We see a lot of small businesses trying to market on social media. Creating great content and posting it, only for it to be pretty well ignored.
If you have done any of our courses, you'll know we go on (and on...) about posting being no more than 20% of the job. The other 80% contains engagement and marketing building (getting more of the right kind of followers to read and react to your posts).
Social media marketing is not for the faint hearted. Each social media portal is one channel and needs a marketing campaign with all its elements to make it a success. Plus a lot of time and effort.
Hiring someone 'young' to manage your social media is not sensible.
Neither is hiring a social media manager without checking that they are properly qualified - that means education (preferably marketing and not just social media) and experience that shows they can build leads or sales for a client.
Using a posting system, like Buffer, Hootsuite or Later, helps you post a little faster and a little easier. It does not help you market your business.
Social media marketing is marketing just the same. It needs to fit properly into the buying journey your potential clients/customers take and it needs to directly move them one or more steps closer to the buying decision. If it doesn't, it is a waste of time.
Does social media really fit in your potential clients/customers' business journey?
If you aren't getting sales from your social media efforts - saying that it is 'brand awareness' doesn't count - brand awareness is a step at the beginning of the process and should still add sales at the end of the process, if it is working - or you aren't sure social media is where your target market is looking for your service/product, get in touch with us and we'll work it out with you.
If you are marketing on social media, here is our take on doing it yourself versus using us. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspect of it.
As the real world changes, the online world does too. More than half the entire world population uses social media and its use increased as people started to get stuck at home.
This poses a dilemma for small business owners.
On the one hand, not 'wasting' money on marketing while businesses are closed, sales can't happen and income is so uncertain seems sensible. On the other hand, others see the value in remaining visible and protecting future sales.
There are also those who have, in a positive way, taken advantage of the crisis to reach out to their target market and ask for their support through this period.
Market forces usually keep the playing field somewhat level and that's been true in the healthy economic climate we have benefited from for years, up to January this year. Now it has now been shaken to pieces.
While saving money is sensible in a down period, being invisible isn't. Companies that best survive in recessions are those that market through it and therefore get sales as soon as recovery starts. It can be fatal for a company to ignore the competition's activities and lose their market share.
If you have been busy surviving and marketing has had to take a back seat (or been left behind), here are some things to think about:
There are various cost-effective areas you can use to reach out to your target market:
If this feels overwhelming or you don't have time to do this yourself, reach out to us. We have two ways that we can help you:
A garden services client of ours also sells Christmas trees. We run a social media marketing campaign for them each November and December, building up awareness and sales of the trees and helping fuel bookings coming in at the end of the winter.
Whatever size and type of business you have, if you need help marketing it and want to grow your sales, get in touch with us.
There are far more options for building websites than most people realise. Picking the right one starts with working out what you need and want.
Is the site a place to reinforce who you are or is it your shop-front?
Do you need a custom design or could your branding fit into a template designed to work well on the web?
Are you looking for clients to contact you directly or customers to buy online from you?
Do you need password-protection, membership areas and online courses?
The problem with specialists
Choosing from the range of options
There are two main groups of website building systems that are best for your size and type of business:
1. Hosted website builders
These are the easiest to use and are the most stable options for building your website.
You may have heard of Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace and One. These are all hosted website builders.
There are hosted website builders that specialise in online shopping websites. These include Shopify, Tictail,
If your business model is membership and training-based, there are hosted website builders that provide you with all you need to manage members and password-protected areas and online courses. Kajabi is a well-liked option but you see that the pricing reflects how powerful it is. Some of the standard systems, like Wix and Weebly can handle basic versions of membership sites and training online and they are far cheaper.
2. Self-hosted content management systems
These over a lot more opportunity for custom development - programming your own site elements - but this comes at a price. These really require help from a developer who specialising in the particular system. They need hosting somewhere and they need protecting. Security risks are higher, especially if you don't update the software immediately as a new update comes through.
The most well-known self-hosted CMS is Wordpress. It isn't alone, there is Drupal and Joomla, Magento and a whole lot more.
There are also custom coded sites which big companies with complex sites and a high level of security use.
How to choose the best one for your business
PLEASE READ IF LOOPIA IS YOUR DOMAIN REGISTRATION PROVIDER
Loopia contacted us and explained:
"On Thursday, an email was sent from someone claiming to be Loopia AB asking you to verify your email for one of your domains. The fake emails were stopped relatively quickly but we know that some of our customers have received the email and therefore, we want to send out a warning to all of you."
"The email is very similar to the legitimate email sent when registering a domain or changing a domain owner and you are asked to verify your email address. However, the real email from Loopia only requires you to click on the link to verify your email while this fake email also requires a login as an attempt to access your login credentials at Loopia."
