If you read any article about how to grow your business, there’s a good chance the success of Apple or Microsoft will be brought up as a source of inspiration. We’re told to just be more like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. That’s like saying all you need to do is be the best in the world to find success.
That’s a lot easier said than done. As incredible as some of the business world’s greatest success stories are, they’re typically not the best places to draw inspiration. As a small business owner, you need to get actionable ideas from different sources.
A Different Inspiration
If you’re looking to increase traffic and/or grow a client base, don’t look at the biggest companies. The budgets of those organizations, not to mention the groundbreaking products they make, don’t offer a lot of actionable advice. Instead, start learning from more relatable sources, like other bloggers or non-traditional companies that have a lot to teach us about generating leads, increasing conversion rates, and much more. You might never think of using one of these companies as a customer, yet they’ve accomplished much in their respective niches that you can draw from.
Here are a few lessons you can learn from non-traditional companies.
The chemical industry has a unique orientation. It’s dealing with a variety of highly technical terms and sometimes hazardous substances. Despite the differences between the chemical industry and your projects, they face some of the exact same challenges— namely standing out in a crowded field.
Companies of all shapes and sizes struggle to come up with ways to demonstrate their value amidst a crowded field of competitors. That’s especially true for the chemical industry. How exactly do you demonstrate value to potential customers?
The most successful chemical companies come up with clear value propositions that highlight what they do and why their products are important. At the same time, they have an accurate view of their customers’ needs and habits.
These chemical companies might be worth millions of dollars, but you can do exactly the same thing they’re doing when it comes to setting goals and carving out an identity.
A Focused Mailing List
A big mailing list is undeniably valuable. Acquiring subscribers can be difficult enough, but the real challenge is generating the maximum value from that list. One of the simplest ways to do that is to give subscribers the choice of what sort of information they want.
Take a look at the sign-up form for this heavy machinery company. Cleveland Brothers’ newsletter provides the option for subscribers to receive only information on the subjects they’re interested in, whether it’s mining, forestry or something completely different. This robust range of options allows the company to target its customers with information that’s only relevant to their interests. A broader mailing strategy wouldn’t be nearly as effective.
Creating different emails for every interest can create a heavy workload, so start small with your site and track the results. You can gradually increase your options based on the success you’re having.
A Strong Sales Funnel
An online retailer is only as good as its sales funnel. That’s true whether you’re selling handmade crafts or professional services. Abandonment rates can be devastatingly high if your sales funnel isn’t optimized to guide customers through the purchase process.
One company that does this right is Grasshopper, a tech company that helps businesses use cellphones instead of traditional landlines. While you might not be able to relate to Grasshopper’s business, you can definitely learn from its stellar sales funnel. The design is impeccable and clearly lays out why you should do business with the company. In short, it’s the perfect example of how other sales funnels should be designed and implemented.
The Art of the Landing Page
First impressions are everything. That’s especially true when it comes to websites, as potential customers are quick to leave a site if they aren’t hooked from the start. One organization that does a great job on this front is the University of California, Davis, Extension. This website was featured by Hubspot as an example of a great landing page for a good reason: It entices potential students with a sharp design and a free lesson.
The University is a traditional organization, but they’re taking an untraditional spin by offering a direct, simple page — and a free class. Could the funnel leading up to this page be better? Maybe. You need to visit the University’s main UC Davis, Extension website, click “Areas of Study”, then click the “Winemaking Certificate Program” before you see the teaser for the free lesson and this artistic landing page.
Would a landing page like this fit your website?
Keep an Open Mind
Inspiration often comes from the unlikeliest of places. That’s why it’s important not to just look at your fellow bloggers. To stand out, you can learn some valuable lessons from companies in all industries and areas. Growing a business and attracting new clients are universal goals, whether you’re writing about fun DIY projects or selling heavy machinery.
Next time you’re browsing a new website from an unfamiliar industry, see what you can learn. You never know what might be applicable to your work.