(Photo by rawpixel.com from PxHere)
It’s been a tough 16 months, but you and your business survived. Congratulations! Now it’s time to move out of survival mode and back into growth mode. You did it before; you can do it again. Look at your business like you did when you started and go back to the basics.
- Keep Putting your customers first
Don’t just tell your customers how great your product or service is. Explain what’s in it for them. What pain points do they have that you can solve? What are they afraid of? What are their needs, dreams and goals? How will their life be better after engaging with you? Sell the benefits, not the features.
- Review your company’s personality
You have your own unique personality. In order to be authentic, your company’s image, values and interactions must match yours. Try a quick exercise: Picture your small business as if it was a live person who is the embodiment of you. What are her character traits? Does she have any endearing qualities or quirks? Is she loud or quiet? Does she move impulsively or thoughtfully? Why do people like to hang out with her? Does she like to help others? Write down her top five to seven traits.
Once you have an updated picture of your company’s personality, tweak your marketing messages and materials. Do you want your web site to look soft and fuzzy or do you want it to be loud, bright and assertive? Do you want your promotional materials to have a quick, concise call to action or do you want them to be more subtle and mysterious? Do you want to tell funny, engaging stories or just get to the point? Once you’re comfortable with your marketing look and feel, you can be confident that it will reflect your own personality. And it will attract the customers who you want to work with.
- Revisit your unique core value proposition
Let’s face it — we all operate in a crowded marketplace. Lots of other companies have products and services which appear at first glance to be comparable to yours. How will you stand out from the crowd?
A great way to clarify and strengthen your value proposition is to perform a SWOT Analysis on your product/service or company. Once you’ve reviewed your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT), you’ll have a good idea how to communicate to your customers that you are in the best position to meet their needs.
- Take a fresh look at your web site
What is the one key thing you want it to do? Do you want to sell from it? Do you want people to book an appointment? Do you want them to give you their email address? Do you want them to call you? Decide your overall goal and keep that in mind as you design each page.
Every page should include an action button which serves the purpose you’ve defined. Your website cannot just provide product information; it must drive action.
- Increase your odds of being found online
Make sure your listing is still accurate. Have your hours changed? Update the photos which reflect you and your business.
Put common search terms into your web pages. A great way to accomplish this is by including the most common search questions for your type of business on your FAQ page.
Then go to the library and use one of their computers to see your search ranking as others see it. (If you use your own computer, tablet or phone your ranking will probably appear to be much higher than it actually is.)
If you’re not on the first page of search results, consider paying a local professional to help you with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Management).
Everything you do online should link back to your web site.
- Continue connecting with your most valuable customers through email
Your subject line should be 40 to 50 characters and include an offer which is valuable to the recipient. Make the content mostly about them, not you. A good industry average open rate is 30 percent. Even if they don’t open the email, they will be reminded about your business.
Be sure to include an Unsubscribe option.
- Look to see if any of your competitors went out of business during the last six months
If so, you may be uniquely positioned to pick up some of their customers or employees. Ask your friends, advisors, employees and customers. They may know of someone talented looking for a job or potential customers who need your products or services now.
Get free help for your business
Visit our Central Oregon SCORE chapter to connect with a local certified SCORE mentor who can guide you at no charge. We’re here for you and your business!
Ed Weiser is a volunteer mentor with the Central Oregon chapter of SCORE. His other volunteer passions include Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search And Rescue, Discover Your Forest interpretive programs and Bucket List facilitation. Weiser can be contacted at email@example.com.