7 Strategies to Grow Your Business Through Digital Marketing and Purpose

I have learned from my experience that growing any business is difficult. You may feel good when customers first arrive, but don’t assume that “word of mouth” and those early adopters will grow your business to match their dreams of success.

In these days of global competition through multiple channels, you need constant marketing to find more customers. They won’t find you.

What amazes me is that more than a quarter of new businesses don’t even have a website, and many others don’t pay attention to social media, or monitor feedback on sites like Yelp.

Even if your business is purely local, growth should always be a priority, and you need to make use of all these digital channels available today as well as traditional media channels and industry forums:

1. Maintain an active current presence on the Internet.

More and more customers today make their initial purchases on the Internet, and if you don’t have a presence, or the content is out of date, they won’t even believe you exist. At a minimum, it requires a modern website and visibility on relevant social media sites, possibly including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

The businesses most successful in converting users into growth are those that post content related to their brand most and often with their followers. A good rule of thumb is to post at least a few responses per day to show your presence.

2. Accept each and every customer feedback and review.

People today hold great stock in online feedback from other customers, and they take note of how you’ve been listening and responding. Don’t let the crush of daily distress, or personal feelings, ignore the response. This may be the least expensive way to grow your business.

For those of you who fear fake negative reviews, I recommend that you proactively ask for positive reviews from every customer, so that no one gets lost in a sea of ‚Äč‚Äčnegative positivity. Don’t let that one negative come out as the only review you’ve submitted.

3. Entice advocates and influencers to help you.

Advocates are your happiest existing customers, and you want them to use their social media and connections to attract more customers. Influencers are recognized experts and pseudo-celebrities who can choose a favorite product or start new trends. Be proactive by reaching out for support and assistance.

Due to the rapid development of influencer marketing, influencer tracking systems like Tracker or Pixly have emerged as reliable tools for brands that employ influencers to track conversions from their sponsorships. Use them to find your relevant influencers.

4. Design a marketing event to gain visibility and attention.

These days, creating a “pop-up” store or “flash mob” event in the middle of another gathering, like a Super Bowl, is a popular way to gain attention and scale for your brand. Obviously, you need to promote these events through multiple digital and traditional marketing channels.

In this context, connecting with other supplement brands will help you share costs, as well as an audience in your industry. Be prepared to give the participants something memorable they really want. Make it a memorable experience for all.

5. Attend trade shows and industry conferences.

Trade shows and conferences can generate hundreds of new qualified leads for your business, as well as build relationships with industry leaders, outsourcing vendors, and potential partners. These will keep you better informed about new technologies, trends and potential competitors.

6. Secure external expansion funds through investors.

Effective scaling and growth often requires a higher investment than the initial organic return. You need to evaluate the tradeoffs of obtaining investment capital from angel investors and crowdsourcing. These are both new marketing strategies and sources of feedback.

7. Commit to and communicate a high-level objective.

Adopting a higher objective, such as saving the environment or helping your community, and successfully communicating that to your team and customers is the way to make them all fans of your company and grow the business. People respond for your purpose, not for your benefit.

Organic growth without the use of digital channels is not enough to remain competitive and achieve long-term success in today’s environment, especially against large e-commerce players with a global reach. You need to use every digital channel available for marketing and visibility, no matter how dedicated you and your team are to customer service and satisfaction.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.