What wouldn’t you do to make your business more successful? You’re smart, you work hard and you’ve invested a scary amount of time and money into making your venture grow.
As you know by now, these things alone don’t guarantee success.
But of course, just because you would do almost anything to make your business grow, doesn’t mean you can do everything. Nor should you.
This is where strategy comes in. Deciding what you want to achieve and identifying the tactics to get you there is vital to making sure your talent and hard work leads to results.
So what strategies should you employ? Here are five you should consider.
1. Talk to your targets on social media
If you’re already running a business, chances are you’ve looked at setting up some sort of social profile.
But put a little extra thought into what you are doing and social can become a truly powerful part of your strategy.
This is because social strategy goes to the heart of what your brand is and how it presents itself as well as who you are targeting, what they want and what you should be saying to them.
With this in mind, think about your target audience. What social channels are they most likely to be on? You can do this but also by thinking about your own business.
For instance, if you’re a B2B company LinkedIn might make more sense whereas B2C firms should concentrate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and increasingly, Snapchat.
Once you have chosen your preferred platforms, think about what content you will need to engage this audience.
Focus on things that are important to your target. This could be problems they need solving or just things they will find entertaining
Think about what content formats make the most sense, be it articles, short-form text content, videos, photographs or infographics. Whatever formats you choose, if the content is authentic, customer-focused and true to your brand you will be well on the way to a great social strategy.
Social is also a great way to understand how people feel about your business and what they are saying about it to others. Looking at Facebook reviews or utilizing social listening tools can help you find and participate in conversations with your target audience so you can start building relationships.
2. Get found With SEO
Why do people search for anything? The simple answer because they want the thing they are looking for. Harnessing this intent is what makes search engine marketing is so powerful.
Think of it this way: if even a tiny fraction of the are for things your business offers this could amount to thousands of potential leads looking for what you have to offer.
This is why you cannot ignore SEO as a strategy.
According to John Black, SEO Expert, the search engine optimization is one of the most underutilized and least understood online strategies in the business world.
Even though each one of us (business owners included) uses Google on a daily basis, not many SMB’s realize a great potential that SEO has for their businesses. It can truly be a mean and lean lead generation machine when implemented properly.
The trouble is, with around 200 individual factors determining which sites Google will serve up for a keyword, showing up doesn’t happen by chance
While you can pick up the basics of SEO via content from people like Moz, implementing a successful SEO strategy involves working with an expert.
The right SEO expert will be able to take you through the kinds of searches you should be targeting, what content you will need to do this and strategies to get valuable links back to your site to help increase your rankings.
3. Turn customers into advocates with referral marketing
When customers love a product or brand, they will recommend it given the chance.
Think about the times you have recommended a band or TV show that you love to a friend. Why should your own products be any different?
If you are delivering a great product and going above and beyond for your customers, a referral marketing strategy enables you to harness goodwill you will build up to reach new customers.
The best thing is, these kinds of referrals are highly trusted by consumers. According to a recent , 83% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they know and 66% will trust online reviews and recommendations.
A referral strategy can be something as straightforward as offering discounts or other incentives to existing customers who refer new customers. Whether it’s in-store, on your site or via email make sure your customers know about the offers available.
Another way to make referral marketing work for you is by combining it with your social media efforts. Every one of your customers has the ability to reach hundreds more people just by mentioning your company to their social media followers.
Be creative about ways you can get your customers to tell their friends about you on social. For instance you could tie your referral strategy in with content marketing efforts by creating posts that your audience will want to share – and in the process make their followers aware of your business.
Of course, it doesn’t have to all be online, as the next strategy highlights, simply talking to your customers in person and asking for recommendations from them can be a powerful part of referral marketing.
4. Grow your network and your business
Getting out there and meeting people can never do you any harm. Electronic communications may have made it easier to reach people, but a face-to-face meeting is always better.
Whether it’s potential customers, collaborators, or even peers within your industry networking and building real life personal connections is key.
The chance of hearing about business opportunities you may not otherwise have encountered is a big plus of networking, but it isn’t the only one.
Meeting more people will give you access to a huge pool of knowledge. The individuals you meet may be able to help shape your ideas on where to move your business from their own experiences.
To make a start, search for people related to your industry via their LinkedIn page or twitter profile, and reach out to set up a meeting. Often that first meeting will lead to others and before you know it, your calendar will be full of meetings that could prove pivotal for your business.
5. Raise your profile with speaking engagements
Attending events is one thing, but speaking at them will make even more of an impact.
Addressing industry events will give you the chance to establish yourself and your business as a key player, a thought leader who says things others want to hear.
This can yield a whole host of benefits. Firstly it will raise the profile of yourself and your business.
Yet it will also help with your networking efforts. Speaking at events will make it easier to talk to other attendees if they have been listening to what you have to say.
Networking isn’t the only one of the other four strategies that can be helped by speaking at events. Speaking can yield content for you to share on social media, shares and mentions by other attendees, and potentially even links back to your website to boost your SEO efforts.
To establish your credentials as a speaker you may have to start small and local but if you have your ear to the ground on social such events should be relatively straightforward to find.
Bringing It All Together
Ultimately it’s best not to think of these strategies in isolation but to work on many of them simultaneously as a means to taking your business to the next level.
For example encouraging customers to review your business on Google will create a positive effect on how your business appears to anyone searching for it.
Likewise being part of online discussions about your industry will lead to networking opportunities and potentially the chance to speak at events.
Even if you only end up prioritizing 2 of the 5, if you get them right for your business, you will more than likely see positive results.