Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a master's degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.
How do you grow your business? How do you get new consumers and retain old ones? If you run a small business, the challenge of expanding can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With the right approach, you can make smart changes that will quickly take your company to the next level. These 10 proven tips will show you how to grow your business without putting too much stress on yourself or your team. So read on for practical advice about customer service, marketing strategies, hiring practices, and more! You’ll soon be on your way to growing your business – without breaking a sweat!
- Do Some Market Research
- Use a Consistent Branding Strategy
- Invest in Customer Service
- Build Relationships With Customers
- Invest in Paid Advertising
- Think Out of the Box
- Offer a Free Service
- Give People What They Want
- Understand the Buying Cycle
- Measure, Track, and Optimize
1. Do Some Market Research
Market research is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to growing your business. It is the process of gathering and analyzing data about your industry, competitors, product, target market, and customers. This information allows you to understand your customers' needs and gives you insight into how you can grow your business.
As a small business owner, you need to conduct market research to make informed decisions about how to build and grow your business. For example, if you're opening up a new restaurant in Sydney's CBD, you need to know that there are already five Italian restaurants within a block of your store. With this information, you can make an informed decision on what type of food you should serve or whether it's worth looking at another location.
You also need to know who your customers are and what they want so that you can tailor your products or services to meet their needs. For example, if you're planning on opening a new software development company for small businesses, you need to know what services those businesses require so that you can create the right products for them.
Of course, market research isn't just for start-ups; established businesses also benefit from conducting market research from time to time. For example, if sales are falling off or your customer base is changing, it could be time for you to investigate and find out what's going on. You might well have heard the old saying: "if you don't know where you are going, any road will lead you there." The same can be said of business.
It is important to know what your business objective is before you begin gathering data. Are you interested in learning more about the demographics of your customers or potential customers? Do you want to learn why people are buying from your competitors instead of from you? Or perhaps you want to find out how much people would be willing to pay for certain products or services that you offer. Once you have decided what your objective is, it is a good idea to write it down so that you can refer to it as needed throughout the process of conducting your research.
Here are some tips you should consider when doing market research:
1. Define Your Research Goals
Before choosing marketing methods, you must first understand what you are trying to achieve with your research. What do you wish to learn about your market? If a decision does not help you achieve these goals, it is not the right one.
2. Understand the Information You Need
If you want to know what influences people in their purchasing choices, focus on their behaviors and attitudes and not on their demographic characteristics such as age, gender, location, or ethnicity.
3. Use a Mix of Methods for a Better Picture
A combination of different marketing methods may be needed to obtain the best and most complete results. In general, using a combination of qualitative and quantitative research will provide the most accurate view of consumer behavior and preferences.
4. Primary Research Is Usually More Reliable Than Secondary Research
Secondary data is information that has been gathered with a specific goal in mind. Although this data can be valuable, primary research may be more reliable because it provides information specifically related to your products and services, rather than information that is more generally applicable.
5. Use Multiple Sources of Data for Verification Purposes
You can use multiple sources of data in order to validate your findings and gain greater confidence in the accuracy of the results.
5. Choose the Right Market
Before you hit the streets and start talking with people, you need to determine who it is that you want to talk with. Who's buying your product? Who's using your competitors' products? To get a representative sampling of your target customers, make sure you define a specific group to talk with.
6. Plan What to Ask People
In order to get useful results from your market research, you have to ask the right kind of questions. When designing your questions, make sure they're both open-ended and focused. Asking a question such as "Do you like our website?" doesn't give you any real insights into what people do or don't like about your site. Instead, asking a question such as "What do you think of our website?" or "What do you use our website for?" will help get at the heart of why people visit your site in the first place.
When asking questions, be sure not to lead customers into answering how you want them to answer by using loaded language. Keep it simple and straightforward so that customers can answer truthfully without feeling obligated to tell you what they think you want to hear.
2. Use a Consistent Branding Strategy
Your brand is your company's personality, and it should be apparent in every part of your business. By having a consistent branding strategy throughout your business, you can create a brand personality and an emotional connection with your customers. A strong brand is one that creates an emotional bond with its customers that goes beyond the functional benefits of the product or service it provides.
When you create a consistent branding strategy, you are able to build consumer trust and confidence in the company and brand. Brand consistency also adds value to your products and services by setting them apart from competitors and helping to distinguish between different products or services within a portfolio.
Brand consistency is a strategic marketing tool that enables your business to build brand recognition, boost customer loyalty, and increase sales.
A consistent brand will allow you to:
Increase Brand Awareness. Share your logo, color palette, and design elements across all marketing channels to create a consistent user experience. This will help your target audience recognize your brand easily among its competitors.
Build Customer Loyalty. By creating a consistent brand image, you can ensure that customers’ expectations are continually met every time they interact with your business. This can boost loyalty and make them choose you over other brands.
Increase Sales. Brand recognition and customer loyalty can lead to increased sales for your business. With more people becoming aware of your brand and its products or services, you could start getting more sales than ever before!
Reduce Marketing Costs. Using the same brand colors, fonts, and designs across all marketing channels can help reduce your marketing costs in the long run. You won’t have to spend money on creating new designs every time you want to launch a new campaign!
Here are 7 things you can do while maintaining brand consistency:
1. Make Your Brand Promise Clear
Make sure every person in your company understands and is able to articulate it. Then make sure you do everything you can to live up to that promise in everything you do, from customer service to product development.
2. Use a Visual Hierarchy
How do people know what's important? They look at things that are big or at the top or most visible. So if your navigation bar always has one item bigger than the rest, people will assume that's the page where they should go if they're not sure where to start. If your logo appears on top of a page, people will assume it's more important than the other text on the page.
3. Use a Grid-Based Layout
When everything on a page is aligned to an invisible grid, it conveys organization and balance, which are both attributes of trustworthy brands. If content flows haphazardly across a screen, people might interpret that as less organized and reliable than they'd like when making purchase decisions or signing on for long term.
4. Have a Clear Message
A brand is not defined by a logo or color scheme, but rather by the way you interact with customers and your values as a company. Your values should be clearly communicated through your website, social media channels, and customer interactions.
5. Get Design and Development on the Same Page
It's crucial to develop a style guide that defines how your brand looks on paper and digitally. These guidelines should be easy for designers to follow, as well as any developers working on your website, blog, or other online assets.
6. Use Brand Assets in All Communications
This includes an email signature, PowerPoint presentations, social media avatars, ads, and more. Brand assets include a logo, color scheme, typography and any other visual elements that define your brand. Any time one of these elements is used, it should be consistent with the style guide you have outlined for your business.
7. Use Color Consistently
People's brains process colors faster than words, so using colors your audience has come to associate with your brand can help guide their experience and decision-making.
3. Invest in Customer Service
Customer service is one of the most important aspects of any business, but it's something that is often overlooked or not given much priority for small businesses and startups.
The reason for this oversight is large because many businesses view customer service as a cost center. The truth is, however, that if you want to grow your business you need to make customer service a priority.
In the short term, it may seem like a smart move to cut back on customer support spending in order to increase profits. However, this isn't always the best strategy because when customers feel they aren't getting the support they need they will be less likely to do business with you in the future. When customers are happy and satisfied with the level of support they receive they tend to spend more money with your company and become lifelong customers.
Why should you invest in customer service:
1. You'll have happier customers and employee satisfaction will increase. Happy customers will return to do business with you again, and they'll tell their friends about it. Employees who work for companies with good customer service cultures also tend to be happy, which also results in lower turnover. With all of the training costs involved in hiring and retaining employees, this is a great way to save money.
2. You'll reduce your support costs. Happy customers mean less support requests and fewer returns, improving your bottom line. Even if you decide to spend more on support activities like live chat or phone support, this still may be the best use of your money because it shows that you care about your customers getting help when they need it most.
3. You'll differentiate yourself from competitors. If you've ever had bad customer service from a company, then you know how common it can be and how much it hurts your opinion of them. Go above and beyond by providing exceptional customer service at every opportunity, even when things go wrong or when there's nothing in it for you financially. Your competitors are only focused on making the sale; they don't care if you get your money back, or what your experience was like after you made that purchase.
4. It builds trust and loyalty. When you offer outstanding customer service, not only do your customers feel more valued, but they are also more likely to return.
5. It generates word-of-mouth marketing: When you go above and beyond for your customers, they tell their friends and family about it. And when they tell them about it, they tell their friends and family about it too!
6. It increases customer retention. Happy customers are returning customers! Customer service increases customer satisfaction which in turn increases the likelihood that they will choose to do business with you again in the future.
