There are several large online coupon companies like Groupon that will let you distribute coupons to their wide customer database.
It’s important not to go overboard, however. If customers get too used to coupons, they will expect them all of the time, and won’t shop with you unless they have a coupon. This was the mistake that Bed Bath and Beyond made three years ago.
Sell Ad Space
Once your website gains some popularity and you have plenty of visitors, you can sell some ad space on your website. At first, this may seem counterintuitive, but the key is not to advertise products or services that directly compete with your own. Only sell ad space to niche-related products. If you’re selling anti-virus software, for instance, try giving ad space to a computer repair specialist.
Start an Affiliate Program
If you want to hire a digital street team, then you need to start an affiliate program. Essentially, you will be giving your affiliate marketers a small share of the sales that they convert. They will go out of their way to market and sell your product on the internet, and you will be able to track the sales that they bring in through special affiliate links.
You could create your own program, but the easiest method is to use a site like Clickbank where you can have access to a large network of affiliate marketers.
Creating a business strategy to draw in online conversions doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. We won’t lie to you and say that it won’t take work or that you’re not going to have to be active and relentless every day, but we can confidently say that increasing your brand awareness and converting sales online is hands-down the best way to grow your online business.
Today’s age values local loyalty less, and brand popularity more. If you want to be the hottest competitor in town, you have to play the long game and grab everybody’s attention. Today that means using the internet and all of its tools to your advantage.
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