Strategy for Small Online Business Growth

Strategy for Small Online Business Growth

What is a growth business strategy? 6 steps for scaling a small business. How to make the most of ecommerce marketing. Focus on analytics. Working with freelancers. Collaboration with micro-influencers. Strategic partnerships with other brands

When launching an online business, you probably want it to scale and bring you a larger revenue. In this article, we’ll share valuable tips on ​​how to help a small business grow quickly and with reasonable expenses.

What is a business growth strategy?

Before you start thinking about the best way to grow your small business, it’s vital to realize which goals you’re planning to achieve. Scaling should enable you to reach the desired indicators, such as:

  • Certain amount of revenue
  • Specific market share
  • Becoming one of the most recognizable brands in your niche

These measurable goals are known as growth indicators. Without them, it would be challenging to scale because you won’t know which measures to take and in which direction to move.

Q. What’s the ideal time frame for a business growth strategy?
A. When setting goals for your brand, identify the approximate time frames for achieving each of them. Some goals might require a few months to be completed (such as building a client base to start with) while others need up to a decade (such as becoming a leader in your sector). If you develop slower than planned, think of how to fine-tune your desired growth indicators and fix the pain points that prevent you from progressing.

6 steps for scaling a small business

To grow a small business online, it would be reasonable to stick to these practices.

Draft a growth plan

Around one-half of all businesses venture into digital marketing while having no clear strategy. That leads to losing time, effort, and funds. Find out which tools and tactics work best for brands from your niche. Keep testing new approaches and measuring the outcomes of your efforts. Edit your plan based on the results of your actions.

Always have a backup plan

As long as your business remains small, you can pivot flexibly. But imagine something goes wrong when there are several departments in your company. To be able to respond to unexpected situations quickly and efficiently, try to foresee potential emergencies in advance and compose step-by-step guides on fixing them.

Use scalable solutions that can integrate with other products

Not all digital products that you need in your work are good for scaling. For instance, your hosting plan might only provide a limited amount of resources. That might be enough for the initial stage of your business development — but then, you’ll have to switch to another plan or provider. It would be smarter to choose such a plan from the onset that will allow you to add as many resources as you need.

Another example is an app for sharing files and team collaboration. You might be happy to use it while you have fewer than ten employees. But as your business becomes more complex, you’ll hire more employees and purchase more apps. What if your file-sharing software fails to integrate with other solutions? You’ll have to switch to a more advanced alternative and teach all your staff to use it, which will be an extra headache.

Invest in staff and culture

Hire only those professionals who share your values. If a person has the right set of skills for one of your projects, consider outsourcing them for project work but don’t invite them to join your team. As a new employee becomes a part of your collective, give them time for adjustment. Create documents where you describe your corporate culture and make them accessible to all your team members.

Forecast for intentional growth

It’s impossible to predict the speed and direction of business growth. The demand for your products might skyrocket all of a sudden — and if you don’t know how to react to it, you’ll miss a precious opportunity. Brands often fail because they’re not ready to scale the manufacturing processes or find new retailers. Plan in advance what you’ll do in such a situation.

Stay focused on your core strengths

To differentiate itself from its competitors, your business needs to have a USP from the onset. As it begins to scale, the USP might become diluted — and that would be a major failure.

For instance, you may make a name for yourself by building chatbots. Later on, you can add other types of software to your product range. Even if your other products lack the USP of your chatbots, people might buy them because they trust your reputation. When they discover that your other apps fail to stand out from their competitors, they will stop using them.

Instead, it would be wiser to focus on improving and promoting your chatbots.

Strengthen your Internet presence

Before you begin to expand your business, it’s important to lay a solid foundation for it and work on your website and social media.

96% of your website visitors have no purchase intentions. They’re just curious to check who you are and what you offer. Your task is to impress them from the first second as they open your homepage.

  1. Make sure your website loads quickly on all devices.
  2. Declutter your home page and make it easy to navigate.
  3. Create a compelling copy that showcases the advantages of your product.
  4. Optimize your website with keywords.
  5. A/B test your CTAs.

