We all start a small business and picture ourselves quickly gaining customers, making a ton of money and of course, living our best lives by working a handful of hours per day.
Unfortunately, that almost never happens. Small business is a continuous struggle for most of us, unless you can find ways to deliver explosive growth. Luckily, there are a few ways to do just that.
Content Marketing and SEO
I’ll group these two together, because even if they aren’t necessarily going to deliver thousands of customers a day, they will deliver a continual stream of customers once you’ve done it correctly.
Additionally, it is possible to handle much of the truly difficult work of content marketing and SEO yourself, namely the creation of high quality content in your niche, while outsourcing the stuff that isn’t so much fun, like email outreach.
The fun part of content marketing is when you can target terms that you’d like to rant about and also links that you’d like to acquire. As an example, I wrote about how many ounces are there in a glass of wine?
Find a Way for Freemium
Freemium as the Harvard Business Review says, is the dominant strategy among internet startups right now. However, it can be hard to find a way to offer a freemium if you’re selling an actual product.
As an example, a gift basket company can’t exactly send a free gift basket. It’s worth your time though, in large part because Freemium conversion rates often average near 3%. The ecommerce average is just over 2% and while that doesn’t sound like a lot on its face, it’s a full 50% increase in the number of customers you’re likely to pull in.
Subscriptions and Memberships Will Save You
Dollar Shave Club and Blue Apron might have brought the concept into the mainstream, but for any new business, having a subscription or membership base not only provides a customer base to keep you in business if new sales dry up, but it gives you a platform for improvements. (Chart source: Statista)
There aren’t many types of internet businesses experiencing 800% growth, except for subscription businesses.
Consumers are growing ever more confident with the concept of having goods and even services paid for on a monthly basis, shipping is getting cheaper by the day, and there’s an outstanding set of options if you’d like to outsource your fulfillment as well.
Use Online Marketplaces
According to Statista, Amazon is likely to garner nearly half of all ecommerce sales by the year 2021. If you aren’t selling on their platform in one way or another, you’re simply doing something wrong.
It’s not just Amazon though. From old hats like Ebay to newer entrants like Cratejoy, there’s a spot to sell for every ecommerce business.
Even if you don’t sell physical products, you should be able to figure out a way to take advantage to the huge traffic offered on these marketplaces, even if that means developing a product specifically for each of them.
Stay on Top of Trends
I wish this could be a complete and unchanging list. But, that’s simply not realistic. At least half of these points wouldn’t have been possible even a handful of years ago.
Currently, there’s a huge rise in online video. Using video on your site helps conversion rates. Youtube is actually the world’s second largest search engine, with some reports saying that the number of searches on the video platform is about twice that of Bing, Yahoo, and all second-tier search engines combined.
Given that we can only make realistic assumptions about what comes next (Virtual Reality!) it’s important to stay on top of trends, like where younger generations hang out on social media (hint, it isn’t Facebook).
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Really, doing any of these extremely well can skyrocket your business and sales.
Mark Aselstine is the owner of the Uncorked Ventures Wine Club, a San Francisco Bay Area based small business. A dad of 2 boys, a husband of 10+ years, you’ll normally find him on Twitter, talking about anything other than work.