Have you ever wondered how to multiply sales while being the owner of a small company and not allocating large funds for this? It's possible when we use the full potential of what the internet has to offer. It is true that when selling services, there is usually no online transaction, but online customers are looking for local companies that provide these services. And the information they find online plays a key role in making purchasing decisions.
The Internet is a space where we are looking for entertainment, contact with people, but also information - especially practical information. This is the reason why potential customers often start looking for service providers. Some owners of small businesses feel that since they acquire the majority of customers through recommendations, they do not need to own their website or conduct advertising on the Internet. However, most customers (even those from recommendations) verify the company online before contacting it. It is worth knowing that 72% of consumers make shopping decisions based on information found on the internet.
If your business does not function on the Internet, it does not exist for a large group of potential customers, and for many others raises doubts, because having a company website is already a standard these days. Those who find out about your company and won't be able to verify you online might lose their interest and resign from using your services. What's more, people will be more likely to choose competing companies in your industry that have their business websites and/or Facebook profiles. By getting to know your competitor better, your potential customers will almost always choose them over your company
Every small business owner can manage their company's existence on the World Wide Web at a low cost. Some online activities must be performed systematically, but others only need to be performed once and will generate benefits for a very long time (e.g. good content on the site that contains answers to customers' questions and doubts).
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Your clients can be divided into several categories. People from each of them will differ - primarily in terms of the problems they have and the needs and expectations of the services they plan to use. Demographics may also vary.
For example, the optical salon might be visited by middle-aged people, for whom the glasses must be modern in design, well suited to the shape of the face and style of dress. For many people in this group, the brand matters. On the other hand, seniors are another group of customers, for whom the comfort of wearing glasses and a good price are more important. Another group of clients is children and youth. Probably their parents will decide on the optician and they will have an impact on the choice of glasses.
For each of these groups, you can choose a "typical representative", give him a name, enter his age, specify what he needs and what his expectations are. This will be the buyer persona. But that's not the end. Now think about how to communicate with individual people. How can you build a relationship with these audience groups? What arguments will convince them to take up on your offer? What will make them recommend your services?
Sometimes it may be necessary to get to know your customers better and examine their needs, for example, through well-constructed surveys. Customers are usually reluctant to fill out forms, but a lot depends on how we encourage them to do so. In the case of the aforementioned optician, the survey could be given when the client receives their glasses. The customers will be more likely to share their thoughts in the survey if they knew its purpose and benefits (increasing customer satisfaction, improving the quality of services, releasing promotions).
While hiring employees, be sure to talk about their experience with clients. They can be an invaluable source of knowledge about people who purchase from your company.
What do you lose if you don't have a website?
For many small businesses, setting up a website is a great step in the right direction, but it's also worth taking care of its quality. It is said that "we buy with our eyes" and there is a lot of truth in it, which is why taking care of the visual layer of your website is so important. Choose a template that fits your industry so that the website looks aesthetically pleasing and the information is legible.
An outdated website can be perceived negatively by people visiting it. It's easy to think that since the website is of low quality, the services offered will be of equally low value. This claim doesn't need to reflect reality, but a well-presented website greatly affects the perception of the company as professional and should represent the level of your business.
Remember: you can only make your first impression once, and nowadays the Internet and the company website is most often responsible for what this impression will be.
Your company website should communicate what you offer, who you direct your services to and why people should choose you. If you run a local business, make sure that people know where you can be found. It's best to write these things down in bullet points on the paper. Think about what subpages you want on your site and what information should be in each of them.
- selling directly on the website (e.g. booking a meeting via the visit booking form),
- completing a contact form (to contact the customer later),
- making a phone call by the customer,
- presentation of the offer,
- avoiding calls from customers by answering their questions (e.g. in the FAQ),
- several of the above objectives implemented simultaneously.
You can read more about this in the article Maximum effective website for small business - what should it contain?
Browse the sites of your competitors and observe the best practices. Choose a few of the most interesting pages and templates for your industry and think about what elements (subpages, sections, applications, texts, photos) are the most convincing for you and what layout your site should have. A good visual design of a website can determine a company's success.
