Setting Goals To Grow Your Business

3 Online Goals To Grow Your Local Small Business

Setting Goals To Achieve Online Success

Many of my small business clients have asked me to help them with a social media plan or an SEO plan. They want to dive in right away to all the “sexy” online things, and drive lots of traffic to their Website, or grow awareness of their business fast. The problem with all of this is, without the right foundation being set prior to working on an SEO or social media plan, the plan simply won’t be successful. Before any strategic plan is put into place for anything online–whether it is your Website, your social media channels, or what content is written–you need to first set goals. What are you trying to achieve online?

Setting Big Goals For Online Success

Setting Big Goals For Online Success

Guy Clapperton, author of This is Social Media, says
“Set yourself a target.
Is it about mindshare?
Is it about what you must have in a business plan 
and expected business outcome?”

A good online consultant or freelancer will not even begin work until they understand your goals and YOU should not either.  You should not write, blog, post, or sell anything online until you know your goals. And if you are paying for ads or search traffic without goals—stop doing that right now. We need to take a step back. First, define what you want to achieve online, and prioritize your goals.

Defining Goals

What are the actions people would take that would make you happy, and help grow your business? First you have to figure out what you are looking for, and then drive a strategy around it. Are you an established business looking to increase your revenue? Or are you new and looking for clients? In general, most locally-based businesses, such as yoga studios, salons, and skincare facilities, rely on a steady foundation of loyal customers. Increasing loyalty for those customers is key–and a good goal to set online. Other goals might be setting your business apart from the crowd. If there is a lot of competition in your city or town for services that you also provide, you’ll want to differentiate yourself so that clients know why they should come to you.

3 Suggested Goals For Small, Local Businesses

1.    Get Appointments: Find new customers who will book an appointment with you, and increase the number of appointments booked with current customers. A sub-set of this might be to fill last-minute cancellations.
2.    Differentiate Your Business: Knowing your special sauce and understanding what makes you different is key to developing your content, your branding, and the services you offer.
3.    Increase Loyalty: It’s hard to always be searching for new clients, and one of the best ways health and wellness businesses can grow their business is to focus on current customers coming in more often. Encouraging those clients to also recommend you to friends and family (referrals tend to be loyal clients as well) is an achievable goal online—in fact its one of the best things about social media.

I have  found that in general, these are some good online goals for small, locally-based businesses, particularly health, wellness, and beauty businesses. Once you’ve set your goals, you’ll start making a plan to achieve those goals, and you’ll want to look into your online branding, and how and where to reach your ideal audience online.

In December 2013, the B2 Small Business Boost online tutorials will be launching with in-depth training on precisely how to establish a solid online brand, and reach your target audience online. In the meantime, take this time to write down and prioritize your goals for online.

Develop your own voice instead of parroting what others say.

Small Business Wins: Having Your Own Voice

Develop your own voice instead of parroting what others say.

Develop your own voice instead of parroting what others say.

Having Your Own Voice

(Or, Why Not To Parrot Others)

Do you use social media, your blog, or  your email marketing to re-post things others have written? One of the things I wrote about in my Ebook is the importance of having your own voice. With small businesses, particularly local small businesses, it is one of the key things to differentiate you from your competition, to attract new customers, and to build loyalty with current customers.

Small businesses often will leverage someone who is a “guru” in their field, and post an article or quote from that person, on their own small business social media channels or Website, or blog. I call this “parroting” because you are essentially just saying what someone else has already said. When small businesses use social media to simply parrot what others say, or, simply post an article they like–it isn’t building your own brand. Having your own voice is critical, and it helps establish YOU as the guru, rather than someone else.

In this short blog, I will give you three quick ideas for how to have your own voice.

1. Write About What You Love:

Seriously, this is a simple one, but it is missed by so many small businesses. In fact, many small business owners try to avoid talking about the things they are passionate about because they want to appear more professional, or as if they are a larger business. Even with large businesses, having a personality and sounding “human” online is important. One of the ways you develop a relationship with your customers online, AND make writing anything online fun is to write about the things you love. That could be playing soccer, or painting, or traveling. Your customers are your customers because they like YOU as well as your services, so talk about the things that make you, you. When you write and talk about things you are passionate about, your voice–the thing that makes you unique–becomes clear.

2. Write How You Speak:

This might be the only thing I found useful when getting my masters degree in Journalism. Some people disagree with this strategy on writing; I’m a huge fan. One of the reasons small business owners post what other people write, is because they are intimated by writing, or they think they are bad writers. I guarantee you are not a bad writer. Simply write down the things you would say in a session with a client. When you have a session with a client, I’m sure you say brilliant things about what you do–whether it is skincare advice, nutrition advice, stress-reduction tips. You can use a dictation machine, so exactly what you say can be used as a blog post, or you can try video posts as a way to simply speak what you know. If you are writing, read the content allowed when you are finished–does it “sound” like you? Rewrite it until it sounds natural–as if it really is something you would just say.

3. Write What You Know:

Everyone has topics they consider themselves experts on. For me, it is online marketing and strategy, ecommerce, social media, etc. When I speak or write about those topics, it’s clear I know them well, and as a result, anything I say or write comes across clearly. It is the same for all small business owners–there are things you are simply an expert at. It could be A.R.T. if you are a pilates instructor, or it could be taking care of split ends if you run a salon. Whatever the thing, or things, that you consider yourself an expert on, are the very things you should write and speak about, online and offline. Your voice will be loud and clear because of your expertise. When we are experts in something, we don’t falter when we speak–we simply state things as facts, and that comes across as a solid and strong “voice” online.

4. Bonus Tip–If You Do Post Other People’s Writings/Articles, Tell People Why You Like It:

Curating content (which is another way of saying, posting other people’s articles on your social media channels or Website), can be a way to grow your brand, if you do it correctly. I go into much more detail about this in my Ebook, but if you do post something someone else wrote, at least tell your customers and fans why you like it, what you think about the article/blog, and what you might not like about it. In this way, you are establishing that you have an opinion about something, and you are also showing that you have your own voice.

These four things will help you develop your own voice online, and will help build your small business as a unique and special place.