Inbound marketing is an effective strategy when it comes to growing your small business. It helps you attract customers to your site by providing valuable content. From there, you can guide them through your buyer’s journey, eventually converting them into customers.
At the same time, inbound marketing establishes your business as a leader in your niche. More important, it doesn’t require a huge marketing budget or team.
But I’ve learned no matter how successful you become as a business professional, some things don’t change. Nothing beats getting personal advice from those that have insights into their profession that you may lack.
Ten Entrepreneurs Share Small Business Lessons
Here are tips shared by 10 successful entrepreneurs that will help you grow and keep your business afloat.
1. Protect Your Assets
Your email list is one of your most valuable assets when it comes to marketing. As such, Christa Rouse Bishop, lawyer and senior vice president of communications for Cooperative Energy of Mississippi, encourages small business owners to be vigilant in protecting their computer systems. “If a computer system were to go down because of a virus … key files could be lost or stolen, which could then lead to legal action from clients, customers, and suppliers.”
2. Have Your Small Business Insured
At first, setting up a business insurance and continuity plan doesn’t seem important when you have a scrappy startup. You’re probably more like the Wolf of Wall Street trying to close deals, but insurance is needed for life’s many hiccups.
As a business owner, one of your primary goals is to build trust with your customers. Investing in small business insurance helps you become more credible in their eyes and will help your significant other sleep at night.
At the same time, it protects your business from the unexpected. Greg Reese, President of AmeriEstate Living Trusts, explains that a continuity plan keeps your business running should anything happen to you.
“Having a simple business continuity plan will allow you to choose and authorize a trustee to continue running your business [in case something happens to you],” he said. With these in place, there won’t be any need for lengthy (and expensive) court litigations. At the same time, it will give your family enough time to decide whether to continue your business or sell it.
3. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
One of the biggest inbound marketing mistakes small business owners make is not ensuring that their website is mobile friendly. In today’s competitive online landscape first impressions can make a website visitor bounce and leave your site.
“If your website doesn’t offer a smooth and pleasant experience on mobile screens, you’re missing opportunities,” Aaron Haynes, founder of Fenix Pro, said. “Running your website through Google’s mobile friendly test tool will help you fix any issues on your site and make it more mobile responsive.”
4. Get Ideas from Social Media Groups
Social media groups and social media platforms aren’t just for connecting and networking. They’re a treasure trove of content ideas you can use for a focus group when you have new ideas you want to validate.
“[Social media] groups are a constant source of new topic ideas,” explains Ken McDonald, Chief Growth Officer of TeamSnap. “By simply joining the conversation in several groups, you’ll see what common questions and topics that are relevant to your business.”
5. Simplify Things
When explaining your business to a potential customer, don’t assume that everyone understands your industry lingo. It’s essential you’re able to explain everything about your business and your products as simply as possible. Also make sure to lead with why your product matters and not what it does!
Ariel Chiu, Principal Planner of Wonderstruck Events, recommends writing your advertising copy so that a 10-year-old child can easily understand. This will force you to keep everything simple and free from jargon. “Ask yourself: ‘Would a fourth through ninth grader understand this content and be able to make a conversion decision upon completion?’ If the answer is no, then you need to simplify it.”
6. Don’t be Boring
The last thing you want is material that’s dry and feels like a standard commercial. Eduardo Perez, the founder of Easy Ukulele Songs, encourages small business owners to have fun and genuinely engage with potential customers. “This will increase the average time [spent], and ultimately, the conversions you’re able to capitalize on.”
7. Engage with Your Audience
Roy Surdej, President of Peaches Boutique, says engagement is critical to converting inbound marketing leads into customers. “You can’t just publish or post content and then just walk away,” he said. “If you do that, you’re missing prime opportunities to engage with your audience and convert them.”
8. Tap Into the Power of Influencers
According to Todd Tinker, founder of The Tinker Law Firm: “Most consumers are wired to trust recommendations from authority figures. This is why creating an influencer marketing campaign for your inbound marketing strategy is so effective.”
Reaching out to micro-influencers (influencers with 5,000 to 100,000 followers) is the best way to go. Additionally, Tinker suggests encouraging your customers to advocate for your brands online via social media is an easy way to activate micro influencers.
9. Reward Yourself
Even small business owners need a morale boost. Stefan Gleason, President of Money Metals Exchange, suggests rewarding yourself every now and then as one way to do this.
“Entrepreneurs seldom do this,” Gleason said. “This is why most fall far short of experiencing success and being able to realize their dream of a prosperous life resulting from their small business.”
10. Take Things One Day at a Time
Growing a business can seem time-consuming and overwhelming. If you’re not careful, you can suffer from burnout which will spell disaster for your business.
“The single most important takeaway is to pace yourself,” Adam Steele, founder of Loganix points out. “Don’t bite off too much. Be patient, be authentic, and just keep moving.” Soon, all your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be able to reap the rewards.
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