Loopia is working continually to stop scams. More information can be found on Loopia's blog here.
Are you in a position where you can't sell anything right now?
There isn't much we can say to make that feel any better but we can recommend a distraction that will set your business up to grow as life returns to normal. Now is the time to protect your brand recognition.
There have been many downturns in the world's economies and, while many businesses have plans ready for downturns, forgetting to plan for the upturn can spell disaster. We know this from studying what happens to business before, through and after recessions.
There are many cases of companies going out of business during the upturn. Surely that's something that can be avoided?
Let's put it another way:
If no-one is buying your service or product now and they aren't buying from your competitors either, then you are competitively equal. You aren't losing any more or less than they are.
If they spend the next 4-6 months building up more recognition of their services/products and you do nothing, what will happen if, in six months time, someone needs just what you offer? Will they come to you?
They will have forgotten all about you and you will have lost out to your competition.
We don't recommend asking people to buy from you right not - and certainly not asking people to risk infection by doing so (grrrr....). Regularly reminding customers and potential customers about the services and product you offer is a great idea. (Even we do say so ourselves :)).
Use the same message over and over if you want to.
You want my advice? (I hope so... :))
Say the same thing 20 times. I'm challenging you to do that. Pick a service that you offer or, even better, a pain point that you clients/customers have that you help solve and put the message out to your email and social media lists 20 times over the next three months.
Do you accept the challenge?? :)
Here is one of our message versions. Get in touch with us for advice - a call is free!
If you have an online store, one way to shorten the process of buying your products is to set up your Instagram posts so that viewers can see your product info and click through to buy those items. As Instagram doesn't allow links in posts normally, it is a really powerful way of getting people clicking through onto your website.
There are some things you'll need to do to get Shopping set up:
1. Meet these requirements:
2. Connect your Instagram business profile to your Facebook catalog. There are two ways to do this:
Option A: Add a shop section to your Facebook page.
3. Wait while your account is reviewed. Instagram will review your account and, if using, your catalog, automatically. It can take a few days.
4. Add your product tags and stickers on InstagramUsing the latest version of the Instagram app, you turn on product tags in the following way:
5. Create your first shopping post or story
In a post, you can tag up to 5 products per single image or up to 20 products per multi-image post. You can even tag products in existing posts.
In a story, you can add one product sticker per story. Product stickers show the product name and you can edit sticker color and text. You cannot edit stories that have been published - you would need to delete it and then re-publish.
Once you have Shopping set up and running, don't forget to regularly look at the Insights to see what gets clicked on and which types of posts and stories work best. If you need any help getting set up, get in touch with us!
We realise this isn't the most exciting of marketing topics but it is really important, so please do read it...
Google thinks that all websites should have an SSL certificate.
If you have not heard about SSL till now, then here's what SSL actually means - Secure Sockets Layer. It is an encoding system in which all the data that gets transferred between your website and the server is encrypted in a language which is unreadable by third parties. It remains secure from hacking.
An SSL certificate helps your website in several ways:
1. It improves your ranking on the search engine
Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo generally display those websites on their top results page which come with SSL certification. Being a small business owner, it is imperative for you to get the customer's attention online. To improve your ranking and visibility online, you should go for SSL certification. Your ranking for the SEO keywords that you are targeting also improves rapidly if you have an SSL certificate.
2. You gain the customer's trust
Almost 50 percent of online shoppers have said that they trust an e-commerce website more which has an SSL certificate and prefer to shop from such websites only. Imagine the number of customers you are losing out on just because your website does not have SSL certification! You can attract so many more customers if you opt for one.
3. The safety of your data is ensured
Sensitive data like credit card numbers, usernames and passwords are protected by SSL encryption. All the transactions that take place through your website are hundred percent safe and secure. The danger of hacking drops right off and you can carry on your business without worrying about data leaks.
4. You get extra authentication
The SSL certificate that you get from a trusted provider makes your confidential information unreadable not only to third parties using other servers but also to those devices which are on the same server as yours. This additional authentication is provided by the public key infrastructure or PKI.
5. You can avoid from being declared dangerous by Google
Google is ensuring that all websites that show up on its search engine have an SSL certification indicated by the https:// in their website addresses. This is being done with the help of the red font color which is appearing on the link of non-secure websites in the form of http://. This red color warns the visitors to your website that it is not secure enough for sharing sensitive data. This can ruin your credibility online. SSL certification is a necessity for e-commerce websites specifically because of the transactions that are carried out.
The general advice is if you want your small business to perform well on online , you need to get an SSL certification as soon as possible.
We advise ALL our clients to get SSL certificates as soon as possible.
Contact us if you need help. In many cases, they are free.