Even though it can be confusing to know how to grow your business in this digital world, one thing no-one can say is that there is not enough information available.
We are saturated with information all the time. The issue is that you have to find the path that works for you. There is not one silver bullet, one defined way to grow your business and take it to the next level.
It's easy to look at the successes of others, check out the strategy they've used, try to implement it yourself and wait...you may see some initial results, then it all goes quiet.
The reason: Your business is not their business. It worked for them for a number of reasons. It could be that they:
executed the strategy more consistently than you
have a much larger network than you
have more staff than you
are simply more motivated
have greater experience to deal with issues arising
It could be any number of reasons not mentioned. You see your business is unique, defined by you–the business owner; the sum of experience you have; your motivations and drive.
You will not be exactly the same as that £5o million turnover, 30 year old business who has a different set of challenges and has a very different story to you.
But likewise, you will not be the same as the business who has the same turnover as you, has been running for a similar length of time to you, and has the same number of employees as you. Every business is different.
One of the things we do in our digital marketing coaching sessions is to work through your unique point of difference. What is it that sets you apart from others. This will help show what is going to work for you. Let's take a few examples.
Social network or not-work?
Instagram is extremely popular at the moment. With some 600 million users, 400 million of these are active every day. You can understand why many are clamouring to get on the Insta-bandwagon.
Some people I know have become very successful due to their use of this popular marketing tool. They post consistently, sharing high quality posts that resonate and connect with their audience. They engage with their followers, doing all the things that we and most digital marketers would recommend.
This social network MAY be perfect for you. BUT, also it may not. For a start, your target audience may simply not be using it. Also, if you're not used to regularly posting on any social media channel–which is the case for many small business owners-you will not be in the mindset of how it all works.
Many of us digital marketers will also tell you that blogging is a great way to build up your audience, drive traffic to your site and grow your business. In fact, we are on page one of Google for 'brand clarity' due to our blogs. I believe in it and it's what I'm doing right now and, well...you're reading this so it works at some level!
But, you may not be the kind of person who is used to sharing what you've learnt; sharing news about your business. It may not come naturally to you. You may implement a blogging strategy, but not see the results from it.
Find What Comes Naturally
I could also have mentioned other social media channels, SEO, landing pages, assessing your website design and user experience and podcasting amongst other lead generators.
But the one question you should ask yourself is 'what comes more naturally to me?' This can help define the motivation you have for taking consistent action. If you don't really believe in something, you're not going to keep it up.
For example if you write a personal blog, or write regularly in some other way, it's easier to transfer this to your business, to use the skill and shape it to the needs of your business audience.
I wasn't writing a blog years ago, but I have been writing a sci-fi novella since 2010. So transferring those skills to blogging comes more naturally to me.
Likewise, if you're regularly posting on social media personally, it's much easier to tweak this to post messages for your business. Starting is easier with something you are more used to.
But if you're doing neither, then the keyword is experiment. Learn that new skill, but have a mindset that treats it as an experiment–that it's not a silver bullet. It may be the skill in tandem with other things that drive your business to the next level.