Tuesday | 02 June | 2020
By Essie Bester
Home businesses have increased over the past decade and with lockdown we see the advent of still more community-based businesses.
Being the owner of such a microbusiness you probably realise that, apart from your immediate environment, a huge market is waiting for you on the outside. An online presence is therefore absolutely essential – there are already more than 4,9 billion web users worldwide.
But what does one do if computers, the internet and social media are not your strong points and you definitely cannot afford a suitably qualified professional person?
“A direct and cheap way of reaching your target market is by using the social media, Google advertisements and searches, website information and email newsletters,” says Rob Stokes, a Cape Town investor and entrepreneur who focuses on technology. Here are the six main areas in online marketing that are of importance to a small business:
- Social media
- The biggest advantage of using social media is surely the fast distribution of information. And, moreover, it is free of charge and an easy way of getting an online presence without having to worry too much about design ideas and layout.
However, it Social mediadoes need some inputs and guidance. Small things such as your logo, the image that you want to propagate and a short summary of your business’s most important achievements, properties and qualifications are perhaps areas where you feel you need the help of a professional.
Facebook is the best place to start by creating a business page. Although it does not quite serve the purposes of a website, it is nevertheless a good start because there you can give all your contact details, office hours, business logo (a design that depicts the identity of your business visually) and mission (the driving force behind the establishment of the business). There you can post information about your products by using photos, videos as well as written text. A profusion of other unbelievable tools for Facebook pages, including an online shop, is also available.
Instagram (together with Facebook) is an important platform if your product or service has a strong visual element. Use it to display good quality photos of your products – photos that really show the craftsmanship of your product.
Twitter is a platform that needs a lot of maintenance but it can be unbelievably advantageous if used correctly. If you like to chat online, Twitter is your spot.
LinkedIn is not essential to a microbusiness except if your target market consists of professional business people.
Stokes says a good website answers consumers’ questions and is your most important business card. This is where your clients can find out everything about your business.
Who are you? How did the business come about? Your product range or range of services. Your online shop for e-trading. Your team (if you employ personnel) to make the business more personal. And, of course, contact details and your business hours.
So, why do you have a website if you have a Facebook page? Many people look for products or services in their area daily and the primary means of search is Google, which uses extremely complex algorithms to provide the information.
Stokes says: “ A person who uses Google for research is purposeful and knows what he’s looking for. He usually clicks on the links displayed at the top of the results list.”
As the owner of a microbusiness you can pay to have the name of your business as a sponsored link at the top of the list or you can improve your website presentation and fill a higher place on the Google list of rankings.
If you want people to click on the link to your website you will have to do enough to make sure that the contents of the website meets the consumer’s requirements.
However, Stokes says it is not necessary to spend thousands of rands on a website – there are a number of online initiatives that can help to design one cheaply. His advice is to focus on good content.
Content is not text only. It could include photos, graphics, video and text. Photo and image quality must be of a high standard. Copy writing must be professional and search-engine-optimised. If you want a static website – one that serves as an online business card only and is not updated regularly, these are the absolute minimum requirements. Bear in mind that a website that looks cheap will not sell your product or service.
You will probably want to update your website more often with new information. Blog on your website about the good aspects of your business. Content marketing is one of the most powerful online aids. Share your blog further via social-media platforms and remember: the more regularly you update the content of your business’s website, the better the chances that the name of your business will pop up in other people’s searches.
- Pay portals and shopping carts
A variety of online pay systems is available that will make sure that clients will feel safe to do transactions on your website. Make sure that you give them a smooth process that protects you and the client.
Stokes says a good email newsletter is the ideal way to further expand your marketing strategy. An email newsletter provides an opportunity to make consumers aware of your tradename.
When a consumer is ready to buy something in the future, he will remember your tradename and go back to your business. Right from the start each client that you deal with must be added to a data list so that you can email them regularly. In this way you stay in contact with clients while you make sure that they know that your business still exists.
Digital tips for your home business in the new economy https://biggerthanme.co.za/
* All information was correct at the time of publication.