How to Grow Your Small Business Online in 2022 in Six Simple Steps
A recent study by GrowthOps confirmed that e-commerce and online operations are the future for Australian small businesses. This finding comes as no surprise to small business owners who are shifting their focus to online growth. This shift to online has somewhat also been driven as a necessity given the past 18 months, with 43% of businesses stating customers’ safety as their reason for moving operations online.
If your goal is to grow your small business online, you may find yourself longing for a simple road map to success. While there is no universal handbook to follow, the six steps below can guide you as you shift your focus to online growth.
Step One: Map out a strategic plan for online growth
The path to online growth begins with a carefully developed strategic plan that outlines your target audience and your online growth objectives. Your plan should also include the initiatives you intend to implement to achieve your growth goals, as well as a breakdown of your budget. Here are some topics to cover as you map out your strategic plan for online growth:
- Determine your specific niche: In the online world, it’s usually best to be as specific and unique as opposed to general and common.
- Learn the needs of your target market: Knowing the pain points of your target audience is essential to developing online marketing campaigns.
- Ramp up your social media presence: A strong presence on Facebook and Instagram can boost your online credibility and lure clients. Depending on the type of industry you’re in, it could also be worth looking into Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok.
- Establish key performance indicators (KPIs): Establishing KPIs is vital to developing a reliable way to measure your online performance.
Step Two: Take advantage of the many grants available to small businesses
Small businesses are often eligible for big money. By doing a little online research and taking a little time to complete a few applications, your business could receive a welcome cash infusion to help support your online marketing initiatives and operations. As a small business owner, you have a wide range of options. Some of the best small business grants in Australia fall into one of the following three categories:
- Bank Grants: Banks offer a variety of grants to support growing businesses. You can find details on the bank’s website or by visiting in person.
- Government Grants: There are a number of State and Federal Government Grants, funding, and support programs. They are constantly changing based on current economic conditions, so it’s recommended that you go directly to the Australian Government Business website to find out which grants you could be eligible for.
- Other Grants: You can learn more about the extensive array of grant options for small businesses by visiting Business Enterprise Centres.
Step Three: Give your website a facelift
“Businesses are finding new ways to make the most out of their web presence. And a new website or website improvements are proving to be efficient and affordable options to adapt to the aftermath of Covid-19.” – Mark Evans, CEO of Dreamscape Networks
Your website is the online face of your small business. Before you dive into any specific marketing initiatives, it is wise to make sure your website is responsive, easy to navigate, and designed to reflect your brand and message. Depending on the required functionality of your website combined with your skillset and time on hand, you could look at creating and maintaining a website yourself – or you may require a highly skilled web designer and industry expert to update your existing site or even build a new website from scratch. To encourage online engagement, be sure to include the following:
- An easy way for visitors to communicate with you through your website
- A fast, simple way for visitors to purchase your goods and services online
- A “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) page to help customers understand how your business operates
- An “About Us” page that describes your small business and team of employees
Doing this well can help build like and trust in the eyes of your website visitors which is imperative if you are to convert them into customers.
Step Four: Make stellar customer service a top priority
“As Australians’ expectations only increase over time, strategising and prioritising brand engagement to win customer trust, loyalty and connection needs a different approach. Brands can’t afford to overlook the importance of delivering empathetic experiences that build long-lasting emotional connections.” – Mark Buckley, Vice President, Australia & New Zealand, Genesys
Nearly 70% of surveyed Australians believe that a company is only as good as its customer service. With this statistic in mind, you can separate your small business from the competition by striving to deliver five-star customer service. Here are some ways you can achieve this goal:
- Respond swiftly to customer inquiries
- Offer live chat as a mode of communication
- Listen to your customers’ needs, questions, and pain points
- Provide online visitors with a way to speak to a live agent if they wish
Step Five: Embrace creativity and innovation
Famous economist Theodore Levitt was well known across the globe for his proclamations regarding creativity and innovation. Levitt was perhaps best known for saying, “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” To boost your chances of succeeding in today’s fast-paced business landscape, you must embrace both creativity and innovation. Here are just a few reasons why innovation is vital to your small business:
- Innovation will help your small business remain on the cutting edge of your industry
- By sharing innovative ideas online, you are more likely to remain engaged with your audience
- Innovation can help boost online efficiency as your business grows
Step Six: Monitor your online performance
Securing grants, revamping your website, and launching creative marketing initiatives are all great building blocks for any small company seeking to gain traction online. But unless you monitor your company’s performance, you will never know which of your efforts – if any – are paying off.
The best way to monitor your performance is to track the KPIs you outlined in your strategic plan back in Step One. For example, two of your KPIs might be the total number of unique visitors who enter your website each month and the percentage of unique visitors who complete a purchase. You can track these KPIs before, during, and after you launch marketing initiatives to determine which strategies are the most effective, and which initiatives should be eliminated. A great tool for measuring much of this data is through Google Analytics – which is free!
Your Trusted Resource for Small Business Growth
Growing your small business online is best achieved through strategic planning and by maximising the many resources available to you. To learn more about these resources and how they can benefit you, it’s wise to seek the guidance of an expert in small business innovation. With the support of an industry expert, you can boost the odds that your business will grow and thrive online.
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