Only when you gather this information, contact agencies/freelancers involved in creating websites. Once you have a clear concept of your desired website, it will be much easier for you to exchange ideas with the company you'll be cooperating with. Be assured that they know your needs and will be able to provide you with the page that meets your expectations.
Alternatively, you can create your page in the BOWWE website builder. This intuitive tool will allow you to get a website tailored to the needs of your business. Try BOWWE.
Put yourself in the situation of a potential customer visiting your site and think about what will be valuable to him/her. Remember that you have created a shopping persona thanks to which you now have this knowledge. Write in an understandable language, directly communicating the value you give. Users usually only "scan" websites with their eyes, and if the most important information is not highlighted, most people will miss it.
Your home page should include all the key information that your prospective customer must know. If you do not immediately communicate what you do and what are the benefits coming from it, people will most likely leave your site without visiting other subpages. Put a banner slogan that will encourage customers to read the content on your site. Users are impatient and if they don't quickly find the information they are looking for - they will leave the page. Keep in mind that a longer time spent on your website guarantees a better position in Google search results.
Use simple, user-friendly language in your texts. After all, you want to be understood well. Divide the texts into paragraphs with headings and always plan the content so that it is accompanied by adequate visual elements, e.g. photos or icons. Make sure that your website's design consists of legible sections.
More information on how to write texts for a website has been discussed in the last part of this article and in the post on creating effective headlines.
Think about what increases your company's credibility. What makes people trust you? Is it high-quality products? Fast and impeccable service? Tailoring the offer to the individual needs of customers? Or maybe your experience?
Make sure that your website has elements confirming your competences and encouraging visitors to use your services, e.g. certificates, portfolio or opinions.
93% of all search engine queries are entered on Google, which is why the company should be visible there. Google My Business
is a simple way for potential customers to find your business online. The Google My Business profile will appear to the right side of the search results when someone types in your business name or a query related to your services on Google. In this way, the user will receive information about your business in a nutshell. If you enter your business address, your site will be added to Google Maps, and these results will appear at the top of the general search results and in the Maps tab.
Google My Business is called a business card on the Internet, but it gives more opportunities than just appearing in search results - it allows access to profile statistics and allows you to communicate with potential customers, e.g. to answer their questions or their opinions.
If you run a small business, especially a local one, this is a solution created for you. In the profile, you will include the most important information about your company, and thanks to it you will instill trust, and make it easier to reach your headquarters or contact you. Additionally, the less effort a user makes to get information about your business, the greater the chance that they will use your services.
If you are only mobile and do not provide your office address, then your business will not be displayed on Google Maps. In this situation, it's worth considering adding a company to Google Maps, e.g. you can enter the address where your business has been registered. This way, users searching companies through Maps will learn about your business. If you don't have an office, don't forget to add in the description that you provide your services mobile.
To create a Google My Business profile you need a Google account (if you have an email address for Gmail, then you already have one). If you don't have such an account, you can create one here
. Once you do this, you can create a profile on Google My Business here
. For details on setting up and editing a business card, please visit the Google Help Center
You will need to verify your profile for your business card to display properly. Only after entering the verification code will it be displayed in the search results and the company will appear on Google Maps (in the form of a "pin" marked on the map).
You can complete your Google My Business profile while your business card is being verified. First, enter your company's name. It must be the real, full name of your business. To optimize the name, you can try to determine what services you provide, e.g. XYZ - accounting office or XYZ Hair Salon.
Then select the main and detailed category. Complete your company's address and specify in which area you operate. Specify the hours your business is open on each given day.
Enter the address of your company's website to which the business card will link. Depending on the industry in which the company operates, you can complete URLs leading to subpages, e.g. to a subpage where you can place an order, view the menu, book a meeting or table, or search for products. Set attributes specifying to whom your offer is addressed and what conveniences you propose.
Be sure to add photos. The photographs should show your premises (from the inside and outside) and the effects of your work (e.g. your confectionery, created hairstyles). It is also worth showing your face and your employees (remember that you need their consent) and adding graphics presenting your company's logo.
