With 5.7 million SMEs making up 99% of all UK businesses, growing your small business in such a saturated market might seem a daunting task. All it really means that there’s even more opportunity to differentiate your business from the rest – you’ve just got to go about it creatively. We’ve gathered our top tips for giving your small business’ growth a boost and making your brand stand out from your competitors.
How to Grow Your Small Business Online
Here are our top tips on how to grow your ecommerce business or promote your offline business using the web.
Create an Easy-to-Use WebsiteUser experience is such an important factor when building your own website. If customers struggle to use your website or find it frustrating, they’re likely to go elsewhere. You can drastically improve your customers’ experience of your website by:
- Using white space – cluttering up your webpages makes it hard to know where to look; simplicity is key
- Using headings and lists – segmenting information into bite-size chunks (rather than big paragraphs) can make it a lot easier to navigate
- Using call to actions that stand out – give your links, such as ‘Read More’ and ‘Buy Now’ stand out as buttons rather than text links
- Using images – having a few product images can help customers see what they’re buying, which, in turn, makes them more trusting too
Start a BlogBlogging can be hugely beneficial for growing your small business. In 2018, 82% of companies admitted that blogging is critical to their business’ marketing strategy!
Relevant content not only helps your website to rank by boosting search engine optimisation, it also helps to establish you as an expert in the field. If customers trust you, and see you as someone who knows what they’re talking about, they’re more likely return time and again to your business.
Engage on Social MediaWith Facebook, Twitter and Instagram each boasting over 1 billion users, promoting your small business through social media is a must in 2019.
Social media platforms allow you to engage with your customers on a personal level, find out what’s important to them and also spread brand awareness massively.
From hosting competitions, showing off some exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ access and sharing your blog content, there are loads of ways to grow your brand with social media.
Research the CompetitionThe power of the internet is also extremely useful in allowing you to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Take a look at what makes them successful, from their marketing emails to their website layout – and also what doesn’t work so well for them and that you could improve upon!
By looking at competitors, this will help you identify new opportunities in the current market for new products and services that are currently missing. Use this knowledge to make your own offering different from your competition.
How to Grow Your Small Business with Print Marketing
As well as thriving in the digital world, print marketing is a fantastic and affordable way of getting your business’ name out there – especially in the local area.
Distribute Flyers LocallyMaybe you’ve just launched a new product, you’ve opened a new store or you just want to remind customers of how amazing you are. Flyers and leaflets are a great way of doing this, and more.
It’s really quick to design and print leaflets online. And once you’ve got them, they’re so easy to distribute! Hand them out to passers-by outside your store or post them through peoples’ letterboxes for the best effect.
Attend a Trade EventTrade events and exhibitions are a great way to get your name out there and speak to people about your business.
From pop up stands and banners to promotional merchandise, here’s a full list of print marketing essentials to stand out at events.
Create a Direct Mail CampaignUp to 90% of direct mail gets opened. Compared with only 20-30% of marketing emails, that’s already a huge difference in how impactful the right direct mail campaign can be.
To test how successfully your customers respond to direct mail, we recommend creating a booklet or catalogue filled with your top products. Add a voucher code to incentivise your call too actions. Don’t forget to measure the performance of your DM campaign ei-ther. A great way to do this is to cross reference your new customers against the leads you just sent the campaign to.
Create a Loyalty SchemeIt costs three times more to acquire new customers than it does to sell something to an existing one. Loyalty and reward schemes help build relationships and retain customers because they offer an incentive to spend with you. The most cost effective and quickest ways of introducing this is by making your own loyalty cards.
How to Grow a Small Business with No Money
There are many ways you can grow your business that don’t cost anything at all. Here are our top tips.
Focus on Your PlanSetting clear goals is essential for growing a business – and all it will cost you is a little time. From refining your business plan to creating a killer marketing strategy, make sure thought goes behind everything your business does.
Do Something NewsworthyGetting free press coverage can really give your business’ growth a boost. One quick (and completely free) way to start getting links in the press and on other people’s websites is through Help a Reporter Out (HARO).
HARO lets you know about journalists who are looking for sources, and information on different aspects. If you see a question that suits your business, you get in touch. It’s that simple!
Make the Most of Corporate Responsibility
Digital-age customers are smart, and they can easily find out whether your business’ values match up with their own. In fact, recent studies suggest that 70% of millennials report that they’ll spend more with a brand that supports causes.
The reason for this? Consumers are loyal to brands that make them feel good. By supporting a brand that’s charitable or environmentally sustainable, it makes the consumer feel that they are contributing to this.
From the environment to Fairtrade, to appeal to this demographic you’ll need find out what your customers are concerned about and make sure your business is concerned about this too!
We recommend starting with your print marketing. Choose an online printer that has measures in place to make sure they can alleviate any impact on the environment. For example, we have yearly inspections to show we’re working towards environmental standards, only use paper from sustainable resources, recycle 97% of our waste output and offer a recycled range.
Develop Your WorkforceYour employees are the backbone of your company. By making sure they’re at the top of their game, you’re helping to ensure success for your business.
Our recent survey found that employees’ preferred method of learning is on-the-job training. This method means there are plenty of ways you can work on your employees’ professional development without spending lots of money on expensive training courses.
From leading and inspiring your team to tracking the success of the training, learn more about how to provide excellent training opportunities in your business.
We hope these top tips give you a solid starting point to growing your small business. Need a little more inspiration? Check out these 9 common business growth challenges (and how to conquer them).