Changes in digital technology have transformed the business landscape, where being an entrepreneur no longer requires access to generational wealth to fund the high costs of advertising and entering conventional markets. Thanks to the boom of social media and e-commerce, small businesses have access to a platform of over a billion people to both advertise and sell their products to.
Yet the ease of access has also caused an abundance of competition, where each industry has brands that are often indistinguishable. Succeeding in this market requires the creation of a unique identity and brand that offers potential customers something they can connect to and form a relationship with. While there is no definite guide to success, this article shall provide business owners with general tips to help them make the right decisions.
Learn What Kind Of Advertising Works Best On What Platform
Once upon a time, marketing campaigns were exclusively the domain of corporations with big budgets that could invest millions of dollars in advertising. Social media now offers a cost-free way of attracting a global audience, where the only trick is to understand how the algorithm works and leverage it to your favor.
The first trick is understanding what kind of advertising works best on what platform, with the two largest social media sites for e-commerce, Instagram and Facebook, heavily favoring visual marketing. Use high-quality pictures, infographics, and videos to break down information about your brand in an eye-catching way. While access to high-quality cameras is cheaper than before, if it is still too expensive for your business’s budget, you can use stock photos to access professional quality work for free.
Understand what time to post, how you can optimally use the advertising tools offered by these platforms to reach an audience looking for your product, and what hashtags and other keywords will help you access the largest group of people possible.
Research What Audience Your Business Will Attract
Many small businesses will forego a specific identity to be universally appealing and end up coming across as generic and uninteresting. The reality is that the most successful businesses have gotten to their position because they created a unique identity that appealed to a large cross-section of the general population. Nike’s general mantra of perseverance for the goal of excellence, encapsulated by the slogan ‘Just Do It,’ appeals to athletes of all kinds and people motivated to improve their fitness levels.
The first step to creating a unique identity is understanding what kind of consumer will give you business. It requires research about the industry you are entering to understand what demographic it appeals to, followed by research into that demographic’s preferences. With this knowledge, you can start a campaign, which you can monitor through social media data analytical tools and adjust accordingly.
Make Your Website User Friendly
The last thing you want to do is have a good marketing campaign that attracts people only for them to leave because your website is too buggy or hard to navigate. Online shoppers are looking for a seamless experience where they can easily access the products they want, get to know the information related to it that they need, and complete their purchase without any added hurdles.
Your website design should focus on usability; its layout should be intuitive, where products should have clear and concise descriptions alongside user reviews, and the platform should offer helpful customer service, either through navigation tools or a messenger bot that can assist them.
A good website ensures that clicks turn into purchases while ensuring that customers who interact with your business form a positive first impression likely to translate into trust for your products and brand.
Let Customers Know Their Data Is Secure
As digital technology penetrates more and more markets, the traditional skepticism against e-commerce, that there is no guarantee for the product’s quality or the safety of your sensitive information, has begun to fade. Despite this, over two-thirds of surveyed consumers list concerns about their private information as amongst their top online concerns, particularly a fear of identity theft and online fraud.
Online shoppers will only give you business if they feel your website is safe from hackers and malicious third parties. Steps to build that trust include taking web safety measures like encrypting data through HTTPS, being transparent about the cookies your website requires, preferably with some way to opt-out, and having a secure payment gateway that doesn’t redirect users to an external website, and which uses the newest security measures like two-factor authentication.
Do Not Delay Product Delivery
One of the benefits of online shopping over regular retail is the convenience it offers, with shoppers being able to browse through a catalog of products and decide on one that suits them from the comfort of their homes. E-commerce must pay great attention to the comfort of its consumers, which includes valuing their time.
While short delivery times are desirable, only offer them if they are realistically achievable. Inefficient delivery, which has the consumer rearranging their schedule to take time out specifically for your package, can detract from the overall experience and erase the possibility of return purchases.
Focus on your inventory management and shipping logistics. Ensure that you have mechanisms to effectively monitor how many products you have in storage and how many are ready for shipment. Also, work with third-party shippers known for their reliable delivery services. If there is a delay, inform the consumer beforehand and give them a specific time the product will be delivered.
With the rise of digital technology and the market uncertainty created by the coronavirus and the economic stall it brought, more and more people are looking towards self-employment and becoming their own bosses. Yet the increasing market saturation means that many of these business ventures are doomed to fail, with one in five small businesses closing within a year of launching. If you have an entrepreneurial mind and are looking to find your place within the business world, follow this article’s guidelines while creating your brand to have the best chance of succeeding.