They say you can’t earn a fortune without spending a fortune. This article proves it’s not exactly true. Learn how to boost your online business with the strategies listed herein.
The major problem of all small businesses is where to get some money. Sure, there’s plenty of groundbreaking ideas and time to implement them, but there’s always that lack of money.
However, if you look around, you may find that not all ideas are that costly. There are, in fact, ways to boost your online business and achieve considerable results without going broke, and that’s what I going to talk about in this article.
The strategies that I’m about to list are quite easy to implement and require minimum to zero financing. However, they do require quite a lot of time, effort, and patience, so don’t think it’s going to be an easy ride.
The most successful kind of hunter is the one who’s patient enough to:
- create a plan how to lure the victim into the trap (strategy)
- build the trap (effort and time)
- sit in the ambush quietly and wait for the victim to show up (patience)
If you’re that kind of hunter and possess the three main ingredients, I will be more than happy to share the remaining ingredient (strategy) with you.
7 Strategies How to Boost Your Online Business
Listed in no particular order of significance, these strategies will point you in the right direction and show you how to boost your online business without spending a fortune.
1. Look Around for Ideas and Learn from the Others
This is the best strategy of all. Do you really think Steve Jobs invented the first Macintosh just off the top of this head? Well, not exactly.
The history has it that he went to visit Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) in December 1979, got excited about the mouse-driven graphical user interface of Xerox Alto computer, and later used the same principle in the first Macintosh computer.
Was it stealing? Hardly. Steve Jobs was looking around for ideas and found one – as simple as that. Business is not a theoretical science – it’s very practical and down-to-earth. So don’t be afraid of using the successful practices of other businesses.
There are different ways for you to get ideas to boost your business. First of all, read books! You need to read at least a book a month, and no, I’m not talking about Harry Potter. What you should be interested in is autobiographies of famous businessmen and their companies, various “how-to’s” and “expert advice.”
The ideas described in these books may not be as fruitful as the author claims them to be. However, by reading them you can get an epiphany and create an idea for your own business, which may not even be related to the book but inspired by it. You never know when it will happen. But when it happens, you’ll know it.
Another way is to study your competitors and other businesses in general. Create accounts and browse the other websites to see what their customer experience is and if there’s something you can borrow for your own business.
2. Talk to Your Customers (and listen to them)
I mean, literally talk to them. Reach out to some of your customers and ask them if they would like to have a short conversation with your regarding their experience with your product/service/website.
If they agree, call them over the phone or Skype, or even meet them in person. Ten to fifteen minute talk is more than enough to open up a whole new world of product ideas and insights for you. There’s even a methodology in business called Customer Development, which is all about communicating with your customers.
Customer feedback is priceless – you’ll see how people’s perception of your business is different than yours. Based on the information you will get from your clients, you may want to adjust some of the things (pricing, product description, website design) or even come up with another business idea.
Just remember to ask open questions to get as much valuable feedback as possible. For example:
- What do you think about product X?
- What was the most confusing thing about the checkout process?
- Where did you first learn about my website?
Another part of talking is listening. Be sure to read customer feedback every day no matter what and not just pleasant stuff but mostly negative feedback, because that’s where your potential lies.
Deal with every customer complaint like your business depends on it – make sure you get to the bottom of the issue and work out a reasonable solution for the angry client. Some people just want to vent their frustrations and be heard, so make sure you listen to them. Here’s a good article on the subject – “6 Successful Tactics of Dealing with Negative Online Reviews.”
3. Decrease Your Options and Plans
Don’t complicate your customers’ lives with lots of choices and options – they simply want to have fun and shop effortlessly. Do the tedious task of choosing for your customers and present them with the ready-made solution where they just have to click on the button.
If you have a subscription-based service and there several plans, which differ by functionality and price, don’t just throw them all on one page creating cognitive dissonance in the mind of your customer. Be smarter than this.
For example, you could ask your customer a few quick questions and, based on the answer, suggest an appropriate plan, just like they do in most popular music streaming services.
