A major challenge many new online companies face is the ability to scale a business and take it to greater heights. Being able to do this without expending too many additional resources is known as scalability, and most businesses remain stagnant or ultimately fail without it.
Not only does a lack of scalability make it more difficult to expand and reach a greater share of customers, but it can also scare off potential investors or prospective buyers of a company later down the line.
This means that if you ever want to grow more quickly or eventually sell your business, you may run into problems if you’re unable to demonstrate scalability. Without the ability to scale, you have next to nothing. Luckily, there are different ways on how to scale a business and the following methods can all help with this.
A well-carried out advertising campaign is an essential part of growing an online business for many companies. If you decide to run an advertising campaign, you’ll want to do the following things to make it worth your while:
- Identify Your Customers – By analyzing who is purchasing your products, buying your services, or clicking on your ads, you can then figure out who you need to target when running an ad campaign. Use an analytics program to track where your website visitors are coming from and which demographics convert best.
- Test Different Ad Types – Some ads simply work better for certain types of companies than others. You should figure out what types of ads prospective customers respond to, such as physical vs. digital ads or banners vs. text. Knowing which ads are more likely to lead to both clicks and sales conversions is crucial when running any type of advertising campaign. There are tools that can help you test these ads, for example:
(Image Credit: Qualtrics)
- Test Different Keywords – When running a PPC (Pay Per Click) ad campaign, you’ll also want to figure out which keywords convert best in terms of both clicks and sales. Because there are literally millions of different keywords or keyphrases that you can use, as well as new and trending words created every year, you should be constantly researching new keywords.This is true even after you’ve already found a successful set of words or phrases that are working for you. There’s always the potential to find something that simply converts better and leads to more visitors and more sales.
FACTS: 68% of marketers stated that paid advertising is “very important” or “extremely important” to their overall marketing strategy. What’s more, ad placement and audience targeting are the top optimization tactics used by advertisers today. (HubSpot)
Gauge Your ROI
ROI stands for Return Over Investment. While attempting to scale your business, you should identify areas where your ROI is the strongest and capitalize there. Don’t waste your money or resources by trying to scale up in areas that are only minimally working if you see a better opportunity elsewhere.
Don’t just ask the question, “What are ways on how to scale my business?” without first asking, “Is there a way to increase the returns I’m seeing on my investments?” At all times, you should be gauging the returns you’re making on any investments, whether you’re investing money into your company or hiring employees as an investment to boost productivity.
Here are some tips for analyzing and improving your company’s ROI:
- Test Different Investment Areas – Whether it’s marketing or manpower, you should be looking at different areas where you can invest your funds and resources. A keen business owner is always looking at ways to turn $1 into $2, and more importantly, they’re also looking at the different angles from which they can do that.If you find that funding a certain ad campaign is working, you shouldn’t simply stop there. That’s one investment that is bringing in a decent return. But you should also look to see if hiring an employee might improve this method or bring in even better returns. This would be a second investment that you can combine with the first or compare to it.
- Focus on What Works – If you have two areas that are both bringing in returns, whether those returns are more visitors to your site or more sales orders, you should determine if allocating resources from one of them into the other might be more beneficial than dividing resources up between the two of them.
- Identify Opportunities for Cost Reduction – When investing in anything, you should constantly be on the lookout for ways to reduce costs in that investment, which automatically leads to an increase in your ROI. If you have a successful ad campaign running through one advertising company, why not test a similar campaign through other ad companies? Many business owners simply find what works for them and stick to that as long as it’s working for them. However, you may find that it’s cheaper to advertise through a different company.
Encourage User-Generated Content
One of the cheapest and best ways to scale your business is to encourage your users to generate content for your business. You’ll have to decide what type of user-generated content would be most appropriate for your type of business.
