Some time ago, I started to feel a bit depressed about the fact that my business was growing slowly. I had opened my shop a couple of weeks earlier and despite the fact that I had worked really hard every day to make it grow, it was not growing fast enough for me!
Of course, when we’re getting ready to open our online shop, we believe that as soon as we hit the “publish” button, everybody is going to rush to buy our wonderful products! Unfortunately, that’s not the reality!
So, to get out of feeling depressed, I decided to investigate and do some research on ways to shake things up a little bit and also increase my sales numbers.
I want to share the results of my research with you. Here are the reasons why your business may be stuck.
You didn’t identify your target audience and you are not putting your efforts in the right place
In my last blog post, I gave you resources to get a complete grasp of your business and to get to know your target audience using an editable questionnaire. That step is crucial in order to put your efforts in the right place. You have to direct your publicity and your web presence to where your target audience is likely to be.
For example, if you’re selling beauty products, you’re not going to waste your time targeting male teenagers, knowing that they are not ideal customers at all. You’re going to target women around 18 to 60 years of age by, for example, getting publicity in women’s magazines or in a Facebook group intended for that target audience. That’s just common sense.
Your approach lacks of authenticity
As I mentioned it in a previous post called “15 steps to establishing your brand,” people are looking for originality, authenticity, and values that are close to theirs. Your clients want to know ‘personal’ details about your life. For example, a shop that you visited lately that you liked, an activity you did with friends that you want to share because it made you happy, or a recent purchase from a local artist who you like. You have to talk to them like you would talk to a friend; they want to feel close to you.
You don’t promote your products and services or your content
If you don’t promote yourself and if you are not being spoken about, people won’t find you by chance. You have to attract them to you and yes, it takes effort – it’s not magic!
Also, you have to let your clients know about all the products and services that you offer. If people don’t know about them, they won’t think about you when they have a need you could fill.
For example, a company for which I worked had been doing business with a client for about 10 years. One day, the client asked us our opinion about a promotional video that another firm had produced for him. We asked ourselves why he didn’t ask us to do it. . When we asked the client, it turned out he didn’t know that we were offering that service. It’s at that moment that we realized that there was a gap in conveying the services we offered and we made adjustments.
The same concept applies to your blog. You have to let your clients know that you offer useful and, most importantly, free information. This valuable way to communicate will grow traffic on your website and consequently increase people’s confidence in your business and drive your sales!
You stay in your comfort zone
You have to break the mold! Don’t stay in your comfort zone. Take a step back in order to analyze what your business strengths and gaps are. Challenge some of your assumptions! Change your perceptions and see things differently.
Try to test a new direction or new tools, and maybe you will discover areas that will help you grow your business!
You don’t take the opinions of your entourage and your peers’ into account
Yes, it’s YOUR business and you’re the boss, but sometimes if you listen carefully to people around you, it can let you see the other side of the coin. Of course, you have to ask the right people, people who will give you constructive comments. How your business is perceived by others could lead to learning about new needs that your business could fill, as well as getting to know what your clients think about your company.
Your products and services don’t offer anything different or special
How are you different from your competition? Think about it. There is certainly at least one aspect of your business that adds value. Do you use special materials? Do you have a specific style or work with an underdeveloped theme? Do you offer personalization of your products? Do you offer extras?
Focus on your differences to narrow your products and services in order to create value. It will allow you to stand out from your competitors!
You don’t have a blog
Mistake! A blog is a very useful tool to communicate with your clients and it allows you to offer them extras. Also, it helps your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) it allows you to establish a relationship of trust with your clients and it positions you as a leader in your industry, thus helping you to create opportunities to share your content.
This tool is a must!
You don’t have a newsletter
Newsletters are very useful for communicating directly with your clients whenever you want. You can use it to promote a new product or sale, generate sales, promote your social media, grow traffic on your website, etc.
Also, it allows you to get closer to your clients and make sure they don’t forget you! Newsletters are essential!
Your brand is not uniform
Your client has to be able to recognize your style at first sight. It is very important to be recognizable by your clients: you don’t want them to lose you and work with your competitors! Your colours, your fonts, your graphics, your photographic style, etc., has to be perfectly uniform. Use well-known terms in your branding and also in your descriptions.
For example, I use “Handmade Happiness” as a catchword. It always appears the same way on my social media and on my Etsy shop. And I always convey the same image of my business everywhere so people get to recognize my company easily.
You’re not on social media
Social media are a very valuable resource for your business. They are useful on many levels, but mostly they are used to make sure your clients (and leads) don’t forget about you, to increase trust in your business and reinforce your online presence and reputation.
You can explore one or many social media that connect with your target audience and choose those you are the most comfortable with.
You don’t take care of your SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is essential to help your clients find you on the web. Whether it’s a search engine like Google or using Pinterest, you have to utilize this tool to the fullest. You can easily find WordPress plugins or tutorials that teach you how to get a good SEO to your Etsy shop or your Pinterest account. Many websites offer tips to help you. Of course, the SEO has to be well executed and it can be complex for a newbie. You can always ask a professional to help you.
Here’s a small test: do a Google search of your business. Explore all the links that lead to your website and to your social media profiles. Try to work on your SEO to see if the results change on Google. And keep in mind that you also have to consider the time factor. The longer your website is online, the more traffic there will be and the greater number of external links leading to it. All are important aspects to consider.
You’re not physically near your public
Not so long ago, the web didn’t exist (pity!) and entrepreneurs had to double the efforts to promote their business. They had to be everywhere at the same time to represent their company.
Don’t neglect this marketing technique. Be seen at craft fairs or in the marketplace. Sell your products in stores that you like, participate in conferences or luncheons, work with a charity and make real allies. It’s worth a try!
You don’t seek out media and magazines
Free publicity by a public figure can give a boost to your business! Know how to identify influencers, media or magazines that could help you make sales and grow your audience.
Prepare a media kit that you can show to anyone interested in your company. Create alliances with people who are important in your industry. Maybe you could send samples to people who are likely to help you.
That could give you the little push you need!
You are not evolving in your field
You think you know everything in your field? That’s a mistake that could cost you! Don’t be scared to educate yourself and take training courses to deepen your knowledge. Maybe you could partner with a mentor who could help you make your business evolve. Do online searches and readings to shake things up a little! In short, try different options!
You don’t network
Maintaining a relationship with your peers is another way to get people to talk about you. Whether it’s in person, in associations or during training, forging links could always bring you future sales. Also, consider LinkedIn, a leader in the art of connecting people in the industry.
The reasons listed above are all worth considering. Make a plan and explore each one to see if it relates to your company.
Like me, you want things to go faster, but remember that success rarely happens overnight! And don’t forget that every entrepreneurial experience is rewarding in itself, that you are gaining experience, and that you will come out of it stronger!
Do you have solutions that helped your business get unstuck? Please share your experience and advice!
See you soon!