Are you a small business owner looking to improve your marketing efforts?
If so, you’re far from alone.
Business leaders and marketers across all industries need to work hard to connect with their target audience if they hope to see more conversions and engagement, which makes sense. The more positive interactions you have with your would-be audience, the better your chance of turning first-time visitors into loyal customers.
When deciding how to reach your audience, there are a ton of factors that come into play. For instance, leaders need to consider their customers’ unique needs and pain points so they can produce value-packed content and offers.
My goal today is to explore 5 universal tips new business owners can use to build rapport with new visitors, boost sales, and improve engagement across all marketing channels.
Let’s dive in!
Optimize Your Website
First, let’s talk about the look and feel of your website. If your eCommerce website is slow, clunky, or simply doesn’t work, none of your other marketing efforts will matter.
Here’s a scenario so you can see what I mean:
Imagine spending days nurturing a user on social media. You’ve helped them with their problem, convinced them to follow your brand, and offered your product as a solution. This user finally decides to make their move and visit your website. Only, your homepage takes a long time to load, and once it does load in, they find they can’t place an order from their mobile device.
From the consumers’ point of view, this is exhausting. The person you spent so much time with will probably leave your site and not return in the future. Now it’s a bit easier to see how a poorly performing website can impact your marketing.
If you want additional context on how speed and performance can impact marketing, consider these statistics:
- 79% of customers who reported feeling unhappy with the performance of an online store say they are less likely to buy from the site in the future.
- A 1-second delay in loading time (after 2 seconds) results in a 7% loss in conversions.
- Similarly, this same 1-second delay leads to an 11% loss in pageviews.
Luckily, Google has a free resource called PageSpeed Tools that developers and small business owners can use to optimize their websites by improving loading times and general performance.
Since we are talking about performance, I want to highlight the importance of optimizing your website for smartphone users. Believe it or not, over 6.6 billion people have mobile devices, and over 51% of all website traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. You could see an abnormally high bounce rate and fewer conversions if you don’t have a mobile-responsive site.
Create High-Value Content
Content marketing is perhaps one of the best ways to forge connections with your target audience while highlighting your brand’s value proposition.
Creating top-tier blog posts, videos, and infographics for your site has countless benefits. For starters, you’ll keep people around for longer than a few minutes. Think about it, if your website is a bunch of product landing pages, why would anyone bother to stick around if they aren’t immediately interested in buying your product?
Fun fact: Close to 70% of qualified leads are not ready to make a purchase the first time they discover your site!
Blog posts are an excellent way to keep these users engaged until they are ready to buy. Research shows that nearly 50% of online shoppers read 3-5 blog posts before buying a product from an eCommerce website.
I suggest using what you know about your readers to publish relevant, interesting content. Think carefully about industry roadblocks and goals of potential customers, and write content that satisfies these needs.
For instance, an email marketing software company would benefit from publishing articles about lead generation. B2B customers that need this product have one general goal – they want to generate leads. A comprehensive article or video highlighting tips and tricks will help this business win over visitors and turn them into customers.
There’s a good reason 57% of marketers say they’ve acquired a new customer from their blog – research-driven content marketing works.
Build Your Email List
Email marketing is another crucial strategy small businesses use to build trust with their audience, nurture prospects, and turn new customers into loyal brand advocates.
I recommend inviting users who visit your website and social media page to join your list. The people who engage with you on these platforms are more likely to sign up for newsletters and promotions from your company, which can help you quickly generate new leads.
On your website, include a simple signup form on your blog’s sidebar. Let users know that by joining your email list, they can expect to see relevant content and promotions. You can also entice visitors to sign up by using a lead magnet.
Lead magnets are exclusive offers or content that are only available to subscribers. Common examples include infographics, online courses, limited discounts, and eBooks. Website visitors can obtain this sought-after content by providing their name and email address.
On the social media side of things, you can grow your lead list by hosting events like live webinars and online contests. For example, we hold educational webinars on social media for people who want to learn more about our industry. We choose hot topics that are bound to draw the attention of people who need our product.
We announce our event a few weeks in advance and encourage people to sign up to secure their seats. This strategy helps us generate email leads, learn about the needs of our customers, and usually results in new sales.
If you want to maximize the value of your email marketing strategy, ask new subscribers to select their preferences in your welcome email. This prompt will ensure that they get content that matters to them, which means they’re more likely to open your emails.
Invite Your Audience to Share Their Thoughts
Your customers' needs will change over time, so it's essential to ask your audience to share their thoughts. You can make smarter marketing choices when you understand what your customers want and expect from your product or service.
People appreciate it when businesses reach out and ask how they can create a better experience. This gesture shows that the small business listens to its customers and wants to improve over time.
You can ask your audience to speak up on your website using feedback forms. We like to include a simple survey on our popular blog posts. We theme the questions around the post so we can gather actionable data on the topics that matter to our readers.
Another great place to look for feedback is your email list. If you allow subscribers to choose their preferences, you can send them personalized surveys unique to their goals and pain points. This data can help you develop in-depth customer personas, which will make it easier to market future content and products.
It's also worth asking social media followers to share their thoughts on your brand and the industry as a whole. Choose questions that impact a substantial portion of your readers, and you can expect to see plenty of actionable feedback in the comments section of your post.
Develop a Cart Abandonment Strategy
Finally, let’s talk about your cart abandonment strategy. The truth is, around 76% of visitors who add items to their shopping cart will probably leave before they can finalize their order. If you don’t actively keep these users engaged, they may forget to come back, which translates to lost sales.
A solid cart abandonment strategy can help you convert many of these almost-lost sales. Essentially, this technique involves reaching out to users as they leave your site, or a little while after.
If the user has not joined your email list yet, you could trigger a popup that invites them to join as soon as they start closing the browser tab. There’s a good chance some of the people leaving intend to come back, so they will sign up to easily save their spot.
You can connect with these users and existingl subscribers if they abandon their cart by sending email reminders. The general length of a cart abandonment email series is three emails. You’ll want to send one email an hour after they leave your site, another 48 hours after, and finally, send one a week later.
Don’t forget to incentivize users so they do come back and complete their order. One technique that works for us is we send our subscribers a 20% discount if they follow the link back to our site to complete their order.
I suggest experimenting with popups, emails, and retargeting ads on social media. Before long, you’ll develop campaigns that will help reduce your abandonment rate and increase sales.
Back to You
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to improve your small business and connect with your audience. The tips we outlined today will help you build a marketing framework that will keep people engaged with your brand across all platforms. Use what you learn during this phase to better understand prospects and gradually fine-tune your marketing strategies to match your customers.