Some companies choose to put a member forum on their site, which leads to discussions that search engines interpret as fresh content. Other companies allow guest posting on their sites. These types of methods can help your site rank better in search engines so more people find it, which helps with your long-term scalability. Here is an example of a member forum:
(Image Credit: Québec Genealogical eSociety)
Scaling also means reaching out to other types of audiences at appropriate times. After you begin to acquire customers within a niche, you should then start to expand out into other groups and audiences.
Having a niche and focusing on it is often an important part of doing business because you want to find areas with less competition. But once you learn how to scale up a small business to a medium-sized one, limiting yourself to only customers within a small niche might prevent any possibility of growing to large-scale proportions.
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When Facebook first started out, the company focused only on gaining users from educational institutions. Eventually, they decided to expand further into the general public. The company started out in a niche, but in their efforts to scale, they couldn’t ignore the sheer size of the broader market.
So, when deciding on how to scale a business, you should determine if there’s a way to approach things in a more targeted way. Once you start doing well within your niche, you should start thinking about how to branch out to the audiences just outside of that niche, and then work your way beyond that.
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One of the classic mistakes that many startup companies make is when they try to monetize their site or services too quickly. Website owners often think, “How can I scale my business quickly.” This often leads to monetization as they seek new sources of revenue. In the beginning, it can take some time to figure out who your customers are and what they are expecting when they visit your website.
You don’t want to clutter your site with aggressive sales pitches or ads before you’ve gotten to know your customer base. There have been many successful companies that ended up sabotaging their own website after over-monetizing too early in the game. The image below shows a bad example of monetizing:
(Image Credit: blogpros)
If you already have visitors to your site, figure out why they’re visiting it and what they expect to find. You can then slowly and gradually roll out any forms of monetization that you want, but do so at a snail’s pace to feel things out. If you plan to generate money from ads on your site, maybe start with one or two ads before increasing to three or four.
If you’re trying to figure out how to scale a business fast, you should consider starting with the base products first before expanding your product lines or offering additional add-on services that might confuse customers. McDonald’s and In-N-Out Burger are two classic examples of companies that started simple and became huge successes within their industry by doing so.
Build Strategic Alliances
While helping out your competition might seem counterintuitive, teaming up with them may benefit both parties in some cases. It’s common for businesses to sometimes face challenges that can only be overcome by forming an alliance with other companies within the same industry. Microsoft and Apple have teamed up multiple times to benefit each other.
On occasion, alliances are even formed between companies that are in completely different industries. Some famous examples of this would be McDonald’s and Disney or Uber and Spotify. But it’s not just large companies who do this. Many startups and smaller companies use partnerships as a way of gaining customers or product users in oversaturated markets. If you’ve ever installed a program on your computer and it asked you if you want to install an additional program with it, this was probably a joint venture between two companies.
Examples of joint ventures include:
- Bundled Packages – You can approach another company and work out a partnership where you provide one of their products or services to your customers for free when they purchase something from your company. The other company must do the same with their customers and one of your products or services. This can lead to gaining new regular customers from them and vice versa.
- Shout Outs – You and another business owner can simply mention each other’s companies or products in your videos, social media posts, blog posts, or elsewhere on your site. Shout outs are an ideal way to partner up with another company because they don’t cost anything for either party.
- Guest Posting – You can offer to write content for another website in exchange for either a link back to your site or a mention of your product or company on theirs. This is beneficial for both companies.Also, because you’re not directly exchanging links with each other, it’s considered to be a “white hat” SEO strategy and falls within the good graces of search engines. Directly exchanging links with another company, where they put a link to your site on theirs and you do the same for them, is never a good idea and is a bad SEO strategy nowadays. The image below shows an example of a guest blog post:
(Image Credit: Ahrefs)
When approaching other companies, you can simply start off with an introduction such as, “Hello, I’m looking for new ways on how to scale my business and thought we might be able to form a partnership.”
