Small Business Saturday Blog

3 Ways to Grow Your Business Online

Thursday, April 23 at 09:57
Digital | Marketing | Social Media

Business growth can be tough as a small business. It can often feel like organisations with bigger budgets have an advantage, but the internet is our level playing field. Here, the size of our business is not the driver of our success. Instead, the internet cares about the quality of our business and of the content we create. By displaying our expertise in a way that is valuable and useful to our target audience, businesses of all sizes can succeed and grow online.Here are 3 tips to help you grow your business online.1. Know your audienceBefore you start any marketing campaign, it’s important to really know your target audience.Think about the segments you are trying to reach. Perhaps you’re targeting a particular industry or business size. Make a list of these.Next, build a clearer picture of each of these segments. Think about their behaviour - are they time rich or time poor? What technologies do they use? What are the challenges that face them and their industry? Try to build a picture of a ‘real’ person that you can refer to to help you better understand the entire segment they represent.2. Create great contentDigital marketing - be it SEO, PPC, digital PR or content marketing - all depends on the creation of great content.Put simply, great content is content that communicates something of value to your audience in the most engaging and appropriate way for them. Let’s look at an example of Akita Cloud Computing Guides:Akita is a small business which provides IT solutions to other businesses. They recently communicated information to their audience in the form of a series of cloud computing guides for small businesses:
What Akita has done so well here is to take their expertise on a potentially complex idea, and communicate it in a way that is aesthetically very pleasing, easy to read and, importantly for busy small business owners, in a digestible format that you can dip in and out of.Of course, great content can be even more simple than all of this. It starts with the very basics of getting your website right. Have you got a page on your website that represents every one of the products/services you offer? Is each one of these pages the best possible page on its particular topic, with lots of useful information, images and resources?By creating great content, you’ll stand a much better chance of:●Representing your business in the best light possible●Improving your search visibility and rankings●Gaining brand awareness and improved website authority through shares and links●Engaging your audience3. Speak to your audience in the places they’re already activeBy this point, you know your audience really well and you know what you want to say to them. Now, you need to know where to speak to them.This means identifying the channels and platforms they are already using, and taking the content to them there. For example, if you know your audience is really active on LinkedIn, you should invest in your LinkedIn profile, possibly advertising and engaging through groups. If you know they tend to read a lot of start up advice via websites like Enterprise Nation, you should seek opportunities to have your business featured there.I recently compared this to hosting a dinner party; if you know all of the people you want to invite live in London, don’t host your party in Edinburgh. Equally, if you know your audience is most active on Twitter, there’s little use in focusing your efforts on Facebook.If you know your audience, you know what you want to say to them and you know the right place to say it, you stand a good chance of succeeding online.
Author Bio: Laura Hampton is the digital marketing manager at Impression, a digital marketing agency based in Nottingham city centre which offers SEO, PPC, content marketing and digital PR services. A small business itself, Impression has grown from 2 people in November 2012 to a team of 10 and growing in April 2015. 


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