Seeing your business grow is incredibly exciting but also very challenging. If you’re wondering how to grow your business online, this ultimate guide will give you 26 new ways for you to try.
Our tips are easy to understand, action and see the value in. All you need to do is give them a go!
- Know your customer
- Become a customer service leader
- Be easy to contact
- Use a chatbot
- Use a CRM
- Equip your sales team
- Create brand consistency
- Diversify into new income
- Improve your liquidity
- Put your business on the map
- Encourage reviews
- Cross promotion
- Sponsor industry events
- Email marketing
- SEO content
- PPC campaigns
- Content marketing strategy
- User generated content
- Content for your target audience
- Engage communities
- Increase website speed
- Web analytics
- Heat mapping
- Social media marketing
- Social proof
How To Grow Your Business Online – 26 Ways
1. Know your customer
How well do you know your target customer?
If you don’t know their age, sex, education and interests, then you don’t know them well at all. This is key information you need to be able to grow a business.
Creating buyer personas is the best way to change this. Buyer personas are semi-fictional archetypes that represent your audience. You need data to create personas.
This data can come from things you know, analytics, surveys, market research and competitor analysis. Your personas will change and develop over time as your business grows and changes.
Customer personas will grow your business by keeping your sales and marketing activities highly targeted. Relevance is the aim of the game.
2. Become the leader in your industry for customer service
The key to Amazon’s success was they solved their customer service challenge early with live chat. By allowing customers to contact them 24/7 with a clear resolution framework, they satisfied customers even when they had complaints.
Being courteous and available is the key to great customer service. You can also grow a business by following Amazon’s lead.
This could be as simple as responding to an email in minutes or making a phone call to resolve a complaint rather than waiting for your customer to call you. Good customer service increases customer satisfaction, stickiness and lifetime value.
Happy customer, happy business!
3. Make it as easy as possible for customers to contact you
You can increase sales and improve customer satisfaction by making it as easy as possible for your customers to contact you. Give people several ways to contact you.
A business phone number is always good, but only if you take calls quickly. A 3 minute holding time is the max.
Contact information should be easy to find. Simple tricks help to grow a business, like adding a phone number at the top of your website, adding an email address to your social media, adding a CTA (call to action) button that opens a message form and live chat.
4. Use a chatbot to be available 24/7
Chatbots deliver automated 24/7 customer service. They are powered by artificial intelligence to answer questions intelligently. You can deploy a chatbot to manage conversations in messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to empower customer experiences.
You can also add them as a contact method on your website. This means that customers can get answers to their questions quickly, which is especially important for increasing website conversions and creating happy customers.
Adding a chatbot to your website is a quick way to help grow your business online.
5. Use a CRM to build profitable relationships with customers
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM software is a digital customer database which amalgamates data about your customers for deeper insights into your audience.
It then enables highly targeted sales and marketing processes within the software. This basically means you can have all your customer data and sales leads stored in one safe place, enabling you to keep track of customer communication, marketing and make the most of sales opportunities.
The results of using a CRM help you grow your business online:
- Unlock the value in structured and unstructured data
- Gain better knowledge of customers
- Increase customer retention
- Communicate with customers better
- Collaborate with and manage teams
- Follow up on leads and enquiries automatically
- Automate targeted sales and marketing activities
The biggest brands in the world use a CRM and you should too. It’s an incredibly important way to grow a business though repeat sales, lead follow-up and effective marketing.
6. Give your sales team the skills and knowledge they need to sell
How many times have you asked a salesperson something, only for them to go and check with their manager? These situations harm sales because they introduce friction to the buying process.
People are more likely to buy when the sales process is smooth and easy.
By giving your sales team the skills and knowledge they need to properly service your customers and close a deal, you will significantly improve the sales cycle and help grow a business. Sales will grow and the cost of sales will decrease. This is the key to increasing profitability.
