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Do you know that your business needs to be on the right digital platforms?

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– By Vikram Kumar, Co Founder and Director of SRV Media and EaseBuzz

In today’s world, for a business to be successful, it has to be present over a large number of digital avenues to connect with a diverse audience. You may say, ‘okay, I already have a website and a Facebook page!’ which is good, but it is not really enough. There are so many other platforms a business needs to focus on, depending upon the type of services or products they offer, and connect with the target audience where they spend the most of their time.

Digital channels such as websites, blogs and social media are a staple for businesses as they act as an extension of one’s branding initiatives. However, there are other valuable options to explore and to reach out one’s audience next door or across the globe. Let us see how you can determine the right digital platforms for your business:

Picking the right audience
To begin with, determine the nature of your product or service and to whom you intend to sell. Because, of course, different audiences “hang out” on different platforms online. If you wish to bring your offerings to their notice through regular posts or advertising campaigns, you need to know where your money is best spent.

For example with social media marketing,
– Professionals can be seen on LinkedIn,
-Teens can be targeted on Instagram and Snapchat,
– Female audiences mostly are present on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Take a look here to identify where your audience hangs out the most.

Utilizing content sharing platforms other than blogs and websites:

Content is central to all digital campaigns and activities. The content you want to share can be in a variety of formats including blogs, infographics, videos and other visual and written formats.

With more than a billion users in the world, YouTube is by far the largest video sharing platform. Posting videos of different forms– how to videos, new product guide, announcements, latest features, etc., could potentially influence new prospective customers and keep your existing clients engaged. What’s more? YouTube is quite cost effective– it not only allows to you promote your business on a large scale but, at a minimal cos. You can take help from a video making agency to create engaging videos.

Similarly, Slideshare on LinkedIn is a free online channel that you can use to your advantage to share your content to the corporate world out there. Note that, Slideshare has 70 million users and around 400,000 presentations are uploaded every month on this platform. Doesn’t that sound like the place to be?

Tapping the power of paid advertising
For some businesses, promoting a brand organically may not be the best option, as it could require a lot of time and effort. In that case, they can support it with paid campaigns. With paid advertising, you can run a very targeted campaign built only for a set demographic, classified on the basis of age, gender, location, interests, occupation, etc., to reach them quickly and efficiently.

You can start with leveraging social media advertising on– Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. AdWords– believe it or not, is ubiquitous today! If you are serious about digital advertising, it is incomplete without Google AdWords. As it not only gets you more traffic and leads but, also the lessons learnt from running a tight pay per click campaign on AdWords would serve you well on other digital advertising platforms too.

For example, a newly established college may start with a website, post on blogs, work on SEO strategies in an effort to rank well, but obviously these strategies may not pay off right away. Especially, with the admission season fast approaching, the college would want to show up everywhere that students are online. In such a scenario, a paid campaign by the college on Facebook can help by displaying the advertisement in the students’ feeds, and propel them to click on it and know more about the college.

Include email marketing in the strategy
Emails have the ability to keep your customers, partners and leads informed. It enables sales through emails, newsletters, latest blogs, and more. With email marketing then allows following up with the targeted audience with personalized messaging, to further drive them down the funnel.
It is possible to find out if someone on the list clicked opened the email, clicked a link, viewed the product, but perhaps did not buy the product. You can program your email marketing tool to automatically follow up with these users by sending out an email with a discount code or a hurry up message to entice them to purchase.
Doing PR right
Not PR in the traditional sense– – newspapers stories, print magazine articles, TV ads, but online PR. This includes media outreach, collaboration with influencers, building relationships with online journalists, press release distribution, and participation in forum discussions, all to gain press hits, citations and increased referral traffic.

Platforms to monitor digital marketing efforts
As you continue to add new platforms to drive your brand’s exposure, do not forget to add analytics and monitoring tools to your arsenal, to measure what is working and what is not.

Even the basic tools like Google Analytics, AdWords, Hotjar, GetResponse, SproutSocial, allow you to manage and track traffic on websites and your social pages. Also, it helps ensure the ROI is sound for any running marketing campaign.

