Today, there are two types of small businesses: New startups that are raring to take over the world with fast growth; and established small businesses which have, in the past, relied purely on word of mouth referrals and traditional forms of marketing (flyers and fridge magnets etc.) to grow.
With the world becoming increasingly technology-driven and accelerated rates of online behavioural change becoming the norm, it is critical you have a strategy for building your business online.
Whether new or established, you need to have a high visibility online – almost nothing is more important for building your business in today’s climate. If your target audience cannot find you online, you will lose them to a competitor who is.
Here are some quick pointers to help you launch, re-establish and grow your business through online channels:
1. Know your customer! Are you listening?
The first thing you need to understand when going online (and in general!), is to know who you are talking to – know your audience. Think about the conversations you have with your clients and notice what raises their eyebrows. Listen to the conversations they are engaging in, understand their needs and adapt how your business is presented.
When writing content for your website, write as if you are talking to only one person at any time – not screaming to thousands at once. Your website needs to be communicating with people on a personal level.
If you take the view of, “Oh, I am taking to thousands at once and need to sell to thousands at once” you will lose the chance to connect individually.
2. Get creative! Develop relatable content
It is really important to communicate and engage with your audience through the development of strong content relevant to your industry. For example, if you are a pest exterminator, you could look at developing a series of blogs helping people recognising pests in their home and identifying the ones that need professional help to eradicate. Or provide them with instructions on what to do if they find a hornet nest near their kids’ bedroom windows. Promote this content by publishing on your website and then echo it through social media.
This will show the market you:
- You care about the individual
- Know your industry and are credible
- Willing to provide practical free advice to your audience
- Are passionate about your work (this is critical, if you aren’t passionate – why will anyone else be?)
3. Get excited and experiment
Know the online channels available to you and experiment with those channels.
You don’t have to have a large marketing budget to be able to engage successfully with your target market. These channels include investing in your website (to make it personal), social media, taking part in online conversations on industry association websites and, of course, through the quality and relevance of the content you create.
Experimenting by definition means an act of discovering something new – which ultimately comes hand in hand with failure. Be prepared to fail and don’t let it discourage you, failure will equip you for success.
David Vitek is the chief executive and founder of hipages Group, Australia’s leading home improve service provider. Today, hipages has grown (since starting in 2004) to a company that has over 80 staff managing upwards of 30,000 customers mainly in Australia but also in New Zealand and the UK. Today hipages.com.au books over 1000 jobs every day.
Since 2008, hipages.com.au has been the ‘most visited website’ in Australia in the building and construction industry. Boasting an extensive directory of builders, electricians and plumbers, hipages.com.au engages a broad spectrum of home renovation needs.