Starting a business? Here are 5 things all small businesses need and why
Starting a business can be overwhelming. With so many things to consider: Brand presence, customer base, marketing, as well as the pressure to get all these things right first time. You may have an amazing product, a great business story and a clear target customer base but without the right marketing and presence online you may not see the sales you expect to. So, if you’re thinking of starting a business or are currently in the process of creating one, we’ve compiled a list of things we recommend to get you started. From a well-designed website to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), we’ll give you an overview of why marketing is so important.
1. A well designed and easy to use website for your small business
The rise of smartphone and computer usage in recent years has meant that websites are a necessity for all businesses. Studies have shown that 46% of all Google searches are linked to local business and that 97% of people learn more about their local community via the internet. From these statistics it’s obvious that a website is necessary to make potential customers aware of what you have to offer. However, most people don’t think about how the quality of their website may affect their sales.
The look of your website, first of all, is more important than you think. A website fuels your customers’ perception of your entire brand. If your website looks sleek and modern, your customers are likely to attribute these qualities to your brand and product. If your website looks professional and informative, customers are more likely to view your product as credible and invest their trust in your product.
On the other hand, if your website looks outdated or unprofessional, customers will be less likely to purchase what you have to offer as they will assume your professionalism is lacking. Investing in a well designed website then is a must for your business to boost visibility, sales and trust in your brand. This may seem incredibly obvious to most, but this is first on the list for a reason. So, take your time and find the right web designer for you and your brand.
Secondly, your website should be easy to navigate, giving your customers all necessary information and clear ways of accessing this information. One example of making your website more accessible is a chat bot. A chat bot can be implemented in order to answer customers frequently asked questions, as well as helping customers to navigate the site, adding to their positive customer experience. Clear signposting throughout your website with relevant information allows customers to have a good experience with your brand, while if they feel like they can’t find the information they’re looking for they may become frustrated and leave the site without a sale. Therefore, it’s important to design an easy to use website for a great customer experience.
Finally, a website allows you to have more direct communication with your customers. Customers can ask questions, leave reviews of your product and leave great feedback for their user experience with your product. This is important as it allows you to reply to customers and gain insight or help them out, allowing better insights into possible improvements for you and also a better customer experience.
All of these factors open you up to possible sales so it’s incredibly important to get this part of your business right.
2. Designed advertising like leaflets and brochures
Being in the digital age, more traditional advertising can often be overlooked. Leaflets, Brochures and catalogues might seem outdated or ineffective to some, however, they can be a great tool to give information about your brand straight to potential local customers. So, while leaflets etc. aren’t for every brand, they shouldn’t be overlooked when starting out as a small business and this is why:
The first obvious advantage to using leaflets to promote your business is that they are extremely cost effective. Posting leaflets means that you pay for the cost of distribution which is simply a delivery person’s hourly wage. While you will also pay the price of producing and designing a leaflet, this is still significantly less than paying for most other digital marketing strategies. The key is to have a high quality leaflet printed that is both informative and visually pleasing as customers aren’t likely to keep a hold of your leaflet if it’s low quality.
Leaflets also let you get a lot of information about your product to your local customer base. This encourages new customers that will likely return to your product based on how local it is. Simply causing awareness of your brand is an important tool that you should make the most of.
We recommend using leaflets alongside other digital marketing strategies to get the best results for your brand, but it’s important not to overlook traditional methods completely as they do have their advantages.
3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is Google’s way of deciding which sites deserve to rank highly for each query entered into its search engine. Without modern SEO, it would be very easy to manipulate search results so that the site with the most links or the most pages consistently ranked number 1. In this way, SEO keeps results fair by allowing only the sites that deserve to be ranked high to be near the top of search engine results.
Customers trust search engines. Over the years, to ‘Google’ something that has become a verb used throughout the world. It’s no surprise then that ranking highly on such a trusted search engine can boost your sales greatly. We observe this happening everyday with our own searching habits. How often do you go to the second or third page of results on search engines? When customers are looking for something in particular, they are very unlikely to look at all their options on all pages of search engines if there are already results at the top.
Customers then, are most likely to go for searches that rank highly. This means you will experience higher traffic levels and clicks if you improve your SEO. 50% of Marketers believe SEO is the most effective digital marketing strategy, so it’s incredibly important as a small business to ensure you rank highly in search engines to generate sales.
4. Social Media Presence for small business
Over 3.8 billion people worldwide use some form of social media – a figure that is expected to rise in the future to 4.41 billion by 2025. These statistics make it obvious why social media is important to all businesses. The potential reach to customers all over the world simply by having an online presence is astounding. Small businesses are also allowed to compete against large businesses in the same space, creating the opportunity to win customers by presenting a solid brand message through social media.
Social media also allows the chance to humanise your brand. Having a website that has all the information your customers need is very different from having an interactive social platform where customers can see live what a brand is doing. Creating posts based on upcoming events, news from your brand or even posts about your brand’s message and aims allows customers to see that there are people behind the business that they can relate to. On the other hand, simply promoting your brand on social media with competitions and events can create an interactive atmosphere between your business and customers.
Social media also has several great features that can help you out. Firstly, Facebook’s boost feature allows you to boost your posts so that they have more reach, giving your post directly to potential customers. You can also sync up your Facebook and instagram to have the same posts at the same time which saves you time. Overall, social media is a versatile tool that you shouldn’t take for granted. The potential reach on social media is huge, allowing your returning customers to follow your brand and story.
Another great thing about social media
Social media allows you to have a direct line of communication with your customers. While traditional lines of communication – email, telephone and contact forms on websites – are great, social media allows your customers to talk about and communicate with your business in real time. Customers can leave facebook reviews to boost your business, leave comments to show you they are happy with your product. They can even post pictures with your item and use hashtags to show your products to more people.
With analytics on social media apps you can also find out exactly who your customers are to better target your advertisements around them. You can see average age, gender and even where your customers tend to come from. With this information, you can better understand who your product is for. Thus, you can tailor your ads and posts to reach these customers and more people like them.
Overall, social media is an amazing tool for all businesses and something that all small businesses should have.
5. Tracking and Analytics
Tracking and Analytics are used for a multitude of reasons: increasing sales, managing inventory, cutting waste and retaining customers being just some of the things you can do. All of these things can either save you money, increase your efficiency or grow your revenue. Small businesses can use this to their advantage too, for example, a small cafe in Copenhagen grew their cafe from 1.1 million to 6.1 million by looking at their data. They tracked sales by day, customer retention and other data to discover a lot of important insights about the business. This helped them identify things like the impact of menu changes and when the conditions under which they made the most sales. As well as processes that were using up the company’s time and money. So, analytics can be incredibly useful for businesses of all sizes.
Data analytics can let you pinpoint problems before they arise. For example, if you keep too much stock when selling edible goods, you will experience higher levels of waste. This will be costly for your business. On the other hand, too little stock leads to your business not taking up enough space. You also may not be able to fulfil your customers demand. Analytics can solve this problem by working out the optimum amount of stock that decreases waste and increases sales.
Analytics also let you know if your online marketing strategies are actually working. Both traffic and clicks are a great indicator of how well your strategies are working. Without analytics, it’s almost impossible to know how well your strategies are working and thus, how to improve your sales. So analytics is a key part of your marketing strategy to observe the growth of your company and advertising methods.
Building a successful business has many key parts to consider and it’s important that you get this right. Luckily, All Advertising houses experts in all of these techniques and so much more. So if you’re starting a small business and want help designing a great website, managing your social media or want to know your analytics contact us here or call us on 01708 952952
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