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Just because you have an amazing business idea does not mean you will turn it into a profitable startup company. Many businesses close their doors for good within the first 5 or 10 years. From the lack of product-market fit to financial issues, there are many reasons for their failure. To avoid them and stay competitive, you need to grow your business strategically.
Here are 4 key steps to take.
1. Define your Value Proposition
To set yourself apart from fierce competition, you need to define your startup’s value proposition. Your value proposition is not a tagline or a slogan. It builds brand awareness and gives users a reason to buy your products by defining:
- Your uniqueness in the industry
- Your product’s major benefits
- Your capability to solve customers’ problems
2. Focus on your Target Audience
Only by walking in your customers’ shoes will you be able to create relevant products and build marketing campaigns that convert. Otherwise, you may end up wasting thousands of dollars targeting wrong audiences or serving irrelevant marketing messages to customers.
There are many ways to identify your target market. Start by analyzing market data. Observe your competitors and see what customer groups they target. Analyze customers’ interactions with your rivals and try to understand why they buy from them. You could also create online surveys to gather unbiased customer data. Finally, take advantage of social networks. Use them to analyze your target market and understand customers’ brand sentiment, frustrations, problems, and expectations.
Based on their demographic data (their age, location, gender, marital status, employment status) and psychographic data (their needs, preferences, fears, problems), create relevant buyer personas – fictional characters that define and describe your typical customers.
3. Grow your Presence Online
Start by building a website, as it is your company’s ID in the digital landscape. It helps you get noticed by your target audience, boost brand awareness, and maximize conversions. Above all, it gives you credibility and builds trust with your prospective customers.
Remember that just driving traffic to your website is not enough. You need to engage visitors and inspire them to browse through your pages and make purchases. Keep your website fast, responsive, and user-friendly. Simplify your navigation menu, create attention-grabbing CTAs, and make your website content legible and pleasant to the eye. Hire professional designers to help you inject your brand personality into website colors, layouts, and typography without overwhelming visitors.
The next step is, of course, helping your website rank high in search engines. If you have no SEO experience, there is no shame in consulting an SEO company that has already worked with businesses in your industry to help you optimize your pages for the right keywords, take care of your on-page SEO, and analyze your website’s results in organic searches.
Once your website starts gaining popularity, widen its exposure by:
- Building a community and engaging users on relevant social networks
- Claiming your Google My Business listings
- Registering on relevant business directories
- Building and growing your email list
- Creating high-quality content on your website
- Publishing data-backed and engaging articles on relevant websites in your niche
- Building links on high-authority industry websites
- Collaborating with influencers
- Investing in PPC
Track the effectiveness of your online presence so you can calculate your ROI and rationally distribute your marketing budget across different online channels.
4. Improve Customer Support
Customer support is fundamental to your startup’s success. With the rise of social networks, IM apps, and AI-based chatbots, customers have become more demanding. They now expect brands to provide consistent and real-time support across multiple channels.
For starters, improve the effectiveness of your call center. Phone calls are still one of the most important customer support channels. A recent report by BrightLocal shows that over 60% of customers would call you when learning about your company online.
Your goal is to analyze your calls so you can improve your agents’ performance and measure customers’ brand sentiment and satisfaction. That is exactly why many businesses are switching from a landline to VoIP services. Nextiva, OnSIP, Grasshopper, and Dialpad are among the top 10 VoIP providers that will help you track, analyze, record, and rate your phone calls.
Apart from phone support, you should also offer multi-channel customer support online, including live chat support, social media support, and email support. Remember that many customers prefer self-service. That is why you should create a solid knowledge base on your website to help them find answers to their questions faster.
To provide 24/7 support and personalize user experiences, you should also consider integrating a chatbot with your website, Messenger, Slack, and similar platforms you use. Chatbots use natural language processing and machine learning to “learn” new information about your customers and serve them with highly personalized feedback. Many brands use chatbots to ask customers questions about their preferences and recommend relevant products.
Ready to Grow your Startup?
Growing a business and gaining a competitive advantage in the fierce SMB landscape can be challenging for any young company with limited resources. That is why you should plan your startup’s growth wisely. Those are the key business growth strategies to implement, helping you scale responsibly and focus on what matters the most – your customers and their satisfaction.