In the olden days a small business would open a shop or a factory and put a sign out the front and get ready to do business with the passing customers. Some entrepreneurial businesses would go to the customer and deliver goods to their door to aid in convenience for the customer, and improve the chances of making regular sales to those customers who might go somewhere else to get their goods.
In the old days the shopkeeper or maker might put an advertisement in the newspaper and advertise their specials. In these olden days, men went to work and women stayed at home and did the laundry and kept house and raised the children, cooked and baked and made pies or bread for the family.
In the old days, customers would go to the store and see what was on offer and the salesman would inform the customer about the product features and benefits and the customer would make a decisions about what to buy.
Now the way people make purchase decisions has changed. A recent study by Google shows that in practice the ways that people move from considering a purchase to making the decision to purchase happens in a whole new way. Now they do their research, learn about the benefits and features, know what the price is and what the other products that compare to that product is like and move from consideration to decision before they leave home.
Be the business of choice when customers are ready to buy
Small businesses that want to be involved in that decision process, or be the place that the customer chooses to buy from depends on the activities of the small business or large business (it doesn't matter online how big or small you are), to win the attention of the customer and show that you have what they want and are easy to do business with.
Get your website in order first
You website is the first place to start with ensuring you get found online. Your website should carry the important details about where you are how to find you, how to contact you, what you sell, what's special about your business and be appealing to visitors as your shop or factory would be.
Connected to your online shopfront, are your social platforms where you can engage with customers and their friends and new people who have not yet visited your business but would like to. Facebook, Twitter, many platforms could be used, some would be more of a fit than others, depending on your business, but also the profile of the clients you serve and their habits and where they get together online to chat and hang out.
Activate inbound marketing strategies and develop relationships online
Understanding the right social media platforms for you takes some research and some testing. What we do ourselves is no indicator of what our customers' habits online are like. The only way to know is to ask, and to test.
Test not just one approach, but test many and keep testing, not just where but the type of content we are posting. Just like in your business, 'rotating your stock and facing up your shelves' is as important online as it is in Main Street in your business. Customers want you to take notice of the things they want when buying.
Basically, to customers, if you are not online - you don't exist. If you are online and demonstrating you have no clue - they will assume you don't know your market very well and are out of touch with your customers.
But your expertise is in running your business the way you have always done it and has worked for you. Now you need to learn new skills and that's not a problem, you learned everything you already know, but you can't afford to learn this stuff as you go along.
Get help, get the right help and save yourself from wasting time that could be building business, and putting yourself into situations that are bad for business. This is the time to invest in your business and you own education and reap the benefits in future sales and improved placement online.
Five levels of 'being online' for business.
Not everything has changed
In learning about the changes in the marketplace it is worth remembering that some things don't change. Some things you do well now will be part of what you do with your online marketing.
Caring about customers doesn't change.
Providing good service, doesn't change.
Taking care of all the sections of your business that need to be managed, doesn't change.
Your expenses can change ... and bring more value
Some things you can do very effectively now for very little money.
Some things that once cost your business a lot of money - like Yellow Pages advertising, you don't need to pay now at all.
You can now do more with less and do things to promote your business that only a big business once could do.
The range of customers who can now buy from you has expanded way beyond just the people who once walked past your door on a whim.
We live busy lives now. Families are juggling jobs and commitments now and have different constraints on their time. We are not at home with the kids and baking pies, we are working and trying to pay that mortgage and every spare moment of time is precious.
But we still like to support local business and while the milkman may not call, we are doing a lot of shopping from home and seeing the delivery man or woman with our purchases is just part of our day now. Inbound marketing for business, is conventient and easy to shop for customers.
Will those parcels be coming from your business?
Many hands make lighter work of social media for local businesses
Here's how to save time and get good content for your business online
Inbound marketing the new old fashioned way to do business
Financial planners: Social Marketing the key to keeping business on the books
Business writing not just on the social media wall
What every business should know about social media
Like to discuss your business?
Call Lindy on 0403 365 855
Website Lindy Asimus Business Coaching
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