If you’ve got an online business and you’re focused on growth, it’s easy to take things in the wrong direction. You get so much advice telling you to spend money here, there and everywhere in the pursuit of more customers. In some cases, it’s true that you need to cast the net far and wide and cover plenty of bases.
However, as an online business, you’ve already got one thing in your favour. You’re solely online! That means you don’t need to worry about store location, parking for customers, in-store displays and much more. You may still need a professional office location for your business meetings, but you can reduce your costs in this area by using serviced offices or co-working spaces.
Online, however, is your real battlefield, and here’s how to conquer it.
1. Forget what you think you know
Firstly, it’s important that any activities you undertake to improve your online presence are backed by data. Often, this data might come from customers themselves through feedback and surveys. You may think you’re not generating enough leads because you don’t rank high enough on search engines. But in fact, you might be getting plenty of clicks and people are turning away for some other reason.
Look carefully at what you do, and where you need to improve to reach more customers. Digital marketing is the most effective way to grow an online business, but make sure you spend money where you need to. Rather than simply throwing money at Pay-per-click advertising, for example, can your website be improved to rank higher organically?
2. Focus on your core business strengths
While online advertising, branding and growing your following is essential, it’s worth very little if your core business isn’t performing. So, before you spend too much money on costly marketing, make sure your business is in order.
Consider the customer experience. When you get more website visitors, is it easy for them to make a purchase from you? All your marketing dollars will be wasted, for example, if customers get to your online checkout and find you don’t have enough payment options.
In addition, spend some time thinking about what you do really well. For example, if your products are all hand-crafted from high-end materials, don’t try to compete with other companies in your industry who offer the cheapest products. Essentially, your business is built around solving a particular problem or need for your customers. Clearly identify that, focus on what’s great about your business, and project that out into the world.
3. Smart marketing is the key
Finally, growing an online business is all about how you market yourself. We touched on focusing on what you do bets, because it helps to inform your marketing strategy. When it comes to digital marketing there are plenty of options. Pay-per-click advertising on Facebook and Google, improving your website’s SEO, using structured data to ensure your search results are rich and full of information, and content marketing to name a few.
But it all starts with identifying your target audience. Be realistic about who your customers are. Trying to beat Amazon or Ebay is a waste of time. But if you can beat your direct competitors in the online space, you’ll be laying the right platform for business growth.