6 Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Your Customers
– Guest Post –
Nowadays, through means such as the Internet, there are ample opportunities for small businesses to grow and achieve success. If you’re the owner of a small business or you’re planning to start one, then read along to find strategies by which your small business can obtain success.
Successful Small Business Strategy
Given below are few useful strategies by which your small business can achieve success:
1.) Define your probable customers and understand their needs – You must clearly define the type of people whom you think would be your potential customers. Focus on their needs and likings and try to offer products/ services that would suit their requirements. It is very important that you deliver what you promise. That way you can gain the trust of the consumers which in turn can help to popularise your business. Further, improve your interaction with customers by providing fast replies to their queries and develop means to receive their feedbacks.
2.) Research thoroughly about the market – For your business to succeed, you should have a clear understanding of the market. Make full use of the Internet to conduct your research. You should have thorough knowledge about your competitors, their products/services and the prices at which they offer them. You can utilise such information to offer better products and services at better prices. Further, you should always be persistent with your research as that would help you to understand the changing needs and demands of consumers.
3.) Use the Internet to promote your business – In this era, it is unthinkable to live without the Internet. Make full use of the Internet to promote your business. You can join an affiliate marketing program and post your ads on popular websites and blogs. Social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter attract a lot of visitors. Thus it would be a prudent move to publish your ads on such websites. You can also create profiles on social networking websites for the purpose of promoting your business. Another good strategy is creating and short and appealing videos (of your offerings) and uploading them in websites such as YouTube.
Further, you can take the help of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) companies to popularise your business website. Search engine optimisation (SEO) involves techniques to increase the probability of a website to appear in search results.
4.) Be a part of the local Chamber of Commerce – Be an active participant in your local Chamber of Commerce. Share your knowledge and expertise by participating in seminars. This is a very good way to promote your business. At the same time, you can get a lot of free resources and services from the Chamber which you can utilise for your business. Strive to develop a cordial relationship with the members.
5.) Seek help from friends and family members – Don’t hesitate to ask your friends and family members to recommend your products and services to other. You can send them emails containing description of your offerings and link of your website and ask them to forward the emails to their friends. This is a great and inexpensive way to promote your business.
For the success of any form of business, proper planning and its execution is required. Set realistic and achievable goals and try to meet them by giving adequate effort. Stay focused and leave no stones unturned to make your dream business successful.
Author Bio: This article has been contributed by Billy Patterson. He is associated with Oak View Law Group as a contributory financial writer. He likes to keep updating himself regarding recent developments in finance sector. He has written many articles on debt management, debt solutions, bankruptcy, small business etc.
While many business owners had begun to get their hopes up about the state of small business lending in recent months, an article at Forbes.com shows us that the amount of money being lent to small businesses actually decreased throughout the month of April. The actual approval rate among small businesses seeking loans from big banks dropped from 10.9% to 10.6% in April 2012. While this drop does not seem too drastic, and might only suggest a small hiccup in the grand scheme of small business lending, what is important to note is that in March 2011 that same number was 11.6%. This indicates a steady decline in small business loans from big banks since 2010.
Furthermore, there was a negative trend in recent months in business loans from smaller banks. This is an issue because these banks were typically the ones to continue lending despite the bad economy. This news shows that any gains in the economy have now staggered and that small businesses are left in a position where receiving loans to help grow the business is nearly impossible if the businesses are relying on big banks.
Many of these small business owners who have been denied bank funding remain unaware of the other methods of small business financing that are available for their businesses. Among these are business cash advances; which function as alternatives to bank loans. Cash advances for businesses have developed somewhat of a negative reputation among many business owners who believe that this type of financing is a “last resort” and that only businesses that are on their last limb should seek out cash advances. However, especially given the bad climate in which to receive funding for small businesses, these misconceptions could not be further from the truth. Merchant cash advance lenders only qualify those businesses that they are confident will be able to pay back the money they are advanced, therefore, cash advances are not ideal for businesses who are teetering on their last limb.
