Thursday, May 26, 2016

10 Ways to Increase the Reach, Popularity and Success of your Business

Are you having a hard time finding folks who want what you’ve got? It could be time to (re) evaluate the state of your business. There’s no shame in wanting to improve the reach, popularity and success of your business. You can -- and should -- make time to investigate where you’re falling short.

Wherever they go, you go. If your business is in a competitive marketplace, especially if your model includes a storefront, it might be worth considering moving communities to be closer to your primary audience.  If you can’t or don’t see a move as a manageable option, pursue your audience via marketing. Where does your customer base or potential clientele spend their free time? How do they travel to work? Maintain a presence through advertising to passively get your message in front of your ideal crowd.

Show up. It’s vital that your product and services are positioned in the right places online, in order to get noticed by your target demographic. BBB’s online Accredited Business directory serves as a reservoir of trustworthy businesses for the consumer when they make a purchasing decision. Will a potential client find you listed as Accredited? 83% of people are more likely to purchase from a business displaying the BBB Accreditation Seal. Plus, 7 out of 10 consumers prefer to do ‪‎business‬ with a BBB Accredited Business.

If you’re using social media to connect with potential customers (and you should be), don’t forget about YouTube. Producing how-to’s on topics that relate to your business or helpful tips trending in the industry can be excellent for framing your business as a marketplace leader. Demonstrating use of your product, your business’ participation in events you support in the community, and testimonials of your current customers sharing positive experiences are all worthwhile video content to further your reach.

Elementary, my dear business owner. Always err on the side of simple when it comes to messaging. Short customer attention spans are an obstacle all businesses face. With that said, thank you for continuing to read this post! Overcome the customer’s tendency to move on by keeping your message straightforward. Also, make it easy to share, so they can spread the word on social media when they “like” it. Shed all the fluffy stuff while painting a clear picture of what you’re offering and how it will solve their problem(s).

Yo, I’ll solve it. Speaking of which, is your product or service in fact solving a problem for the customer? Because, this is gold. Measure the importance of this concept in gold doubloons and it would be worth, well, A LOT. If you aren’t sure that you’re providing a solution for your customers, try polling them to determine if you’re filling a need. Social media makes conducting a survey painless.  Or, when you send email to your customers, ask them to write you a Customer Review. You’ll get priceless feedback on their experience, while they share what they’ve learned with others. 92% of consumers read reviews. They give you a leg-up on the competition and, bonus, it’s free marketing. Is your customer service stellar or stinking? Is the product or service living up to its promises? Find areas for improvement via what your loyal customers are saying and apply it to getting more exposure for your business. Brilliant.

Shout it from the rooftops. Once you establish what problems you’re good at solving, communicate this to the universe. Your social media accounts, blog and newsletter can be great vehicles to tell your story. If there’s a benefit -- such as the aforementioned problem-solving powers -- you offer, unlike others in your space or just one your customers love, highlight it! It could be your turnaround time on shipping orders, a “hidden gem” use for a product, or simply how effective your service has proven to be. Whatever it is, leverage it! Don’t be keep it a secret.

Comparison shop. Look at other businesses in your space, or one with a similar business model, or better yet -- one you admire. What is that thriving business doing to get their product or service into the hands of the people who want it most? How can you differentiate what you offer from what they offer? It’s never too late and always wise to be up to date on what “the others” are doing. Check out business(es) on to see what complaints they have against them and what the issues focus on. Maybe there’s something missing in their business model that you have. Oh, and make sure you’re responding to your complaints, too. Sometimes a complaint is just a misunderstanding. Addressing it in a timely manner could alleviate an issue altogether and potentially offer insight into your business.

Convert them with care (and class). Make it easy for customers to leave the competition. Once you highlight your big benefit or service and it catches on, welcome them with open arms. Offer a new customer a sneak peek at your latest product or maybe it’s free shipping on their first order. Most importantly, if they leave someone else to choose you -- it’s imperative that you deliver. Be careful what measures you take to entice them. Biting off more than you can chew when luring in competitor’s clientele could come back to bite you. No one wants to try a new product or service, only to be disappointed.

Take advantage of your assets. Draw from your business’ strengths such as talented staff, a strong Board of Directors, connections in the industry or healthy financial backing. Tweak what needs tweaking, by using your existing resources. One free and easy-to-execute but easy-to-overlook strategy? Looking to your employees for answers. Your team is on the front lines dealing with the customer day-to-day and learning firsthand what isn’t working. What do they think could be at the root of the issue? They could hold the key to getting your brand into the right hands.
Don’t close the door on change. Just because you’ve been doing something for 10 years, doesn’t mean you should keep on keepin’ on. For example, be mindful of your sales cycle. When is product moving? When is it stagnant? If something isn’t selling and weighing you down, consider taking it out of the pipeline. If that invites anxiety over the thought of unsold merchandise, try creating a demand. Offers like “limited time only” could go a long way in moving product to be phased out. The market evolves and your business needs to as well.  Intimidating to-do lists are the hardest to tackle but the reward is far greater than the medial ones. Embrace change and look at it as an opportunity, especially if the writing’s on the wall that something needs to give.

Be the best, around. Ultimately, focus on what you do best. And if you’ve realized that you aren’t, get back to basics. Determine what it is that makes you unique and build from there. You already know what your strengths and weaknesses are because you asked your existing clientele. Use that feedback to determine how the customer benefits from choosing you and share it with the ones you’re trying to reach.

BBB’s News and Opinion Blog serves as your source for business topics and industry news like tips on hiring for your small business and ways to grow engagement with your audience using social media. For more information you can trust, visit us at, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Written by Stephanie Benz, Senior Social Media Associate for Better Business Bureau Serving E. Massachusetts, ME, RI & VT.