19 Tips to Grow Your Small Business Online in 2020
If You’re Like Most Small Business Owners, You Want to Grow!
You want more leads, sales, jobs, customers; let’s not beat around the bush, you want more money! You want to finally be ahead of those competitors that you can’t stand. Or maybe you just want to be the top business in your industry in your city. Achieving success is possible, it’s just a lot of work.
But lucky for you, we’ve laid out almost everything you can do online that will help get your business to the top of the food chain. Some of these tips help instantly, some of them are not an overnight fix, but they all help you bring in more business from places online such as Google and Facebook.
Alright, enough dilly-dallying. Let’s do this.
Tip #1) Have a Website!
Well, this might be a no brainer but hey, we thought we should mention it anyway. We know most businesses have a site, whether Google considers it a good one or not is a different conversation. But start here!
We’re no longer living in 1999 or even 2010 (some might say this is a good thing, others prefer the old school methods of running a business). Either way, we’re in what many call “the future” and it’s necessary for businesses of all sizes to have a website.
Simply put, you need a presence online, and over the next 10 years that “need” will become even more important. Don’t get so far behind that you won’t ever be able to catch up!
Tip #2) Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly!
Okay, so now you have a website. That’s great! But what does it look like on your phone? Hopefully, your website is mobile-friendly. If it’s not, it’s time to fix it.
We ran a campaign recently, and 95% of the traffic that went to our website was on a phone. 95%! Don’t believe it? It’s true! Check it out!
On average, numbers are not usually that high though, they are normally just over 50%.
When businesses have a website that is not built to be viewed on a phone, many potential customers just choose to leave. Either the site doesn’t load right, text or images are chopped off, or nothing is readable because the text is so unbelievably small you would need a magnifying glass to see it properly. We have seen this way too many times… we hope that is not the case for you.
Tip #3) Are You Easy to Contact?
Alright, now you’ve got a mobile website? Yes? Awesome, let’s move on!
If you have a mobile site, your phone number should hopefully be sitting pretty, front and center, right on the top of the phone screen with a click to call button being linked up to dial properly. This should be an easy way for your customers, clients or patients to reach you without issue.
Sometimes new customers prefer not to speak on the phone, and would rather submit a question through a contact form on your website’s “Contact” page, or even through a chatbox on your website.
Making sure you have all three (or at least two) of these set up, depending on what works best for your company, can greatly increase the chances of you getting new business!
Tip #4) Does Your Site Offer the Right Information?
Okay, so it’s easy to reach you because you have a phone number in the top right of your website, and you also have a contact page where they can submit a form.
But does your website show visitors the information they need to be able to decide if they want to call? What we mean by this would be information such as:
- Services you offer
- Where you’re located/locations your serve
- Timelines (for appointments, deliveries, etc.)
- Promotions, warranties or deals
If potential clients cannot easily find answers to their questions, they may never call. Or maybe your address is hiding somewhere on your website and they can’t find it. How long would you search for this information before you move on and choose another company that offers all this info right from the start?
Probably not very long! Which brings us to…
Tip #5) Check Your Site Speed
Speaking about not waiting very long to find information, the same thing goes for waiting on websites to load.
Have you ever gone to a website to get a quick bit of information, like to check if an urgent care clinic is open right now, and the website just. won’t. load.
All you need is to know their hours on a Thursday night, but the website is so unbelievably slow that you decide to click the back button and check out another website instead. That happens quite a bit so make sure your website doesn’t fall into the “slow site” category!
Tip #6) Taking Advantage of SEO
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard business owners say “I have a website” after asking them if they pay attention to digital marketing or any kind of search engine marketing.
“I have a website” is not nearly enough!
Yes, you need one, but having a website means nothing if nobody can find it, if no one is visiting it, or if it doesn’t help your business bring in more money.
Websites on their own can be beautifully designed and functional, but the whole point of one is for your potential customers to find it when Googling a service that you offer. In order to achieve this, you need to take advantage of SEO.
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, has become a buzzword for business owners, to an extent. Everyone seems to be selling it, and everyone apparently knows how to do it, right?
Wrong, don’t be fooled; all SEO is not treated equally.
Make sure if you have someone taking care of your SEO in house, you’re using someone who knows the ins and outs of proper search engine optimization. Your in-house SEO detective should be able to troubleshoot low rankings and traffic. Same goes for an agency. Hire one that knows what they are doing and has the proof to back it up.
Tip #7) Check Out Your Reviews
Google has become a leader when it comes to online reviews. Whether good or bad, business reviews are always front and center when they show up in the maps pack on Google, or after someone Googles your business name.
Not only have reviews been proven to help you rank better on the local search results, but they also help people decide if you are the business they are going to choose to fix their problem. Tell us, which one would you choose just based on the star ratings alone?
Almost all local intent searches lead to that person reading reviews. If you are a local small business owner, you need to start paying attention to this. It is critical to make sure you have a high review count and a positive star rating.
Tip #8) NAP
Although we wish we were talking about curling up and taking a quick snooze on a super comfy couch, we’re not…sorry! We’re actually talking about your company’s Name, Address and Phone Number, or NAP, and how it appears across the internet.
There are hundreds of places your NAP could be online. From your website to your social media profiles, and throughout blog articles and directories, it’s important to make sure it is consistent and, above all else, correct everywhere it is listed. Have you ever actually checked and went looking for old addresses of yours online? Or old phone numbers? Probably not…but you should!
Just from our experience as an agency, I would say about 99% of the clients we sign on have incorrect or missing information in these locations. I actually don’t ever remember anyone being perfect from the get-go, but I am keeping it open just to cover myself.
See what you can find when you start digging through all your company information online. You don’t want customers finding your info, trying to call you, and have it be an old disconnected line.
Tip #9) Set Up Your Directories
Since I had just mentioned directories and how having your NAP across them is important, I thought we should point out other reasons directories need some attention too.
Directories not only offer ways to contact you, but they also provide a place for people to leave reviews, check out descriptions and services about your business, and find your business hours. Online directories are basically the digital equivalent of phone books like Yellowpages, albeit with a whole lot of more information.
A few top directories include:
- YP (Yellowpages)
- Yahoo Local
- Bing Local
These are all avenues people might take to find your business. Make sure no matter where customers are searching for your business, all the information is correct.
Tip #10) Set Up Industry Specific Directories
Industry-specific directories, such as Home Advisor or Healthgrades, are also important to pay attention to.
Although these are only available for certain industries, they are sometimes more important than the general ones. However, that does not mean you should not pay attention to both!
Tip #11) Set Up a Google My Business Account
Google My Business may be the most important directory when it comes to local businesses. Not having one automatically means you won’t show up on Google Maps, you won’t have a place for people to leave reviews on Google, and, worst of all, potential customers won’t be able to call or contact you directly from the Google Search Result.
Simply put, local businesses need to have this page setup.
Get your information out there! Profiles are available to anyone who can prove that they have a legit business location. Take advantage of that!
Tip #12) Pay Attention to Analytics
We know that digging through loads of data is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if it leads to growing your company what do you think?
Google Analytics can offer up a lot of information about people who visit your website such as where they came from, how long they were on your website, how many people came in the last month or how many people called you once they got to your site.
This is information that can help you make better marketing decisions. If you find out the vast amounts of site visits are from your social media accounts, then maybe you should put more focus on what else you can do on social media. Or maybe when people get to your website you can see that they never actually contact you, then you could focus on making your website easier to navigate and contact you from.
Tip #13) Set Up Referral Programs For Your Current Customers
Do you have a referral program? If you do, that’s great. If not, start there.
Now, do people know you have one? Which is to say, is your referral program on your website? Do you post about it on social media? Do you mention it when people go to your location? If you answered all these rhetorical questions with “umm” then it might be time to overhaul your referral program!
Happy customers that refer others are some of the easiest customers to get and to keep happy.
Tip #14) Have Newsletters For Your Current Customers
Some people might find newsletters super annoying, while others might LOVE getting newsletters because they are always filled with great discounts. Regardless of which side you fall, newsletters provide a great way for you to keep and maintain relationships with your customers, clients or patients.
Newsletters don’t have to be anything fancy. Just to give readers updates on what’s going on with your company, remind them of referral programs you have *cough cough*, or to let them know of any upcoming deals or promotions you might have.
Tip #15) See What Your Competitors Are Doing
Do you have a competitor in your city who’s extremely successful? You know, the one that kinda rubs you the wrong way because you want to be like them? (And by “be like them,” you of course mean just how much money they’re making)
If they’re successful, they are doing something right. Figure out what it is! Dig through their online information and compare it to yours by using this list of tips! In fact, you can see these tips as a “checklist” for things your site should have to be as successful as possible. For real, do a side by side comparison between yourself and your competitors.