Same for the various multi-step processes you have in your customer experience – the fewer pages your customers will have to open, the higher conversion you will get. Get rid of unnecessary menus and sub-menus, long and complicated registration forms where you ask for your customer’s cat name and so on.
Some of these ideas on how to boost your online business you may get from utilizing the previous strategy by talking to your customers and asking them questions about their experience.
4. Use Limited-Time Sales and Promotions
This is the most overused and, at the same time, underused business strategy of all. The reason for this is simple: it’s in our psychology. People like to be fooled even if they know they’re being fooled.
When you see another “Special Offer Valid Until February 30th Only,” you know that it’s not like they’re not going to have this product in stock after that date. Of course, they will. They might not even change the price in some cases but even if they do change it back to the “regular” one, there will soon be another promotion, even more grandiose.
But the temptation to click on the initial offer is just too strong to resist. So, where all the fuss comes from?
The answer is in our history – for the most part of it, the resources have been pretty scarce and limited. People had to struggle with nature and fight among themselves for every piece of food and other material things. Only for the past hundred years or so, people have finally started to live in a relative prosperity. But the idea of deficit is still there in our minds.
So, when you see another “Limited offer,” your brain thinks “Well, if it’s limited somehow, it’s got to have a greater value than the other, non-limited or less-limited products.” BAM! You’ve just been caught.
Knowing this, don’t be afraid to run constant promotions and limited-time sales. No customer will ever come up to you and say “Hey, you know, there’s too many sales on your website – I don’t like buying stuff cheaper than its regular price.”
5. Invest in Your Current Customers
We all know that it’s much easier to monetize the current client than search for the new ones. People, who have already had some experience with your product and felt mostly satisfied by it, are more likely to make another purchase from you.
The reason is, again, quite simple. The things we’ve invested (our time, energy or money) in we value more than the others.
What is means for you is that you should implement the so-called upsells – things that can go together with the main product. The classic upsell example is a smartphone case. It doesn’t come as a standard option with your smartphone but it’s conveniently located next to the smartphones in your local store, along with headphones and other miscellaneous accessories.
Try to think, what supplementary products or services you can offer your clients. For example, if you sell rabbits online, there should be cages on your website too.
Wait, what about books on how to look after the rabbits? Once someone has bought a rabbit from, he or she has to feed it somehow – partner up with some rabbit food website and get a percentage from every purchase that comes from your referral link.
6. Try as Many New Ideas as Possible
Business is all about trying new things. Once you think you’re all set for life, you’re gone. It’s like riding a bike – either you pedal, or you fall. There is no middle ground.
An innovative approach is what you should honor the most – both in yourself and those who work for you. Whenever there’s a new idea worth trying, you should find a way to test it without investing too much time and money.
For example, you want to sell chinchillas on your rabbit website as well, but how do you know if people will buy them? Of course, you could actually purchase a few chinchillas, create a new page on your website, run a promotional campaign etc. But is there an easier way?
Well, you might as well create a new product image, description and set a price on your website. But once a customer clicks on the “Purchase” button, you will show him or her a message saying “Thanks for taking interest in chinchillas. We have them coming soon!” or similar.
Then, all you have to do is calculate the percentage of those took interest. If it’s less than 1% of all page visitors for the specified time period, then it’s not worth wasting your time.
7. Experiment… with Everything!
Same as the previous strategy – set your mind free for the new opportunities. No one knows for sure what will work and what won’t – not you, not me, not even the most successful businessman ever.
That’s why you should do as many experiments as possible – as long as it makes sense. Here are some of the most obvious things you can experiment with:
- landing page design
- call to action phrases and other copy (I’ve even got an article on that – “15 Tips How to Create a Call To Action That Will Double Your CTR”)
- product images
In this article, I’ve outlined some of the tried-and-true strategies on how to boost your online business and achieve great results without investing a fortune. Do try these strategies on your business and remember not to expect quick one-day results.
Be a patient hunter, and you’ll be rewarded with a massive prey.
The right thing to do would be share this article with your friends on the social networks – just click on one of the icons of social media, it’s that easy.
If you have further questions on the subject, please write them in comments – I’ll be glad to answer.
For the further reading, be sure to check my articles: