Internet Marketing for Small Business is often thought of as the tool that brings in sales automatically without effort. That’s fine while things are going well but when sales are heading south and cash-flow positions are getting worse, small business owners soon become anxious to find a way out. But instead of shooting from the hip it’s crucial that you strategically plan a way out of the doldrums.
The challenge of setting up a small business and making a go of it is more than opening up shop and setting up a few Social Media profiles in the hope that customers will find you. Many small business owners in who don’t see the results that they hoped for lose the interest and drive that got them started building a new business. When that happens, the question is; how can an entrepreneur get back on top and stage a comeback? Here are two turnaround tips to help you get back on track.
1. Look Outside your Business for Help!
All too often small business owners tend to become too insular and forget to look for outside guidance. This is the quickest way to tune out and lose customers.
Getting back into listening to your customer is the best way to becoming innovative again and create solutions to their problems. I would suggest that you pay a personal visit to at least two customers per month. This can be a face to face visit for an offline local business or a phone call for an online business. These calls are not meant to sell your product but rather to listen and find out what your clients think of you and your business. This will not only improve your sales but it will also give you ideas for new and/or improved products and services and help you adapt your marketing approach to your customer’s needs.
While listening to your customers is an essential factor in making a business comeback, there are other avenues to get help. Keep in touch with the people who’ve helped you establish your business such as your accountant, lawyer, association members, etc. They know you and your business, are often able to provide you with referrals, and they can often offer good advice on how to improve your business.
Offline networking is another good way to get a better handle on the market. Seek out networking groups where you are likely to meet people who can help with cross referrals. Don’t push sales but spend some quality time at meetings getting to know people. Its all about building relationships that are of mutual benefit.
While offline networking like this can be invaluable, online networking through forums, hangouts and many other similar venues can also deliver good results providing that you always participate and provide valuable input. Think of Social Media for Small Business as a replacement for the counter in the local corner store where people used to socialize, build relationships and do repeat business.
2. Look for a Better Way to Stand Out in the Crowd!
Being able to differentiate yourself from other similar businesses is absolutely critical. You need to carve a niche for your company by offering products and/or services that are tailor made for specific markets instead of trying to make everyone your customer.
Here is an example. Four years ago, when the global financial crisis first hit, a printer who I know decided to re-define his marketing focus. Instead of trying to get more sales by expanding his reach to include the whole spectrum of customers who needed printed material he realized that there was still a strong preference for receiving personalized cards over email greetings. Having researched his options he narrowed his focus to printing of special purpose greeting cards for online ordering and personalization. He began promoting cards for all occasions that can be totally personalized and send by mail to a single recipient or a complete mailing list. This shift in focus has resulted in a substantial increase in revenue and a large customer base that provides continual recurring sales.
The lesson here is that its generally much easier to pick and succeed with a small niche than trying to beat the whole market.
How to find this marketing niche when setting up a small business and making sure that it will continue to work can often be a headache for many business owners. Internet Marketing for Small Business is not simply a matter of setting up a few Social Media Profiles. You need to set your goals and do your research for any online or offline business to be successful. If you have a problem with this then I have a free eBook “Business Start Up Tools” for you that would be a useful reference. You can download it here.