Welcome to our ultimate business growth guide for entrepreneurs!
This business growth guide is for business owners who already have their business set up but are looking to grow. We recognise that businesses in South Africa are under a lot of financial strain so we’ve put together this cost effective guide to growing your business online. From free tools to excellent templates and recommended services, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s jump right in!
The first thing all businesses need is a functional, modern website-
Do you need a website?
If you don’t yet have a website, ask yourself these questions:
- Would my business benefit from online exposure? If yes, a website may be right for your business. The internet has millions of users daily. A portion of these people are actively searching for companies who offer similar services to yours. You need to tap into this online market and claim your share! This can only be done if people can find your business online.
- Do I have a place that showcases my business offerings that I fully control? If no, consider that a website is one platform that you fully control where you can show off your portfolio. Your website communicates to customers that your business is healthy and ready to do business. If you don’t have one, you may be missing out on important leads.
- Can my business stand the test of an everchanging business world without a website? If no, your business will most certainly benefit from having a website. As the world moves into a more digital age, customers are finding like-minded businesses through online search and reviews. If you don’t have a website, new customers have less options when making buying decisions.
Not only does a website help your business thrive, it makes your business look professional. There has never been a better time to invest in a website for your business.
Already have a website?
Congratulations! Your business is on its way to being found online.
Something important to consider is the message your website is conveying to potential customers.
If you’re looking to get in touch with more customers, a website upgrade might be just what you need.
Having an updated website lets visitors know that your company is healthy, thriving and ready for business. Your website is the best way to show customers who you are and what you stand for.
Some questions you could ask yourself to help determine if your business website needs an update are-
- Is your website up-to-date with technology? Consider that the internet is a constantly evolving portal. New algorithms and code are added constantly to ensure better speed and security. If your website isn’t compatible with these changes, it may be that your users are having a bad experience on your site. This is bad for profit and bad for your business’ reputation.
- Is your website following design trends? Gone are the days of cluttered design, weighty fonts and slow websites. While there are some benefits to being “old-school” in certain niches, it’s not without its pitfalls. When done right, a clean, modern website can attract new customers to your business.
- Is your website speed ideal? This is arguably one of the most important things to consider when looking at upgrading your website. No one will hang out on a website that takes too long to load. The best page load time is actually under 2 seconds. Anything more than that and you risk losing business.
If it’s time for a re-design, consider these elements for a tailored user experience.
Another thing to consider is how your website performs when users search for services or products you offer. In the next section we’ll cover how SEO can grow your business online-
Grow your business with SEO
What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, when users search keywords online, the results they find are the best matches to their keyword search.
SEO ensures the following 3 things:
- Quality of site traffic – this simply means that with optimisation, your website can attract the right kind of people for your product. An example of bad SEO (or none at all) is this : your website’s traffic consists of mainly people looking for Apple tech products. But your business sells apples fresh from the farm. Thus your website leads are not relevant and your site will need better optimisation to generate quality leads.
- Quantity of traffic – Once the right people are finding your products, your traffic increases because Search Engines are better able to promote your website.
- Organic traffic – Many Search Engine Results show up because of paid advertising. Organic traffic simply means any traffic directed to your website without your having to pay for it.
Looking for some SEO tips to help grow your business’ online presence? Check out this great resource.
Want to price SEO services to help your business show up in search results? Check out our simple-to-use quoting system to get an idea of how much these can cost. You can also purchase SEO products directly through this same link.
Need to grow your marketing?
Marketing efforts don’t need to cost the earth. You can easily improve your online marketing by making use of some great free tools. Check out this excellent resource covering just that (including links to reviews.)
One thing that needs mentioning in this guide for business growth is the importance of social media. These are powerful tools in your business toolset and setting up your social media presence is vital.
In the next 2 sub-sections, we’ll delve into the biggest platforms used in South Africa – Facebook & Instagram for business:
One of the most powerful free marketing tools on the web is Facebook for business.
Facebook is the most widely used social media platform worldwide. It’s often one of the first places someone will go for more information on a business.
In South Africa alone, there are over 14 million Facebook users and this number continues to climb. All these people are potential customers and you need to tap into that!
Setting up Facebook for Business is relatively simple and will greatly benefit your business. Read our simple guide here to set yours up today.
To create trust in your brand, you need to put a face to it. That’s how Instagram helps business
Why do people use Instagram?
As they say themselves – “People come to Instagram to be inspired and discover things they care about, which includes content from brands and businesses.”
What can Instagram do for your business?
- Get real-time metrics on how your stories and promoted posts perform throughout the day.
- Get insights into your followers and how they interact with your posts and stories.
- Add information about your company, such as business hours, location and phone number.
Having a visual feed sets your brand apart from your competitors and shows users how you’re unique. You can also collect important information on your following and tailor your posts to suit your audience. This will result in higher conversion rates and more sales for your business.
