Starting a new business is exciting and daunting. How do you do it digitally correct? The reality is that in South Africa 9 out of 10 business startups fail within the first two years of operation. Whilst there are no recipes for success, there are many resources waiting to be tapped, all that will make failing a bit harder.
How to get your business digitally correct?
First, you have to answer that question by asking more of the right questions. the answers to all of them combined become a powerful solution. So, when looking at your business, what will your answers to these questions be:
- What do you bring to the table?
- How do your clients find you?
- How do you convert visitors to clients?
- Do your clients come back?
- Do you know if you are making progress?
Detailed breakdown to get your business digitally correct.
Products and services are the starting point that makes the most sense, but that does not make it more important, each of these headings have their place and all are equally important. Let’s go over them in a bit more detail.
1. What do you bring to the table?
Your Products and Services.
The same considerations apply when presenting your products on shelves in your shop, or online. What do you have to consider?
- Your products must be clearly visible and easily accessible.
- Grouping products in categories makes it easier for clients to find what they came for.
- Adding dedicated help to the floor, someone to help customers with questions.
- Presentation, in general, neat and organized, but also clearly point out bargains.
- Sandbox, have real working items available in your shop for clients to try first.
- Price matching, especially if you have lots of opposition in your area.
- Clearly point out endorsements, affiliations, and accreditation.
- Make sure checking out (paying) is secure, easy, and streamlined.
This list goes on and at the same time unique for each business. The aim here is to get your website and shop to look and work exactly the same, and both optimized. A part of optimizing your business will be knowing your opposition, current trends, and do some homework on what worked in businesses operating in other sectors.
Know why people make use of your services and products.
By knowing what your clients think of your business, you can make improvements to the client experience and maybe draw more clients. But this does not go without limitations, as long as you work hands-on in your shop, you will have a good idea of what clients think. Unfortunately, you lose this the moment you have to attend to more than one place at a time.
A website is a handy tool for managing your business when it comes to multiple locations and knowing what your clients think of your service. This part will be dealt with later and in more detail, in the section about Google Analytics later in this post.
The takeaway here is that your website must be able to show you the right useful information. Good data used for analysis in return help you improve your client’s overall experience. Using analytics shows you why your clients make use of your business.
Being digitally correct makes it easy to deal with your business.
Take a look at these easy improvements you can make to your sales and after-sales sides. These improvements have an effect on computer hardware and software options:
- Split transactions arm your salespeople on the floor with tablets, this way your staff needs less training and can immediately supply the client with answers to all his questions. That’s not all, as your salesperson assists clients he makes up the first part of the transaction. Leaving the paying bit to last, this way you cut your cashiers workload in half, and the service time. This means that your clients wait less and have a better shopping experience.
- Setting up an online support system is now easier than ever before. By implementing an online support system you improve your client’s experience. This is because of the after-sales service, that becomes available to clients before they buy. Online support not only proves your credibility but at the same time adds to analytical value.
Whichever way you decide to go, making sure your business is easy to deal with from your client’s point of view, is crucial and your website is the perfect tool for that job.
Being digitally correct means pointing out your competitive advantages.
Acquisition Strategy. The reason clients buy from you or make use of your services is not the same as your competitive advantage. You do not want to tell the opposition why you are making money, instead, you want to show your clients the advantages of buying from you VS. buying from your opposition, and then advertise that.
2. How do your clients find you?
You will eventually get to know the answer by experience. Do you have the time for that? Especially when you are starting out your new business? I don’t think so. That is why the aim of this section is to determine and set in place the most effective ways, for new clients to find your business.
Fortunately, you have an array of digitally correct tools to use, at a relatively low-cost. By using the proper tools you have the ability to mount multiple marketing campaigns and compare them to make improvements. By making improvements quickly you reduce the time it takes to find out exactly where your core business originates from.
Something that jumps out, when comparing social applications for business use is consistency, and effort. The basics apply, the more you put in the more you get out. Apart from general business ethics, you have to know the little bits and pieces that make your posts work better. By this I mean length of post headings, what’s the perfect length of a tweet, how many characters in a Facebook post, and more.
Search engine optimization.
SEO is often blown out of proportion. However it is important and does make a difference, you must use SEO best practices. This starts with your website design. It is important for your website to be a business tool and not just an advert. By doing this you will be able to easily maintain a high-quality score. A high quality score is important whith regards to your website’s visibility on search.
Employing a person to be solely responsible for social media marketing and SEO, is an investment in your business. A results driven incentive. Being result driven means, you can measure efforts and calculate the cost-efficiency. All part of being digitally correct.
