Updated: May 3
You're established in the real world. The customers are slowly starting to come in, but you need more if you want to survive in this harsh climate for start-up businesses today.
The businesses that survive past 3 years on average increase in revenue by 20% in each of those successive years. Is this a fluke? No. They knew what it took to be in business today - and that is to be technology savvy.
Marketing on the ground is important, but digital marketing offers a world of opportunities. And doing this as a small business can often seem overwhelming, so I've broken it down in to several first steps!
1. Establish an online presence
Make sure you have a website that is easy to use and flows (more about this in a future post!). This is your key location where you are going to drive traffic. Social media streams will all point to this one site and so you don't want to waste any of the precious views you get. Figure out which platforms your users engage most on. Different age groups and demographics tend to have their own preferences.
Instagram for example is booming and is predicted to continue to grow for under-30's, whilst Facebook still maintains daily relevance for a wider range of people. Groups on Facebook can also be extremely helpful - often there will be neighbourhood or area groups you can join, or ones specific to what you are selling e.g. a Mum's group.
Twitter, Pinterest, and WhatsApp are all also great for some businesses, but irrelevant for others. Focus your time on what is working for you, and don't try to put too much on at once otherwise your quality might suffer.
2. Be brand aware
Content! I could talk for hours on this, but perhaps one of the most key things to consider when creating content is that it reflects your brand. Aesthetically, you need a decided colour scheme and mood, such as minimalism or naturalistic. Morally, you need to ensure any posts are in line with the ethos of your business, for example if you pride yourself on being eco-friendly or your products are scientifically based. You need to stick to your subject, be concise, and make everything relevant to your brand. But don't keep it all work, try to make and use your own memes, or add personal stories to potentially unemotional product photos. Personal pays.
3. Engage in conversations
Social media provides a unique opportunity for businesses to connect, collaborate, and share customers. Don't be afraid to follow, comment, and message people with similar goals to you. The worst they can do is ignore you.
Make sure you respond to comments which will prove to the site that you are posting something original worth talking about, and so your posts will rank higher. Any communication provides an opportunity for you to have a positive engagement with your customers, which reinforces their memory of your brand.
4. Host non-location specific events
This will not apply to all businesses. If you offer a service, or a product online, hosting live video events can be a lucrative way to increase engagements and sales. For example, if you are a bath product business, showing a how-to on creating your own bath bomb. Driving them with a link to your bath bomb products can turn curiosity into a sale. Live videos also have a much higher reach, and you can interact with viewers in real time.
5. Get creative
Be original. Create original content. Use a free digital design tool such as Canva to get started. Have new ideas, try a few off the board things. The great thing about starting out is that you have that kind of freedom. Exercise it, and help your business find its voice online.