Many business owners who sell services avoid Instagram, thinking it better suited to those who sell products. This isn’t true and shouldn’t stop your business from making use of this powerful tool. Instagram for business can also be used to showcase your staff in action, daily business operations and projects on the go. This gives users valuable insights into how your company runs and if your services are a good fit for their needs.
Time to set up your account? Check out this article to help you set up your Instagram Business Page.
Wondering about partnering with influencers to increase sales?
Partnering with an influencer has been proven to rack up sales fast. But as with anything, there are both pros and cons to . In this article we’ll go through the benefits and pitfalls of influencer marketing.
The first thing you need to remember when considering an influencer partnership is-
Influencers sell the sizzle, not the steak!
This can either be a wonderful or terrible thing for your brand and it’s important for you to weigh up the pros and cons.
To read more about the pros and cons, check out our article added to this business growth guide.
A great way for businesses to grow online is by posting awesome content that people want to see. You also want to create content that people want to share. Posting ill-suited content not only alienates users but can be detrimental to your brand. Without further ado, let’s discuss how to create great content!
In the next section, we’ll discuss:
- Writing content from scratch
- How to ensure your content is punchy and
- When to post your content.
First up – how to create content –
Creating punchy content from scratch
Quality content allows your audience to build trust in your brand and to engage with you. It helps your audience relate to your business and helps them make buying decisions.
The most important thing to consider before creating your content is “Who is my ideal customer?”
Know your ideal customer
You can’t target everyone. But you can market to everyone.
In a world where businesses have to compete for audience attention, the principal of creating your ideal customer is an absolute must!
Remember that your customer is a person. A person who has their own set of interests, hobbies and problems. When generating content, always keep this in mind. You’re marketing to people.
Need help creating your ideal customer? We’ve included this helpful link in our startup business guide just for you!
Creating punchy content
Customers would rather buy from a trusted source and you can build that trust by posting quality content online. In this section we’ll cover 1 of our 7 tips for creating punchy content. We’ve added the full list of tips to this business growth guide here.
Tip #1 : Get attention with a strong title!
80% of users will read your title and 20% won’t make it to the end of your article. That’s how important your title is in motivating your audience to read further. When crafting your title, these tips will certainly help you create a strong one:
- Use a number. Numbers are brain candy for the user
- Include rationales in your title- for example words like “tips, reasons, lessons or tricks” work well
- Be specific- some examples include “7 tips for entrepreneurs” “Write a business plan from scratch” and “3 free marketing tool for small business“
- State the obvious in your title
- Use common words
Once you’ve read the full list of tips, then next thing to consider is how often you should post content online. Let’s look at that next-
How often to post content
Wondering how often to post content? It’s tough staying relevant when customers are bombarded with ads whenever they go online.
Consistency doesn’t mean more
A simple example to consider is this- could News24 have built such a large audience and subscriber base if they published every other day as opposed to constantly? Highly unlikely. You need to apply the same consistency to your publishing schedule and an editorial calendar is the tool to help you do that.
Read our full article with tips on why and how to create an editorial calendar. We cannot recommend this enough in your content strategy plan as it takes the headache out of managing your online content.
If you’d rather just skip to the best times to post in 2021, we’ve added this resource to our business growth guide.
Before posting though, it’s important to create a way in which you can generate leads through your posts. One of these ways is by using CTAs (Call-to-action) buttons. A CTA is the part of your content, ad or web-page that encourages your audience to do something.
Examples of CTAs include “Try for Free” , “Learn More” and “Subscribe”.
Let’s look at this in a bit more detail-
Using CTAs to generate leads
There are some basics that need to be understood before you can include CTAs in your content. In this section, we’ll touch on one aspect of what to consider when including this in your marketing strategy. For a bit more information on this topic, you can click here and view our article covering just that.
When including a CTA in your content, you need to –
Be direct and informative
Use a strong command verb when crafting your CTA. This will tell your audience what action is required on their part. If, for example, you want someone to request more information you could use “Find out more” or, if you want a customer to complete a purchase “Buy now” works well.
In both cases, the CTA is direct and informative.
Make sure your content always includes a call to action and you’ll be well on your way to generating leads in no time!
The next thing to go over in this ultimate business growth guide is advertising online-
Looking for tips on online advertising? Then look no further!
As the saying goes “work smarter, not harder” and that’s where we fit in. We’re right there with you, each step of the way.
Successful entrepreneurs need to keep an eye on trends and audience insights to create a meaningful online presence. Gone are the days of spammy emails and boring ads.
In our article covering tips for online advertising, we specifically discuss crafting your own USP (Unique Selling Point). This is vital when setting your business apart from others. If you haven’t created one yet, head on over to this article for some great advice.
If you’re looking to grow your business or just start implementing more structure, check out our Ultimate Document Template Pack.
Lastly, growing your business online can be a wonderful thing. We’ve added this resource to our guide for business growth to give you some last few tips on how to ensure online success.