By Rigel Cable, Astound Commerce
Growing a small
business in 2019 requires technological savvy. This includes social media, web experience,
digital marketing and activations. Here are some top tips to help small
businesses succeed, taken from “big business” wisdom.
Many small businesses
target a Millennial audience — more than 50% of Millennials use Instagram and
80% use Facebook. As a social media influencer with more than 80K followers (@rigelgemini),
I know that growth can take time. But there are foolproof ways to steadily grow
your presence and audience, and in turn your business.
TIP #1: Take a tip
from bloggers and don’t slow yourself down trying to shoot content multiple
times a week. Shoot all your content once a month, produce 30+ images, and release
consistent and eye-catching imagery over time.
TIP #2: Employ a part-time
social media assistant or intern from a local college or community to do daily
posting for you. Creating great posts takes a lot of time that most
entrepreneurs don’t have.
TIP #3: Leverage
growth services on Instagram and Facebook — whether paid media or other growth
packages, there are ways to grow your account and find the right audience. This
includes targeted advertising and automation services.
Today’s web user is
fluent in browsing web sites — whether e-Commerce or informational — and all
online consumers have a high expectation for user experience. As many as 28% of
shoppers who abandoned checkout said that “long or confusing
checkout” was the main reason, according to Baymard
Institute. Talk about an avoidable loss of sales!
TIP #1: For small retail
businesses, leverage a solid e-Commerce platform that is proven to work and is consistently
improving. For small businesses, that often means platforms like Shopify, Big
Cartel or even Salesforce Commerce Cloud. These platforms have smooth checkout
paths that will ensure your shoppers don’t get confused.
TIP #2: To boost
standard site templates, hire a visual designer to keep your site graphics
sharp, clear and consistent. Rotate your site content frequently to keep it
fresh, especially as you attract new customers exploring your brand for the
TIP #3: Keep site
navigation consistent and follow what your competition is doing. Often, small
businesses fall into site navigation that makes sense to the business owners, but
makes no sense to the average shopper. Customers don’t know your brand as well
as you do, so it’s important to get outside feedback and approach your site
navigation as a first-time user.
Similar to social
media, being savvy with digital marketing is crucial to growing your business.
Every investment in digital marketing will come back to you. If no one knows
who you are and your audience doesn’t grow, then neither will your business.
TIP #1: Create highly
targeted campaigns. With digital marketing tools like Facebook Ads and Paid
Search, small businesses have the ability to target specific consumer segments.
Do most of your customers fall in a specific income bracket? Or, if you are a
B2B company, do most of your target customers have a particular job title? Targeting
is easy and essential to spending your marketing dollars wisely.
TIP #2: Don’t make it
all about you. Web browsers are used to seeing salesy ads all over the Internet.
The best ads today are ones that say something bigger — perhaps a customer
testimonial or a quote from a news article about your product.
TIP #3: Brands today
use native ads, and users view native ads 53% more frequently than traditional
banner ads, according
to Sharethrough. Take time to research native ads, and similarly, think
about how you might partner with a media outlet to create
“advertorial” or review content.
customer values experiences over things, and the biggest brands of today have received
the most attention from Millennial shoppers for the things they have done in
the real world, not just online.
TIP #1: Find ways to
collaborate with other businesses to grow your local footprint and reach new
customers. This could be festivals or community-focused events like panel
discussions or educational pieces.
TIP #2: Create pop-up
events or exclusive happenings that feel special. Partner with local businesses
for space and build some buzz. One-time-only events or limited edition products
inherently create hype that excite customers.
TIP #3: Leverage
social media with these activations to let interest grow virally (through RSVPs
and sharing of Facebook events). Whenever possible, offer free events to
maximize the reach, and save your email list for outreach in the future. This
is a great way to create a CRM database.
Small businesses of
today need to be as advanced and proactive with technology as the “big guys.”
As customer expectations and online behaviors evolve, small businesses must
constantly adapt and activate new technologies. The good news is there’s always
a way for small businesses to get the full effect without an “enterprise budget.”
Rigel Cable is Associate Director of Data Analytics & Search Engine Optimization at Astound Commerce, a full-service digital experience agency which also houses companies Fluid and Groove. With a passion for numbers and nearly 10 years of experience, he uses data to tell powerful stories around digital performance, working closely with notable brands including Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, and John Varvatos. In 2018, Business Insider included Cable as one of 35 under 35 rising stars of Madison Avenue. Cable is also a popular social media influencer – his handle, @rigelgemini, has 79K followers and partners with major brands including Lexus.