Once the whirlwind of launching your startup calms, another issue pops up – how do you grow your online business from home?
Below, you’ll find four tips to help you find and Acquire customers without emptying your bank account. Some approaches might work better for your brand, industry, and audience than others, but try all of them – even the familiar ones.
You never know where you might find that one tip that boosts revenue and grows your online business faster than you ever thought possible.
1. Attract More Prospects With Social Media
Not active on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social media platform? This is your hint to sign up. It’s a free, easy way to expose your online business to over four billion users1 (or a portion of them, at least).
Now, let’s say you do run social media pages for your online business. Follow the guidelines below to grow your audience, increase web traffic, and drive more sales.
Create a Distinctive and Relatable Personality for Your Brand
Growing your online business through social media starts with your brand voice. Choose an authentic, genuine style that fits your business and invites consumers to remember you. People buy from people, so the more human you sound, the better.
Incorporate the story of your online business into the content you post. Engage with consumers in the comments, in your Stories, or over live streams. Get to know your customers and followers so you’re top of mind when they look to buy a product or service online.
Curate Posts That Resonate With Your Target Audience
Posting low-quality photos or irrelevant content (the odd cat meme aside) will lose followers. Instead, connect with your audience through curated posts that appeal to their interests and buying behaviors.
For product-based businesses, emphasize how your product benefits consumers with clear, eye-catching visuals and photographs. For service-based startups, post mixed media such as videos, audio files, or other testimonials that highlight the benefits of your service.
If you’re already posting curated content regularly, consider collaborating with relevant influencers or related brands. Platforms like Grin and Buzzweb can help you find an influencer that fits your online business. And if they endorse you, you could attract thousands or millions of their followers to your website, growing your revenue.
Blanking on creative ideas? Share user-generated content (UGC). UGC is an image, video, status update, or another form of media that users create and share themselves. When this content relates to your online business or even features your product or service, you can share it on your own social media accounts (with the user’s permission). Retweeting or reposting UGC invites your consumers to then share your post with their friends and followers.
Sharing customer content shows that you appreciate their participation in your online business. And you’re also proving to prospects that you’ve delighted real people with your product or service. People are more likely to buy from a company that has fulfilled other customers’ needs.
Post Consistently to Build a Loyal Following
You can double your Instagram followers by posting every day versus less than once a week2. If you’re sharing content on multiple social platforms, keep a content calendar to track how often you’re sharing. As a rough guide, experts recommend three to five posts a week on Facebook, three to five a day on Twitter, and at least two a week on LinkedIn3.
Once you figure out the posting schedule that works best for you, stick to it. Post consistently to establish a routine for followers and create anticipation for your content. Fail to meet your followers’ expectations and they’ll drop you for the competition.
2. Increase Sales With Email Marketing
Email marketing isn’t dead or dated. Experts predict 4.6 billion people to use email by 20254. Meet your prospects in their inbox and you can grow your online business for very little cost.
Encourage Email Sign-Ups With Unmissable Offers
Before you can email prospects, you need their email addresses.
Lead generation offers, or lead magnets, are valuable benefits offered to consumers in exchange for their email address (a lead). Once they accept the offer, you can divert them into your email marketing campaign, and eventually, ask them to buy.
Your online business could offer a discount on a product or a free trial. Other enticing offers include competitions, giveaways, points towards a purchase, coaching sessions, webinars, and exclusive content. Choose a benefit that best appeals to your target audience.
Then, declare a strong call to action. The benefit should hook the consumer in while the call to action directs them to sign up with their email address.
Your offer should grab prospects’ attention with strong images and bright colors. Don’t muddle the text with fancy fonts or tiny print sizes. Use a large header listing your offer clearly, followed by the call to action.
Lead generation offers typically appear as pop-ups on business websites. But pop-ups can just as easily turn customers off. Alternatively, incorporate these offers into scrolling banners at the top of your page. They remain eye-catching but less invasive.
You’ve Gotten a Lead. Now Convert It
Once you’ve delivered on the promise of free content or other offers, gently coax your prospects down your sales funnel with an email campaign or drip.
A drip email campaign sends automated, pre-written emails at specific times. Usually, these emails start off slow and increase in frequency as subscribers engage with your online business.
Don’t rush to convert your prospects to customers immediately. Instead, think of your email drip campaign as giving subscribers value, such as discounts, news, and special offers. These incentives compound over time and your prospects will begin to associate you with usefulness and quality, learning to trust you and the product or service you offer.
You can also use drip campaigns to reengage with customers who might have bought from you a while ago but haven’t visited your site since. Invite them back with exclusive offers and content not available to others on your email list, for example.
If the lead generation offer pulls potential customers into the top of your business’s funnel, email marketing converts them.
Keep Prospects Hooked With Email Newsletters
Consider writing a newsletter to your email list. The more exclusive, meaningful, and relevant your newsletter content, the more value your subscribers perceive. And in return, they’re more likely to engage with you when you sell to them, helping grow your online business.
You might send a weekly roundup of industry news or a special offer, for example. Ask your subscribers what content they want to see. Survey them or include feedback forms or buttons at the bottom of your newsletters. Your newsletter will constantly evolve based on what’s working for consumers, so be prepared to change it regularly.
Expect to make design changes to your newsletter as well. Play around with the font, colors, images, and exclusive content you add. Up to 41 percent of emails are opened on a phone5, so make sure they’re formatted for all screen sizes. Break up long paragraphs so they don’t overwhelm smartphone screens. And space apart videos or photos so that when users scroll, it doesn’t look like they’re stacked on top of each other.
