I started my business around two years ago and every single day since then I’ve learned something I didn’t know; some days I learn many many things.
Read on for the five most important things I learned through starting a small business.
To learn more about your area of expertise and about all aspects of your business, take advantage of all the information that is being shared freely on the internet and read, read, read.
- Google search for blogs related to the topics you’re interested in.
- Get an account on Twitter and follow people who share the type of information you need, for example information about selling, marketing and business processes and practices.
- If you like what you read in the tweets, subscribe to blogs to make sure you don’t miss future articles.
- Join groups on LinkedIn and read the discussions.
Whatever you need to know more about, someone is sure to be writing about it.
While you are reading, get a feel for what other people are writing about and then fire up your online marketing by writing your own articles.
Initially, it may seem like you don’t have anything valuable to share. But actually, you know way more about your chosen field than the majority of people in your target audience, that’s why they need your product or service!
To get started writing articles:
- Make a list of all the topics related to your area of expertise.
- Then write some dot points you could expand on for each topic.
- Get more ideas by reading what others are writing on Twitter, blogs, online articles and LinkedIn.
- Think about how you could use your knowledge and experience to turn each topic into an article that you would be happy to share with your network.
- It doesn’t need to be long have must have quality content.
- Make the article skimmable by breaking up blocks of text with subheadings and formatting like bold and italics.
When you’re ready, put your articles on your website, send them to your prospects via email and share links to the articles via social media like Twitter and LinkedIn.
Sharing each article demonstrates your expertise and builds your credibility. Every person that reads your article becomes more aware of your business; and every time someone clicks on the link to read the article on your website, they increase your website traffic.
For all articles that you write, however you choose to share them:
- Keep people reading by adding a few relevant links to other pages of your website at the end of the article.
- Make sure you offer a way for readers who like your style to continue receiving your articles if they want to, such as a “sign up” link or “follow me on Twitter”.
People know people. Grow your business by building your network of contacts.
Talk to people you know and meet new people in person and online who have potential to become your customers, or to refer new customers to you.
- Tell your friends about your new venture and let them help you become successful.
- Attend local business networking events or join a networking organisation.
- Set up a profile on LinkedIn, build up your profile and join groups related to your product or service and that your target audience will be a member of and start interacting by reading discussions and adding comments.
When you meet people, learn a little about their business instead of jumping straight in with your sales pitch. Once you’ve listened and learned, if you talk about how you can help solve their problems rather than talking about your product or service, they’ll be more likely to contact you.
Despite everything I read and was told about how great Twitter is, for a long time I didn’t get how it could add value to my business.
And then I made a discovery.
If you’re looking to increase awareness of your business and your website traffic, it’s far easier to get someone to follow you on Twitter than it is to get someone to sign up for your email newsletter.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying don’t have an email newsletter. I still think that’s really important, particularly because people choose when they read their emails whereas “tweets” on Twitter can easily be lost in tweet stream. But to extend your reach, tweet the same article you’re emailing.
- You only have 140 characters per tweet so use a URL shortener like bit.ly or tinyurl to shorten the link and include it along with an eye catching headline as your tweet.
Also, once you start tweeting, adding a “Twitter feed” to your website can fill an empty space and make the page look dynamic and interesting.
Read more about Why Twitter is Good for Your Business.
5. Have a Good Website
Your website objective should be aligned with your business objective.
For example, if you’re a professional service provider, ideally your website should help you win business by establishing your credibility and expertise using case studies and testimonials.
If the objective of your website is to generate leads for your business, make sure it is easy to find out how to contact you from every page of your website.
- Put links to your contact information in several places, like the header of your website, the footer and at the end of each page of copy.
There is a big gap between just having a website and having a good website.
What makes a website good?
Some of the features of a good website are:
- being both search engine and user friendly
- being able to add content easily
- adding new content frequently to encourage people to visit more than once
- having prominent “contact” information
- making it clear what the company does
- clean layout, easy simple navigation
- having copy that is written for the web, rather than just being copied from a company brochure
- making it easy to capture the contact details of web visitors for example, by subscribing to an e-newsletter.
If you’re planning a new website, or updating an existing website, visit Grassroots Internet Strategy and find out What You Need to Plan a Website Like a Web Expert.
Melinda aka Mel is a Google Partner, Google Ads & Consultant, Speaker and Trainer and co-owner of Click-Winning Content. Mel provides results-driven services to organisations around the world and is committed to never using an acronym without explaining it first. She also likes greyhounds as pets, grand slam tennis, cracked pepper and Melbourne sunsets. Please connect at the links below.