As the new year gets fully underway, it’s an ideal time for business owners to evaluate their current strategies. You need a clear plan for this, however. Without a coherent idea of what tools and strategies can boost your business’s growth in 2023, as well as ways to differentiate yourself from your competition, it’s easy to squander time on ineffective strategies and run into unforeseen roadblocks.
If analyzing your business strategy has you a bit overwhelmed, I’m here to help. In this article, I’ve laid out seven proven ways to boost your business growth in the coming year, citing some examples from my own experience. These tools and techniques can help you acquire and retain customers, drive sales, and grow your revenue. From focusing on customer satisfaction to embracing automation technologies, I’ll cover several strategies that can help you achieve your goals and stay ahead of the competition.
1. Focus on review sites and customer feedback
In the internet age, online reviews play a huge role in shaping a business’s reputation and attracting new customers. Research shows that nearly 90% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase, so it’s crucial for businesses to focus on getting good reviews and positive customer feedback.
Last September Vinod Janapale published a great article on CustomerThink titled 5 Best Strategies to Encourage Positive Reviews,it encouraged our team to follow some of these practices.
One of the simplest ways to attract more online reviews is to simply ask for them. You want to do this at the right time to increase the chances of a response. For instance, right after a customer has made a purchase or had an interaction with your company, consider sending a customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey asking them to leave a review. You need to tailor your approach, however.
At JustReachOut as well as TopicRanker, we initially sent out CSAT emails immediately after a customer called in for support. We would average only one positive review per 10 calls. We would also send out CSAT emails twice a month to all customers. The response rate was similar, except we received three negative reviews for every positive one! To address this problem, we changed up our strategy to target customers that had just had a positive interaction with us, such as a successfully resolved problem. This increased the chances of receiving a good review.
Responding to reviews is also effective. Responding to both positive and negative feedback shows that you value your customers’ opinions and care about their experiences. This can also help you address any concerns and show potential customers that you are dedicated to providing a great experience.
Regularly monitoring review sites and online forums where customers are discussing your business is another way to stay on top of your online image. This gives you an opportunity to respond to negative reviews, address any concerns, and make improvements to your products or services. If you Google your brand or company, you might see something like this:
This shows the importance of being vigilant about your online reputation. You don’t want negative (and even fake) reviews to damage your image – you want potential customers to immediately see positive feedback from other satisfied customers. At JustReachOut we have found it extremely difficult to remove public information about our company and employees which was not completely true. So it’s essential not to neglect review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Google. Use these to your advantage by claiming your business page and adding detailed information about your products or services. This will make it easier for potential customers to find your business and read reviews from other customers.
You may also consider offering incentives, such as discounts, to customers who leave honest reviews. This will encourage them to spread the word about your business and help you attract new customers. Be upfront and honest about this, though – you’re not paying for good feedback.
The good news is that this can be automated using software tools like Zapier. You can automate everything from sending out post-purchase review invitations to actively tracking online review websites where customers are leaving feedback for your product or service. When we automated our review collection process at JustReachOut, we tripled the amount of positive feedback we received from customers (from a 5% to a 15% response rate). Automation not only increases the chances of receiving good online reviews, but also saves a lot of time by streamlining repetitive tasks.
2. Optimize your brand on SERP
Search engine result pages (SERP) play a critical role in attracting new customers and growing your business. By appearing at the top of search engine results, you can increase visibility and credibility, making it easier for potential clients to find your business.
To cite one specific example, I used to not have anything show up in the sidebar when my name was searched on Google. To fix this, I started writing for Entrepreneur with the aim of getting this knowledge box to show up when someone looks me up on Google. See here:
This adds visibility and professional credibility to you and/or your business. Here’s how you can optimize your brand’s or your name’s SERP:
- Create a Google Business Profile: Setting up your Google Business Profile is one of the easiest ways to improve your visibility. By doing so, you can add detailed information about your business, such as your address, hours, and photos, making it easier for potential customers to find you.
- Build a robust online presence: Establishing a strong online presence is essential for improving your search engine results. This includes having a well-designed website (that works smoothly on desktop and mobile devices), active social accounts, and a consistent brand image across all your online platforms.
- Use targeted keywords: Keywords play a critical role in search engine optimization, so make sure to focus on relevant and easy to rank keywords in your website content, blog posts, and other online materials. This helps search engines understand your website content and increases the chances of your business appearing at the top of search results.
