Not long ago, small and medium businesses had to largely rely on word of mouth to grow their business. The process was slow, but worked. The popular saying in Punjabi, “Chatti, Hatti, Khati” [Loss in first year, break even in second year, and profits in third year] was the guiding principles for successful entrepreneurs. Over the last decade, technology, especially social media, has revolutionized how small businesses are launched and grown.
In the last two years, I have interacted with more than 200 small and medium business owners in different sectors such as hospitality, eRetail, manufacturing, real estate, professional services, home furnishings, etc. I am totally convinced that in 2018, if business owners do not use digital marketing they will find it tough to survive.
The most critical aspect of a SMB is “sales”. If the cash flow does not stabilise, the business will have to be shut down. The only thing that can generate sales for a business is ‘marketing’. So, any business desirous of improving sales, needs to invest part of the capital and majority of revenues toward marketing.
Luckily, we are in the era of digital India. Professional digital marketing has made it affordable for any business to effectively market their business and grow sales.
Digital marketing is a continuous process that is improved over time. For now, let’s look at the five immediate actions every business must take to grow sales.
#1 Create a website
Make no mistake, if you own a business in 2018, you better have a stunning, mobile responsive and dynamic website. And, if it costs less than Rs. 2500 per month, I do not see any reason why a business should not have a website.
A website allows you to:
- Showcase your business, its products or services, unique selling proposition (USP), history, new launches, etc to your potential customers;
- Engage prospects to deliver pre-sales value in an effective manner;
- Remarket your products and services to your clients;
- Collect leads of prospects for your marketing and sales team
- Sell your products and services
So, take my word for it, get your website made today. If you already have a website, see how you are using it as a sales tool. If you need help, contact one of our consultant for a free analysis.
#2 Create a Google business account
It’s free. And, it’s one of the best things you can do for your business after creating a website. Let me tell you why.
When someone searches for your business in Google, your complete details are shown on the right of the search results page.
So, if people have forgotten your website URL, your address or your phone number, they can immediately get it from Google by searching for your business.
To create your Google business account, click here.
#3 Create a Facebook page for your business
Again, it’s free. So, go ahead and create a page for your business. Make sure you provide complete and accurate information about your business to Facebook users.
Now, begin using the page in a professional manner. Whatever you post on the business page is for the benefit of your target customers. So, think about them.
Marwari businessmen believe that, “Vyapaar se pehle vyahaar zaroori hai”. This means that establishing a relationship is important before a business transaction. Use your Facebook page to organically build a community of prospects and make every effort to build a relationship with them. Do not be impatient to sell to them.
#4 Use Facebook to market your business
The only purpose of business is to sell. And, Facebook provides you excellent tools to sell your products/services to your target audience.
Facebook makes money by taking your message to your target group of customers. They make more money if you want to generate a response from this audience. For example, if you want your message to just “reach” your audience you will need to pay 10p to 25p per person. But, if you want people to “engage” with your message, Facebook will charge you anywhere from 50p to Rs 5 per engagement.
The amount you spend on Facebook depends on your marketing objectives and the nature of your target audience. But, the good thing is that you can control it.
Here are 3 common ways to build sales using Facebook:
- Drive traffic to your website where customers can buy your products or services;
- Publish your products or services on Facebook and take interested customers to your website
- Generate leads of prospective customers.
To do this, you have design promotional campaigns on Facebook. Most small and medium businesses cannot do this themselves. So, you must hire a reliable digital marketing agency to do this for you.
#5 Invest in Google Ads
Everyone Googles for anything. Your target customers are also Googling for your products, services or business. And, Google charges you money to show your business details to such customers.
Google provides you multiple formats to advertise your business on its search page. A professional marketing agency can guide you in choosing the format that gives you the best returns.
But, one thing is sure. When you begin advertising on Google, traffic to your site will increase. Now, how many visitors to your website get converted to customers depends on the quality of your website.
The above 5 actions are basic requirements for digital marketing. However, you can do a lot more. You can use other social media channels such as Instagram, pinterest, Youtube, LinkedIn, twitter, etc. You can use Email marketing (the most profitable marketing tool) if you have a list of customers or website subscribers. And, in the end, you can use content marketing by writing blogs (you are reading it…) and marketing them.
In all of this, remember that digital marketing is not something you want your cousin, nephews, or neighbours to do as a favour. It is a professional activity and you must hire the most professional team for it.