OPINION: Benjamin Franklin supposedly said: “Out of adversity comes opportunity”.
If there’s one thing I’ve seen in the last six months as our global economy has been shocked out of the way things were, is how fast some of us have adapted, evolved and made the big calls to change in areas that only several months before we did not think possible (or perhaps had to!)
For us as marketing strategists, we’ve helped businesses who only sold in store, those who marketed purely to overseas tourists, and those who have move from manufacturing and wholesale distribution to touting their products direct to customers with online options. It’s been incredible to watch how many business owners have taking on a huge path of learning, adapting, and seeing success.
For some it’s been harder than others. The digital divide of understanding social media, and how you can use it, coming to terms with all the extras you need, and the sheer time and effort it takes has been crippling to some who thought it might be as easy as just “popping up an e-commerce store on the internet”.
* The world our business operates in has changed forever
* What is a customer relationship management system and does my business need one?
* When you focus on profit first and foremost, your business tends to thrive
* Seven things that really matter when you start a new business
There’s sacrifice that needs to be made in terms of time, energy and mental shift.
For those of you who’ve seen the benefits, and aren’t looking back these changes will make your business more robust and future proof.
For those of you who haven’t seen the benefits you were hoping for, here’s why.
Your website doesn’t give a great shopping experience
You need to give us an emotional connection with your products to make us want your stuff. If you’ve got unclear images, a lack of in-depth descriptions that use words that evoke emotion,a lack of a personalized “about us” page that tells us about you, the shopping experience is super tricky and confusing, and you haven’t used any of the “get now, pay later options such as Kiwi company LayBuy, you are going to struggle to get that desire to buy up enough. You may need to also consider putting chat on the website to help people to make a decision, or have free shipping options.
You haven’t made it easy for people to find you
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is essential, especially for new websites. A new website is a bit like a tiny dingy in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – pretty tricky to find easily! SEO works to link your website with others, helping make a trail for Google to find you, and point people searching for what you sell to your website.
SEO has many moving parts and complexities but a super simple place to start is to use this list from Digital Search company FOUND. Go in and register your business on the directory sites. While you are there, set up a Pinterest account and link your products back onto it (it’s amazing how well this works!).
You’re boring on social media
Out of all the retailers and e-commerce businesses we work with, the ones who really invest time, effort and love into organic (free to use, rather than chemical free!) social media see the biggest gains and sales. You can’t just check up an image of a product with a one liner description and see sales! Imagine social media as your shop window. Is it alluring? Does it feel welcoming? Write content that shows personality and helps people see themselves in it. And jump on board the daily instagram stories train and talk about your products! People want details and personal connection.
Social media is such an important part of selling online that we now don’t work with clients to develop Facebook funnels (E-commerce ads that take people from “hmm what’s this?” to “ I need this now” over a series of ads) unless their social media is sorted out first.
You don’t love who you already have
The best thing about shopping online (compared to in store) is you have the opportunity to get the ‘shopping high’ more than once. There’s the ‘I just bought that stuff’’ high. The ‘It’s on its way’ high. And then the ‘I got a parcel!’ high (and for some, there’s also the ‘I’m going to show it off all over social media’ high).
If you aren’t making each one of those experiences as beautiful and personalised as possible, you’re missing up on investing time in people who have already chosen to buy from you and who will either buy again Oor tell others to. I have recommended people buy from businesses purely on the shopping experience I’ve had. Equally, I’ve told people to avoid businesses who just didn’t care about this side at all.
This also includes post-sale follow up (this can be automated, but still look personal) and remarketing to these people who have invested in you even if you didn’t have the best website, SEO and social media in the world.
Investing time, effort and heart into these key areas would see you reap the rewards that so many others who’ve made that leap have enjoyed. Having thriving online sales will help protect your business in this weird, every shifting environment. It’s worth it.
Rachel Klaver is a marketing strategist, specialising in lead generation and content marketing who runs Identify Marketing, which works with businesses to create the strategy they need to tell their story better to the right people. Write your own marketing strategy for free with Rachel’s online marketing school.
Identify Marketing is a content partner with Stuff for specialist small business information.