You can also publish a video lasting up to 30 seconds. It's a good way to stand out in the search results. One idea for such a video could be f.e: an invitation to visit your premises or use your services.
Remember one important thing: always update information - e.g. when opening times or positions on the menu change, don't forget to add these changes to the Google My Business card.
When you create a Google My Business profile, customers will be able to provide feedback. In this way, you can gain a lot of support for your business, because potential customers often follow the suggestions based on the experience of others. When you see the new review, comment on it, thank them for it. This way you will build a positive relationship with your clients.
What to do if a negative opinion appears? Try to react calmly and do not engage in unnecessary discussions. If someone complains about the quality of service, try to verify the situation, because maybe one of your employees is not paying attention to customer service. If the fault was on your side - apologize to the customer for the inconvenience. You can also add that you want to clarify this situation and offer the customer a private contact.
If you suspect that a negative comment was given due to unfair competition, you can report it to Google, indicating that it violates our policies. However, you are not guaranteed that this opinion will be removed.
Remember that a few negative reviews shouldn't discourage you. To build the trust of new people in your business, convince existing satisfied customers to provide you feedback on Google My Business. It's enough that at least some of them fulfill your request so that the positive opinions outweigh the negative ones.
Responding to reviews is not the only way you can communicate with your customers on Google My Business profile. You will probably see a new question from time to time. Monitor user activity on your business card and answer questions. This will be appreciated by them and will increase the chance that your business card will have higher visibility in Google search results.
Interactions with the business card are tracked, so you can follow them and evaluate the effectiveness of your Google My Business profile. You can check how often and when users display your business card. Does this happen when a surfer types in your company name? Or maybe when it's a phrase about your product or service, e.g. restaurant Wrocław?
You will see how many people clicked on the link to your website provided in the business card, how many users made a phone call by clicking on the phone number provided in Google My Business, and even check the number of designated routes to your headquarters.
The data is updated after a few days and may not always be accurate. However, it shows the effectiveness of the business card and will be a guide for you in which elements of the business card should be optimized.
Many reviews published on the internet may be false - for example, from your competitors. For this reason, Honaro is a very good solution, as it is a platform on which only real clients (whom you can verify) can publish reviews. You can place a widget displaying opinions issued in Honaro on your website created in BOWWE. Such reviews are reliable and confirmed by a certificate guaranteeing that the opinions were issued by people who used your services. In Honaro you will create a customer base with which you will be able to stay in touch and inform them e.g. about promotional offers or events
Only some purchasing decisions are made impulsively. Usually, the decision-making process involves comparing the offers of several companies, asking friends about whether they can recommend a company, familiarizing themselves with the portfolio. Most people act according to the principle "I DON'T KNOW = I DON'T TRUST = I DON'T BUY".
The sales funnel is a model that shows how the sales process looks like. Have you noticed that you receive a lot of inquiries, but only some of them end up using your services? Do you follow the traffic on your website and notice that the number of users visiting it many times exceeds the number of your customers? This is completely normal. Someone first finds out about you, then reads information about you, probably also checks out your competition. Usually, it takes a long time for a client from the moment he familiarizes himself with a company's offer to make use of it.
Of course, there may be times when someone does not go through the whole process. When a faucet is leaking or the electrical system breaks down, the average person simply reaches for the phone and quickly calls all specialists in the area to find one who will come and repair it as soon as possible. However, it may happen that he will already have contact with a trusted plumber or electrician - e.g. acquired as a result of a sales funnel.
This model is called a sales funnel because many people make the first step to the sales process. This step can be e.g. visiting your website or receiving an email with your offer. Probably only a small percentage of these people will become your customers.
Depending on the concept, there are 4, 5 or 6 stages of sales, with fewer people remaining in each of them. You should take different steps at each stage because the customer's willingness to buy increases gradually and the attempt to sell something too quickly will probably fail.