Start from the top and work your way down:
- Do they have a website?
- Is it mobile?
- Is the mobile version easier to use than yours is? Is it easier to call from?
- Do they offer up the best information first?
- What do their reviews look like? Are they better than yours?
I’m sure you will be able to find a thing or two that they are beating you on. Take the time to do it!
Tip #16) Promotions and Deals
You don’t always have to run a promo or a deal, but it does help when someone is on the fence about purchasing a service you offer.
For example, refrigerated air units are expensive, and if someone was on the fence about getting one, don’t you think a 10% off promo might give them the little push that they need?
So, run promos and deals every now and then. When you do so, make sure you push it out on all the right avenues. We’re talking about Google Search Ads, remarketing ads, and social media! Let’s delve deeper into these avenues below.
Tip #17) Go the Distance with Google Search Ads
Can Google ads grow your business?
Google ads have changed quite a bit over the last few years. Although pay-per-click ads (or PPC, for short) can be pretty expensive when not handled and optimized properly, we have seen clients spend only $1,000 per month on PPC ads and get hundreds of leads. However, this particular client’s cost per click was only around $3, and we have seen some CPCs go into the hundreds. But still! That amount of leads is nothing short from absolutely incredible.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “how can I get started?” It’s simple! All you have to do is set up a Google Ads account and go from there. You have to choose keywords, build out ads you think will perform, and link them to a landing page where potential clients can convert or contact you from.
You can use the keyword planner to check out the estimated or historical cost per click and to see how much budget you should be spending in a specific area.
This may seem confusing but it’s worth a shot. It is one of our tips after all; what do you have to lose?
Tip # 18) Remind Customers About Your Products With Remarketing Ads
Although the proper term may seem unfamiliar, odds are you’ve encountered remarketing ads at least once before. Let me explain.
So, you know when you’ve been searching around for let’s say, a new car. Then, all of a sudden, the car you saw online, the one you showed a little bit of interest in, is now showing up everywhere you go. You can’t stop seeing this car. It’s on your social media, it’s on other websites you’re visiting, it’s all over the place!
The car totally wants you to buy it.
This is remarketing. These are the ads that follow you around, from site to site. If a person visits your website but doesn’t take any sort of action, you can follow them around with these ads. Who woulda known!
Now, think about how this could potentially help your business. Maybe offering some sort of deal if they come back and choose to go with you could help you get a sale, or maybe just showing them something they were interested in could make them come back without having to give a discount. Best of all, these ads are pretty cheap!
Not to mention, you don’t pay for impressions. You only pay when someone actually clicks on the ad itself and chooses to return to your site. That’s almost like free advertising.
Tip #19) Spruce Up Your Social Media
Our last tip is a big one: your social media. Social media has become such a regular part of everyone’s life sometimes we don’t realize the answer is right here in front of us, especially as business owners.
There are so many different platforms; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Snapchat, Tiktok, the list goes on and on! There are so many ways to reach people, it’s pretty overwhelming. But, we’re hoping this at least gives you a little bit of insight to start to improve your social media and to actually get and keep business through it.
There are two sides to social media marketing, the organic side, and the paid side. Both bring value to companies that put the time and attention needed to managing them. Both offer up a lot of different ways to stay relevant and connect with customers. It’s a place not only where you can give them information about your business but also communicate with them through comments and messages.
For the organic social media side, we suggest:
- Posting at least a few times a week
- Following other people or pages that relate to your business
- Increasing likes and followers
- Engaging with people by commenting, liking, sharing, etc
- Keeping all business information up to date and correct
For the paid side of social media, we suggest:
- Testing out different target audiences to see what performs best
- Starting with a small budget and then increase as you learn
- Choosing your type of ad based on your goals
- Setting up your Facebook Pixel
- Making sure you track everything so you know what is and is not working
You’ve Made It to the End!
That was a long one but you can pat yourself on the back because you made it to the end!
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Maybe a little? Maybe you don’t know where to start. Don’t worry, that’s okay! We suggest starting at the top of this list and working your way down. Hopefully, some of these things you are already taking care of, and you should be able to skip them over.
All of these tips should be given attention regularly. They are all different avenues that customers or clients could use to reach your business. The trick is making sure your information is available whenever, and wherever they are looking for it.
If you would rather someone else handle some or all of these services for you, reach out to us to see if we’re a fit!
No pressure though! If you want to try it on your own, we wish you the best of luck and all the success!