Entrepreneurship is as thrilling as it is unpredictable. While new businesses burst into the scene brimming with promise and potential, they are also more vulnerable. Macroeconomic developments, supply chain disruptions, and other barriers to growth can challenge small and medium sized businesses in ways that larger companies are often protected from, requiring different strategies.
But this vulnerability is also what ignites innovation, resilience, and adaptability. The agile nature of small businesses allows them to shift gears faster, spot opportunities in niches, and foster a closer relationship with their customer base. The duality of vulnerability and agility characterizes the strategies of small business growth.
Small business growth strategies
To take advantage of the strengths inherent to their size and structure, small businesses need a set of growth strategies tailored to their unique needs. Let’s dive into six business ideas that have the potential to transform your challenges into stepping stones toward success.
1. Elevate your brand with exceptional customer service
Quality products alone aren’t a guarantee of success. The experience surrounding them plays an essential role — Zendesk’s CX Trends Report shows that 70% of consumers are willing to spend more with businesses that provide fluid, personalized, and seamless customer experiences.
Exceptional customer service establishes trust, encourages repeat purchases, and can help you turn casual shoppers into brand evangelists. For small businesses, where a personal touch and positive customer relationships often matter most, delivering stellar service can be a key differentiator.
Be proactive in helping customers solve issues, educating them about your products, and anticipating their needs and concerns. Make it easy for them to provide feedback, and regularly analyze it to make meaningful improvements to your products and the overall shopping experience. If your budget allows, adopt automation technology like chatbots for immediate responses or CRM systems to maintain a history of customer interactions.
When the opportunity arises, exceed expectations and go the extra mile for your customers. Surprise them with gestures that showcase your appreciation, whether that’s a personalized thank you note or occasional loyalty rewards.
2. Maximize content reach with syndication tools
The internet is saturated with content. Trying to reach new customers often feels like screaming into the void, especially when working with limited resources. Enter content syndication, a strategic approach to republishing content across various platforms, magnifying its reach and potential impact.
Syndication tools are like a megaphone. They allow you to broadcast content more widely and make it work harder, capturing audiences that might otherwise be left untapped. The right tools also help safeguard your reputation, ensuring that syndicated content is authentic and compliant.
For example, Bazaarvoice’s Retail Syndication product helps businesses worldwide amplify the impact of their reviews and product images. Thanks to syndication efforts, Andi-Co’s Falcon products saw 690x reviews on retailer sites, and 81% of Samsonite’s products now have high-quality, moderated reviews across different sales channels.
3. Boost local presence with SEO optimization
For many small businesses, the local community is the primary market. Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a prime strategy to drive brand awareness and establish a foothold in that community — 77% of consumers in Germany, France, the UK, and the US turn to Google for local business information.
It’s not just about showing up in search results but also ranking high. The top three Google search results get nearly 55% of all clicks, so landing a spot in the top results increases traffic, both online and offline.
Start by conducting local keyword research. Tools like Ahrefs and Google’s Keyword Planner help you find terms your competitors rank for or keywords relevant to your business. For example, a bakery in Berlin might focus on keywords like “best Berlin bread” or “gluten-free pastries in Berlin.” Once you identify the most relevant terms, incorporate them into your website content, meta descriptions, and titles.
Update your Google Business Profile with accurate data about products, business hours, and contact information to show Google your business is authentic and provide a seamless experience to searchers.
Also, make sure to optimize your website for mobile. Google research reveals that “Where to buy” + “near me” mobile searches are increasing exponentially, so make sure your design is responsive, the fonts are readable, the CTA buttons easy to spot, and the navigation menu a breeze to use.
Don’t forget to optimize your social channels for SEO, either. Social media is fast-becoming the new search engine, with younger generations using it ahead of Google to find products. You can learn more about social media SEO here.
4. Improve customer retention and acquisition with email marketing
For all the proclamations about its demise, email is one of the best strategies to drive small business growth. Email marketing continues to rise from the great beyond and help businesses expand, engage, and retain their customers. According to Statista projections, email marketing revenue is on track to surpass $13 billion in 2025.
Email is a direct line of communication to your target audience, allowing you to deliver personalized content, offers, and updates right to the inboxes of current and potential customers. And unlike digital ads, email campaigns can be executed on a shoestring budget yet yield impressive results.
The first step is building a quality email list. Create an opt-in form for your website where you provide compelling reasons for visitors to subscribe. This could be exclusive offers, discount codes, or early access to new products. The sign-up process should be straightforward, so keep form fields to a minimum.
When building your campaigns, remember that segmentation is key. Split your email list based on criteria like purchase history, website behavior (like abandoned carts), or demographic data to keep the content relevant to the recipients and improve click-through rates (CTRs.)
Check out these top email marketing tips for a complete rundown of the strategies that lead to higher conversions.
5. Build resilience with diversified revenue streams
In the world of business, the adage “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” translates to the importance of diversifying revenue streams. Spreading your sources of income helps you mitigate risk and ensure stability. If one revenue stream underperforms or collapses, others can compensate, shielding you from economic downturns or seasonal fluctuations.
This strategy also helps you remain nimble. In a rapidly changing business environment, having multiple revenue streams allows you to pivot and adapt more easily to shifts in market demand. Some approaches to consider include:
- Product diversification and expansion. Introduce new offerings that complement your existing products. For example, a coffee shop might sell a product line consisting of branded merchandise or start hosting events
- Online/offline ventures. If you’re brick-and-mortar only, consider establishing an online presence or offering digital products, and vice-versa
- Subscription models. Offer subscription services to ensure recurring monthly revenue
- Passive income streams. Consider avenues like an affiliate marketing strategy, licensing, or investing in assets that can generate ongoing revenue.
- Strategic partnerships. Collaborate with complementary businesses to co-create products, sponsor events, or share retail space
6. Harness the authenticity of user-generated content
Authenticity is the distinguishing factor that captures consumer attention. User-generated content (UGC), which encompasses any form of content created by existing customers rather than brands, is how you build that authenticity. It provides a relatable and trusted perspective on products, crucial to driving growth — 77% of consumers are more inclined to buy from a brand that incorporates UGC into their marketing.
A UGC strategy can be implemented at little cost, but its impact on brand trust and conversions is substantial. Sourcing content is often the most challenging part, but you can launch initiatives like branded hashtags, product sampling campaigns, and review request emails to get the ball rolling. There are also UGC creators you can partner with for faster results.
Integrate this rich UGC across various touchpoints in the customer journey to maximize its effects. Product pages come alive with real reviews, photos, and videos from customers. Incorporating UGC into email campaigns can elevate conversion rates. UGC is also be a powerful element in social commerce, lending authenticity to promotional social media content.
The engine that powers small business growth
One of the best strategies to drive growth as a small business is to partner with the right platform. Bazaarvoice isn’t just a leader in UGC — we’re a dedicated partner for small businesses. We understand the unique nuances, opportunities, and challenges that SMBs face. Our approach is tailored, ensuring that our expertise becomes a tangible asset in your growth journey.
From seamless implementation to round-the-clock support, our commitment is unwavering. Request a demo today, and let’s chart a growth plan to your next level of success.Request a demo