In order for you to attract clients, they must find out that you exist.Someone can find your website, see your Google Ads or Facebook Ads advertisements, posts on social media, mention you on an online forum, read an article you wrote on the industry portal, or see your company marked on Google Maps. At this stage, you can publish advertising content, but your main goal is not sales. First of all, you want a person who finds out about your company to get to know your products or services better and to trust you. For example, the user should enter your website or landing page, i.e. reach the next stage of the sales funnel.
Some Internet users who learn about your business will go to your website or visit your social media profiles. Now it's time to get their interest. It is also a good time to educate potential customers. Users should get to know you and your offer.
At this stage, you should answer all the questions that arise from visitors. It's best to write questions from your clients on a piece of paper and create them on the FAQ page. Tell about your products and services in an interesting way, express their uniqueness. Show your selflessness and the fact that customer problems are important to you. Demonstrate how you solve them. At this stage, the goal is still not selling but gaining trust.
The more visitors know about you, the more confident they feel. This boosts the chance that they decide to use your services. You can update the website, keep a blog, manage a profile on Facebook, build a list of subscribers. It is also worth setting up a YouTube channel, because the popularity of videos is increasing, and at the same time it is not yet a common practice among small businesses, which allows you to stand out from the competition.
It's time to make users feel that they want to take up on your offer. Usually, in addition to presenting the product, you also have to show the opportunity, e.g. send your subscribers a special time-limited offer. The condition of using the offer will be a subscription to your newsletter. Another solution is to create a remarketing campaign and address it, e.g., only to people who have visited the Price List tab on your website. This ad can appear on pages that participate in the Google Display Network. The person will be on the Internet as usual, and when he or she visits a page that is part of the network, they will see your ad.
A good idea for many small companies is also to create a landing page with the offer. This is a website that has only one goal. In the case of your company, it can be, for example, making an appointment in your salon or agreeing to be contacted by phone. Step by step, the landing page should show the benefits the user will get when they choose your business. It's worth posting the opinions and ratings of people who are your clients (this is the possibility provided by the Honaro
Opinions application mentioned earlier).
At this stage, the user is initially interested in your offer, and your goal is to strengthen his conviction that you will give him what he needs. Probably, such a person also checks what your competition proposes and considers the pros and cons of several offers. Your task is to convince him that choosing your company is the best option. If he contacts you e.g. by completing the form on the website or landing page, try to respond as soon as possible and answer all questions.
More importantly, you are already building a relationship with your clients at this time. For example, you can share some materials only with people who subscribe to your newsletter or complete the form on the website. Try to engage with your audience so that they feel that they have something in common with you.
Now we get to the point. At this stage, it is time to state directly about the commercial offer, because the customer feels prepared to use your services (even if he does not know it yet). People who have reached this part of the funnel are ready to make a purchase: they have learned about the existence of your company, they have started to trust you, they know your offer, they know what benefits it will bring. If you have a customer's e-mail address or phone number - you can contact him and make an offer.
It is also likely that the customer will act on this by him/herself. Perhaps he will book a visit directly through the site. He can also make a call and ask for details or send an e-mail. It is very important to have employees at your company's headquarters in case the customer shows up. That way, you can be sure he/she's taken care of in a proper way and won't leave unsatisfied.
The customer must be fully satisfied with the choice made. Put high priority in the quality of services provided, good contact, quick response in case of any difficulties or questions. Try to build a bond with the clients so that they are willing to use your services again.
Some versions of the sales funnel also mention this stage because completing the sales process doesn't have to mean the end of the contact with the customer. If someone has reached the 4th stage of the funnel and used the services, you must make every effort to make him/her become a returning customer. For some industries, there is no way to build a business without returns and customer loyalty, e.g. in the case of a local restaurant. Of course, this is not always possible, because some services are provided only once or every few years. However, it's worth making sure that the client retains the best memories - then there is a good chance that he will recommend you to other people.
Stay in touch with the customer and keep him engaged. Send him Christmas wishes, inform about promotions, new products in your offer. From time to time, remind him to buy a gift voucher. Check what holidays there are and with which you can link your products. A great tool for conducting such activities is a profile on Honaro, in which companies receive many tools to inform about any new products in their offer and stay in touch with customers. These can be news, coupons, loyalty programs, events, new products and many more.
