The end of business “as usual”
You’re stuck at home; your business is suffering. You can’t call on clients, you can’t get your product or service to your client, couriers are closed, your staff are at home, restaurants are closed. We are all stuck in the same boat whether you are a business or a customer
There are several “lucky” companies who are registered essential services still running, but believe it or not, even they are struggling right now. It’s not “business as usual” for anyone anymore and if there’s one thing you learn from this lock down is that it should NEVER be “business as usual” for any company, ever again. If you don’t make a change now, you may not be around for much longer
The lock down in South Africa has exposed a weakness in all our companies and we all need to learn from this. Every business NEEDS to be online – you MUST be able to continue to engage with your customer and the best way to do so is to be able to reach them where they spent a sizable amount of their time. On the internet and on Social Media.
Now what do I mean when I say “every business needs to be online”
- You must have an online presence
- You must have a website
- You must be on social media
- You must be found on search engines such as google
“People don’t care about your business, they care about their problems.. be the solution to their problems”
You want to be able to gather data from your customers wherever you can (emails, contact number, name, products or services they are interested in). Why? Because you want to be able to reach your customer in a way/place that they allow you to reach them. If they opt in or subscribe to your marketing, you can send them tailor-made relevant emails. (Yes, email marketing works)
If they follow your Social Media accounts , you can reach them by sharing valuable and relevant information on your Facebook or Instagram pages.
If you have a website they can read more about your services, contact you, learn more about your business and even find your operating hours.
If they search for your product or service on Google, you want them to see your listing and visit your website.
And on all the above mentioned platforms I’ve mentioned – it’s VERY important that your customers have a CLEAR way to find relevant information, easily contact you and view customer reviews.
“Your website is your greatest asset. More people view your web pages than anything else” Amanda Sibley
10 Things you should be doing right now to grow or improve your business
- Make sure have a strong online presence
- Website – if you don’t have a website, get one, or start creating content for your website and get a professional to build you one.
- Social Media – Make sure your business is on all relevant social media platforms – As a rule, all businesses should have a Facebook page and a Google MyBusiness listing
- Join Facebook Groups in your community or areas that you service
- Offer free advice to people who are asking questions about your industry, product or service – help first before you sell.
- Use the groups to advertise your services (it’s FREE) but don’t spam.
- Network and make connections with other businesses that you can form mutually beneficial relationships with.
- Monitor what your competitors are doing during this time
- Perform a search on Facebook and see if you can find your competitors – if you can find them but you can’t find your own business on Facebook, you have a problem.
- See what other social media platforms your competitors are utilizing.
- Perform a search on Google for your product or service. Do you appear on page one of the search results? Do your competitors? If they do, and you don’t, then you are missing out.
- Start organizing your data
- Customers may call or email you and you should be capturing data wherever you can (make sure you obtain and store data the legal way).
- Try segment your data by relevant demographics so that you may use this information to send the right message to the right customer in the right place and time.
- Email marketing is very powerful when combined with the right data! – Use services such as Mailchimp to send bulk customized emails to your customers to inform, drive sales and engage with them.
- Create content – there is no time better to create your own content. YOU are the professional in your industry which means you are in the best position to provide useful information. Think of the problems your customers face and write articles or blogs, make videos, etc on how they can solve or prevent these problems themselves. But if they need help, they can call on you. This type of approach helps to build trust.
- Work on your business strategy, set clear short-term and long-term goals and think of the best way to achieve them. Be realistic!
- Visualize your perfect customer/s so that you can accurately drive marketing campaigns to the correct audience. Imagine your perfect customer; is it male, female or both? How old are they, what do they have in common, what are their needs? Create an avatar of this person or persons and then create ads targeted to specifically speak to that customer. That way they won’t think of your ad as an advert!
- Explore paid media such as Facebook ads and Google ads. Facebook is a great way to serve visual ads direct to your demographic. You can set your ads to only show to the most relevant audience by targeting the correct age, location, interests and behaviours. With Google ads, you want to be found when a potential customer is searching for your product or service on Google. Typing your name into Google is not an accurate reflection of your online presence as the customer may not know who you are and will search for your service or industry using “keywords”
- Key things to remember: Always make yourself valuable, always be relevant and always be mindful of what is happening around you, locally and nationally
The biggest question behind every campaign should be; “What is the goal?” Jason Rinquest
Some important tips when planning your marketing strategy
Create a short-term and long-term goal for your business – clearly outline what you want to achieve and what steps you will take to meet the expectation of your business as well as your client
Prioritize your platforms – always put your goal and being relevant first when allocating your time
When creating content always ask yourself “does the content meet the goal of my message”
Who is your perfect customer? Create an avatar to define your customer/s and then create clear plans to reach them in the way they want to be reached
Don’t “sell sell sell” – help, assist, advise – become the “go to person” for your category
Always remember – Whether you are you B2B (Business to Business), B2C (Business to Consumer), Etc.. businesses are made up of people so adopt a “people first” strategy
Show value, create an experience, always try to exceed customer expectations (delight them)
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“Some of us sell to businesses, but we all market to people” Elle Woulfe