Integrate a Newsletter
If you don’t focus on your return visitors, you have little to no chance of scaling your site. Growing a website is not just about bringing in new people, but also retaining those that you’ve already acquired. People love hearing about news related to their interests. They tend to share this with others and you can send out a newsletter when new updates are posted, which can bring them back. You can also offer rewards to those that sign up for your newsletter, for instance:
Regardless of what type of company you have, there’s always room for a blog or an articles section on any website. Many companies choose to have an industry news section where updated stories and headlines are posted, which gives visitors more of a reason to return to a site, even when they’re not looking to purchase a product. You can send an email out as a notification that encourages them into returning to your site to read the latest posts.
FACTS: From a study of 1,000 small business owners, email marketing was ranked as the second most effective medium for building brand awareness. In fact, email marketing has the highest return on investment for small businesses. (HubSpot)
Branch Off with Subsidiaries
When running a business, there are often times when you might notice opportunities to branch off and start other ventures that might help your main business. For example, if your company were a kitchenware company, you might benefit by creating a second site about cooking recipes or a funny YouTube channel about doing things around the kitchen. Google is an excellent example of this concept:
(Image Credit: Dowitcher Designs)
Sometimes you can use other themes or niches to your advantage, without directly incorporating them into your site. Some companies struggle to integrate certain things into their main business because they feel they would be out of place and may confuse or scare off existing customers.
So, sometimes you need to ask yourself, “Should I scale my business by integrating semi-related content into my site, or is it better to branch off and create a different outlet for this?” When you decide it’s time to branch off, you can create a subsidiary, which is a smaller, separate company. Then, you can funnel your visitors or customers from the subsidiary to your main company.
While this is an obvious point to experienced website owners, it can’t be stressed enough to anyone who is wondering how to scale a business fast. You should always keep your website updated regularly. Not only can this help you to gain higher ranking positions in search engine indexes, but it also makes things more interesting for your regularly returning users.
The growth a site experiences from being lifted in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) can often be exponential, where each month a site doubles, triples, or quadruples its number of visitors over each previous month.
We hope that you found this article useful.
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Improve SEO Methods
For many website owners, organic traffic is the most significant source of visitors or sales. But search engines are constantly evolving and updating their algorithms. This means that online business owners, even those with sites that are ranked well, must continually stay on their toes. That’s why SEO is so important to the growth of a company and how quickly it can be scaled.
You should always be learning more when it comes to current SEO methods and how to stay in the good graces of Google, Bing, and other search engines. It wouldn’t hurt to consider hiring an SEO expert who has experience with ranking sites and staying on top of all the algorithm changes. If you’re wanting to know how to scale up a small business, SEO can be the great equalizer. Large competitors may not always have great on-page SEO, which can give smaller companies an opportunity to capitalize on.
Parting Advice About SEO Practices
Although some of these covered methods are based on building non-organic traffic to your site so that you can scale it, you should always be focusing on good SEO practices. Over time, regardless of where the traffic initially comes from, it’s organic traffic that almost always becomes the most important source of traffic for most businesses.
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As a company or brand becomes more widely recognized, more visitors will go out of their way to find it organically. If you keep this in mind while you’re growing your company, you’ll have an easier time with scalability. Partnering with Diib Digital will give you the tools necessary to help scale your business the right way. Here are just a few of the features that set us apart from the competition:
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Here are some of our favorite ways to scale your business. 1) Focus on your goals, not your current status. 2) Learn from other successful companies. 3) Prepare for growth. 4) Protect and maintain your business values. 5) Build a good employee team.
This is the process of adding the resources you’ll need at the same rate as your revenue. You want to add consistent revenue growth and avoid stalling points without high unwanted expenses.
- Find your niche. Big businesses tend to appeal to wide, general customer bases. Find a niche customer base and capitalize on it.
- Put your efforts into innovating. Find problems and provide solutions.
- Plan for growth. Think big, and be prepared!
- Don’t do it all yourself.
The 4 basic growth strategies to help your business expand are: Market penetration, product development, market expansion and diversification.