If your business is made up of only you, and you’re searching for ways to make it look bigger so you can compete, here’s a little reassurance: Did you know that a 25-year-old started Tiffany & Co. with just $1,000 from his father? And many of today’s powerhouse tech companies, like Apple and Amazon, started in the most humble of garages.
The truth is: All businesses start small. And it’s not always about an original idea or unique product or service that helps that company to breakthrough. There were jewelers before Tiffany’s and booksellers before Amazon.
What makes them different? It’s the experience they provide to their customers. It’s also about how they present themselves, and often, those two things can go together. Starting with both of these aspects while you’re still small will help you build a lasting foundation as you bring more people onto your team.
Here are some quick and convincing tips on how to make your business look bigger than it is.
Think in terms of first impressions. Where do your customers see you first? Most likely, it’s online in a Google search. So let’s start there and work through your customer’s journey.
Consistent Online Listings. You want to be sure that you not only show up on listings pages, like Yelp, Yahoo, Google, etc., but that the information in those listings is consistent. Pay attention to details — they matter.
If your Yelp page has one set of hours and your Google My Business listing has different hours, you’re going to confuse your potential customers and, well, just look sloppy. This applies to your social media channels, too. Yes, this is a time investment, but it’s critical.
Also, when it comes to your listings, use a real street address rather than a P.O. Box, if possible. While you may not want to list your home address (if you’re working out of your garage like Steve Jobs did back in the day), your Google search research will be drastically limited when consumers are conducting searches for local businesses.
Your website. Typically, the second place people land is on your website. We can’t stress enough how important it is to invest in a good-looking website that performs well on a mobile phone.
Consumers will judge you harshly if your site looks like it’s from 1994. Invest as much as you can to put your most polished foot forward.
Here are some critical elements your website should include:
- Clear, concise, short content. And use “We” instead of “I” (even if it’s just you).
- Your contact information or a contact page that’s linked at the top of your website’s home page.
- Good photos and at least one video that showcases what you do or sell. Record it on your phone, upload it to YouTube and post it to your site. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to be there.
- A call to action. Add a form to collect the email addresses of your prospective customers, even if you don’t have an email program set up yet (that’s next). Your call to action can be something like: Get notified about sales and promos. Sign up for news and updates. Join our community. In your form, ask for a first name so you can personalize your marketing later.
Email marketing. Once you’ve collected some email addresses, it’s time to start the conversation. But wait. What did you say your email address was? Does it end in @gmail.com? We know this is a good, free route, but it’s Red Flag No. 1 that you’re just getting started. Invest in a domain or utilize a platform that allows you to use a professional, domain-based Gmail account.
Now that you look the part, create an email marketing plan that matches your business’s personality and helps you achieve your goals. Your competitors of all sizes are working this game, so it’s time for you to dive in, too.
Write email content that sounds like you — be friendly, warm and inviting. Add photos of your business in action. The more authentic, the better.
Since you’ve collected their first names in your form, be sure to personalize the email with an email marketing automation platform. This not only adds a personal touch but delivers much better performance, in terms of getting them to open the email in the first place. And makes you look like a pro.
Professional interactions. Now that you’ve got their business, utilize tools that look more professional — we’re talking about going digital.
Sending digital estimates and invoices via email, collecting payments online or through mobile (even through text message), email follow-ups to say “thanks for your business” … you get the picture.
Find ways to utilize technology to digitize your transactions, and you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Follow Up Like a Pro
Reviews. Once the job is done, it’s time to ask for a review. This isn’t the end of the journey … it actually will help start new journeys with new customers.
Reviews are powerful. It’s often the first thing people see when conducting their search (see Online Listings above).
The more reviews you have, the more prospective clients will trust you before they even interact with you. And even if you get negative reviews, if you stay on top of them and respond to your detractors, it will show new folks that you care enough to protect your reputation.
This may seem like an area you need to build later, but in terms of creating the appearance of looking like a bigger business — there’s no better place to start.
Want to make it easy? Thryv’s Google Review Link Generator will provide you with a unique link just for your business. You can email or text message it to your customers and ask for a review. Make this a consistent, regular habit.
Make It Easier on Yourself
The common link between all these interactions is utilizing technology to help you look like a pro running a business that’s bigger than just you.
We’ve heard from many small business owners who say that using a centralized platform like Thryv that allows them to connect listings, schedule appointments online, automate email marketing, accept payments and request reviews is the game-changer they were looking for.
Here’s what Kimberly Whiter, CEO and co-founder of Elder Care Solutions says about using Thryv:
It’s all very streamlined … and you just come across looking very polished.
Ready to learn more and look like the pro you are? Chat with a Thryv specialist today.