How are people finding your business?
There has never been a better time to be a small business owner, according to Perth-based digital marketing consultant Lauren Benedetti.
The digital world offers unlimited access to customers if you know how to work it, Benedetti says.
In the old days, businesses had to shell out substantial cash for print, TV and radio advertisements to promote their business.
Today, relatively small businesses can make a big splash without spending big bucks by leveraging online platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
“You can reach a lot of people now with all these free platforms that you never could before,” says Benedetti. “If you dedicate the time, you can promote your business cost-effectively and reach a lot of people quickly.”
But in the rush to establish some much hyped “social media presence”, don’t neglect your website, Benedetti warns. It is still primary. Social media just serves to support it.
“Your website is key to your business success. Customers may discover you on Facebook or Instagram, but they’re going to link back to your website to look at more of your products, look at more of your services, understand you more, then usually call and enquire.”
That is why Benedetti advises many businesses to think about re-investing in their website at the end of the first or second year if they have skimped at the outset.
“Once you’ve acquired some, I’d highly recommend investing that back in to building a quality website. It makes all the difference with conversions (i.e. getting people to action something on your site, such as filling out a form or subscribing to a newsletter).”
Bear in mind the basics; within seconds of your webpage loading, users should be able to see where you are, how to contact you and what you can do for them.
Towards the end of your first year in business, you should also be digging down into data from your website and social media platforms. Free tools such as Google Analytics can tell you where the majority of your online traffic is coming from, and how people are using your website – what they read, click on and what may prompt them to leave the site.
Facebook’s Insights tool helps you understand what type of content attracts the most likes and shares and whether people are more receptive at certain times, and days.
An important foundation for marketing your business in the modern world, Benedetti says, is to understand the focus has switched from “push” messages (traditional advertising) to “pull” messages (providing information people may be looking for online).
If you can capture someone who has already demonstrated an interest in your product or service by conducting an online search, your chances of doing business with them are exponentially higher, she says.
Don’t forget there are new opportunities out there as well from a range of new sales platforms.
A Victoria entrepreneur clocked up more than $1 million worth of sales in 24-hours on China’s e-commerce behemoth Alibaba.