Developing a Communication Strategy for Small Businesses

Whether you are a small or a well-established business, everyone needs a great communication strategy. If you developed the core of your business on a great communication strategy then it will determine how favorably your business is presented in public. Every relationship in your life is built on the foundation of your communication likewise in business there has to be effective communication, not only with your clients & prospects but also within your staff to avoid conflicts, misunderstandings, and problems.

Here are some steps to follow in developing a communication strategy for your small business:

  1. Objectives: Firstly determine, what you are hoping to achieve with your communication strategy? Consider the objectives as the goals of your business, it can be broken down into long or short term goals. Goals should be concerning what your business wishes to achieve with regards to communication.
  2. Demographics: You need to establish who is your target audience, this can include the following:
  • Age Group
  • Geographical Location
  • Specific Profession
  • People belonging to a particular culture

3. Mission & Vision of your Business: When it comes to developing a communication strategy for your small business, define your company mission & vision. You want to articulate how you stand out among your competition. This is where you can showcase unique aspects of your business.

4. Target Market: It doesn’t matter if your business is small, big or a startup there should be a continuous momentum of reaching out to your target market. The strategies & procedure to reach out to your target market should be outlined in your communication strategy. Make sure your target market is aware of your business and what it can offer.

Nowadays businesses have a variety of communication tools to choose from traditional methods to new technology. The choice of tools will be driven by the goal, audience & message.

Effective business communication is the only way to grow your company and make it a key player in its industry.

Grow your Small Businesses through Digitization

I still remember during my college days whenever there was a late-night food carving kicks in we had to sleep feeling helpless and wait for the nearby food stall which opens early in the morning. Fast forward to the present scenario, your food delivery, airline tickets, banking transaction, communication, etc. can all be done by simply opening an Application on your Smart Phone. That’s the role of digitization in which we can connect and no matter which corner of the world you are residing.

If you are a small business and still following the old methodology of doing business then now its time to take the paradigm shift and focus to “Grow your Small Business Through Digitization” 

Digitizing your business can provide you a competitive edge by doing things faster, better, and affordable than your competition.

With a proper digitization plan for your small business, it can help you to reinvent processes, improve quality, and promote consistency.

Benefits of Digitizations:

  • Save cost on your infrastructure and maintenance as many businesses are experts to handle this so that you can focus on your core business.
  • Multiple ways to interact with your customers and potential ones. Global Reach as well.
  • Digital solutions and services can facilitate trades and settlements worldwide.
  • Interacting directly with a buyer and supplier, eliminating the middlemen.

Due to the current pandemic of COVID-19, it has also taught us “Why Small Businesses should focus on digitization to grow and not to shut their shop”

If you are worried about the marketing & branding, these can be accomplished by doing the initial Digital Marketing of your business, and Google has been kind enough to offer various free resources to learn with zero investment.

Digitization has the power to target your products to the right audience with less investment and still get worldwide recognition. Knowledge of digital media along with creativity can help Small Businesses to grow and shine beyond expectations.

Small Business after the Pandemic

Sooner or later this pandemic is going to end however we should not forget how this situation has put the world to a standstill. People have also realized that “it is our darkest moment that we must focus to see the light” Many small businesses had to shut their doors, some may never reopen again however there are also other who have adopted the new norms to enable digitization of their business and hope they don’t have to shut down again.

The main focus of small businesses should be to stay as efficient as possible and lean. As a small business below are some of the points to take into consideration in terms of digitizing your business.

  • If you are a shop owner and have regular walk-in to your store, you can enable digital payments methodology and home delivery options.
  • You can also start with developing an eCommerce website of your business and let people order directly from there.
  • Start adopting the cloud strategy, you can move most of your IT infrastructure to the cloud.
  • Leveraging AI/ML for moving towards a data-driven enterprise.
  • Provide seamless support to remote connectivity, ensuring continued operations, and productivity improvement in a secured way.

This pandemic has also significantly let us shift towards digitization and fundamentally redefine the overall business landscape. Customers have become more comfortable interacting with less human touch and it also likely to continue to evolve.

The whole ecosystem of digital transformation does not only limit to the customer and business interaction but also the entire value chain which consists of merchants, vendors, logistics, etc.

One of the biggest takeaway from this pandemic situation is that it has let us know nothing is certain and you have to be flexible in terms of a paradigm shift of your business. You have to be 100% invested in your business. You should not allow uncertainty to paralyze decision making.