Fill in your company’s profiles in social networks with relevant information and contact details. To improve your brand image, always respond to your client’s messages and comments.

Q. What’s the best way of leveraging word of mouth through social networks?
A. Over 90% of people trust recommendations from their family members and friends. If someone gives you a like on social media and leaves a positive comment, it will strengthen the trust between your business and this person’s closest ones.

How to make the most of ecommerce marketing

In this section, we’ll focus on how to grow your small business with marketing.

Content marketing

Over 90% of B2B marketers include content marketing in their strategies. To drive e-commerce sales, content needs to be

  • valuable,
  • relevant,
  • consistent.

Its mission is to attract consumers, retain them, and motivate them for the purchase. One-half of marketers regard blog posts as their most important inbound marketing activity.

Q. How can a blog drive traffic to my website?
A. More than 80% of consumers conduct research online before buying goods or services. You can write posts that remain relevant for many years — such as guides, comparisons of different product categories, or insightful statistics. When people google for answers to their questions, they will come across your website organically. To preserve the informational value of your content, update it from time to time with new facts and discoveries.

Let’s imagine that you build cybersecurity tools. This is what you can do in terms of your content marketing strategy:

  • Run a blog on your website to share the latest industry news and your opinions on them.
  • Inform your audience about what’s going on in your company.
  • Compose guides, how-tos, and tutorials assisted by infographics.
  • Update your blog according to a fixed schedule, such as twice per week.
  • Post links to new articles in your social networks.
  • When people leave comments to your posts, answer them promptly.

You’ll establish long-term relationships with your audience and improve your SEO. Keep measuring the performance of your posts, detect those that resonate the most with your audience, and strive to create your future content in the same vein.

Automation

Entrepreneurs who’re just getting started tend to complain, “How can I expand my business online if ¾ of my website visitors leave products in their carts without finalizing their purchases?”. Don’t worry, that’s a norm for ecommerce.

People may abandon their carts because

  • something distracted them,
  • they realized they didn’t need the item that urgently,
  • they preferred to save funds.

If they changed their mind, feel free to give them a gentle push in the opposite direction! Within 24 hours from the moment when the person abandoned their cart, send them an automated email to remind them about the purchase.

Email marketing can generate up to 30 times its initial investment. Try reaching out to customers who purchased something in your online store some time ago but haven’t come back for a while. Segment your customers according to meaningful criteria, such as their location or how much money they normally spend on your products. Personalize your messages for each segment and add clear, consistent calls-to-action.

The second automation method that you can use is upselling. The term “upsell” means that when a client wants to buy a specific product, you offer them a more premium version of the same item and thoroughly explain its benefits. Almost 60% of marketers rely on this tactic.

Here is how small businesses can automate upselling:

  • Analyze your customers’ previous purchases and send them emails offering products that they might be interested in.
  • Let your online store recommend products to clients right on the cart’s page.
  • Avoid offering large product selections in your recommendations — it will be too overwhelming. Instead, let it be just a handful of carefully curated items.
  • Include seasonal goods and products with limited availability.

Your product recommendations can be formed based on two principles. The first one is goods that are similar to those in the cart. The second one is items that might have nothing to do with the objects in the cart, but consumers frequently order them together.

Integrate a system to manage customer data

To help a small business grow, it’s crucial to integrate a CRM into your workflows. Here is how this software can support your company.

  • Storing exhaustive and well-structured information about your clients
  • Automation of your business processes (data updates, email send-outs, promotion planning, etc.)
  • Enhancing your customer relations
  • Collecting feedback

AI-powered CRM can proactively come up with recommendations on how to leverage the accumulated statistics. Such software can suggest the right timing for reaching out to your clients and the optimal types of promotional offers.

Focus on analytics

Entrepreneurs who wonder how to grow a small online business should learn to collect and process data. By 2028, the size of the global market for big data is projected to reach almost $550 billion. You can choose from an extensive range of free or freemium tools to gain insights into your clients.