7. It creates better brand awareness. It is important that your brand is presented in a good light consistently to increase brand awareness. If you provide an incredible customer experience, this will help people get to know who you are as a company, what you stand for and what you have to offer them.
4. Build Relationships With Customers
One of the most overlooked ways to grow your business is through building relationships with your customers. You can connect with them through email newsletters, active social media profiles, and engaging content.
You've might have heard the phrase "Content is king," and it's true! Content is an excellent way to establish yourself as a specialist and expert in your field. If you're just starting out with content marketing, start by writing a blog on your website. This will help you develop a voice for your brand and introduce people to the personality behind it.
The more time you spend growing relationships with your customers, the more likely they are to buy from you again.
Here are nine simple ways to help you keep your current customers happy and coming back for more:
- Be proactive in solving problems. Customers know things can go wrong, and they don't expect perfection, but they do appreciate when someone goes out of his or her way to make things right.
- Send regular newsletters and promotional offers. Customers like to know what you're up to and what opportunities they have to save money with your company. Sending regular emails with updates helps to keep you top-of-mind with existing customers and drives repeat business.
- Reward customer loyalty. A frequent-buyer program can provide an incentive for customers to visit your business often and spend money with you on a regular basis. The more you reward them for doing so, the more likely they are to keep coming back for years to come.
- Make customers feel special on their birthdays and during holidays. It's always nice to receive a discount or free gift on your birthday or during the holiday season.
- Offer discounts and coupons. A discount or coupon is a great way to keep customers coming back for more products and services. Consider offering discounts or coupons with bulk purchases, referrals, or repeat visits to your business.
- Host special events for customers and clients. Holding events can be expensive, but they are a great way to get positive attention and create a buzz around your business. Consider holding an annual event that will help improve relationships with your customers and give them a reason to come back year after year.
- Give away free samples or trial offers. If you have a new product or service in the works, consider giving away free samples or trial offers to attract interest from potential customers.
- Ask for feedback and suggestions. Customers love feeling like their opinions matter, so don't be afraid to ask for feedback about your business or solicit suggestions for future products and services from your loyal customers. You might be surprised at how much valuable information customers are willing to share if you simply ask them for their opinions.
- Share positive customer service experiences online. Share positive customer service experiences on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter or in an e-newsletter to let potential customers know how important customer service is to you and your business. Sharing these stories can also help build up your reputation as a company that cares about providing top-notch customer service from start to finish.
- Use these tips when you're out talking with current and potential customers, so they'll keep coming back for more!
5. Invest in Paid Advertising
If you want to grow your business, you need to be willing to invest money in order to make it happen.
Small businesses often don't invest in paid advertising because it seems like an unnecessary expense, but the reality is that investing in paid advertising can help grow your business and bring in more revenue.
There are many different forms of paid advertising, such as PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, social media advertising, and banner ads. Investing in these types of ads will help you gain more exposure for your business.
However, it is important to know that there are two kinds of advertising, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
The first kind, paid search advertising, is what you see when you use a search engine (like Google) to look for something on the Web. When you do a search, you get a list of results that includes both organic (unpaid) results and paid advertisements.
Paid ads are often labeled as Sponsored Links or Advertisements and are located at the top of the page and along the right margin. Paid ads are typically short blurbs accompanied by a link to the advertiser's website.
Paid advertising allows you to reach more and better prospects at a lower cost than traditional advertising. If your business serves a local market, for example, you can target your prospects by location so that your ad appears only in searches originating in your area. You can also target ads by age, gender, and other criteria — in other words when it comes to reaching your prospects with paid search ads, you can be as specific as you want.
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your paid advertising budget:
1. Research Your Target Audience
Before you start creating ads, take some time to learn about your target audience. Knowing who your ideal customer is will help you write better copy for your ads, which means you’ll attract more qualified leads and have a higher conversion rate.
2. Optimize Your Landing Page
When someone clicks on one of your ads, they should be directed to a landing page where they can learn more information about the product or service they’re interested in. If they have to click through multiple pages before they find what they’re looking for, chances are they won’t stick around long enough to make a purchase or sign up for your email list.
3. Keep Your Message Clear
Include some kind of call to action in your ad. Tell your audience what you want them to do after they've seen your ads. This could be as simple as asking them to click on a link or visit your store.
4. Use Visuals and Text Together
People do process images faster than text, but text is still absolutely necessary to clarify what's going on in your ad. And in some cases, the visuals may be incomprehensible for people who are color blind or visually impaired.