- Get backlinks: Backlinks, or links from other websites to your own, are another important factor in search engine optimization. By building a network of high-quality backlinks, you can improve your SERP and attract more customers to your website.
- Get a Google knowledge panel: A knowledge panel, or knowledge box, is a feature that appears at the top of search results and provides users with quick and relevant information about a brand, person, or product. You can’t create one; Google decides when and how to populate this information. However, following the steps above can help you to get a knowledge panel.
By optimizing the search engine results page for your name or business, you can dramatically increase visibility and credibility and attract new customers. Make sure to prioritize this aspect of your business growth strategy in 2023.
3. Automate your Lead Management & Follow Up
A business can increase growth by effectively managing leads and automating follow-up with inbound leads through several strategies.
In the early days of JustReachOut, leads would contact us but end up getting lost in the follow-up process. As we did not have a central place to store contact information, calls, and emails, potential customers were lost as they would fall through the cracks.
The simple reality was that the way we were doing lead management through Google Sheets was rather inefficient.
After we switched over to an automated customer relationship management (CRM) system, customer information and communications were centralized and streamlined, giving our sales team everything they needed for tracking and following up with leads. This not only saved a lot of time but also increased customer engagement, successful demo bookings with presales software, and – most importantly – lead conversion.
Here are some practical ways that automation and CRM can streamline your sales pipeline and lead management through automation:
- Lead capture: The first step in managing inbound leads is to capture them effectively. A cloud phone system can automatically capture leads by integrating with other tools such as contact forms on a website, landing pages, or lead magnets. One example is contact card creation for new inbound leads, which took up a lot of our time until we automated it.
- Lead classification: Once leads are captured, they need to be classified based on their type, interest, and stage in the sales funnel. This information can be used to personalize the follow-up process and increase the chances of conversion.
- Lead scoring: A cloud phone system can use lead scoring to prioritize leads based on their likelihood of conversion. This allows sales teams to focus their efforts on the most promising leads, increasing the chances of closing a sale.
- Automated follow-up: One of the most effective ways to improve conversion is automating SMS follow up through business voip by scheduling SMS messages to go out to prospective customers based on specific actions they have taken such as navigating to a specific page or opening one of your emails. Automated follow-ups can be sent out for the purposes of booking demos, inviting reviews, and so on. This can save time and ensure that leads are not forgotten, increasing the chances of conversion.
- Contact management: A cloud phone system can centralize all contact information, allowing sales teams to easily access and update lead information in one place. This ensures that everyone is working from the same data, reducing the risk of confusion or errors.
- Call tracking and reporting: A cloud phone system can track and report on calls, providing valuable insights into the performance of the sales team and allowing for continuous improvement.
In conclusion, a cloud phone system can provide businesses with a comprehensive solution for managing inbound leads, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the sales process and boosting growth.
4. Start guest posting on other blogs – build street cred
Guest posting or syndication on other blogs is an excellent way to reach new audiences, establish your expertise, and boost your business growth. By writing articles for other blogs in your industry, you can share your knowledge, promote your business, and drive traffic back to your website via backlinks. Here are a few tips for successful guest posting:
First, look for blogs in your industry that cater to a similar target audience. You want to find relevant blogs that are well-established, have a large following, and are actively engaged with their readers. Reach out and try to build a relationship with them. Forming partnerships with other bloggers and websites in your industry is crucial for successful guest posting. By doing so, you can increase your exposure and reach new audiences.
When writing a guest post, you want to create valuable and informative content that is genuinely useful to the blog’s readers. Focus on serving the reader and figuring out what they want rather than simply showcasing your product, service, or business. In other words, avoid sales-y marketing speak and excessive jargon – remember, you’re not making a sales pitch. This helps establish you as an expert in your field and increases the chances of your post being shared and promoted.
Even when writing on another blog, you don’t want to ignore SEO. Writing an article for another publication and making sure it ranks #1 on Google for its keyword will not only benefit that specific publication but you as well since your author bio is on this article as well.
