Business On A Budget

When it comes to online business, it doesn’t matter what niche your business is in, there is fierce competition consuming the marketplace and you’ve really got to pull out all the stops if you want a piece of the pie. 

But how does a small fish grow and compete with an ocean full of sharks and whales you ask?

There are so many ways and resources that can be considered and can assist you with expanding your reach that won’t break the bank. The following points are just a few concepts to get you started, but because we have an abundance of knowledge, this topic will be broken into numerous segments. 

To get the ball rolling, here is the first handful of concepts to consider for business expansion on a budget;

International Reach
Are your potential customers local or global? If your business caters to the masses of the world, now may be the time to consider implementing translated versions of your site to reach more viewers. While English is the 2nd most spoken language in the world with roughly 983 million speakers, languages such as Spanish (527 million speakers), Portuguese and French (both with 229 million speakers) represents over 985 million additional resources for which your product and service can appeal to. By implementing translation in your site’s navigation, you will require translation services + someone capable of implementing the new language copy into the pages of your site. Most reliable translation companies charge per word translated, which helps to maintain a reasonable cost to obtain and complete this concept. 

Mobile Capability
As time progresses, so does technology and this means ensuring that your website remains up to date. In 2018 it was reported that 70% of web traffic generated within the US was received from mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets. Furthermore, according to statista.com on average, when a website is viewed from a mobile device, if it takes longer than 4 seconds for a webpage to load, you are at 95% risk of that consumer seeking an alternative to provide their inquiry. Consequently, this plays a huge factor in any online business. If you have not checked your website from a mobile device lately, how can you know what sort of experience your consumers are receiving?
Ensuring that your website is mobile responsive with all applicable devices (android, windows or IOS) is essential to keeping up with the demand and is as easy as picking up your phone and checking how your site is displayed every so often.
Moreover, if you’ve got the manpower on staff to handle this for you, then the expense should already be accountable in the cost of your staff.

Multiple Currency Options
As we all know, “www” stands for World Wide Web, but if you’re not offering your potential customer base the option to pay for your products or services in their local currency, it’s quite likely that the consumer will seek out your competitor that does enable for the transaction to be handled in their own currency for peace of mind.
Connecting with your current payment solution provider costs you nothing to inquire, but if they do not provide you the option to accept transactions in multiple currencies, you may want to seek an alternative provider to cascade your current billing set. The cost to do so is generally the cost of your time. Companies such as MobiusPay are an ideal billing partner for accepting more than 36 international currencies, therefore opening your reach to a much broader market space.

Invest in Applications
If you’re a small business who is juggling every aspect of your daily operations, then investing in applications may be a positive solution to not only help you to expand your business but also enable you to work smarter, not harder.
Ordinarily, applications are designed to optimize mundane or grueling tasks to ease the burden and come in many forms, from invoicing systems, to project management and social marketing tools, there is a multitude of potential options to help grow your business.
Social media tools such as Hootsuite have become very popular to publish information on multiple social platforms in 1 post therefore releasing time back into your hands to focus on other aspects of your business. Do your research and you’ll discover an abundance of tools available that will benefit your business by freeing up time. 

Explore Opportunities with Forums
Do some research pertaining to your industry field, be it medical, hospitality, merchandise, or services to locate forum resources which you can become a part of. Getting involved with such can open a world of opportunity from education to being able to educate others which can help get your brand exposed while gaining trust. This is at no cost aside from the time invested to read and write. 

So, you’re looking for additional ways to broaden your online business exposure and find yourself immersed in so much information that you literally become overwhelmed. 

When you own an eCommerce business, the internet is your primary source of delivering traffic to your website which in turn produces sales. but in order to expand, you must ensure that your business is set up to cater to the markets you wish to expand within.

In conjunction with our previous article, the following attributes are additional ways in which you can expand your business without breaking your budget.  

Alternative Payment Solutions
To be able to expand beyond the boarders of your country of residence, you must first determine whether your product or services would be of interest to other markets such as Asia or Europe. Expanding abroad requires alternative payment solutions as you’re more inclined to turn a profit from such markets when you offer your product in their local currency or offer an alternative way in which to make payment aside from credit cards.

As we know the most common payment option within North America is with credit and debit cards, but ironically this is not as common in other parts of the world which is why providing your consumers with additional payment solutions is vital to help grow your expansion.

Social Media 
It’s common knowledge that social media can play a huge part in online advertising and campaigning to generate an additional source of traffic to your website aside from direct and SEO, yet many businesses fail to actively partake due to beliefs that it’s costly.

However, with many tools available online today, you don’t have to neglect your social media presence. Regardless of your capabilities, having social media accounts is strongly advised to all e-Commerce businesses and only requires a minimum of 3 posts a week to help build your brand which is important because brand awareness builds trust.

