A starters guide to digital marketing.

If there was one topic of conversation that came up inside businesses more than any other right through ‘lockdown 1.0’ in 2020, it was one of astonishment at the sheer pace and scale of migration to online shopping right around the world. 

Virtually no industry was left untouched, and locally it meant there was an advancement in the percentage of total sales that occurred via the e-commerce channel that was supposed to take five years… all in the space of five months. Well, big chunks of Australia are locked down again. And as a digital agency we’re acutely aware that we see the world through rose coloured digital glasses. 

Truth? It doesn’t matter how digital things get, they still need to transition to physical touch, transaction or otherwise at some point. You can’t digitise living, breathing, eating and drinking, which is why there are so many incredible businesses that still exist in pure bricks and mortar setups. 

For these businesses, many of which provide essential services for said living and breathing needs, their livelihood and longevity is pinned right now to our abilities as consumers to be able to support them and buy from them. And for the short term, the only way we can do it is online. 

There is a misconception that digital marketing is fast and free. As a general rule quality digital marketing at scale is actually extremely labour intensive. But thanks to a digital marketplace that is so competitive it’ll beat even your strongest uncle at an arm wrestle, there are some really great tools, hacks and tips that you can use as a small business to get your offline business online fast and start to generate some sales while Covid calms down. 

In no particular order…

Website

The fastest way to get a website live is using a builder such as Squarespace, Shopify or WIX.com. These tools don’t give you the bells and whistles, but with half a design eye you can throw something good looking together and get it live fast and close to free – a few dollars a month for baseline subscriptions. 

If you don’t have a website, start with one of these platforms. 

 

Advertising

Next up you need to get some traffic (your bricks and mortar customers are referred to as traffic in the online space) flowing into your website so you can start to generate some sales. Advertising online can be a confronting process that can end up leaving your Visa more damaged than a big night out, so there are a couple of things to focus on to ensure you’re spending as little as possible – we are in a pandemic, after all! 

 

Geo-targeting – focus your ads on a really specific geographical area right around your store. The more specific you can be the better – proximity is the key for a bricks and mortar business. And while you can theoretically sell anywhere online, you’ll find even the most advanced digital businesses start with an individual geo-target and then expand from there to control costs.

 

Interest-targeting – you can get extremely granular with interest targeting, particularly on Facebook. Similar to geo-targeting, get as specific as you can with your interest targeting. This will avoid wastage of those valuable ad dollars. Start by looking at interests that are closely aligned, and then scale out from there. We’ve seen businesses getting as advanced as bidding for ads for gardening tools based on the weather each day. The sky is the limit when it comes to interest targeting. 

 

Tracking sales

Sounds obvious but it is surprising how many businesses overlook accurate tracking setup. Utilise Google Analytics (it’s free) and set it up to ensure you are tracking;

  1. Traffic to your website 
  2. Sources of traffic so you know what works best at driving traffic 
  3. Clicks so you know what parts of your website are most popular 
  4. Conversions (sales) so you can accurately track revenue 

There are a ton of great, free tutorials online or alternatively give us a call and we can get it set up with you.  

 

Taking payments online

Best in the business is Stripe, hands down. Lowest transaction fees and fastest set up time. It was built with digital businesses in mind so it is crazy easy to install and lets you accept those all important credit cards as you start to make sales. 

 

Social media

Social is a bit of a never ending beast and can be a bit of a time sink, which is less than ideal for business owners trying to pivot and survive in a pandemic! Our recommendation is to pick a couple of channels that resonate best with your audience and focus on those channels only. Do less but do it better, so to speak. 

For most businesses that sell to end consumers in Australia, these channels will be Facebook and Instagram (owned by Facebook). The key focus for social needs to be engagement rather than content. Anyone can get photos and video posted on their social accounts, but its a much more talented marketer that can get two way engagement and growth happening on an account. Engagement leads to faster growth of your brand in that space, which leads to more online sales. 

Aim to split your time into thirds;

  1. New content – post to your account – things relevant to your business that also give plenty of value to your audience and keep them interested 
  2. Commenting / liking / sharing etc – identify key themes and trends in your industry and engage on those discussions on social. This will get your content ranking and your pages growing 
  3. Profile engagement – identify industry types that can further your cause. Not competitors, but authority figures in your industry. Follow and like their pages, comment on their content and invite them to do the same with yours. This assists in getting you an ‘amplified’ profile (a profile bigger than it should be based on your business size, faster) 

 

Email and SMS

A little old school but undeniably effective. 

If you don’t already, start collecting email addresses and mobile numbers for your customers that are coming into the store or doing click and collect pick ups. Your email and phone lists are the only things you control and own in the digital marketing world, and they’re also some of the most cost effective sources of new revenue. 

Look at running regular promotions via each, and always make email and SMS your first port of call before going to social or advertising. Its always lower cost to market to your existing customers than new customers, after all. 

 

We’re here to support any business who is looking to try and drive revenue online while their core bricks and mortar business is on holiday. We’re offering free one hour Zoom workshops where we can dive in and get some of this set up with you so you can generate sales today. 

CLICK HERE TO BOOK NOW