There are two kinds of online entrepreneurs. There are those whose businesses are primarily based online and those who have traditional businesses and have expanded their existing operations to cyberspace. Both will benefit from the tips in this piece. Here are 7 of my best tips.
- Be visible
It is mind-boggling how many business people loathe the concept of being in sales. Yet, whether you like it or not, once you offer services or goods, of any kind, in exchange for payment you are in sales. Sales make the business world go round. With that said, if no one can find your business, you will not be able to make any sales, money, or profit and therefore won’t be able to grow your business.
I find it so frustrating to hear about new musical talent, a great new product, or the perfect writer for the job and not be able to find a trace of them anywhere! Google is one of the first places people turn to when they are trying to find a product, a person, or a service. Therefore, having a website where others can access all you have to offer is a great start. It also helps if you get on social media sites that are best suited to your business. Being visible will help others find you and will undoubtedly help to increase revenue potential.
- Brand consistently
Building a consistent brand across platforms is important to growing your business. Brand consistency will help both your clients and colleagues within your industry to have a clear idea of what to expect from you. In addition, it will give your brand integrity, and everyone loves a brand, company, and business that they can trust.
- Actively promote
The key word here is ‘actively.’ So many businesses and entrepreneurs, especially those with an artistic bent (who never usually see themselves as business persons), have a set-it-and-forget-it mindset. I know because I have been guilty of the same. Building a website and signing on to a few social media websites is not going to automatically bring in new clients or revenue. Just as in traditional business, you have got to promote what it is you are offering. You have got to market yourselves to those would-be buyers. Do your research and use it to your advantage to target markets in light of your objectives.
- Provide value
Any business that does not offer a service or product that people want or need is a business that will soon be defunct. It is important to provide value! This is arguably the number one tip. Even with all the technological tools available to us today, word of mouth is still the most effective marketing tool. We are all more likely to hire the services of or try the products of someone who has been recommended to us by someone we trust. The only way to get this sort of recommendation for your business is to simply do a good job. Offer your clients a stellar product or first-class service and they are likely to keep coming back and bringing others with them.
- Use e-commerce
This seems obvious, but you would be surprised at how many persons set up websites promoting services and offering goods without setting up proper systems to facilitate orders and receipts of payments. Setting up e-commerce platforms is not difficult these days. There are many secure ways to do so. You can accept payments online (and make them) through services like PayPal. Some web hosts even provide these options in their host packages. If you are not familiar with these, a simple web search will get you started. There is tons of information regarding this. Remember, there is no way to make money if there is no way for people to pay you. At the end of the day, you want to make it easy for customers to pay you, so provide as many options for them to do so as is possible and feasible.
- Offer great customer service
Without question, great customer service is great for the growth of any business. Not only will providing great service enable you to keep your current clientele strong, but you will also be able to win over new ones as they come in contact with your great service. Customers like to feel like they matter. It cultivated loyalty. As such, customer service done well helps build your word-of-mouth marketing, as your clients will recommend your services and/or product to friends, families, co-workers, and the like. Therefore, remember to be polite, prompt, and attentive when you or your staff interact with clients.
Growing businesses rely heavily on building good relationships. This includes having good relations with your clients (customer service), as well as your colleagues and fellow businesses. So many businesses neglect their business-to-business (B2B) interactions. However, properly networking with those in your field, both on and offline will help you widen your net and extend your reach, thereby growing your business. This is a great way to grow your returning client base.