Just dipping your toes and trying out some new strategies or heading to market for the first time, attracting customers is difficult for small businesses. After all, why should they choose you when they have so many other of your competitors to choose from? The large companies and brands have asserted themselves, and everyone knows what they’re about. It can, therefore, seem like you’re the little fish in the great big ocean, just trying to get a look in. But getting your voice heard is about more than just being the loudest. Customers will take notice of your business if you can offer them something that is more universal, helps them to help themselves, and give them a reason to stick around. There once was a time when those behemoth corporations were in a position just like you.
They had to bring out the red carpet, blow the whistles and chime the bells to get people to pay attention. Yet now, they can focus on actually making products that keep them in the top dog position. With the advent of the information age, small and medium-sized enterprises can skip this phase. In fact, they can and should be merging it with phase 2; becoming useful.
Looking pretty still matters
Every business needs to have a brand face, products which look cool and of the current era, and services that are inviting. Just because you need to focus on becoming more practical to stay alive in the modern world, doesn’t mean aesthetics are meaningless. Having a unique look will compliment your entire business in the long run. For example, if and when you make a great product or service that launches into the stratosphere, resonating with the masses, you want people to make a shortcut in their mind. That shortcut consists of instantly recognizing your brand through image, color, design and style. The main reason for making your own image is because it allows customers to find you quicker, among the ocean of similar businesses. It gives them comfort in knowing they haven’t lost you or the fact that psychologically you feel out of reach.
Therefore you must bring your marketing and design team together first to make sure you have a distinct look for your business. Of course, if you have had a certain image in mind since you first thought about setting up your business, curating this part won’t be an issue. Consider possible clashes with other brands. Get together and look at all your competitors and note down any concerns you have that a particular part of your business might become undiscoverable with a rival. Being able to be spotted from a distance will most definitely allow your consumers to shorten their search for you. Therefore wherever your products will be distributed, say for example in a store, avoid looking similar sat on the shelf. The same goes for your online services, although here you have much more freedom: so take it!
Online walkthrough and advance
It doesn’t matter if you’re an online-only business or you trade both in the real world too. Your website must be able to connect with people on a human level. First, realize that not everyone is going to be as smart as each other. Some people need a little extra help in order to really get the hang of a business’ products and services. The website is absolutely crucial and cannot be taken lightly in this regard. Therefore when a new customer enters onto your homepage, ask them to accept cookies. This will allow their browser to store some information about your website and their behavior can also be stored onto your servers. Make it clear that you want them to sign up to your website, either by an icon bringing this to their attention, a worded popup on-screen message or limiting their navigation ability.
Once they have indeed created their account, it’s wise to have a tutorial function. Some companies prefer to just include a basic information page in their introductory email message. This way is a tad lazy, as this message is usually to either confirm their email address and account or to confirm their account is now activated accompanied with a small welcome message. Rather you may find it more useful to make a small video introduction to the website, what it’s about and explain the aims of your business. However, this could also be in your ‘About’ page. Be mindful that consumers are not always going to do the same actions; some might read the ‘About’ page, and some might just prefer to carry on and make their website profile. Either way, inform, give them advice and show them with a guided tour program, what each function is for; such as the use of forums, commenting on blogs, certain privileges they now have etc.
All roads lead back to home
Speaking of blogs, this new phenomenon has become a mainstay staple of every modern online business. Don’t think of these pages as merely space for the developers to vent but actually, communicate with their entire audience in a more complex level. Articles and or small update pieces are there for both the advanced and the novice consumer. On the one hand, you can write posts that go into detail about your latest products and or services, and yet write small pieces that generalize. It’s vital that you keep up a regular publishing schedule for your business. Don’t ever think that your work will be lost forever in the outer reaches of the internet. You can always reference your previous articles by backlinking your own blog posts.
SEO is a must-do for all businesses whether large, medium or small. There can be no shortcuts in this practice is intended to increase your exposure. With more light shining on your name, i.e. being raised up the search engine results of shoppers worldwide, your sales may potentially skyrocket. However building the correct links to put in your blog posts requires a little knowledge on what SEO trends are doing now; for they are ever-evolving. Give this article on How To Build Backlinks – An SEO Link Strategy From 5,734 Anchor Texts, a read to understand how specific types of backlinking are more effective than others. There are various ways of putting backlinks into your posts that coincide with how you create your anchor texts also. To refer back to your previous blog posts that may help explain a certain issue with a product or service, you’d go for the title of the post as the anchor text. If you want to look more natural, than the link may only include one keyword and flow naturally into the article.
Don’t bombard them
Engaging with customers is now done mainly through social media means. First and foremost you need to make sure you have this kind of online presence. And rather than just setting an account up and allowing people to find it on their own, display it in traffic choke points. Be sure to have a ‘Follow’ button placed around your website in the blog posts. However their permanent residence should be in either the top left or right corner, so they are clearly visible; and also one of the first things visitors see.
Designing an app for smartphones and tablets is a great way to further become a normal part of your customers’ daily lives. However, rather than bombard them with questions like many companies do, allow them to give you the answers without asking. For example, some apps have a five question mini-survey option that presents a question along with a few answers. Customers on their smartphones merely tap their prefered answers. However, there is always a skip option, so many do not bother. Rather give them an option where they can send you back suggestions at any time. Not to be confused with a complaint feature, this is purely done in a formulated manner. All they need to write in is their name, email address and then their suggestion on what they like to be improved for either an update or the next product or service. Becoming a useful business to them is also being convenient and flexible. Forcing upon them without any choice, questions they have to answer for your feedback can only push them away further.
Writing blog posts is not what it might seem. Far from being some kind of article that you would see in a newspaper, it’s more so acts like a journal. Here you can give helpful explanations on why you did something, what might be coming up in the future and complex technical information to the advanced customer. Creating a helpful tutorial mechanic for your website breaks down the barriers of baseless doubt. If you do this, you give your business website more chance for keeping customers on it than otherwise. Quick video tutorials on how to use certain features and definitely a quick introduction to the aims of your business paints a broader picture of understanding. Don’t forget that even with these tasks that are focussed on becoming more useful to customers, looking attractive is cutting edge is still important. Every business wants to be the whole package, but with the advent of the information age, customers will find you anyway. Therefore looks may need to take a backseat, and the functions of your products and services brought to the fore.
Hernaldo Turrillo is a writer and author specialised in innovation, AI, DLT, SMEs, trading, investing and new trends in technology and business. He has been working for ztudium group since 2017. He is the editor of openbusinesscouncil.org, tradersdna.com, hedgethink.com, and writes regularly for intelligenthq.com, socialmediacouncil.eu. Hernaldo was born in Spain and finally settled in London, United Kingdom, after a few years of personal growth. Hernaldo finished his Journalism bachelor degree in the University of Seville, Spain, and began working as reporter in the newspaper, Europa Sur, writing about Politics and Society. He also worked as community manager and marketing advisor in Los Barrios, Spain. Innovation, technology, politics and economy are his main interests, with special focus on new trends and ethical projects. He enjoys finding himself getting lost in words, explaining what he understands from the world and helping others. Besides a journalist, he is also a thinker and proactive in digital transformation strategies. Knowledge and ideas have no limits.