Sometimes it feels like things come to a complete halt when we’re forced to take a ‘break’. Your small business relies on certain things to keep running, but what’s your back-up plan if the world suddenly hits pause? A lot of us are in this predicament right now, and it can be overwhelming when we don’t know what’s next. It’s time to shift your focus from what you can’t do, to what you can do and these 10 easy ways to grow your small business is a great way to get started….
1. Nurture Current Relationships
This is a great time to look at improving the relationships you already have with your customers. They originally came to you with a need and chances are you have so much more you can give them! Check in to see how they are liking their product or service, or to simply see how they are doing.
Take this time to learn more about them so you can better cater to their needs in the future, or use this information to create content they will benefit from. Think: an FAQ page, a free e-guide, an informative video series, social media infographics, etc.
Customers are a great guide in creating content that will be helpful and received well. After all, they are the ones you are trying to attract and help with your small business.
2. Grow Your Email List
It’s a scary thought to think about what would happen to your audience if suddenly the world of social media was no more. This is why it’s crucial to keep your important contacts else where and in a place where you can reach them more directly.
This is the beauty of an Email List! It’s a great way to reach out to customers who are already invested in what you do.
Get in the habit of cross-promoting content across all channels. This way, if someone misses your message or offering on social, you can catch them in their inbox with a more personalized message.
So how exactly do you start to grow your email list? Create an irresistible freebie that they have to subscribe to your email list to receive!
3. Develop a Killer Social Media Strategy
Social Media marketing is not an easy thing to do! And when it comes to marketing your small business on social, you’ve got to have a plan or you will get overwhelmed and do the bare minimum. And the bare minimum will not get you the growth or the engagement that you want.
Without getting into too much detail, think about what your #1 social media goal is – whether it be growth, engagement, leads, etc. Now research and develop a strategy that will help with this.
I prioritize engagement for my business so I have a schedule that maps out when I am going to engage with my followers’ content, respond to DMs, and reach out to new potential followers. Having these certain tasks assigned to different days, along with a day to create and schedule my content, breaks it down in a way that is manageable.
Don’t forget to turn on analytics so you can track if your social media efforts are working or if you need to shift your strategy!
And while you’re at it, consider planning a branding shoot to create some new content. Check out my post How to Plan a Personal Branding Shoot for an easy step-by-step guide on how to plan a shoot yourself.
4. Focus on Engagement
No matter what your social media strategy is, I challenge you to start thinking more about engagement. And by engagement I mean likes, comments, and DMS between you and followers or potential followers.
Social media algorithms function around engagement, so the more you engage the more likely your content is to show up.
Make an effort to like and comment on a few of your follower’s posts every time you hit share. Every time you put yourself out there it is a chance for someone to learn more about you and your offering, and possibly click back to your profile. And people tend to engage with the people that engage with them – nothing complicated about that.
5. Go Live or Create a Video Series
Video can have a lot of reach on social media, but even more important than that, it’s another way of disseminating important information to your audience. Some people prefer video and you have to meet your people where they are at!
Again, start at the roots and find out what your current audience’s needs are. Gather questions and comments they have left you and figure out what type of content would be most appealing to them. And it doesn’t have to be a secret investigation. If you’re at a loss of what to film, you can simply ask ‘What would you like to see or learn more about?’.
As a photographer I ask this often and I had an overwhelming response that said people would like to learn how to take better photos of themselves. So I made it a priority to film a tutorial-style video on just that.
6. Start a Blog
If you have a website chances are it will be pretty easy for you to start a blog. A lot of people tend to overthink starting a blog, but it’s really just another way of disseminating information and attracting potential customers to your website.
A blog strategy is best built around keywords. Think about the keywords or phrases your ideal customer is searching for and write a blog around that topic.
To start, commit to one blog a month and don’t forget to promote on your social media channels.
7. Utilize Business Directories
Make a list of every business directory you know (Yelp, Google My Business, Bing Places, etc.) and then research more. Once you have a list, commit half a day to setting up a profile for your business on each directory.
This is another way for potential customers to find you, other than hoping they discover your website in a Google search. Plus, you can start reaching out to past customers to submit testimonials on these platforms, adding to your creditability!
8. Harness the Power of Pinterest
Pinterest is another unrated tool when it comes to driving traffic to your website. If you spend time creating an e-guide or a blog you want to make sure it’s discoverable ( nd landing in the front of people who really need it). With Pinterest you can use hashtags to describe what your content is about and make sure it shows up in relevant searches.
Create graphics in the free graphic design software Canva, and get in the habit of creating and posting one right after you publish a blog.
People tend to forget that Pinterest is used like a search engine. The more your ‘pin’ is saved, the higher you will rank, which will increase your visibility.
9. Create Templates to Sell
Every business has some sort of formatted document they use. It could be a schedule, a workbook, an intake form, or a pricing sheet. If you’ve spent time designing something that functions really well for your business, why not share it with the world?
Take a look at the tools you use in your business and determine if a template can be created for these. There’s a huge market for anything that makes processes easier.
For example, I constantly use shot lists for planning my shoots and I have one I’m pretty proud of for my branding shoots specifically. I could sell this to other photographers or even small business owners for planning their own branding shoots at home.
If it’s not something you’re comfortable selling, you can always offer it as a freebie in exchange for an email address!
10. Create a Course
I saved the best for last because this one has potential to open up a whole other facet of your business (and bring in some extra income!).
What skills have you acquired in your small business that you can teach to others? There are a few different ways to look at this: you can create a course for those in your position, OR a course for your ideal customer.
For example, as a photographer I can create an educational course for other photographers or I can create a course for my ideal customer, which is a small business owner looking to take their own branding photos. Knowing that my audience is mostly entrepreneurs, and not photographers, I would rather create a course catered to them!
An online course can seem really intimidating, but it can all be done within your means. It can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. It can be comprised of video, written guidelines, or a combination of both. Just make sure you do some beta-testing with a small group before releasing the paid version to work out any kinks.
As business owners we know a lot of growth and development happens behind the scenes, so now it’s time to take advantage of this slow period. Think about your business strategy in terms of what’s going to draw more of your dream customers in, and start building relationships by serving them value and engaging with them. Then when it comes time to sell, you’ve already put the breadcrumbs in place!
What’s one thing you’re doing right now to grow your small business?
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