7. Create brand consistency
Every touchpoint of your brand – the logo, products, services, colours, tagline, website, social media profiles, guest posts, text, images, videos, podcasts – needs to have consistent branding. Otherwise, what is the point of having a brand if you dilute it?
Brand consistency means making sure your audience is consistently exposed to your core messaging. This creates a unified experience and makes sure that your audience can identify you.
Your brand is at its most powerful when it is consistent.
8. Diversify into new income streams
Diversification is an age-old growth strategy that involves penetrating new markets, targeting new customers and adding new products and services to your core business.
It can open up a world of opportunity to help you grow a business. You could bring completely new products to market, upsell existing offerings, resell, cross-sell or become an affiliate.
Anything that brings income into your business – but not at the expense of brand dilution – is worth considering.
9. Improve your liquidity to fund growth projects
Your liquidity determines your ability to cover short-term financial requirements. If you have poor liquidity, you will struggle to fund projects to grow a business.
You can increase business liquidity in several ways:
- Invoice sooner
- Track payments in and out
- Pay off liabilities sooner
- Cut back on certain costs
- Increase profitability
- Sell unproductive assets
- Consider using long-term finance (with a fixed low interest rate)*
*Only borrow money if you are sure you can afford to pay it back. We recommend you seek professional financial advice.
Consider using an accounting software to help keep track of invoices and expenses, and automatically chase late payments.
10. Put your business on the map
If you are a local business, you can claim a Google My Business listing and Bing Places listing to show up on Google Maps and Bing Maps. When correctly set up, your listing will show up in search results when people search for a local business.
This will create visibility which in the long term will help to grow your business online.
11. Encourage customers to leave reviews
Customer reviews are essential if you want to grow a business as they reduce the biggest barrier in the way of any purchase – proof your business is any good. Potential customers often need to be convinced of the quality of your product/service to buy it.
Reviews provide social proof, make you look trustworthy, help customers make decisions and increase sales in the process.
12. Partner with other businesses to run cross-promotions
In Egypt, crocodiles let plovers pick food from their teeth. The crocodile gets its teeth cleaned and the plover gets to eat. The point is, if this unlikeliest of partnerships can work, you can make partnerships with other businesses work.
A partnership could be something as simple as referring customers to each other, forming an affiliate partnership, or cross-selling your software with a complimentary product from another company (plugins for WordPress do this all the time).
Partnerships, cross-selling and cross-promotions are a great way to grow a business by leveraging the success of others and increasing sales. This is especially true if you partner with someone who is bigger than you or an industry leader.
13. Sponsor hot events in your industry
Over 90% of consumers feel positive about brands after participating in events and sponsorship is the easiest way to get in on the action. All you need to do is pay your way in or make a charitable donation if the event is non-profit.
Event sponsoring is fantastic for increasing brand awareness, lead generation, market research, promoting your business and gaining audience insight. It requires no work and the more events you sponsor the better the results.
It can be an expensive way to grow a business though, and you may not see instant results. None the less, it’s a great way to increase brand awareness.
14.Build email lists to increase email marketing engagement
Email lists segment customers based on their content preferences. By creating email lists, you can run highly-targeted email marketing campaigns.
Email becomes more personal and you can create better relationships with customers. Compare email marketing tools to help you grow a business online.
15. Harness SEO to show up in Google
SEO is the art of getting your website to the top of search engines (primarily Google). SEO is THE best way to grow a business online – but also the hardest.
It requires long-term investment, but the results can be astonishing. We’ve seen people grow a business online 300x in the space of a few months!
You can use SEO tools to plan your SEO strategy and take care of keyword research, site and page analysis, competitor analysis, link building and more.
16. Create SEO content to achieve top search engine rankings
Digital content is essential for success on Google and an effective way to grow a business online. It targets specific keywords and includes product pages, category pages, local pages, blog posts and more.
Here’s how to create it:
- Identify keywords
- Identify what content ranks best in Google for those keywords; this could be an article, product page, case study or something else
- Produce high-quality content in the format Google likes
- Double or triple up the word count of the top-ranking page
- Optimise content
- Track progress using an analytics tool (Google Analytics and Google Search Console are your best options, and they’re free).