Looking for expert advice?
Perhaps you have been into the digital marketing campaign thing for a while now, but are you sure you are fully utilizing the right digital platforms to drive your business forward? It is critical to understand which platforms are better suited for your business, brand, product, or service. To answer this, you need to begin with evaluating your marketing goals, audience, and budge,. Then use the right platform for the right job.

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How To

How To Increase Online Sales Of A Business

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Sales is an important part of any establishment or organisation as it is a major revenue contributor.  A product or service can be sold any number of ways, but mostly it falls under either offline or online sales.  The present consumer is increasingly relying on technology to make their purchases and that is the reason why almost every company or organisation has an online presence on an aggregator platform or via their own in house app.

Online sales can be made consistent by following some simple tips given below.

1.Show customer testimonials

Testimonials are an important way for a new user to get an understanding of the product or service they plan to buy.  Testimonials offer customers a sense of confidence that they are making an informed decision about their purchase. Good testimonials are a way to convert impressions into sales.  Amazon has reviews for every product it offers on its platform and urges customers to leave a review as well after making a purchase.

2. Money back guarantees

Most online sales happen without the customer physically inspecting a product or service before making a purchase.  Therefore, it is a good practice to offer some form of money back guarantee for a sale, in case a customer is not satisfied with their purchase.  Having a money back guarantee is also a form of conveying the strength and quality of the product being sold. Online clothing store Myntra has a return policy where, if a customer is not satisfied with their purchase, they can return it back and the cost of the transaction is reverted back to the customer’s account.

3. Create a call to action

Creating a sense of urgency or a call to action is a very subtle way of guiding a customer to make an online purchase.  This can be achieved in many ways like offering a product bundle for a discounted price or creating a discount sales campaign.  Showcasing high selling products or the most recommended products are some other ways to make the customer make their choice quicker.  Food delivery platform Swiggy has an option called Swiggy Pop which has a curated list of meals for one person at attractive prices. This spares the customer the hassle of browsing through multiple restaurants and making a decision.

4. Streamline the checkout process

The checkout process is the most important part of a purchase.  Items in an online shopping cart are often left in the cart itself as the checkout process is time taking.  Lengthy information fields are most often a hassle and make a customer abandon their product in the cart and instead look for other alternatives elsewhere.  Having a secure payment gateway, which does not interrupt transactions midway, is a must have for the customer to trust the brand.

5. Offer multiple payment options

Have multiple payment options like cash on delivery, netbanking, online wallets, credit and debit cards.  The present day customer has many options at their disposal to make a payment and they would like to be able to make that choice in choosing how they would like to pay.  In India, almost every online marketplace offers a plethora of alternatives for payment, like Paytm, Google Pay and credit/debit card transactions from multiple banks, from which the customer can choose.

While there are multiple tweaks and ways to increase the online sales of a product, following these tips can help streamline the sales process and offer a sense of understanding from a revenue standpoint as well.

Learn more about how to increase sales of a business here: 4 Tips For A Business To Increase Sales

 

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4 Tips For A Business To Increase Sales

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Any business, once established, needs to generate revenue in order to sustain itself.  Sales are the major revenue generating stream for any business. In the current business landscape, it is highly imperative to have stable sales revenue.  A good product will automatically generate sales if it has a target audience who like what they are purchasing. However, any product or service always has scope for improvement and generating more sales.

Let us have a look at some tips for a business to increase sales.

1. Invest in a good sales team

Any business needs a sales team which can look after pitching the product or service to the target demographic.  Providing resources and training to the sales team will go a long way in generating a healthy sales forecast. Elevator pitches, quarterly audits and target based competition will generate a healthy atmosphere and a zeal to perform.  Leading software as a service (SaaS) company Salesforce currently has one of the best sales teams in the world and they invest a lot on them by offering them training at an event called ‘Dreamforce.’ The sales team is trained by leading industry experts and Salesforce executives.

2. Generate positive reviews

A business needs constant feedback to know the needs and wants of the customer in order to optimise its offering to suit their audience.  One of the easiest ways to do it is to go online and register on a reviewing site relevant to the industry in which the business is. Constant feedback, especially positive feedback, is important as it increases the likelihood of generating more traffic and demand for your product/service.  Google is one of the best platforms to get reviews as it is used by almost everyone. For example, a business which is in the food service space can focus on reviews on platforms like Zomato or Yelp.

