When you first launch your small business, it can feel like growth is happening slower than you ever thought possible. Every time you gain two new customers, you lose one, whether it’s because a contract ends or natural churn rates have taken hold. And while you know that once you gain traction with your business, that momentum will help you grow faster later, you don’t exactly want to wait.
If you ever feel like your small business is bordering on stagnation, however, there are a few things you can do to change that up quickly.
Let’s take a look at six quick ways you can spark growth in your small business.
1. Set Up a Referral Program
Already have a few customers? That’s all you need for this strategy to work.
Above any other tactic, word-of-mouth referrals are most trusted by consumers (your potential clientele). Nielsen proved, way back in 2012, that 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family than other advertising. And that stat hasn’t changed, even after all these years, according to an October 2019 report by Cision. Use this to your advantage and set up an official referral program.
A referral program is an outstandingly strong way to grow your business quickly. Customers that come from referral programs have lifetime value rates that are 16% higher than non-referred customers, and their churn rate is lowered by about 18%. They’re more likely to purchase than other types of leads and more likely to stick around longer once they do.
Referral programs don’t have to be complex. You can offer 10% off the referrer’s next purchase and 10% off to the soon-to-be-customer if both convert. Financial incentives are always powerful ones.
And you don’t need every customer to engage in the program for it to be successful. Even if only 5% of your clients successfully send someone your way, that’s still an infusion of extremely high value leads.
2. Invest In Quality, Reliable Customer Service
Customer service is one of the most influential factors that will determine whether or not people purchase from you, or from one of your competitors.
If you have great customer service, people stick around a lot longer. Keep in mind that customers are 4x more likely to switch to a competitor if there’s a problem with a brand that’s service-related than if it’s price or product-related, and that 96% say that customer service is an important decision in their choice of brands.
If you have reliable customer service that’s available around the clock, it will be easier to connect with customers and leads.
Plenty of brands trying to grow quickly will hire an answering service like PATLive for this reason. They’re so busy trying to tackle everything else that they don’t have the bandwidth to answer calls 24/7, but that’s our entire job. We’ll help you collect lead information, process orders, answer customer questions, schedule appointments, and more, allowing your brand to deliver excellent customer service without sacrificing anything else.
3. Run Pay-Per-Click Campaigns
Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns allow you to pay for impressions, clicks, video views, or other specific actions taken on an ad that’s shown to members of your target audience. You likely see these on a regular basis, thanks to Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Promoted Pins, LinkedIn Ads, and more.
PPC platforms have incredible targeting capabilities in 2020. On Facebook, for example, you can show a video to cold audiences, and then show another ad to users who watched the first 10 seconds of that video to try to get them further into the digital sales funnel. This allows you to nurture cold audiences to leads, and then hopefully to customers.
PPC campaigns do cost money (hence the “pay per click” part of the name), but you can use whatever budget you have available. If you only have $1 a day to invest in the platform, you can even do that on Facebook. And if you want to reach new, cold audiences at an unprecedented rate, PPC campaigns are a great option, giving you full control over who you reach instead of waiting for actions from others to give you momentum.
4. Collect More Reviews Online
Online reviews are the second-best thing to a referral program, and they have their own distinct benefits.
Reviews are another highly trusted form of media, with 84% of customers trusting online reviews as much as they trust a recommendation from a friend and 93% of customers saying that reviews influence their online purchasing.
It also doesn’t hurt that online reviews can also help your search visibility. Profiles on Google My Business, for example, will get a boost in ranking as their number of positive reviews increases.
Make sure that you’re prioritizing reviews on Google My Business, as this will help your search visibility and can help you connect with potential customers who are actively seeking out businesses, products, and services like yours. To make this easy, reach out to all recent customers with an email asking them to leave a review, including a link to the GMB review page for the best results. The easier you make it for someone to leave a review, the more likely customers will be to do so.
As a nice touch, feature some of those reviews on your site on a testimonial page and include product reviews on each individual product page if applicable.
5. Reach Out to Your Network
Even if you’ve shared what you’re doing with immediate friends and family, there’s no harm in reaching out to your full network when you’re trying to grow your business.
Reach out on social media, including your personal social media sites, and let people know about the business you’ve started, what makes you different, and what you have to offer. Let people know that you’re offering a great deal for new clients or referrals and that your door is open if there’s anything you can help with. Make sure you post this on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram for maximum visibility.
While you may only get a few new customers this way, a few is better than none, and these people already trust you and are confident in you. And those who can’t purchase from you for whatever reason may remember you when a friend or colleague talks about needing services like yours.
6. Form Strategic Partnerships with Other Businesses
Forming partnerships with other businesses is an excellent way to grow your own client list while making a name for yourself in your local community.
Partnerships allow you to team up with other brands either in your local community or in a complementary industry. This can be a formal and very public partnership, where you offer products from both businesses, or an information referral partnership.
A local yoga studio, for example, could team up with an organic herbal tea company for an Ultimate Relaxation Package, or with a nutritionist for a Healthy Living package. This would be public, putting the partnership front-and-center.
You may also see a content marketing agency, however, that quietly refers all customers needing design work to another design agency, and vice versa. This partnership is quieter, but both parties are benefiting immensely.
Think about what you can offer other specific businesses, and if any of them could benefit you in return, and then reach out to discuss the potential possibilities.
Growing your business is no easy task, especially in the first few years where you’re getting started. Having the right strategies in place, however, makes the process significantly easier.
Take a look at your current standing now, and consider which strategies would be most effective. Test out at least a few to see what works best.