So, consider investing a little more time with social media, research free online ad tools and start joining groups related to your product/services as social media is here to stay and to get things rolling, you don’t have to pay for ad space.

Networking & Referral Incentives
Whether your business is online or brick and mortar, it is important to not lose connection with people in person as such interaction builds trust, creates a bond, and can open the door to additional introductions.
Become proactive and get involved with local meet ups, seek out conferences and events that are applicable to your industry and create an incentive for others to refer your business via word of mouth once a bond is established. 

While this maybe an old school approach to marketing, it is one that still maintains worthy of investment and the cost incurred is generally your time.

Email Marketing
Do you question whether email marketing is worth your precious time and money?
Well the answer to that question is YES!

While email marketing is seen to promote products and services, it is also a way to develop relationships with current customers and reach out to potential new customers. Furthermore, it enables you to keep your customers informed, provide appreciation for their business, and enhance your ability to become more personable with your consumer base.

Statista reports that in 2017 alone, 269 billion emails were sent and received each day and by the year 2020 that figure is expected to increase to over 333 billion daily emails.
This just emphasizes the importance of email marketing, and with an estimated $1 invested in email marketing, an expected average return of $32 is not something to be ignored.

Original Copywriting
In a world where over 4 million blog posts are distributed daily on the web, it’s no wonder that original copywriting is a stable substance in helping to expand your business. And with over 500 million tweets and an estimated 5 billion google searches made daily, the way you deliver your message is vital.

Having effective and original copy on your website enhances your SEO rank when searched but must contain relevance to your product to ensure authenticity.
Professionally written copy is essential to deliver your message, sell your product and convince your target audience that what you’re offering is of value to them.

From forum posting to social media and article submissions, providing the reader with a beautifully written, informative piece can ultimately change perspective resulting in a higher ROI.

So, you’re not convinced that you’re a good writer, you lack motivation or simply don’t have the time to be writing articles or promotional slurs?
Never fear as outsourcing such services are here and are at competitive price points that you’d be silly not to utilize them.  A popular per project resource is fiverr.com, where you can shop, inquire, and communicate with various people who are ready to help so stop making excuses and get moving as original copy gives your business and brand more relevance. 

Customer Incentives
If you have tackled other aspects of marketing, but haven’t considered adding customer incentives and discounts, well this may be the next direction to seize.

When offering incentives to your consumer base, the sky is the limit!
From promotional gifts to loyalty discounts and free upgrades, the opportunities to encourage consumers to spend more are plentiful.

Providing customer incentives have many advantages that range from customer satisfaction to data collection, retention to customer loyalty and doesn’t require obscene, over the top offers.
A prime (pun intended) example is Amazon, their 2 day shipping program (launched in 2005) helped them to develop a loyal following of shoppers over time after Amazon identified a problem and provided a solution which in turn increased their value, making them the worlds largest online retailer with such a simple incentive that everyone appreciates.

To determine what sort of incentives you could provide your consumers, you must invest time into reviewing your overhead to ensure you remain within an acceptable range while still receiving an ROI and then distribute said incentives to those of value via whatever means you feel appropriate then keep track of the response to help determine whether that particular incentive received a positive or negative response.

This is a matter of trial and error, but rest assure that the words FREE and DISCOUNT are among the highest ranked keywords in SEO (search engine optimization) for a reason…cos everyone in the universal like’s things for free or at discounted prices.

Customer Support
This should be common sense, right? WRONG!
Regardless of all the previous topics we’ve touched on in this 3 part article about how to expand your business on a budget, the MOST important is customer service!

Whether you’re a start-up, mid-sized or delivering services and goods to the mass millions, if you don’t have a strong foundation for customer service and support, your business will eventually fail.

An estimated 14% of small business failures is a result of poor customer communication, making it one of the top ten reasons why businesses fail. A way in which to avoid such statistic yourself is to ensure open and consistent communication with all inquiries, regardless of whether they are a customer at the time of communication.

Prompt response times, welcome notices, receipt of purchase and accurate refund policies are all important factors that play a part in your business success. And with so many options to communicate and services available at low cost to handle for you, there is no excuse for providing horrific service.

Furthermore, it’s not necessarily true that the customer is always right, but such statement should be followed to avoid chargebacks, complaints and social slander because remember, without customers you have no business.

In conclusion, it is evident that there are numerous ways in which to promote and expand your business on a budget, you simply have to prioritize your time, invest in research and test the waters to establish what methods work best for your business model. In closing, MobiusPay hopes that one or all of the topics mentioned in this article has served some purpose for your business as it is our duty, as a payment solution service to provide you with possible ways to help grow your business while strengthening relationships and building trust.

Brad Fleischman