Local businesses need to change strategy if they’re going to survive the Covid19 pandemic

Right now, there are more than 12 million people in Australians locked down across 3 states – Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. With the Covid19 pandemic having...

Right now, there are more than 12 million people in Australians locked down across 3 states – Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. With the Covid19 pandemic having a dramatic impact on business over the past 18 months, by now, I hope many businesses were proactive and wherever possible moved at least part of their services online.

Often I hear from local businesses the cry to ‘shop local’ and out of the goodness of their hearts, many do, helping to keep small local businesses and the economies of regional towns alive. Even if your customers wanted to come to your store right now, many can’t, but they can shop online with delivery networks deemed essential.

That generosity only gets you so far, with most customers also under price pressure, it is natural they’ll also turn to the lowest-cost options, which often happen to be online.

If your business has an opportunity to sell products and services through a website, you should already have a great web presence, if you have any chance at success during and out the other side of Covid19. It does seem crazy that businesses overseas, namely China, can manufacture products, then ship them internationally, at a cheaper cost and often faster than a store 2km from you can. There’s a couple of key reasons for this.

The first is the minimum wage in China, around 16 RMB per hour, which translates to just A$3.37. By comparison, Australia’s minimum wage jumped to A$20.33 in June this year. This means any product that requires a large number of human hours to create or assemble, will always be cheaper internationally. The second is their massive scale, so while the cost of shipping tens of thousands of items is certainly not cheap, the per-unit cost quickly becomes negligible, especially if you can negotiate bulk discounts on large contracts.

These factors mean that local businesses really have to leverage technology to compete.

If you are responsible for marketing your business, you’ll need to build the company’s brand online to help drive sales from your website. There are a few ways to go about this and below we provide some tips on a layered strategy to help struggling businesses learn more about online marketing and its benefits for your business.

It is possible to organically grow traffic to your site and consequently people’s awareness of your products and services, but that takes time you don’t have, particularly if you are facing cash flow issues.

Leveraging online marking is a cost-effective way to accelerate that process, so yes, you have to spend money to make money, but the good thing is, money spend online is trackable, to allow you to measure what works and what doesn’t.

The list below details options your business can focus on this year to yield better sales and reach your target audience in a more efficient manner.

Optimisation Search Presence

Search engine optimization or SEO is a buzz word, but the reality is, most people aren’t finding you in the yellow pages in 2021, they’re on Google and searching for what they want.

Your search engine ranking determines whether your potential customers and relevant audience are able to reach you. If your website is on the 5th page of the results, good luck.

There are many techniques to improve the position where your site ranks against different search terms like ‘buys flowers in Wodonga’ for example. If your website is built on modern content management platforms like WordPress, there are a range of SEO plugins to help you craft the right terms for each post and product page.

There are also techniques you can use like allowing guest posts on your site, which can help bring a new audience and importantly keep a steady flow of new content through your site. There are also some technical SEO and local SEO techniques available to build your SEO score or presence in search results.

No matter what you do, make sure you avoid any practices that are likely to get you on the wrong side of Google and potentially get your website blocked.

Social media marketing

Social media is another great tool at your disposal to promote your business. If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you’ll see there are a lot fewer dances and a lot more people trying to promote their products in creative and interesting ways.

Some creators on social media are incredibly successful at growing their follower counts which then become an attentive audience to drive serious traffic to their order pages, so try and stand out from the crowd to draw attention.

The great thing about social is your ability to reach potentially thousands of potential customers through online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This is an even better option if you find your retail business shut down right now and a lot of time on your hands.

Since Facebook was the first platform that kindled a movement for social media marketing, it is one of the more cost effective and efficient ways of marketing online and you should consider taking help from any renowned Facebook ad agency in this matter.

These platforms also allow companies the ability to send out target ads such as for a specific gender, age group, income level, or marital status. Marketers are also able to analyse statistics such as how many people see an advertisement as compared to how many view it. 

Pay-per-click advertising

Pay-per-click advertising is essentially a marketing tool that allows you to place ads within search engine results only for specific keywords. For instance, if you are a company that specializes in factory uniforms, you could set up an advertisement for the keywords “factoring uniforms manufacturer” in order to earn more traffic on your website. Google Ads is by far the most popular method for marketers to execute PPC advertising and the best part is that you only have to pay for a certain placement depending on the number of clicks you get on your advertisement.

Geo-fencing

Geo-fencing in a newly introduced form of advertising and is great for companies looking to target individuals in a specific area and focus on only high-value leads. For instance, with geo-fencing marketers are able to create a virtual fence of sorts and target only a specific area such as a mall, an office or a university campus.

Whenever an individual enters that specific area, they get added into your marketing campaign and you are then able to send them a marketing SMS, or an online ad on their mobile phones. While only big fish have been able to use geo-fencing techniques due to their high cost, many agencies are coming up with cheaper and affordable alternatives too.

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021
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