5. Test Different Ads and Variables
When you test different ads against each other (by showing them randomly to people), you can find out which ones work the best. You should also test different variables, like price points or call to action buttons, because they can make a big difference too. As with any marketing campaign, testing lets you focus your resources where they will do the most good.
6. Don't Forget Mobile Users
Given that mobile traffic now totals more than 50% of all web traffic, you must include mobile users in your ad campaigns. If you are using display ads, make sure they are responsive so that they look great on both desktop and mobile devices. You can also use different bidding strategies when targeting mobile users. For example, since mobile conversions tend to be worth less than desktop conversions, you should bid less for clicks on mobile devices.
6. Think Out Of The Box
If you want to do well in business, be ready to think out of the box.
In a world full of competition, it is important to stay at the top. You will be able to stay at the top only if you are able to come up with innovative ideas. Creative thinking is what differentiates leaders from followers.
You might be having a great idea but you cannot implement it just because your old-school boss does not like it, or you are not able to convince him about your idea. If you are looking for ways and means that can help you become a better leader, then creativity is what will help you win.
Creative thinking requires thinking out of the box. You need to break rules to move ahead in life and get things done. It is not necessary that every single thought that comes into your mind will be creative or successful, but there is no harm in trying new things that could prove advantageous for you and the company that you work in.
There are many ways in which you can boost your creative thinking skills:
Set your mind free. Freeing your mind of restrictions is the first step to getting on the path of creativity. People who are stuck in their ways and don’t want to try new things and experience new situations, are unable to think creatively. You need to be open to new ideas and willing to try them out. This will help you think boldly and come up with unique solutions to problems.
Brainstorm. Brainstorming itself is a very useful skill, which can help you bring out your creativity. It involves bringing together a group of people with different skills and perspectives to discuss ideas about a particular problem or subject matter. Different people have different insights and view points, which when brought together can spark off some great ideas and creative solutions.
Break away from routine. A lot of us rely on routines for our day-to-day activities, but it’s not always the best way to go about things, especially if you want to be creative. Instead of relying on your daily routine, try doing something different every now and then; this will help kick-start your brain into forming fresh patterns and thinking in new directions.
Try mind mapping. This technique can help you explore a subject in greater depth. It involves writing down a central idea and creating new branches for related thoughts and ideas.
Ask questions. Always ask questions about the things that you don't understand as this helps you learn more about the subject that you are researching.
Take time to meditate. Meditation allows you to think more clearly and calmly, making it easier for you to create solutions to problems that you may encounter.
7. Offer a Free Service
Giving away free stuff or offering a free service is a great way to grow your business. It's an effective marketing strategy, and it's also a nice thing to do.
Free services can be an effective tool for building your audience or growing your customer base. If you're creating a product or service that people are willing to pay for, offering it in a limited capacity for free is a great way to kickstart the process of getting your product into the hands of satisfied customers.
The idea of offering things for free might sound counterintuitive when you're trying to build a business, but keep in mind that freebies don't have to be all or nothing. In fact, limiting free services is often a good idea.
There are several ways you can offer free services and still make money:
Offer the service for free but limit the scope of it. For example, if you're offering translation services, you could offer one page translated for free. This allows prospective customers to sample your work without having their whole document translated at no cost.
Offer the service for free but charge more for additional services. If you're using software development resources to create an app, offer the basic version of the app at no cost and then offer premium features that can be unlocked with in-app purchases.
Offer the service for free but charge more if they want it done faster. If you run a website design company and are offering to redesign a client's site at no cost, perhaps add a clause that if they want delivery within 24 hours, it will be considered a rush job and an additional fee will be charged.
Offer the service for free but charge more if they need help using it later on. For example, if you're offering web hosting for free, you might consider upgrading them to a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server if they need more bandwidth or need other support issues that arise from having a website hosted on your site.
A free service can help you get new customers by giving them an incentive to interact with you. They'll see that you're a trusted source, so they'll be more likely to buy from you in the future.
8. Give People What They Want
The best way to grow your business is to give your customers exactly what they want. If you do, it’s likely that they will share it with others who also want that information or product; and on and on it goes, until eventually, you have a thriving business.
In other words, instead of thinking about how you can make money, think about how you can provide value.
This might sound obvious, but in our experience, most businesses get this wrong - and thereby miss out on a huge opportunity to generate growth.
