A lot of companies are in the same boat during this current crisis, which is resulting in ‘offline’ businesses having to move online.
Making the leap really does open endless opportunities for businesses, especially with the varied options available for guidance, strategies and management control.
The idea of having to continue business in a whole new, unexplored world can be daunting for business owners. Understanding this, we have put together a guide which will effectively help you ‘make the move’, whilst giving you the confidence to do so.
1. Audit your brand
Given the current situation which has led to a shortage of supplies, a halt of transportation of goods, and an economic struggle, auditing your brand is vital. Do you use products that often sell out? Or do you rely on product deliveries that have been delayed?
In a non-Covid19 world, ‘high selling’ products would be the key focus of your business, yet the need for you move your focus to what is readily available, is now critical.
Use of Marketplaces/Platforms
Yes businesses are going to feel the effects of Covid-19, but we are all in this together. There are plenty of cheaper and more effective opportunities, than just having an e-commerce website. For example:
Retail shops/boutiques: Amazon, Ebay or Pinterest to bring your shop online
Cafes/Restaurants/Convenience Stores: Deliveroo, UberEats, Doordash, Facebook, Instagram
Gyms/Personal Training: Youtube, Instagram Live, Facebook Live
Motivational Speakers: Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Youtube, LinkedIn
It is vital to think of varied ways which you can operate your business, away from brick and mortar.
2. Use tools to get your Business online
Trying to run a successful business at the best of times can be difficult, expensive, leave you strapped for time/money, and so forth.
If you are a newbie to the digital world, there are several platforms which can assist you throughout. Some of our personal favourites are:
Hootsuite: You don’t have the resources to be consistently posting and getting your Business out there? Hootsuite is a very straight-forward app allowing you to better manage your social platforms in one place.
Mailchimp: A brilliant app which assists with email marketing, something that could be useful in this current situation.
When I work: With a lot of businesses either working from home, or sticking in their close knit teams, When I work has you covered. Monitoring check-in and check-out times, organising staff schedules and monitoring employees requests are all doable in the app.
3. Develop a Marketing Plan
By this stage, you should now have a clearer ‘plan’ to move your Business online. You know what products you can focus on, where you are aiming to sell, and tools that can help the process.
In an ordinary world, the build-up and anticipation of your business moving online would be hugely beneficial. Instead, we now need to jump straight to the point. To make a success out of this, how about using some tactics such as the ones below.
Create a Content Strategy: Although it may not seem a necessity, organising a Content Strategy will make the ‘posting of content’ run smoothly, whether it may be content for your website, blog, or Social Media platforms. Creating a content strategy will also allow for you to divide work between employees, and assigning work in advance.
Social Media Competitions: These are becoming increasingly more popular to spread brand awareness. How about small businesses helping and sharing competitions from other small businesses?
Meal Deals: Since Corona Virus struck here in Australia, companies have been quick to jump on the ‘Meal Deal’ bandwagon, some naming them as ‘quarantine boxes’.
Discounted deliveries: Humans love free stuff right? Although it is not the ideal situation, by offering discounted or free delivery, you are attractively pulling customers your way.
4. Use Social Media Platforms
Although Social Media may seem daunting to non-users, help is all around you.
Aston Social specialise in Social Media Strategies, Management, Advertisement and Website Creation. Using an agency can be useful if your business doesn’t have the resources or time to create and implement a successful Social Media Campaign.
But hey, if you want to tackle this yourself, there are some important factors that you need to consider before doing so.
‘But what platforms should I focus on?!’
Working for a Social Media agency, this is a question that I often get asked. Sometimes a client believes that one specific platform is the best thing for them, yet in fact, there are others that are more beneficial for their industry.
Facebook – It will always be a place to start for any business venturing to the world of Social Media. Having a presence on Facebook is fairly important across all industries.
Instagram – Although beneficial for varied industries, Instagram works fantastically for B2C businesses, Retail, Technology, Manufacturing and so many more.
Linkedin – A higher focus on B2B, and generally a great ‘networking platform’.
Pinterest – Primarily for Retail businesses, used to promote products with direct links to purchase.
‘What type of content should I post?!’
As briefly touched on earlier, a well-thought Content Strategy will assist you when deciding what to post. Always post content of value to your followers. This is something that plenty of companies get wrong when trying to promote via Social Media, yet it probably the most important factor.
When creating a Content Strategy, it is good to check important dates within the Industry and trending topics, remembering that customers seem to love ‘behind the scene’ content also. (It also wouldn’t go a miss to check your competitors Social Media pages to see what posts are successful!)
Please remember: Although the majority of your customers will be on at least one social platform, it is often still important to have a ‘social presence’ which allows the customers to build trust in you and your brand.
5. Ensure you have the right help to get your Business Online
Finally, having specialised employees cannot be forgotten about, after all… you cant do it all alone!
Some important factors to consider:
- Having a content creator – Trying to run a business and create content is going be very very very hard work.
- Graphic Design help – A cost-effective idea could be the hiring of a student designer who can help cover all aspects of content.
- Photography – Think about whether you want to capture the content internally, or outsource somebody to do shoots.
- Advertisement – To generate leads, advertisement is pretty essential and time-saving for Social Media newcomers. Having an ad wiz will help ensure that these ads are being optimised and shown to a relevant audience.
We hope this ‘offline to online’ guide gives you the confidence to make the move!