As years ago you needed to add a receptionist, to handle the phones and faxes, now you need a skilled person to manage your website. It is always recommended to apply hands-on in-house training and/or mentoring for at least 3 months.
There are many facets to complete a marketing campaign, various strategies, social engagement, defining goals, planning, and implementation. Digital marketing is an ongoing process and consistency is an integral part to get the results.
The starting point will be for us to conduct an audit of your existing facilities. Doing an overview audit will give you a clear idea of your demands. The audit then form the basis to build your campaigns on. Here is a list of various things to get in place before starting:
- Social apps,
- Forums, and
With the platforms stated above in place, we move on to the next step. The next step of being digitally correct is to create the marketing strategies that you will have in place and put to work.
In everyday business, partnerships are often formed due to the fact that the partnership is beneficial to the business. With the rise of the internet, a new dimension is added. Something that was previously unavailable.
Unlike big expensive costly partnerships, think small. With the internet, you can create partnerships all over the globe. The key is to know which businesses to partner with. So, back to the homework or let us help you get your business digitally correct.
What you are looking for, is other companies that offer products or services that go hand in hand with your products and services. Finding shuch partnerships does not pose a threat towards your cash flow, and becomes powerfull when mutually beneficial.
You can only start working on building partnerships, backlinks after your website is live. The reason… you got it, you will be using your website to introduce yourself to thousands of people. Part of this process involves moving newly met and qualified people to your quiet place.
Your website is the starting point to create many public relationships. It is a good practice to make various PR channels available to your clients and the rest of the public. A way to kick-start your relationship building.
In these modern days, websites plays a key part of maintaining public relationships. At the rate the internet grows it easily out-performs many other types of media, like print and television. The internet can be very beneficial if applied digitally correct.
A few years ago PPC (pay per click) or paid advertising was an additional extra. At this time paid advertising changed from a “nice to have” to a “must-have”. It gets better, in the past you would easily get hits simply by creating a PPC advert, but with the increase in competition, we reached a point where you have to plan and optimize your advertising. Otherwise, you will not get results.
How do you go about optimizing your adverts? Once again this falls back to your website and keyword research. We did many tests and found that keeping your adverts organized and separated works best. Basically one page per product. The page must contain your selected keywords. Going about making up adverts in this way ensures higher quality scores on more effective groupings.
Paid advertising is a big job, and another reason to add to your list of reasons for employing a skilled person.
3. Convert visitors to clients?
User experience and usability
Walk in-store or online business, when it comes to making sales, you need to say the right thing at the right time. As clearly visible in the hospitality trade, the difference between small sales or big sales is suggestive selling.
Food for thought. When a customer walks into your business, he is planning on spending money, but no one likes to spend their money. Maybe that is not always the case, but I noticed as times became more financially challenging, customers become more reluctant to spend their hard-earned cash.
Let’s work with the situation as above and assume that your client walks into your shop reluctant to spend money, but he needs the product. At that time the client is experiencing an array of negative emotions, on a small-scale. The secret comes in with how you greet him, first contact.
This is where your work starts… but before we get to that, what happens if you give him his beer and leave him. I can guarantee that the client will have one beer and leave. Maybe two and leave experiencing the same negative emotions.
How do you change this? There are many ways, and I will not go into detail but it’s your work as a salesperson to change the negative feelings into positive feelings. The same will be done with your website if it is created digitally correct.
Third party certification and endorsements
Clients want to know what you can do, and not pay to find out. By making your qualifications and certifications and all other types of endorsements clearly visible you are building credibility.
This does not only apply to your website, but also to any physical business. Displaying customer testimonials in the right places on your website is a simple and effective way to build credibility.
Go ahead and list all members of your organization’s skills and find ways to make the important points stand out.
Promotions and Merchandising
Take note I did not say “Specials and Discounts”! Here are two important points with regards to merchandising.
Stock Pressure: Customers buy more of the product that is stacked more on the shelf. In the same way as people always taking the fullest 2 Lt coke off the shelve. Even though all the 2Lt cokes are filled exactly to 2 liters.
Pricing: By placing your price points correctly you can entice clients to buy your more profitable products.
Promoting products on your website works well and is implemented easily, showing related products below a product are one way, and placing links to promoted products or creating a promoted products section is important. This gives clients quick access to what they may be looking for.
Analytics plays a key part in determining which products to promote.
People do not want to deal with robots all the time, so be careful and do not over automate. You can automate A LOT, but always make sure that you do have a real person engaging clients, so it becomes clear how important a dedicated person is for this job.
Adding live chat/support to your website works to apply some personal touches, but many other ways exist.