Furthermore, cash advances are much easier to qualify for than bank loans, and there is no interest rate on the money advanced to the business. If your business is seeking additional working capital, merchant cash advance funding will be a way for your business to grow and expand in a climate where lending from big banks is simply not an option.
Many business owners are quick to diminish or even ignore how powerful a website can be. This is problematic, because by maintaining a compelling, well put-together website, your business could see an increase in its customer base, and of course, higher profits from month to month. When set up correctly, a good small business website can effectively serve as a separate location for the business; even though it’s not a physical location, it can still have the effect of drawing in and winning over new clients, giving them a medium through which to ask you questions about your product, and allow you to host an online marketplace to help sell more of your product.
With all of this being said, a website that is poorly put together is, in most cases, just as bad as not having a website at all. Some business owners believe that running a good website for the business is essentially useless, or that “no one is going to look at it.” This false generalization overlooks the fact that more and more customers from all demographics are using the internet to locate the products and services they desire and need. If your business’ website is “invisible” to the common public who is searching for what you sell, or if the content or presentation on your website is lacking, you are losing out on this large potential customer base who is looking to spend money on what you have to offer.
Here are four tips you can implement to ensure that your small business’ website is up to par and ready to generate revenue:
1. Start with Keyword Research
Unlike writing an essay, where your focus should be on diversifying your language and avoiding repetition, the content on a website should focus on a targeted group of keywords that best describe the product you sell. There are many online tools available to conduct keyword research that will help you estimate how popular a given keyword is locally and nationally, and come up with similar keyword you may want to target. You should incorporate these keywords in a deliberate fashion into the body of your website, but don’t go overboard. Search engines need to be able to categorize your website based on the keywords you provide, but there is a such thing as too much. A good rule of thumb is to keep the content of your site as easy to read and engaging as possible for humans, not for search engines.
2. Don’t “yell” at people to buy your product. Let them come to their own conclusions
Most internet users in 2012 are savvy enough to realize that any website domain ending in “.com” is probably trying to sell them something. They are also good enough at navigating the internet to quickly close any pop-up ads, press “mute” on ads that make noise, and to naturally close pages that are laden with flashy, animated advertisements that take away from the actual content of the website. Furthermore, trying to “trick” customers by incorporating inconspicuous advertisements into your website that trick them into clicking but then take them away from the actual content they were viewing is a good way of basically encouraging those users not to return to your site. The smartest strategy is to focus on writing fantastic content that convinces the user they need your product. If you don’t already have a content writer at your business, have one of your best sales people help you come up with written content. You should be as detailed, honest, and descriptive as possible.
3. Emphasize your credibility
Many potential customers who land on your site for the first time are going to be skeptical about your credibility. There are millions of websites online that are trying to sell them something – and many of these sites are scams. This is why it is crucial to emphasize your business’ credibility throughout your website. Either through real testimonials whose providers offer their real names and locations; through badges that show the organizations with which your business is affiliated; or through any other types of awards you have won that make your business appear more trustworthy. Customers will be much more likely to give you money (especially through an online payment) if they trust that many other clients have done so and have been satisfied with the results.
4. Focus on the most visible websites that point to your website
If a client is looking for information about your business or your product, your website is most likely not the only place they are going to look. Search engines work to provide your customers with a variety of resources with which to receive a glimpse of what your business does from various perspectives and not only your own. This is why it is extremely important to “Google” or perform any search on your business so you can see what the client sees. Even if your business’ website is spectacular and highly profitable, you could be plagued by a poor review that is blatantly obvious to potential customers on your search results page. Websites such as Google Places, Yelp, Menupages, the Better Business Bureau, and other rating sites have sat comfortably on the first or second page of Google search results for most business or restaurant searches for years now. If your business has an outstanding complaint on one of these websites that has not been addressed for a while, there may be a large set of customers who are reluctant to buy from you until these reviews improve.