Remember when the world was simpler? It felt more stable with nice weather and all. When you could plan a trip to anywhere, anytime, by plane, ship or sailboat, or retire in very inexpensive locations? And do you remember when clothing lasted, and so did other products such as cooking pans or shoes? Even car parts!
How about when you were able to grow your business by word of mouth? Or because you landed a large client who had connections? Or by attending a couple of trade shows a year? Remember when cold calls worked?
The world has changed so deeply in less than a few decades. There are more people, diseases, natural disasters, and so much more disruption through technology.
It is a whirlwind of change!
Because technology has become complex and multiplied – Alexa, anyone? – it isn’t easy to adapt as a business. Whether a business is small, medium or large, technology is imperative, but it can also be a hindrance.
Doing business today requires new skillsets from entrepreneurs. You can’t count only on word of mouth or your connections. While that is still very helpful, you have to do much more to appear. And, more importantly, you need to become an influencer.
New publics, both Millenials and Gen Zs won’t find your business if you don’t have an online presence.
If you can say, “I am online, have solid customers, and am getting many referrals”, that’s fantastic, congrats!
Yet, if you’re in the group of business owners who want to reach larger audiences and grow a business you can leave behind for future generations, you need to change and adopt new technology.
But how can you do that?
The answer is: it depends – what is your business, and which industry are you in?
Each industry has its unique requirements. But generally, your business will be offering products and services to consumers or to other businesses.
Check out a few tips based on your industry:
Are you in B2C and rely on a physical location to sell your products?
- If you’re only relying on a website and organic social media posts, your business is likely relying on loyal customers or referrals. Continuing to grow will be very challenging, and with new competitors entering the market every day, they will copy your ‘uniqueness’. You should consider an e-commerce store, a basic CRM tool and digital marketing services to put your business online and grow your customer base.
- If you’re already online but only relying on organic posts and are not collecting customers data, you should consider basic CRM and Digital Marketing services to get ahead of the competition and build a loyal following
Are you building a loyal following?
- Become an influencer of what you sell, especially if they are unique products. Blog about them, make videos, offer online webinars and showcase your abilities. The more followers you have, the more positive testimonials you collect, the more authority your brand will have.
- Invest in SEO and Ad Words. You want to appear on the first page of Google when your business is B2C, so the more content you have, the more back-links you will get pointing at your website
- Make sure your e-store is solid and user-friendly. Regardless of which platform you’re using, or if you built the store yourself or not, this is what everyone will see first! It must be easy to use. You want to offer further browsing, many payment types, descriptions, and consistent pictures. It is better to have fewer products listed in a store that offers high-quality engagement to the user than too many products in a confusing store.
- To make sure the customers keep coming back, offer them a way to do it! Create calls to action in your store: an offer or a new product that your loyal customers will have first access to, links to related products from affiliate stores – there is so much you can do. And when you have their email addresses, stay in touch, and promote your store every month. These are the folks who will tell their friends about you! If you work it right, word of mouth still works!
Are you doing B2B?
- You think you don’t need e-commerce, right? Wrong. Have you heard of B2B e-commerce? These platforms are like B2C e-commerce, but they take the client engagement to an exceptional level with the products or services you sell.
- Consider how you can get a business to interact with your site to the point of requesting your product. Make your e-commerce platform inviting and informative. Offer online tools where clients can pick service options, create their packages, and take them to the cart so they can create an account and agree to have someone from your company contact them for full customization.
- All the other ways to promote your brand and become an influencer are the same as above, but you must know your target audience well. And Digital Marketing services can also help with building authority.
Join in the conversation, and let me know what you think! And stay tuned; in two weeks, we will dive further into automation and why it is important to pay attention to it.
In the meantime, how can your business change? How can it grow and differentiate itself from the competition?