As a business owner you must have thought about the different ways you could leverage the internet in general and social media marketing in particular to get your business more paying customers; however before you can tap into the greatness that is the world wide web with all it’s memes & emoji’s, you first have to make sure that your house is in order. Here are the 7 things you need to consider before starting digital marketing for your business.
A wise man once said, to know where you are going, you first have to look at where you are coming from. The same is just as true when it comes to digital marketing, you have to ask yourself some hard questions; what marketing efforts have you tried and failed at in the past & why was that the case? The last thing you want is to carry over mistakes from past endeavours into new ones or forgetting lessons that you probably learned the hard way & risk repeating them on a whole new platform.
If you tried to increase sales for your business through flyers, newspaper ads, radio ads, billboards/street signs, salesmen, discounts, etc take time and review why some brought results & others didn’t. It could have been that you did not reach your target market or your message was confusing or maybe you were not properly branded or your sales pitch/ offer was off, all this is crucial into building a strategy that will work online. Don’t let your business battle scars go to waste, learn from them, also note that the mistakes you make offline, multiply even more when you bring your business online so take some stock.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
Uganda may boast as one of the most hospitable countries in the world but we too tend to have days off more often than not when it comes to being kind & courteous. Let me let you in on a little secret about the online customer; “they are a real human being & they want you to treat them like you care, basically the online customer just like the offline one is still King!”
This means that a big portion of your online success is going to depend on the effectiveness of your online customer service. The way you will respond to your customers both in the comments section & the inbox has to be human, timely (don’t reply 2 weeks later), empathetic (if they are complaining, try to understand where they are coming from, you definitely shouldn’t reply fire with fire), thorough in your explanation & professional in your execution. We will upload a “how to do digital customer service” blog to dive deeper into this so check back here in a few weeks.
As a business owner, you have to ask yourself some hard questions & be honest with yourself; does your product /service do what you are going to tell people it does? Before you put your business in front of thousands of potential customers, you need to make sure that you are not going to over promise and then under deliver.
You need to get this information from an unbiased party so you get authentic results; try giving your loyal client’s surveys and ask them what they like, don’t like or what could be improved about your product or service. This will give you a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses which is crucial in helping you know what to highlight as a key selling point for your product when marketing online.
Your best foot forward, always.
Before you pack your bags to go looking for the 1 lost sheep on the internet, how well have you taken care of the 99 sheep that live right next to your business? Many businesses, ignore the potential customers closest to them & focus on those far off instead of developing strategies & putting in place structures to make sure that the people within close proximity are well versed when it comes to their product/service.
We once advised a cafe owner who was interested in starting digital marketing to first approach the numerous offices that were surrounding them through dropping laminated menus at their receptions to make them aware of their products & maybe even pass by for lunch one day. This is human capital that businesses cannot afford to ignore since it often turns out to be constant repeat business due to the convenience of being so close.
Leave no money on the table.
Things may be slow now before advertising but I can assure you that with the right message, product and targeting online, you will have hoards of customers breaking down your door to get your product/service. It’s imperative that before you start digital marketing, you have a clear understanding of the capacity/demand you can handle because nothing is worse than awakening a need and not meeting it.
Simply put, if you have 2 items in stock and 100 people show interest in your product, you will end up having 98 unhappy potential clients. In the event you are overwhelmed by the demand, you can set up systems that capture clients information to enable you to sell to them at a time when you are able to meet the demand. Be sure to also communicate on your pages when you are selling products that have limited supply, this prepares your customers early on in the event your stock runs out.
Prepare for the rain.
The internet, not just social media is all about aesthetics; simply put, people just like looking at nice things. This is why when your brand goes online, you have to purpose to always show your best side, always, don’t leave things up to chance, make a plan. A brand online is defined by a number of factors that include but aren’t limited to your company colours + fonts (define the company colours + fonts and only use these in your content both online and offline), tone of voice (are you professional or casual? Choose one and stick to it), company values (choose what causes are of importance to your business and stick to those).
If you haven’t yet been able to sort this part of your business out, I would actually advise putting off any plans of digital marketing until you get it sorted because customers consider a business’ presentation when choosing to spend their hard-earned money with them or not.
Look good, sell better.
Ok now that you are all geared up to hit the internet streets and start talking to your customers and making some mula, you have to ask yourself, based on my business, how will my product or service get from me to my customers. Convenience & speed are very key in this regard. You have to get it to them quick, fast & conveniently.
If you have a brick & mortar business, you have to have a google maps presence, if you are selling portable products, you have to have a delivery service that users can either pay a surcharge for or you incorporate it in the price & advertise it as free delivery; if you are running more of a briefcase business then being mobile to be able to meet your customers is key, all in all, you should do most of the heavy lifting for your customer if you want those repeat sales.
A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.
If you have been paying attention, which I hope you have, you should notice that all the points mentioned above are geared towards giving your customer the best possible experience with your business when they interact with it online. A great customer experience is a gift that will keep on giving; take some time and tuck in some loose ends, iron out all the creases and fill in the cracks & digital marketing will work wonders for your business. Happy hunting.