‘The New Normal’ is the buzz-phrase of the moment, and yet many business owners and entrepreneurs have not yet taken full cognisance of what this truly means for the future of commerce, not only in South Africa, but globally. Companies are no longer viewed as physical spaces, but as entities fully integrated with and functional within a digital realm; a new virtual marketplace where supply and demand can interact without the hassles, limitations and risks of brick and mortar commerce.
If you’re having trouble taking your business online and/or reaching new customers in a virtual world, we’ve laid out a few simple options to begin your eBusiness journey. Boost your business comeback with these digital hacks and online marketing recommendations.
Social Media Marketing
Social media should be any business’ first port of call when it comes to forging online customer relationships and kickstarting your digital marketing strategy. You can use social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn etc. to quickly and easily update customers on your latest offers, answer queries, promote your products/services and interact with a wider community of users, all of whom are potential customers.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have even implemented free tools over the past few months in order to help business owners during the pandemic. You can now connect your product catalogue to your business page and seamlessly allow social media users to browse and purchase products. Social Commerce (sCommerce) is rapidly growing and needs to be at the forefront of any digital marketing strategy.
Website Updates & SEO
Most businesses already have a website as their primary digital footprint, however the vie for online attention is now fiercer than ever. If your website has been up for a while, ensure that it is regularly updated. This might be the time to refresh/modernise your website’s look and feel to attract new customers. Remember, your homepage is the most important facet, your storefront, and is often the primary landing page and first impression for visitors, so if your operations have been in any way affected by COVID-19 or the National Lockdown, make this information is readily available as a pop-up, banner or navigation item on your homepage.
User friendliness (UX & UI) can often be the make or break when it comes to action, enquiry or conversion. Why not ask a few friends, family members or customers to give their feedback on the user journey of your website, a few small tweaks could go a long way when it comes to converting website visitors into customers.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) improves the search engine ranking and visibility of your website on Google and other search engines, thereby increasing traffic and possible sales. Your SEO can be improved by updating your blog/web pages with content containing keywords relating to your business offering, referral links on other websites and blogs within your industry as well as adding additional landing pages to your website as a whole. SEO is a great way to increase your website traffic without running paid ads, but can often take 6-12 months of SEO optimisations to see a noticeable improvement. They say that SEO is similar to going to the gym: You might not see the results on day 1 but after a few months of consistent effort you will start to reap the rewards – so don’t give up, you won’t regret getting your website fighting fit!
Launching an eCommerce Division
Almost every industry has the ability to launch an online commerce division, and there are now many platforms and integrations available that make the transition super simple and easy to implement, from drag-and-drop website builders to fully customisable eCommerce plugins. Some of these tools include Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, Squarespace, Shopstar, Webflow and more. Being able to sell products and services online is essential if you’re wanting to reach the widest audience possible, unlimited by geographical distance and lockdown restrictions.
With consumers now spending more time at home, they are searching online for things relative to their needs. Search advertising on Google involves creating paid ads around specific keywords and search terms that target search engine users who input these terms while browsing the web. This is a great way to reach customers who are already interested in or searching for your product and/or service. Unlike SEO, Google Ads are a great way to instantly rank for terms your target audience is searching for, but you will need to allocate an ad spend amount to Google on a monthly basis.
Coupons, Competitions & Promos
Using the online space to both promote your business and spread the word about special offers is much easier than doing so through traditional marketing practices. You can create online discount codes for use on almost all eCommerce platforms and promote these offers through social media posts or paid advertising channels. Use online polls to gather fast customer feedback to improve your offering and run competitions to boost brand visibility and user engagement. The key is to run one campaign per quarter to generate excitement amongst new and existing customers.
If you are just starting your online journey to better integrate into the new normal, the Symmetry Hub, sponsored by Retail Capital, is made up of a number of tools and services to help you navigate an array of business challenges and facilitate business growth. The Symmetry services include social media marketing, web design, paid advertising and business advisory services, with tailored packages developed to fit the budget and needs of your business.
Simply identify your business challenge/s or areas that need expert attention, browse the relevant service providers and sign up to a package that suits your needs. The partner of your choice will then be in touch within 24 hours to learn more about you and your business. You’re one step closer to making a comeback with the Symmetry Hub.
Discover the Symmetry tools & services here.
Since 2011, we have provided businesses with innovative, flexible and convenient alternatives to traditional business funding. Business owners still identify access to working capital as the single biggest challenge that they are faced with. Being responsible for 50% of the country’s GDP and contributing to over 65% of employment, we are devoted to partnering with small to medium-sized businesses to grow the South African economy. This is where we can help and we are proud to have partnered with thousands of SMEs in providing fast flexible business funding. Start growing your business with Retail Capital Business Funding and Asset Finance today. Get in touch to learn more.