How can we live in a business world where technology, data, opinion and style products can reverse 10 years of a hard-working small- to medium-size enterprise? Welcome to the digital jungle of 2020.
I personally first entered the business world before it became a modern-day jungle in 2004, selling nothing but cheese. In its day, that cheese was from one of hardest places in the world to source from. We faced the typical problems most businesses face: How to produce more product, how to ship more, how to optimize the packaging and where it should sit on the shelf. Today, it has grown to become one of the most used feta cheeses in the world! Those days are gone, but the principles I learned during that time remain quite similar.
Those who know me, know that evolution is in my DNA, and a core principle of my inner soul.
Today I am honored to chair one of the largest non-listed digital agencies in the South Pacific, AiiMS.
AiiMS has assisted the growth of thousands of small, medium and large businesses over the last decade through customized results-focused web and digital marketing solutions. AiiMS has an intimate understanding of the trades and services industry. We understand that there is a lot more to building and growing a successful and sustainable business than just digital marketing, which is why our full circle and holistic approach has been so successful, offering a lot more than your standard web design or digital agency.
If you are assuming the world will go back to normal, you are mistaken. Change is inevitable. However, the fundamentals are still the same and will forever stay the same.
What are the fundamentals?
- Offer a product or service people want or need.
- Market your product or service on advertising mediums that best fits your business.
- Provide exemplary service to ensure client retention.
- Market back to your existing clients.
So, have business fundamentals changed? NO.
What HAS changed?
- The difficulty of sourcing a product or providing a service
- Advertising mediums expanded to include digital
- Speed of business
- Inability to hide from your online reputation
- Access to powerful data
When you truly comprehend what has changed, you will have a clear path on your way forward. You will be able to re-apply business rules. The only difference is that you will be held more accountable by your customers very quickly.
The secret to growth in a crisis or pandemic
There is no secret, just common principles that have helped thousands of businesses grow in any era. Some of the leading brands in the world grew in a crisis. More famously, Gabriel “Coco” Chanel grew the iconic brand through the world’s toughest times ever recorded in Paris during World War 2. Through product enhancements, NOT creating new products, but by thinking harder about customers and what it was that customers needed from her brand in World War 2.
You can’t judge a book by its cover! BUT WE ALL DO!
The cover of your business’s “book” is your profile online. You may have ads running in multiple mediums spending thousands of dollars on finding new clients, so you need to make sure that those ads are impactful as possible.
10 ways to rebuild your business’ digital foundation
- Set up or improve your business listings where reviews are found.
- Have a healthy Google & Bing Business Listing.
- Build a website that represents your business.
- This will be the anchor point for most of your marketing. IT MUST DO ITS JOB.
- Set up your tracking strategy.
- You cannot manage what you cannot track.
- Set up or improve your social profiles.
- Businesses had customers, now they have viewers (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram etc.).
- Only genuine photos, videos, posts will work.
- Take digital marketing seriously.
- Paid search is NOT negotiable and is more important than ever as people are using search to find products and services at increasing levels.
- Use a specialist agency for their expertise.
- Be where your clients are, e.g. Bing ads has just reached 9 million monthly users.
- Improve your sales & service abilities.
- Price match and negotiate.
- Cross sell: most customers do not know you offer other services.
- NEVER miss a phone call.
- Take the time to quote!
- Provide multiple payment options.
- BE RESPONSIVE.
- Dust the cobwebs off your existing clients and re-engage.
- Simply reminding past clients you’re still here can re-engage your clients. A simple SMS or email blast can start the process.
- Take control of your content, because the buyer says so…
- 70% of buyers view 4 or more pieces of content when making a considered purchase.
- Allocate time to educate your customers.
- Create videos and talk about your services.
- Publish on your YouTube & Social channels.
- Be viewed as the authority in your space.
- Build trust.
- Engage your existing clients.
- Create a business culture of gaining positive reviews.
- Be proactive, NOT reactive.
Value the old saying: “The customer is always right.” All of the above were crucial to a business’s success even prior to Covid-19 but are often overlooked and deemed non-essential during a buoyant market. Now that the market has tightened up its important to treat these as essentials.
Often when reading posts, you can be quite overwhelmed by where to start. It is important to remember that a start is a start. You need to release your inner business owner and demonstrate your leadership, listening and disciplinary skills. There is no time other than now to do so.
Where to now?
Get ready for the end of 2020 by preparing for a successful 2021. Follow these crucial, yet basic points that will ensure your business is always placed in the best position to WIN, and YES, I said WIN!
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