Supporting Small Business to thrive through Digital

As a business or a startup, what are the small strategic initiatives you have been taking to keep your business afloat during this pandemic? Well! if you have still not given a thought to enable digitization for your small business then now its the time to consider this initiative on a priority basis.

If we look at some of the positive sides of this pandemic crisis, we have got so much time to discover some of our hidden skills and talent which was lying on the backyard of our thoughts. During this crisis, I was able to complete some of my pending certifications and also my side hustle blog which required some fine-tuning. The message I wanted to convey is likewise, you can start refocusing your business into the Digital Strategy side so that you don’t miss out on any opportunity.

Below are some of the points to get started with:

  • Find the perfect domain name for your small business or start-up
  • Once you have registered your domain, hire someone to develop the website or there are various platforms in the market like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc which provide easy ways to develop one.
  • Create a company domain name email address (email@yourcompany.com) to look like a legitimate & serious business.
  • Set up your Social Media Pages, like on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
  • Link your website to your Web Analytics platform.
  • Once you have completed all the above steps, now its time for On-Page & Off-Page optimizations of your website.
  • Hire an SEO or Digital Marketing person who can run the ads campaign and make your online presence visible to your target audience.

You can even start these exercises on your own and Google has also come up with a great initiative to help small businesses during this pandemic. There are so many topics that you can at your own time convenient and pace.

Do let me know in the comments section how you are enabling yourself during this crisis and remember we are all together in this.

I would be Happy to Help! in setting up your digital presence. Reach out to me at allen@allenmutum.com Cheers!

Building Marketing Infrastructure for your Small Business

If you have already set up your website and company’s domain email address, now it’s the time to build a Marketing Infrastructure for your small business. The first mistake most of the startup or small businesses make once they are in the market is, they focus more on branding their business instead of sales. They put so much effort into marketing, putting the name out in the market, spends a lot in advertising, and expect that result will flow in soon. It’s like you spray a beautiful essence of perfume and you expect people to walk into your business by that aroma.

Let us understand first What is Marketing Infrastructure? and Why it is necessary to start building Marketing Infrastructure for your small business?

As I mentioned earlier most of the startup & small businesses do random acts of marketing to attract customers. The reason is they are not building a Marketing Infrastructure – a system where a cold lead enters one end and turns into a raving fan customer on the other end.

You need to have that marketing infrastructure built so that which will constantly bring in new leads, follow them up, nurture, and convert them into a raving fan customer. For a small business or startup if you lay the foundation of Marketing Infrastructure, I am sure you reap a lot of benefits in the long run.

To build the system, you need to think through from start to end. You will need to understand how it works and what resources will need to run it. Below are some of the assets you can start building for your Marketing Infrastructure.

  • Inquires or Lead Capture Websites.
  • Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Case Studies
  • Social Media
  • Email Sequence
  • Auto-Responders Email
  • Auto-Responders SMS
  • Whitepaper of your product/services that you offer

All of these have a place and a purpose, the ads that you run can be design to plug cold leads into the system and convert them into a raving fan customer. Just like it takes time to build networks or roads, it does take time to build a Marketing Infrastructure, and after that its just the maintenance.

Let me know in the comment section below if you are also building one of these, I would love to hear that and happy to help to cover any of the topics above.

Transformation to Digital for your Small Business

As a small business, you might come across many millennial or tech-savvy people advising you to explore the Digital Marketing platform for your business but if you are still lost or confused about how to get it started. In this blog, I will share some of my knowledge to get started the first few steps of Digital Marketing.

The topic ”Digital Marketing” is also too vast if you dig dive into it and you will also find a lot of resources to gain knowledge on the web. I will try to keep it as simple as possible and examples that you can relate to in your living surroundings. I will assume that you already have a domain name for your business and set up the website.

Setting up your business website is like you have taken on the lease of a property where you can sell your products/services. To attract visitors or customers to buy on what you have to offer, you would spend some x amount of dollars in advertising & marketing. You would think of Print Media, Flyers, or Banners to let people know about your business. The digital world is more or less similar to that however with the advancement of technologies we can execute to attract customers/visitors at a much faster pace.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization):

In real life scenario when you have already set up your shop, you are always in the curious and research state of mind that how the shop next to you has more visitors/customers than you. What are they doing things differently? Do I need to spend more on my advertising & marketing? What’s the difference in the product/services that I offer than the next shop? How the customers/visitors are finding the shop next to me but not me? Does the next shop have a better ambiance than us?

