Digital marketing is becoming more and more competitive.
According to Census Bureau’s data, almost 5.5 million new business applications were filed in 2021, which is a 53% increase from 2019.
Hit by global lockdowns and deprived of most traditional means of attracting customers, most of those businesses turned to the Internet in an effort to build traffic and sales.
This resulted in a higher than ever digital marketing competition.
How can a small business compete with that?
How can you generate sales from your small business website in this competitive environment?
Here are some solid ways to do that.
1. Formulate a Plan
Successful planners often make successful entrepreneurs, laying out detailed (yet actionable) goals every step of the way. The fact of the matter is that if you have numbers you want to hit, you’ll be much more likely to have them in mind and aim to reach them constantly.
Write them down and keep them somewhere so you can continually reference them throughout the year.
Create a Sales Plan
A sales plan is designed to outline your goals, tactics, audience, and potential hurdles. After laying out a sales plan, you’ll come away with concrete, measurable goals, including revenue targets and deadlines for hitting each metric.
You’ll also spend time identifying your target audience, which will be crucial for success in marketing. Creating a sales plan is a necessary first step in meeting your overall business goals.
Create a Prospecting Plan
Think of your prospecting strategy as a guidebook for your sales team (even if your sales team is just you). It should cover all of your preferred sales methodologies, as well as information on who to target.
Ask yourself which form of selling most closely aligns with your business and its goals, from cold-calling to trade shows, to a 100-percent-digital strategy.
2. Market Your Business
Building a good marketing strategy really comes down to two crucial factors:
- Understanding your audience
- Getting your product or service in front of your target audience.
Anything you can do to gather information on your target demographic and then to effectively, affordably market to them will get you ahead in marketing.
Leverage 360-Degree Digital Marketing
Depending on the type of business you operate, you can probably get away with a fully digital marketing strategy. Focus on the most affordable methods first, such as building out your social media and local business profiles.
Social media is the best option for connecting with current, and future, customers. Consider pay-per-click and performance-based marketing options, such as affiliate marketing. This will help you get your product or service in front of a bigger audience for a much lower up-front spend.
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Make Sure You Have a Loyalty Building Plan in Place
It is hard (and in many niches impossible) for small businesses to develop solid and consistent traffic generation methods.
So focus on retaining those customers that did find you and turning them into brand advocates.
There are many ways to achieve that, so create your strategy based on your business and product specifics:
- Set up a dedicated spot for your customers to become part of your community
- Use a solid CRM solution to organize customer relationship management process and identify steps where it may be failing
- Reply to comments and reviews when your customers are discussing your product or asking questions
- Encourage user-generated content by offering perks in exchange for sharing an unboxing video, a photo review of your product or a tutorial on making the most of it.
- Offer exclusive deals and packages. vcita offers a “Packages” feature that allows small businesses to bundle several services together and sell them as a package deal online at a discounted price. You can use vcita to create unique packages for your return users:
Research Niche Gaps and Competitors’ Fails
What are your competitors missing? Which features or products are they seeking and failing to find? You can actually turn the poorest experience into a business opportunity, if you learn to identify that opportunity.
Researching niche gaps is a great way to find a sweet spot for your business to stand out. SE Ranking competitive research tool allows you to identify your competitors’ strongest and weakest side.
You can also use its keyword research tool to find searchable keywords that don’t have much competition (this is a great way to find what’s on demand but without a solid offering).
Social media listening is another great way to find customers who are dissatisfied with your competitors and identify what your competitors are doing wrong (and how you could fit in):
Make Sure People Can Find Your Business
Start by implementing the basics, including a well-optimized website and a detailed listing on Google’s My Business Profile platform (if you are operating a local business).
Optimizing your website through proven search engine optimization (SEO) tactics—such as including relevant keywords and building out detailed, useful pages—is an easy way to ensure that people can find your business.
Plus, besides the time you spend writing the copy, it’s free! This is also extremely important for small businesses. Text Optimizer is a great tool to help you create a highly-relevant copy:
Encourage Cross-Business Collaboration
As a small business owner, you may not have a ton of employees but it is still important to keep them excited and motivated. Encourage your employees to submit content ideas, feature your team members on your social media profiles, let them contribute to your social media channels, etc.
Keep your team together even if you don’t have an office. Your employees need to be part of the family, and an effective communication strategy is vital for any business. Nextiva offers affordable small business communication solutions which will keep your team together:
3. Analyze & Adapt
Too often, businesses funnel big money into marketing and development without investing in detailed tracking and analytics. But you need both to thrive.
Why does data matter so much for boosting sales? Because it allows you to measure—usually, in concrete numbers—exactly what’s working and what’s not working, and then it forces you to adapt accordingly.
Be sure to track your results over time, so you know what strategies are working or if you need to pivot your plan. It is important to keep in mind seasonality, or any other factors, that naturally fluctuate your business, so you can accurately predict results.
Invest in Analytics Tools
Luckily, many digital marketing platforms include built-in analytics, but what about when you’re trying to track something that’s not single-platform based? Often, you can add tools and plug-ins to your website or store to keep track of where sales are coming from and other metrics.
Using a comprehensive Rank Tracker that can connect many data points (rankings, traffic, conversions, etc.) is also essential:
Track All Demographics
As long as you have permission from your user or consumer, you can gather as much demographic information as possible. Pay close attention to patterns that emerge with regard to age, gender, geographic information, income, and education level.
This will help you figure out exactly where to funnel your promotional dollars, including which social media platforms to advertise on and which affiliate websites or blogs to partner with.
Put Your Data to Use
What good is a fleshed-out set of data if you don’t put it to use? Make sure you’re using every single finding to keep your business agile, adjusting as needed to different consumer preferences and market trends.
Be patient with your analytics, keeping a close eye but not being obsessive. In time, you’ll have a solid bank of information that will tell an obvious story about where you should take your business next.
Ask for Feedback and Focus on the Customer
A good sales strategy is one that serves both the seller and the consumer. As you’re going through your first year or two in business, make sure to always keep your ears open to feedback, focusing on specific ways you can improve the customer experience.
Remember that happy customers tell their friends when they’re both satisfied and dissatisfied with a business, so keeping them smiling can help you grow your sales exponentially without you having to do anything at all!
User experience is a vital part of business success both on the web and in real life. If a customer had a positive experience and can leave a review, that will be invaluable when others are looking for similar products.
Positively interacting with customers and ensuring their satisfaction, will not only encourage them to return but also recommend your products to others.
Even though the Internet is getting super competitive, there are still a lot of opportunities to start a successful home-based business and set up a small business that will stand out. All you need is a plan, a solid technology partner and a good team!