Try to maintain the relationship. Do not try to sell at every turn, because it can be tiresome. Instead, you can provide some valuable information. By staying in touch with your clients, you'll lower the risk of them using your competitors' services.
It is also worth trying to apply up-selling and cross-selling techniques. The first is to increase the price by offering more expensive products (usually with better parameters), and the second to offer complementary goods. Such practices are very effective for online stores. And how should small business owners use them? In a hair salon, for example, hair styling is often included in the set with hair cutting and washing, just to increase the price. Of course, there will be customers who only use the haircut, but most will choose the full service. Hairdressers can also recommend other services, such as professionally selected cosmetics, skincare, hair coloring, and even computer selection of a hairstyle.
Another solution is to create a loyalty program. Such programs work well in businesses where customers often shop frequently, e.g. in the case of cafes. The customer collects stamps for each coffee or tea ordered, and the 10th drink is free for him.
Storytelling is sharing an experience that has accompanied man for many centuries. We use it without realizing it. Each of us creates a narrative about his life and shares what happens to him. Each of us is also a listener to other people's stories. Storytelling is therefore also an exchange of experiences between people. Something that engages the recipient and allows him to feel a connection.
Stories have a specific structure. Usually, we have a hero who experiences various adventures. We may not be aware of this, but we expect a specific story structure when we reach for a novel - a crime story or romance, and when the story does not follow the pattern we expect - we will probably feel disappointed.
Also, movies have a specific structure and are created to entertain or emotionally move the audience. Their authors know perfectly well what means to use to cause such reactions to the audience and to make them identify with the main character. Advertising uses similar means, and storytelling (narrative marketing) used in it involves creating stories related to a brand, company or product. And you can use them to talk about your company in an interesting way, to be remembered, and to make your products or services emotionally close to customers.
Most companies describe their services in a specific way. "Professional services", "many years of experience" are terms that very often appear in the descriptions of companies. This makes these expressions perceived as artificial and impersonal. Instead of describing the company in a typical way, it is much better to create a story.
Let's return to the example of a hair salon. What story will make it stand out? The new hairstyle can accompany important moments of life - i.e: getting married. It can also help us express who we are and what we experience at a given time. In this context, the hairdresser will be a companion in life's journey and changes. In its story, a hair salon can present, for example, people of different ages who use its services. In this way, it will emphasize that he is open to everyone who is in different periods of their lives.
However, if the hair salon specializes in metamorphoses, has high prices and is addressed mainly to young and middle-aged people, then its story will be different. It can show that the client belongs to a "distinct" group of people - for those who want to live above average, for those who want to stand out, are brave and love change.
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Can't think of a story related to your industry? No worries. Some narratives are universal and will work for many companies from very different industries. For example, you can present your business as a place where your dreams come true. Yours - because you've always dreamed of creating something of your own that will give value to other people. Employees' - because they like their work and have satisfaction from it, and finally customers, who get part of their dream life. You can also use the theme of caring for loved ones, for their good and happiness, because the family is for most people one of the most important life values.
Tell or show how your products are made. It can be, for example, a story about origins: a process of careful creation of the highest quality products - so that they serve their buyers for years. Show people who participate in this process and those who use these products. If you run a family business, you can create a story that will show you the bonds, love, and respect that you have and your shared passion.
Your product can be something like a hero who saves your customers from trouble, solves their problems. It is also the customer who can be a hero and the product a helper who makes their lives easier. If you have several groups of clients that differ, nothing prevents you from creating a few narratives besides the main story - each one tailored to your persona.
Make sure that the themes of the story you create for your company appear on your entire website, especially on the main page and in the About us and Team tabs. If you run profiles on social media, make sure to present it there as well - in posts or permanent elements, such as cover photo (photo in the background).
Remember that a story does not have to be communicated only with words. It is also worth using photographs or video. Talk to employees about your company's narrative. They should be aware of it because the way they serve customers must be consistent with your story.
Do you already use any of these marketing tricks? If not, try them out! And when it comes to the second trick, i.e. refining the website, we can help you. Check out the offer or simply write to email@example.com.