4. How do you make your clients come back?
After sales service
Clients are more likely to buy a product that is bundled with support after the sale, especially for more technical products. The car industry is a very good example, motor plans have become a key selling point.
Your website is just the tool for adding various applications to carry out after-sales service and support, at hardly any extra cost.
Email and CRM
Even though email is one of the oldest ways to communicate online, it remains a powerful tool and is still one of the most used internet applications, despite the ever-growing competition from social networks. The email and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) combination works well to keep in touch with customers and by keeping them up to date with your latest offerings, chances of them returning are better.
Third party offers
Just like OPM (Other People’s Money)in real life, on the internet, we have OPA – Other People’s Audience. This works both ways, for hosting another companies adverts on your site or getting your site in front of Other Peoples Audience.
Support and community
A popular way to keep customers in the software sector is communities. By setting a community that deals with your products and services online, helps to retain clients. Although this is popular in software sectors, you can create a community for anything.
Referrals and Reviews
It is a well-known fact that word of mouth is the best marketing tool out. Your website can capitalize on this by making product reviews and social sharing painless.
The result you are looking for will be to turn selected clients into your marketing helpers by becoming their marketing helper. It is a proven fact that a bad customer experience will be repeated on average to 26 other people, wherein contrast a good experience on average gets repeated 4 times.
Giving customers something to talk about after they experienced your super service, must have a positive effect on word of mouth. Getting the timing and a method that works for you will need to go through some trial and error. Give your visitor the right information at the perfect time, and they will repeat that. This one can be very tricky.
Social media evolved into a business machine. Maybe you are in disbelieve or giving it a go. It boils down to that everyone jumped this wagon in recently passed years. So once again if you tackle social media marketing without the right strategies in place, you will have a poor experience and lose those benefits.
Here are some points that needs consideration when using social media for marketing:
- Post format.
- Post content.
- Times to share.
- Where to share what?
- Additional elements.
- Graphical content.
- Trends and ethics.
This shortlist above is really just the start, a good idea will be to work through the topics in this list, and that way you will see the magnitude of social media and get on your right path.
The question here is if someone gives you something, do you grab it and run to the next offering, or do you politely thank them?
In addition to using good manners in your business transactions, you can take it a step further and use your website. It is easy to add a customer rewards system, or something related to that. Coupons are one of the popular online rewards choices.
5. How do you know if you are making progress?
All the way down to here, I referred to this step, so let’s jump right in. Choosing not to use any form of analytical applications will deprive you of the fuel that will sustain this entire effort explained above.
Here is an explanation of the entire process as basic as possible. Start by determining your strategies, make up your posts, and send it to the various selected places. Now use analysis and see what worked and why. Build on that.
Easy, and with the huge choice of insights, analytics, and monitoring apps available today, you can with ease implement and take advantage of stats from almost all the platforms you will be using.
A/B testing works well, as you get very clear answers, which gives you the ability to optimize quicker and more accurate, definitely something worth using.
Just as it is good to know, how your campaigns are fairing, you also need to know, how your competitors are fairing. The key here is to look at offerings from your client’s perspective.
I’m not saying corporate espionage, but you can by spending time online get all the crucial information you need about your competitors. This is how your potential clients find them. Simply browsing is one way, but locking on selected elements of your top competitors and constantly monitoring them is what bench-marking is about.
Ultimately you want to keep a record of what your competitors are doing and have the ability to respond with a well-calculated and effective response.
Feedback and Surveys
Surveys are becoming more popular online, the reason being that with a good survey in place you get very targeted information. This is useful for the more difficult questions that may need answers. The bonus is that you get your answers directly from the public.
Openly taking feedback on your site is a daunting thought to many business owners, but it works in so many ways. It is a higher risk situation yielding higher rewards. Placing someone in charge of the necessary complaint handling skills are crucial.
It is not just about complaints, you will soon realize that allowing feedback from clients often results in good testimonials or give you an indication which of your products or services needs more attention.
Key Performance Indicators
Let’s agree on one thing. If you implemented as much as possible mentioned in this post you will end up with an overwhelming amount of information. How are you planning on processing all of that?
Take a good look at the data that you have constantly come and point out the quantifiable data and focus on that. You can take this a step further and provide the various departments in your company with related information. Empowering each head of the department with information on where to pay attention.
Thank you for reading this very long post, all the way here!
Let’s get your business digitally correct. This post gives you, the basic framework that we use during a contract. We offer three (3) time spans: 1, 2, or 3 Months. The price scales down for longer time spans. You will be glad to know that the complete framework will be applied during any of the 3-time span options.
To find out more or get an obligation free quote, simply send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.