3. Create packages or bundles

Creating packages or bundles of products or services clubbed together is a good way to maximize sales.  Clubbing together products or services which deal with the same issue or action increases the convenience and seem more useful to customers, who may believe they are getting more value out of a purchase.  E commerce giant Amazon offers suggestions based on user purchases, which show similar products that will be useful with a purchase. For example, if a customer purchases a mobile phone, Amazon’s suggestions may include a screen guard and a mobile phone case.

4. Partner with other businesses

A business can explore the possibility of partnering with another business if investing in research, development and infrastructure is expensive.  Partnering up with a business can create unique products which need less development time and investment because existing businesses have the necessary infrastructure in place and only need collaboration.  Microsoft is a good example in this instance. Microsoft was notorious for its reputation of not offering its products on Apple’s Linux platforms because Apple is a competitor.  However, Satya Nadella, when he was made CEO, decided Microsoft would partner with Apple and release a Linux compatible Microsoft Office suite for the iPad, the iMac, the iPhone and the MacBook.  This move drastically increased the sales of Microsoft.

A business can adopt these tips to come up with a sales plan which creates a revenue stream.  While these do not guarantee immediate results, they can provide an organic growth in sales traffic.  A good product should be able to elicit a definite answer from the audience and these tips should always go along with a call to action for the customer. 

Read more about how to increase business opportunities here: Five Steps Entrepreneurs Can Follow To Identify New Business Opportunities

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How To Start A Business With Little Capital

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Starting a business may seem like a great idea to pursue a passion, but it has its share of problems.  It is easy to worry about from where to bring in the investment for it, what kind of business should it be, whether it will give a return on investment and whether it will become sustainable and provide a stable source of income.  While these questions and the uncertainty can act as deterrents to begin a business, you can still start a business with a little bit of planning.

Let us look at some tips about how to begin a business with little or no investment.

1. Keep working at your present job

If an individual who wishes to begin a business already has a stable job, it is a little easier to begin investing resources into a business or an idea.  Having a job acts as a cushion on which you can fall back if things don’t go as planned. The job also acts as a source for initial startup capital by creating savings on which you can bank.  You will, however, have to put in those extra hours to work on the business. Mailchimp is a popular email marketing platform which was created by founder Ben Chestnut when he was running a design consulting business.

2. Create a business plan

Once sufficient savings are pooled up, it is important to work on your business plan.  Creating a list of variable and dynamic parameters which may affect the business, analysing the market for a demand, creating a business plan with minimal investment and operational costs and creating value for the product is important.

3. Start simple and build a revenue stream

One of the easiest ways to begin a business with little capital is most often by creating a service based model.  Service based models are easy to implement as revenue can be generated after providing a service. There are many service based industries like washing and cleaning, housekeeping and delivery services, to name a few.  If a product based model is your passion, consider starting off with services and use the revenue to build a product. For example, cooking or baking is the easiest way to generate revenue. Food will always see sales and the initial market demographic can be acquaintances, family and colleagues.

4. Consider a small loan or an incubator

Once a working model is established with revenue forecasts, consider taking a small business loan which will provide a capital pool that can be used to invest in scaling up and building infrastructure.  Incubators are a great way to grow as well. An incubator acts as a source of funding for businesses if they have good business models. Many well known business schools act as incubators. The famous startup WeWork also began as an incubator platform for startups and they have branches all over the world now.

5. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a very powerful tool to generate capital for your product or business idea.  A lot of businesses kicked off using crowdfunding and it is not just limited to businesses. Crowdfunding can be used for any number of reasons like making a movie, starting a restaurant or funding travel.  Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset which was crowdfunded by multiple backers on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform. Oculus was later acquired by Facebook for over $ 2 billion.

Starting a business does not have to be a complicated exercise and it can begin by following these tips if there is the problem of initial capital .  There is no shortcut to success, but these simple steps can help in achieving the goal of starting a business.

Read more about how to start up here: A Simple Guide To Starting A Business

 

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