We all feel that way at some point through our working life – burnt out with a serious lack of ideas. You sit there in Starbucks with your overpriced coffee, staring out of the window, watching the world go by whilst you rack your brain to think of a way to get your online business out of the rut it has fallen into.
Well, you are certainly not alone. Running your own business is hard. Not only are you responsible for the day-to-day operations but you are also responsible for the admin, the finance, possibly the dispatch and the customer service side too. You are being pulled from pillar to post and your brain is totally fried. The worst part is that you are so busy that you neglect the entire marketing side of your business. It’s almost impossible to concentrate on the creative side and connect with your customers if you can’t even see the wood through the trees.
Well, if you are reading this and thinking, “by golly, that’s me right there, that is!” then here are a few tips to bring you back down to earth and to help you to focus on some key activities that will drive growth and sales for your online business.
TIP: Before, you read this, grab a note pad, sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and relax. OK, we’re ready to go.
1. Focus on your customer and less on your product / service
Many businesses focus too much on trying to sell the features of their products or by telling people what a great price it is. What good is this if the customer doesn’t know they need it yet? It isn’t.
Whatever messages you send to your customers, make sure you sell your brand and the personality of your business. Don’t be too keen to focus on price or features because it just looks desperate. You are not Sports Direct or The Pound Shop. You are a unique brand or online store that wants to show customers how you are different and why they should buy from you. Be patient and aim for quality.
2. Check out your site analytics
The key to understanding what is and what isn’t working on your website can be found by looking under the bonnet. Your analytics will tell you where people are coming from, where they are landing on your site, how many pages they are viewing, how long they are on there for and where they are leaving. Together, this information will direct you as to why your site isn’t converting into sales or enquiries. You can then tweak your site to help improve your stats and performance.
3. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile!
Google has been banging on about mobile-friendly websites for the past couple of years and the recent algorithm update takes this into account, BIG TIME! In short, you website must be mobile-friendly otherwise you will be penalized in terms of your ranking. Mobile traffic probably makes up over 30% off traffic to your current visitor traffic and this will only grow over the coming months.
So, take a step back and view your website on a mobile phone and a tablet to see if it works and delivers a good experience. If it doesn’t then do something about it. Again, your analytics will tell you what is going on under the hood, how mobile visitors are reacting to your site and where the weaknesses are.
Addressing your mobile visitors could transform your sales and give your business the fresh injection it needs. Do not underestimate it.
4. Get the word out!
The chances are that you are so focused on what is going on in front of you that you forget about the outside world. I am pleased to tell you that there is lots going on in the outside world and you can be part of it!
Rather than waiting for people to find you, why not go out and get them? To be a successful business you don’t need to be the prettiest but you need to be the toughest and the hardest working. If nobody knows you exist then it won’t matter if you have the best products in the world or the Rolls Royce of websites.
Put a plan together to contact five websites, blogs, vloggers twitter accounts or news websites every day to see if they will feature your products or your business. This could be in the form of a product review or opinion piece from you (the expert). The internet is built on social interaction and recommendations so you need to make the most of it. This is the key to building your own exposure and attracting people to your site.
5. Create inspired content for your visitors
Before you get your undies in a twist about this one because you haven’t the foggiest where to start, don’t panic. Great website content such as articles, reviews, images and videos can transform your website from the dull and ordinary into the popularity stratosphere. It’s not easy but it is possible and, if you can get the formula right, it can be the ‘golden egg’ for your business.
No, if you are one of those businesses that update’s your blog, twitter and Facebook on a daily basis because it’s on your check list then you are probably just wasting your time. Look back at the updates you have made and see if anyone is actually interacting with you. Let me guess – a couple or likes or maybe a comment or two? I thought so.
If you can provide great, inspiring content then you only need to update your social channels and your website a couple of times per month. Whilst it’s always good to refresh everything more often, it is not about the quantity but the quality. Crappy content is a waste of time (i.e pictures of your breakfast). Think about what sort of things your customers would be interested in. What inspires them? What do they need to know about your products or what do they need to see? How can you make them go, “oh yeah, I love that idea” or “brilliant, I need one”?
You need to tap into the emotional side of your customers and that will convert into sales. For example, fashion outfit ideas show people how to wear a garment but on the shelf or on a white background it is sometimes hard to imagine how it should be worn. For food, ingredients look dull on their own in the boxes but, when presented in a mouthwatering dish, it makes people want to eat the screen!
For some inspiration, search Instagram, Twitter and Google Images to steal ideas and strategies from those who are already doing the business. You don’t have to be unique, you just need to put your own stamp on it.
So there you have it. Five ways to give your business the kick-start it needs.