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7 SIMPLE QUESTIONS EVERY SMALL BUSINESS SHOULD KNOW THE ANSWER TO

Running a business is no easy feat, especially when the marketplace is overcrowded and you have to fight through the noise for your brand to be seen. That is why knowing your offering and positioning inside and out is crucial to business growth in 2019.

Knowing the answer to the following seven questions – and understanding their importance – is a must for any business looking to scale their business to new heights. Some may seem simple, but remember… there is a difference between knowing your brand, and knowing how to communicate your brand to your target market.

Think about what really makes your offering unique. The chances are no matter the industry you are in, there are 100’s of other brands that have a similar offering. So, what makes your business stand out from the crowd? Why should someone sign up or shop with you, instead of your competitor? Being the biggest or the fastest is no longer enough to persuade consumers to purchase as a standalone.

Flaunt what makes your business unique across your social channels and advertisements. Leverage your Instagram Bio, Facebook ‘About Us’ Sections, the copy that goes along with your daily posting – make sure you are using every avenue to subtly remind your audience that your brand should be their first choice.

Just remember, that uniqueness has to be something desirable by your audience. Think about payment options (such as afterpay), delivery times and costings, eco-friendly, locally made etc.

It sounds cliche, but where do you see your business in 3 months? 6 months? 12 months?

It may not be formally typed and bound in your office, but having a clear plan for your marketing activities helps give you a clear direction, plan your investments – and not over spend! How will you promote your business? Will you be using social media as well as traditional media? Will you be running sales over this time? Or leveraging a brand relevant influencer? What budget are you setting aside for content creation? How much are you investing in Social Ads?

Having a clear structure for your Marketing efforts over an upcoming period is important for all businesses, as:

#1It ensures you spread the marketing activities evenly throughout each month – making sure you don’t overwhelm yourself OR your audience.

 #2 The communication with your audiences remain ‘on brand’. Panic posting last minute competitions or rushing through ad creations often leads to a lack of quality with the finished product. Leaving you stressed and the potential for your audience to be annoyed at being shown poor quality content.

 #3 You can plan out your investments in elements such as Social Ads and Influencers so there are no nasty spending surprises lurking around the corner. Don’t waste money, plan and invest into valuable activities that will grow your business.

A well defined marketing budget forces you to become more strategic with your investments in promoting your business. It forces you to think more carefully about where you spend money to gain the most valuable results – and where you should be trying to cut back. This is important for any business, but a must for small businesses who need to be smart about their investments.

Try to be tactical about about the figures you decide to allocate to each of your advertising outlets too. Don’t guess and pick a number out of thin air. What can you afford? What type of Return On Investment do you need (not want) to see from that investment? What results would it take for you to increase that budget? Is that budget enough to make an impact in multiple outlets? Or do you need to stick to one for now and scale later?

Also, think about how you will track the effectiveness with where you spend your budget, as that should be an indicator of how big a piece of the pie that avenue should receive. It’s easier to measure direct results from social platform advertising, as most offer dashboard with metrics in to show the clicks/sales/impressions you received from a particular ad. So, if you are investing 100’s or 1000’s in more traditional media such as TV or Print, how are you going to track the effectiveness of that budget allocation? If there is no way to do this, how do you know this is the right place to allocate your budget?

Seems like an easy enough question, right? Well, the majority of time we ask this question to potential clients, we struggle to get a straight answer. Some tell us their product is so diverse it appeals men and women from a range of ages. Others tell us something along the lines of “females between 18 and 35”. While this may be the case, there must be a specific group within these demographics where you gain the majority of your sales, or who your offering was designed for. While it may appeal to multiple groups of demographics, they won’t all buy your offering in equal amounts. So who is the most lucrative target group for your business?

It isn’t possible to appeal to everyone with one particular ad or promotion. You have to find a specific niche or group of people who you think your offering will resonate and speak to the most. Then, design an ad that will appeal to the profile of that particular group. Start with your most lucrative audience (where you see the most sales or value from), then you can create different ads for the other segments with your overall target audience.

The more tailored you can make your ads, the more likely they are to capture the attention of your audience. If you can capture their attention and make them resonate with an ad, you have a higher chance of converting them.

Think of it this way, are an 18 year old female and a 30 year old female likely to have the same interests/views or relate to the same content? No. Will a 35 year old male and a 35 year old female have the same interests or relate to the same content? Probably not. So don’t serve them the same ad! Know your audience, and tailor your content.

Every business believes they can offer something that no one else can, otherwise – what is the point in being in business? But, not every business knows exactly what sets them apart from their competition or, what specific elements they can offer that no one else can. How can you communicate what makes you unique to your audience, if you aren’t 100% clear yourself?

So, why is it important to understand your competition?

#1  It helps you to understand what your competitive advantage is, so you can communicate that to your audience.

#2 It helps you understand what your competitors are doing better than you, so you can look into how to improve and grow your business.

#3 It helps you understand your position in your market place. Are you a market leader? A follower? Do you hold a large share of the market? Or appeal to a niche audience?

Not truly understanding your place in the market and what makes your offering unique, is often how businesses get lost in the crowd.

Social Content Calendars are created to help you plan out the timing and delivery of content across your social media channels ahead of time. They are primarily for your organic posting, as you would/should have a marketing plan in which you plan out your paid advertising each month/quarter.

There are 3 main reasons why we strongly encourage every small business looking to grow their online presence to create a Social Calendar.

#1 Aesthetics. Planning content ahead of time helps ensure the imagery and messages you post remain on brand and of high quality. You avoid low quality, last minute panic posting and can ensure each post you plan or schedule fits in with your brand identity.

#2 Timing: As a general rule for most businesses, we recommend posting at least 4 times per week across your social channels. We also recommend you pay close attention to the days of the week and the times each day you generally gain the most engagement. As this is when you should time your postings to make sure you capture maximum attention. This is hard to do when you are posting on the fly, and you may miss the prime window of opportunity.

Plus, it is a way for you to look ahead to the next month and see what holidays or social events are coming up, and will allow you to prepare tailored content for that event. Think Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, National Chocolate Cupcake etc.

#3 Peace of Mind: It will save you SO much time on a daily basis by taking the burden of having to come up with new content each day. An hour or so at the beginning (or end) of each month could you save you hours of time that would usually be spent digging for content, thinking of value adding captions, trying to figure out relevant hashtags etc ad hoc. Give yourself peace of mind by planning ahead and having confidence that your content is on brand and scheduled to the right time.

Content calendars can be as simple as creating your own excel spreadsheet with a few columns such as platform, imagery, caption, hashtags, time to post etc that you can update and edit for each month. If you prefer something a little more professional with more features such as auto-posting, check out businesses such as Later.com who specialize in content planning and scheduling.

Long story short, yes. Given how crowded the market is out there in Social Media land, it has become a ‘pay to play’ world now. While there is a huge amount of value in growing your brand organically through your social channels, in order to drive sales and optimize for valuable actions that in the end will lead to profit, you will need to invest in Social Ads.

This doesn’t mean spend all your money on Page Like campaigns or Boosting Posts and counting the engagement. It means spend money on campaigns that are designed to optimize for the actions you need in order to drive a profit for your business.

Hopefully you found this post helpful in assessing your brands Social Media impact. If you read this and realise you need some strategic help with how you can use Social Media to really grow your brand, then feel free to email us via our contact form to discuss our services.

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