It’s no secret that growing an online business is tough work. It doesn’t matter what niche or market sector you operate in, growing an online business takes a lot of hard work. Most of the articles you read online talk about growth and strategy, but you rarely get actionable steps you can use.

In this article, I’m talking about actionable steps you can start today that will help build the foundation of your growth.

1. Implementing SEO

Everyone with an online business knows a little about SEO. However, if you want to grow your online business, you need to know search engine optimization through and through. Or at least know this;

  • Always target one main keyword per page
  • Always make sure that keyword has search volume
  • Make sure your target keyword is what your target audience uses
  • Target that keyword with content on your website
  • Make sure your article is the best resource for the keyword
  • Start outreach and building relationships for backlinks (outreach below)

The most common mistake I see business owners making is not correctly targeting a keyword or their content is mediocre. In SEO and Online Marketing, your content has to be amazing. Refocus your target keywords and make your content better. You will see results. The biggest key to SEO remains link building, most SEOs fail because they can’t secure enough quality backlinks to improve a site’s SEO value. As long as you content is relative today, utilize it for new content, a new ebook or a new optin.

Action – Revamp old content to make it better. Start implementing the strategy of 1 main keyword per article and focus on amazing quality content. Find new keywords, make sure they have volume and build a content map with all keywords you target. Focus on quality and not quantity. Each artilcle you put out needs to be better then the first page ranking websites for any chosen keyword. You need authority backlinks to see first page and quality matters.

2. Outreach

After a decade helping online businesses grow, I can say outreach is one of the most important factors to growing a business. Get out there today and start making friends. Don’t just comment, be authentic and build real genuine relationships with peers in your industry. Those of you that do this successfully, you’ll open the doors of opportunity in a time and age where the sky is the limit.

Target platforms with high traffic volume, target influencers in your industry and make connections. This will help you build credibility, trust and branded relationships for your business. If you take a genuine interest in a person, they could return the favor.

Action – Start making genuine relationships with platforms and people in your industry. Comment on their work, write an article about them or send them an email. Start doing this daily. Build genuine relationships, no short-cuts here. Don’t expect everyone to contact you back. And those that do, don’t push your favors early in the relationship. If you take a genuine interest in them, they can do the same for you. Make it mandatory to meet someone new every day.

3. Coop Marketing

Your outreach campaigns will help you find coop marketing opportunities. If a business owner or company is willing to work with you, it can benefit you both. However, you need your ducks in a row. If you have terrible content and no trust, you won’t earn these relationships.

So before you go out and start looking for marketing partners, make sure your own business is doing things right. Focus on the quality of your website, accurate business address and make sure your content is complete. Anything you can be judged for, you will, so make sure it’s covered.

With coop marketing, outreach, guest post and influencer marketing, you MUST build personal relationships first. This will increase your conversion. You can never have too many friends. I love hearing success stories and learning new things, this must become a ritual in your routine. The foundation of this step is making personal relationships and nurturing them. Period.

Action – Once your website and business information is up to standard, start targeting marketing opportunities with other businesses or people. Keep within your industry and start a contact list. A friendly message via social media is usually a great way to start. Don’t push your product or service on them in the first email. Anyone with an influencer status will see between the lines. There’s all kinds of great thought leaders out there and you need to become one if you want to take your business next level.

4. Social Media

Sure, we all know social media can grow a business. How’s it working for you? If you answered “not so well,” it’s time to evaluate what you’re doing on your social platforms.

The most common mistake I see is post screaming buy, buy, buy. No wonder nobody is interested with what you have to say. Your social media platforms need to provide value first. Remember, it’s always about the user, not your business. It’s all about building relationships and getting personal with customers. Trust me on this, customers will appreciate this. Humanize your brand and if you’re not, start today.

If your social media posting isn’t getting you anywhere, it’s time to shake things up.

Action – Start using your social media channels to give value to users. Quit pushing them to buy from you. Only 20 percent of your post should be about your business. The other 80 percent should give value, be helpful and answer questions users may have. Switch up your post, track what does best and implement it more into your social media marketing strategy.

5. Social Media Networking

Another great way to use social media to grow your business is through social networking. Like outreach, you need to go make more meaningful relationships. Social media often gets better results with outreach than email. In fact, when you do outreach, social media is probably the best way to go about it.

Action – For this action, I’m referring to your business accounts. Go build brand awareness by engaging your social media platforms. Leave comments, like, share, tweet, do it all. Be helpful with your comments and offer value. Most importantly, build real relationships. You’ll continue to hear me say this because relationships are the most important element. Sure, your message, delivery, all of that plays a vital role. However, you must connect with others on a personal level.

6. Guest Content

Guest content and content submissions are great for a number of different reasons. For one, it allows you to build new channels for referral traffic. it allows you to target another platform’s traffic. You get SEO perks through backlinks and it can help build your credibility.