By creating content Google loves, you will be able to compete for the best keywords.
17. Run a PPC campaign to grow sales
If done correctly, pay-per-click advertising campaigns are a great way to grow a business by increasing sales. They are easy to measure because you set a budget and pick your keywords.
You then measure the cost-per-click and track conversions to see how much each sale costs you.
18. Develop a content marketing strategy to fuel lead generation
What types of content will build you an audience? What types of content does your audience enjoy? Where is the best place for that content? How will you ensure your best content gets discovered? What actions do you intend to inspire?
Your content marketing strategy will be driven by these questions.
By deep-diving into the relationship, cause and effect of your content with your audience, you can create long-term value and grow your business.
19. Encourage user-generated content to make customers ‘stickier’
Encouraging user-generated content is a great way to build a relationship with your audience. This helps grow a business by making customers ‘stickier’. The main forms of user-generated content are comments and reviews. These can be image, text, video or audio-based to suit the content format.
20. Focus content on your target audience to ensure relevance
Many businesses are guilty of missing the wood for the trees with their content. This often leads to content that stagnates and produces no value. The first thing you need to do is create customer personas (see the first point of this guide). This will allow you to create audience groups.
Each piece of content you produce will target a specific group. This will keep your content relevant and increase engagement.
21. Engage with communities and answer questions to build authority
Answering questions where your customers are is a great way to take advantage of popular online platforms.
You can answer questions on social media, Quora, Yahoo Answers, forums, blogs in your industry or any other places where your potential customers are. Answering questions helps to establish authority and builds brand trust which in time will help you grow a business.
22. Increase website speed to increase conversions
A one-second delay in page loading time will drop your conversion rate by 7%.
Slow websites convert no one because no one has patience. People have been spoiled by fast web experiences and demand this everywhere. Use PageSpeed Insights to measure your website now. PageSpeed is also a Google ranking factor, so a fast site is necessary for SEO.
23. Use web analytics on your website to make data-driven decisions
Analytics is the single most important website tool at your disposal. It’s as essential to your online success as your website is itself.
Analytics tools track visitor sessions using cookies. These cookies provide visitor data, including age, sex, location, language, browser type and device type.
You can use this data to refine your SEO and content marketing strategy. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are the best choices, and in most cases, they will be the only analytics tools you need.
24. Use heat mapping on your website to understand visitor behaviour
If web analytics tools tell you what is happening on your website – what pages are most popular, bounce rates, time on page – heatmapping tools tell you why. Heatmapping will help you solve website abandonment and increase conversions by providing data on user behaviour.
It records visitor sessions so you can see how they scroll, interact with and consume your content and pages. We recommend trying Hotjar and Crazy Egg or other WordPress plugins for SEO.
By ‘plugging the leaks’ in traffic on your site and seeing where people are getting stuck, you can make improvements to your site. Over time, this will help you grow a business by improving conversions.
Here’s our HotJar review.
25. Leverage the power of social media marketing to create a community
Social media marketing involves creating and sharing content on social media to achieve branding and marketing goals. There are several social media marketing tools you can use to schedule posts, track click-through rates and monitor engagement.
You could do everything manually, but tools make life a lot easier. That’s why pros use them. The key to social media success is to be on the right platform for your type of business.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest – these all have different audiences and demographics. Quality over quantity is the right approach with platform choice. Social media marketing is an essential weapon to grow a business online.
26. Display social proof to prove the quality of your product/service
Reviews, testimonials, case studies, accolades, awards – these are golden nuggets for your business. They are proof that the service or product you provide is fantastic. They could be all you need to boost sales several times over.
Display social proof prominently on your website. Promote it on social media. Make sure your customers see it. Make it a key part of your customer’s journey. In doing so, you will reinforce the value and quality of your brand.
If this guide to how to grow your business online helped you, please recommend DigitalSupermarket.