This blog is about helping small (food) businesses to grow their online business – and we do it by sharing our own experience (cheesecompanion.com), as it happens! The good, the bad and the ugly!
This week, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds… in developing programs which should help us grow our list of prospect customers. Exciting stuff!
But let’s take 2 minutes to discuss the strategies and goals first, before we dive in to the tactics and implementation:
It is clear that in order to grow your online business (whatever it is), you need to help solve people’s problems, and you need to develop relationships of trust with your prospect customers. They must learn to know you, and to realize that you bring value to you.
With that premise, here are the things that 2017 online marketers are ALL trying to do:
- Maximize and optimize their presence on social media: We know that 21% of Pinterest pins lead to a purchase, and we know that Facebook can be the largest generator of traffic to your website. We cannot ignore the social media platforms to get people to know you.
- Grow their email list: With drastic changes happening on Facebook and Instagram (just like it happened a few years ago with Google search), online marketers realize that they must keep control of the communications with their prospect customers. An email list of prospect customers is something that belongs to your business, unlike a list of people following you on Instagram or liking your page on Facebook. Moreover, only 2% of people who liked your Facebook page may see your post!
- Create content of value to their audience: Even though it is clear that content is not enough anymore to be noticed online (you must promote your content), at the end of the day, you cannot increase the size of your audience (email subscribers or social media followers) if you don’t bring value to them, if you don’t solve their problems and bring solutions.
What are we doing this month online for our own food business Cheese Companion?
- Improving the way we invite website visitors to sign up for our articles and updates (enewsletters): Based on our research, we believe that these changes will increase the number of visitors who will sign up to our email list:
- Make sure that your home page banner clearly states what your business is all about. Visitors make a decision in seconds about their interest in what you have to offer.
- Place a call-to-action in the top navigation and in the main banner. If the call-to-action is to sign up to an email list, that is where it should go.
- Have a sign up button, which takes the visitor to your signup form, rather than the signup form on the page itself. It is less intimidating.
- Make that sign up button very visible (like any call-to-action) by using a distinctive and bright color, rather than a color that will blend with the rest of the design.
- Ask the minimum of information to the visitor: first name and email. People don’t like to provide information and they will simply not sign up if you ask for more information than required.
- Place the signup button at the end of interesting articles. After all, if someone read your entire article, they showed interest in your content, and are more likely to want to receive future articles from you.
- Accelerating the creation of content for our website: We are very excited to have discovered the company BlogMutt who offers the services of writers to create articles for your business. As a small business, you quickly realize that you cannot do everything and that there are essential things that seem to never get done! If they are essential to the growth of your business, and you can find people who can do them more efficiently than you can, these are the things you must outsource! For us, it was creating interesting articles for our food business (cheesecompanion.com). For $25/post for 250 words, or $50/post for 600 words, you can buy articles on the topics you carefully defined, and only accept the articles you like!! We are thrilled with the quality of the articles we got (read Cheese Travels in Sardinia: Grab Your Beret and Walking Boots!) and by their customer service.
More on that later.
- Launching a giveaway campaign in order to increase our notoriety, build our social media presence and more importantly grow our email list: That’s another exciting initiative. A few weeks ago, we discovered the company ViralSweep. They offer a complete program to create your giveaway campaign:
- Their interface looks very professional (e.g. the sweepstakes entry form, see photo below)
- With their platform, people entering the sweepstakes or contests are not forced to like your Facebook page, or Instagram, or visit your website, or share your sweepstakes with others. BUT they get more entries when they do.
- The most important feature here is the option that participants have to get more entries to the sweepstakes or contest by sharing it. It is what can make a great giveaway go viral. It also means that if you spend money in Facebook ads (for instance) to advertise the giveaway, you’ll lower the cost per click (you’ll pay for people who viewed your ad, but they’ll share it with others and you won’t pay for these additional views.)
We will discuss the details of our giveaway campaign in a future article, but here are 4 critical elements to our sweepstakes:
- We brought in key partners, with large social media audiences, in order to increase our reach.
- We made sure that the giveaway is very attractive. Following recommendations from ViralSweep, we have 2 winners for a $250 giveaway. For that value, they recommend to have several winners.
- We reached out to bloggers with large readership, asking them to share our sweepstakes.
- We are going to use targeted Facebook ads to increase the visibility of our campaign.
- Learning Facebook advertising from an expert: The world of social media is changing so rapidly that it is impossible to be an expert at everything. After listening to a number of webinars, we purchased a training series from Samantha English, Facebook Marketing Unleashed. She seemed to have a solid and current knowledge of Facebook ads and she offered lifetime access to her video series, as well as access to a closed Facebook group for discussions and questions. We have not been disappointed! More on that later.
We hope you found those ideas useful and that you are interested in implementing a few of them for your small (food) business. We’d love to know how you are doing. In the meantime, remember that you cannot do it all in one day. But if you take one small action every week, you are already progressing!