How do you know what your customers want? Well, there is one way to get this information and it’s free: Ask them.
It may seem obvious, but many businesses don’t do this. They assume to know what their customers want, but often end up being wrong.
The best way to get feedback from your customers is by using surveys, which are a great source of qualitative data about your business. After all, who knows more about what your customers want than they do?
There are many different survey tools that can help you find out more about your customers and collect their insights. Here are some of our favourites:
Survey Monkey is a popular survey tool that allows you to create your own surveys, send them out, and collect the answers. It’s easy to use and has options for different types of questions, including multiple choice and open ended. You can also pay for premium features or to remove Survey Monkey branding from your surveys.
Typeform focuses on the user experience with an attractive design and simple-to-use interface. You can use it to build surveys, quizzes, lead generation forms, and more. It has a free version but you can also upgrade to get additional features such as custom colors and themes. Typeform also integrates with many other tools like Mailchimp so you can collect email addresses alongside your survey results.
Google Forms is a free tool that anyone with a Google account (that’s most of us) can use. It allows you to easily create surveys as well as questionnaires, quizzes and registration forms. The data is all stored in Google Sheets so you can analyze it easily and export it if needed.
Another popular service that offers free and paid plans, Wufoo allows you to create your own surveys and share them with respondents. You can either send the survey link directly to recipients via email or embed it on your website. The tool also features easy-to-understand reports, so you can quickly analyze the data you've collected.
9. Understand the Buying Cycle
The buying cycle is a step-by-step process consumers go through when purchasing products. The length and complexity of the cycle vary depending on the type of product or service you are selling and the consumer's familiarity with it. Businesses should understand their customers' buying cycles to better tailor their marketing strategies and grow their business. The buying cycle has five stages:
Stage 1: Recognition of Need or Problem
The first stage of the buying cycle occurs when a consumer recognizes a problem or need for a product or service.
Stage 2: Information Search
Once consumers identify a need, they conduct research and gather information about products that might meet their needs.
Stage 3: Evaluation of Alternatives
Consumers evaluate different products and services as potential solutions to their needs. They compare options and make decisions about which ones are most likely to satisfy their needs. At this point, consumers develop preferences for certain brands.
Stage 4: Product or Service Selection
Consumers select the product or service that they feel best meets their needs and has the best value. This can be based on price, quality, availability, reputation, convenience and other factors. Consumers may also consider whether their purchase supports causes they believe in, such as social responsibility or environmental protection.
Stage 5: Post-purchase Behaviour
Consumers may experience satisfaction, regret or surprise after making a purchase decision. If consumers are satisfied with the product or service they selected, they may tell others about their positive experience; they may also repeat business with the
10. Measure, Track, and Optimize
When it comes to growing your business, it's not enough to simply do something. You have to see if what you're doing is working.
To do so, measure, track, and optimize.
If you don't yet use data to make decisions about your marketing, sales, and product management efforts, you could be wasting time and money on strategies that aren't helping you grow.
But with the right metrics in place, you can not only see what is or isn't working but also adjust your efforts to boost revenue.
How do you measure, track, or optimize your business growth?
Measurement is an essential part of any marketing strategy. How else will you know if your efforts are generating the results that you want? Measuring and tracking your results allows you to identify what works and what doesn’t work so that you can optimize what will make your business grow.
Measuring Your Results
In order to measure your results, you need to first determine what outcomes you want. Do you want more leads? Do you want more sales? Do you want more subscribers? Once you have established which metrics matter to your business objectives, then it is easier for you to track them.
However, there are some metrics that matter more than others. Here are some of the most important:
Conversion rate. What percentage of your website visitors become paying customers? This metric should be tracked for every page on your site, because different pages may have different conversion rates.
Sessions per user (or visits). This number tells you how many times each customer comes to your site. A high session per user number suggests a loyal customer base that enjoys returning to your site and a low one suggests that customers only come to buy and don't engage with other parts of the site (such as reading blog posts).
Bounce rate. How many people visit a single page on your site and then leave? A high bounce rate is typically bad news, because it means people are coming to your site but not sticking around or engaging with it further.
Cost per acquisition (CPA). How much money do you spend on marketing to acquire a new customer? This is often expressed as a percentage: if you spend $40 in marketing for each new customer, then the CPA is 40%.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Muhammad Rafiq