The key to remember, your content needs to be great. Boring content doesn’t work, if your content has no value, you’ll get turned down. Create content that helps others, give them actionable steps to take just like this article.

Action – Target relative platforms that you can submit content to. Probably best to keep them industry related unless it’s a large publication platform. Give them your best content, make it fun, make it useful and make it valuable. This will also help build your thought leader portfolio.

7. Video Marketing

I’m always amazed by how many businesses actually don’t use video marketing as means to grow their business. Video is a powerful tool to use and with giant platforms such as YouTube for a platform, video marketing just makes sense.

Users connect more to a video over reading content. Videos often perform better in search engines (ranking keywords). It allows you to do slideshows, events, how-to videos and it will help your business grow. If you’re not marketing videos, it’s time to get started.

Action – Start a YouTube account and channel for your business. Get your first video published. You know what you do, think about your user and giving them value. Get it up, build an article with it and publish it on your website. All of us are an expert at something. If you can provide value to the end user while still being on point with your message

8. Build Your Web Traffic

Every growing business needs traffic to grow. Depending on the level of your business, you may be at different stages of the development process. Building traffic to your website still needs to be focused around bringing in your target customer.

I can’t stress this enough, but keep the end user in mind. Make sure your users know exactly what you do with a detailed homepage, since a large percentage of your traffic will come from the homepage.

If you’re just starting your business, or have been struggling to gain traffic, try implementing the actions below.

Action – Most web traffic comes from social media platforms, make sure you’re active on multiple social media channels with direct access to your website. Make sure you’re targeting keywords with search volume for SEO. Consider using Facebook ads and Google Adsense to drive traffic and conversions. Commenting on other websites associated to your own can help build trust, readership and subscribers. Make sure you have a strong COA to collect emails and build appropriate list. Most importantly, you need what I call the “Value Factor.” Users want value, customers want value. If your website is not delivering something of value, it can struggle to gain traffic and traction.

9. Thought Leadership

Most people are an expert at something. Thought leadership is persuasive and influential. Being a thought leader can help you establish strong business relationships and opportunities. Nearly every topic online has been covered, many time and time again. The question, how can you be different from everyone else? How can you cover the topic better?

Reaching out to other influencers is one way of building your credibility and trust. When customers trust you, their more likely to buy. Earning that trust is another story. Communication is the key behind influence. If influencers are talking about you and your business, it can instantly change the course of your business forever. Influence is power.

Action: Display your thought leadership through high quality content, articles, videos, podcast. Start building relationships with influencers in your industry, be genuine about these relationships. Take the time to comment on their work and content. Mention their work in your content. You can target websites that get a lot of traffic, this can send traffic your way. Building authority relationships will open the doors of opportunity. Building trust and credibility can take time, but these are the beginning steps. When you earn their trust, you can then earn their business.

10. Branding

Most of you already know the importance of branding.

70-90 percent of your visitors are destined to NEVER return to your website again. Here’s how you can get more people to stay on your website.

  • Visually appealing graphics
  • Clean site design
  • User-friendly navigation menu
  • Exit popup
  • Get straight to the point
  • Fast loading speeds
  • Strong COA

Action: Look at the way you’re branding your website. Can you do better? If so, make the effort. This won’t be an overnight change for most of you. However, it will help you start growing more business today. For now, head over to Canvas and make you a branded blog image for your post. Make sure your branding is the same

11. Ask For Feedback

Some of the best solutions and problem solving strategies can come directly from your users and audience. All you have to do is ask them! Surveys, polls, reviews, customer support, all of this data can be helpful as long as you’re asking the right questions. It can be as simple as you want it.

  • What did you like most about our product/service?
  • Were they anything you didn’t like about this product/service?

While this is just an example, these are two basic questions that can give you the answers you need to improve your service or a specific product. The more detailed you can get, the better.

  • Out of the 3 features on our app, which did you like the most and why?
  • Is it easier for you to find our product features now since we changed the homepage?

You always want a system in place that allows for optimization and growth. Getting data feedback allows you to do this.

If you don’t have a survey or poll to ask specific questions to get data points, take the time to create one. Another advantage to this besides the data is the fact that a large percentage of your audience will appreciate you asking for their thoughts. It’s another method of building relationships with your audience, gives you invaluable data and makes your audience feel that their opinion matters. Most importantly, it gives you the feedback you need to make your products/services better.

Final Thoughts

I hope you take these 11 steps serious as I promise they will help you grow your business. I’ve been marketing for a long time. I will tell you what helped me along the way, it was when I started thinking about the user first and my business second. Try that approach, it may work for you better.

Through marketing and other strategies, we’re able to reach our target audience and begin communication lines. It allows us to focus on branding and optimizing the systems we have in place.