Consider tools like Ahrefs and TopicRanker for keyword research to identify specific problems or weaknesses on the Google search results which you can capitalize on when writing your own article. When doing keyword research consider the following red flags on search results to identity a keyword with a problem on the SERP which you want to target:
- Page title is missing some terms in the target keyword
- Page word count is less than 1,000 words
- Page is slow, taking more than 3 seconds to load
- Page was published over 6 months ago
- Page is a forum site such as Quora, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn
- Page’s Moz spam score is above 10%
- Page reading level is 9th grade or above
- Page mobile user experience is poor
If you see any of the problems above on a Google search result you can safely assume you have identified a real problem which you can capitalize on by creating better content.
In the next section we’ll go over how to detect these specific problems when doing research for keywords or topics you want to write about for a guest post or your own blog.
5. Fine-tune your SEO
Fine-tuning your search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial in today’s digital landscape as it helps your website rank higher in search engine results, thus making it more visible and accessible to potential customers. By optimizing your website, you draw more organic traffic, increase your brand awareness, and ultimately, grow your business through increased sales.
When you start thinking about creating new content on your blog, start by doing keyword research to discover easy-to-rank keywords for your business which are on topic with your audience. In other words your audience is searching for these keywords and would convert rather easily to your service offering. You can then create content for your blog to target these keywords.
Here are some factors to consider when doing keyword research and looking at your competition on Google:
- Moz Domain Authority (DA) score measures the popularity of a website and predicts its ability to rank on Google. The score ranges from 0-100 and the higher DA score indicates a higher level of authority and credibility. When you look at a Google search result, you can measure the Moz DA of all the results on Google vs. your own website Moz DA to see how you compare. You want to be somewhere close to what the top ten search results score at on the given SERP.
- Readability and word count are also important aspects of SEO. Your content should be well-written and easy to read, with a moderate word count that is neither too short nor too long. A word count of more than 1,000 words is ideal in most cases.
- The meta title and description tag of the blog post which appears in search engine results, is also a crucial aspect of SEO. It should be concise, descriptive, and include relevant keywords to entice users to click on your website.
- Page load speed on both desktop and mobile web browsers is an important factor in SEO as it directly impacts the user experience. A slow-loading website can drive away potential customers and negatively impact your search engine rankings. To improve your page load speed, you can optimize images, minify your code, and use a reliable hosting service.
In general you want to find keywords which have specific issues or problems on Google search results and address these problems with your new content.
6. Smooth out the wrinkles in your customer experience
Customer retention is key to increasing growth. You don’t only want new customers coming to your website, you also want return business, and happy customers tend to come back. According to this report, a whopping 81% of respondents said that they will make another purchase from a company if they’re happy with the product or service. But that’s a double-edged sword: In that same survey, it only took one bad experience for 61% of customers to say they’ll ditch a company for good.
It’s important to analyze your website and overall sales process to find any potential friction points that could cause difficulty for customers. Creating a smooth and enjoyable customer experience can drive repeat business, boost loyalty, and attract new clients through positive word-of-mouth.
To start with, you want to make it easy for customers to find your website and contact details in the first place. You can achieve this by having a clear and easy-to-remember website address, prominently displaying contact information on the website, and ensuring that the website is easy to navigate.
You also need to make sure your website and/or online shop are easy to use. A user-friendly website and online sales portal goes a long way towards ensuring a smooth customer experience. This includes having a clear and intuitive layout, using high-quality images and product descriptions, and implementing easy-to-use filters and search functions to help customers find what they are looking for.
Customer service is also important, and implementing good help desk software can help a lot here. A help desk service improves the customer experience by streamlining the support process and ensuring that customers receive timely and effective assistance. The software should be easy to operate and integrate with other customer service tools, such as live chat, email, and FAQ knowledge bases.
Building a business is no easy task, but even after it’s built, you’re faced with the never-ending task of staying up with trends, attracting and retaining customers, and growing your sales revenue. Despite the recent economic downturn, 2023 is sure to present opportunities for businesses to grow and succeed – but it’s important to have a clear game plan to achieve this in a turbulent and inflationary market environment.
By implementing these seven strategies, you can effectively enhance your business operations, attract and retain customers, and ultimately drive growth. Whether it’s attracting the best talent, leveraging technology to improve customer experience, or strengthening your online brand image, there’s no shortage of ways to take your business to the next level. The key to success is staying proactive, adapting to change, and continuously evaluating and refining your strategies. With the right approach and some online elbow grease, you can turn your business into a thriving enterprise in 2023 and beyond.