Q. I’ve never used analytics tools. Which one should I start with?
A. Consider Google Analytics. It will let you know where visitors come to your website from, how much time they spend there, which pages they open, and what your bounce rate is.

To measure your growth, set KPIs and monitor the process of achieving them. Key performance indicators are measurable values that enable you to assess the efficiency of various aspects of your selling strategy.

Here are examples of the most common KPIs for online businesses:

  • Number of signups
  • New accounts created
  • Deals finalized by your sales department
  • Leads generated
  • New clients acquired
  • Debt-to-equity ratio
  • Organic search traffic
  • Search rankings
  • Social media engagement

On the Internet, you can find dozens of other metrics for your finance, sales, and marketing efforts. It’s essential to measure your results regularly, such as once per month. Create a consistent reporting structure for your staff to timely detect your weak points and find ways of fixing them.

Here are the essential parameters of your company growth that you should analyze using KPIs:

  • Demand. You need to understand how sought-after your product is before you start scaling and hiring new staff.
  • Profit and losses. Your key financial documents are your balance sheet, cash flow statement, and income statements.
  • Revenue. Even if your profits fail to increase, your revenue will reflect your business’s growth.
  • Sales. Your KPIs must be aligned with the goals that you set for your sales team.
  • Workforce and network health. If your staff members, partners, and industry contacts are happy with you, that will strengthen your brand’s reputation. It will become easier for you to scale and attract funds.
  • Market share. This parameter reflects your company’s success at the current stage of development and helps identify how much room is left for growth.

To analyze each of these parameters, several KPIs might be required.

Hire freelance employees

To grow your online business fast, it would be wise to hire or outsource gig workers and freelancers. To stay competitive, remote professionals continuously acquire new skills and keep up with industry trends. So you won’t need to invest in training these people.

You might come across talented candidates on social media or in online business communities. Always carry your business cards with you and give them to people who impressed you at offline networking events.

Collaborate with micro-influencers

Collaborating with micro-influencers is an excellent strategy for small business growth. They cost less than their colleagues with larger audiences. They have solidified their positions as experts in their respective niches and their subscribers trust them. Unlike macro-influencers, they are more open to collaborations with lesser-known brands.

There is no one-fits-all definition of a micro-influencer. Some say it’s a blogger who has 10,000–50,000 followers. Others believe it’s enough to have 3,000 subscribers to qualify. When choosing the right person, you need to find an individual who matches your brand’s image and values.

Strategic partnerships with other brands

Joining efforts with other brands can considerably facilitate your business growth. Strategic partnerships are available in an extensive range of formats. For instance, a third-party brand might mention you in its blog post. Alternatively, you may release an integrated product together.

Cross-selling is a powerful technique for expanding audiences, improving brand awareness, and boosting sales. Two businesses from the same niche start selling each other’s goods and sharing the profit. You rely on your marketing tools and tactics to promote your partners’ goods or services, and they do the same with yours. You get access to each other’s statistics and insights and will be able to use this data to plan your future development.

Here are some examples of products that partnering businesses can cross-sell:

Your productsYour partner’s products
Guided tours in a certain areaDiscounts for goods and services in this area
Skincare productsMakeup
BooksMovies

To find partner brands with whom you can cross-sell, consider signing up for Collabica Store. This platform helps businesses from all over the world connect with each other and organize profitable cross-sales with minimum effort. Its target audience is brands that generate a monthly sales revenue of at least $2,500. You’ll be able to explore the basic functionality of the Collabica Store for free.

Final thoughts

If you’re wondering “How can ecommerce help a business grow?”, start with drafting a growth plan for your business and strengthening your Internet presence. Create a backup plan for unexpected situations. Invest in your staff and culture. Stay focused on your core strengths. Integrate a CRM, set KPIs for your teams, and measure your success regularly. Automate your sales and marketing efforts. Hire freelancers and collaborate with micro-influencers. To detect brands for cross-selling products, join Collabica Store.

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