Personalize Your Content as Much as Possible
Forbes found that 91% of shoppers favor brands with personalized content on their websites, emails, and social media pages6. If you try to speak to everyone you end up speaking to no one. Understand your buyer persona and what motivates them to buy. Then build your email marketing around them.
3. Beat Your Competitors By Ranking High on SERPs (SEO)
SEO determines where your online business falls in search engine rankings. Rank close to the top and you ensure that more consumers find and explore your business.
To improve your ranking, find keywords that best summarize your product or service and then use them in your website copy. Explore free keyword research tools like WordStream, which searches your website for relevant keywords and allows you to download them. You can also view the monthly search volume for these specific words plus how much competition exists for them (low to high).
Find a balance between high search volume and low competition to stand a good chance of ranking high for those keywords. Since most people click links on the first page of results, you won’t grow your online business unless you can boost it up the ranks.
Distribute Keywords Throughout Your Site
Start by putting those keywords into the URLs of the webpages on your site. Then include them in webpage titles (especially blog posts). Most of these webpages will also require meta descriptions, which is another spot to slip in more keywords.
Be careful not to overdo it, though. If you scatter keywords through every other sentence on your website, you’re more likely to turn consumers away because your content will be unreadable. Even if your website ranks at the top of a search engine, poor copy won’t help you grow your online business.
Refine Your SEO Strategy by Measuring Keyword Success
As the market shifts, adjust your keywords to match what’s performing well. Set a schedule to review your keywords frequently, whether that’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
Use measuring tools like Google Analytics and Moz to assess which SEO strategies work for you. Google Analytics allows you to track how a user arrived at your website (through SEO, paid ads, or other avenues) as well as how they engage with the pages of your site7. But for privacy reasons, specific information about the user’s demographics is limited.
Regardless, if you study the data from these measuring tools, you can see if the traffic you attract to your site is converting or not. If conversion is low, try targeting different keywords to attract new customers.
4. Reach a Bigger Audience With Paid Ads
Once you’ve tried all the low-cost options, check your budget to see if you can afford paid ads to help you grow your online business from home. You don’t have to empty your bank account to buy ads from Google, Facebook, and others. Just set a budget for yourself each month.
Use pay-per-click ads if you’re worried. The ad service only charges you whenever a customer clicks on your blurb and visits your website. Let’s say you put aside $500 per month. Once enough clicks eat away that $500, your ad stops running that month.
Improve Your AdRank on Google Ads With These Steps
If you want to grow your online business through Google Ads, focus on your AdRank and the factors that affect it. A higher AdRank guarantees more eyes on your business and more clicks through to your website.
Google determines AdRank by multiplying your maximum bid amount by your Quality Score. Your maximum bid amount is how much you’re willing to pay per click on your ad. And your Quality Score is calculated by adding up factors like keyword relevance, optimized landing pages, and click-through rate (CTR)8.
CTR measures how many clicks your ad receives out of the number of total views. A high CTR means more customers are choosing you over your competitors.
Still scoring low on your AdRank? Consider investing a bit more into your bid amounts. Or, to boost your Quality Score, measure how well your keywords are performing and change them if new words become more relevant to your business.
Lock In Your Target Audience to Maximize Ad Success on Facebook
Facebook stores a lot of personal information about its users, so you must narrow your target audience when advertising with them. The more specific your audience, the more likely your product or service is to reach the right prospects.
You can explore locations, ages, genders, education levels, job industries, and connections to other potential consumers. Facebook can also track consumers’ interests and hobbies through the sports pages they like or book club groups they join.
Say you sell custom-made bookmarks. Your Facebook ad will likely appear in that book club group or those group members’ feeds once you narrow down your target audience and their interests.
Lean into who your product or service benefits. Who stands to gain the most from visiting your website and buying from you? Answer that question and your Facebook ad stands a much better chance of converting visitors into buyers.
Run Eye-Catching Ads to Attract Potential Customers on Instagram
Instagram ads rely on trendy, eye-catching photos or videos to tempt users to visit your site. Sometimes these visuals pop up in between users’ Instagram stories, and other times they mix in with users’ everyday feeds.
While your hook for other paid ads might be written copy, on Instagram, the design of your ad takes center stage. Decide which physical element you want users to focus on first. You can put the product front and center. Or show a testimonial from a customer urging users to check out your service.
Once you decide on a hook, pick the best type of Instagram ad to convey your content. Single image ads will run in users’ feeds, as will carousel ads. Carousel ads allow you to make a slideshow of images that showcase your product or service. Advertisers see success with carousel ads as they give consumers a literal peek at other products they can explore from your online business.
Other companies might benefit from running video ads. With the rise of TikTok, videos have become the trendiest form of communication between social media users. Narrow down the best way to feature your product or service in just three to 60 seconds9, depending on the type of video ad you pay for.
Consider how the subjects in the video and any text you put on the screen best complement each other. You don’t want to overwhelm the user with busy written copy while a lot of action occurs in the background of the video.
Ready, Set, Grow!
Now that you have the resources you need to grow your online business from home, test them. See which strategies grow your audience and increase your revenue. Explore multiple strategies at once, if you can dedicate the time and energy for it. And remember that it might take time to see results as you dive into these growth opportunities.
Once you’ve grown your online business, you might consider exiting and starting a new one. Did you know that we’ve helped hundreds of founders sell their online businesses quickly, easily, and for the highest price? If you’re ready to get Acquired, sell your online business for free.
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