Similarly, small businesses that have decided to explore digital marketing to attract visitors/customers will have the same curiosity for their website. SEO cover all of these and below are some of the points to consider to get started with digital marketing.

  • Website: A well-structured, responsive design & fast website is essential.
  • Content: Your content should demonstrate why a customer should choose you.
  • Content Marketing: Informative blogs can put you in front of a wider audience.
  • On-Page: Basic optimization is important so think page titles & meta descriptions.
  • Local SEO: Local businesses should consider local SEO best practices
  • Credibility: Case studies, portfolios, reviews & testimonials will help you clinch the deal.

SEO can also be complicated, understanding your current situation and market place is the key to make the right decision.

Set Up your Analytics & Ads Account on Google:

Without a doubt, Google is one of the most well-known technology companies in the world. The Google Analytics & Ads platform can get started by anyone who has a blog or business website. Its a very simple process to set up with your Gmail account or your company domain email address. These platforms help you to track your visitors on the website, like the demographics, age group, technology, browser, etc.

Google Ads is an online advertising platform that you can use to display ads, service offerings, public listings, etc.

Please write to me at allen@allenmutum.com if any help is required to set up your Google Analytics & Ads account with your blogs or website.

On my next blog, I write on other relevant topics of Social Marketing, Apps that you can use to optimize your work, other information to help you succeed your small business in digital marketing. Please let me know your comments below.

Digitizing your not too Small Business

As a small business owner or a start-up, if you are still avoiding digitization then its time to put the gear and start driving. If you still think you are not ready then you should also consider those facts that if anyone has an interest in your business, the first thing they do is research it online and see what they can find about you. If they can’t find anything about your business online, they may consider it is not legitimate and may not take it seriously. It is also a high probability that they will choose someone else who has a web & social media presence online.

Giving your business an online presence will also open up a lot of other opportunities as well for example branding your business not only locally but also in the whole globe. The other benefits of digitization for your small business are:

  • The ability to engage with your customers or potential customers and learn exactly what they are looking for.
  • As I mentioned, you can promote your business to a global market place.
  • Your digital marketing efforts can be easily tracked.
  • Get to know your audience and allow then to know you personally which can help you to create brand loyalty.

Setting up a Website:

Probably the first step is to register your domain business name and set up your website. With lots of CMS (Content Management System) available in the market these days, setting up your website is not much of a big challenge. You can start with from likes of WordPress, Drupal, Wix, etc. These platforms will provide you with various templates to choose for setting up your website and you do not need to know to code.

Having a website for your business indicates that you are a legitimate and serious business in the market.

Branding your business online:

Now that you have completed setting up your website, now its time to set up your business on various social media pages like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc and start promoting.

Branding your business through social media allows you to talk directly to your customers & followers. You can build the relationship over time, rather than asking for a sale upfront.

Your customers are online these days and they use social networks to research new brands or products.

Let Customers find you:

With the digitization of your business, you allow customers to find you in the web world and more accessible to the people you are trying to reach to offer your product & services.

At their convenience, customers and prospects can send you emails with questions, make purchases, and browse your inventory. Potential customers who have no way to physically come to you can still do business with you, whether they are limited by disability, transportation or simply living too far away.

Knowing your Target Audience:

The efforts of digital marketing allow you to engage with your customers or potential customers. You can gradually get to know them and what they are hoping to find.

By interacting digitally, you can start to get to know what they are looking for in your business. Where is their pain area? What solution you can offer to them? Instead of trying to guess, digital marketing allows you tools and methods for finding out who your customers really are.

You can start building your relationship with your potential customers, gradually you become more of a trusted partner than a business. With digital marketing, your small business will have a better chance of success.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below or reach out to me for any help regarding digitizing your small business.

Happy to Help! Cheers

Empowering Small Businesses in Digital Transformation

When I interacted with a lot of small businesses, the one common thing which I will come across is they will not have their domain name registered or will not have an email address of their business domain. The traditional way of doing business heavily relied on word of mouth, flyers, banner advertisement, the news adds, etc.

Things have changed and will keep changing for a better future and as a small business, who have the vision to grow and succeed needs to keep adapting, learning, and implementing new terminology. If you possess all those qualities while starting up with your new business or ideas, below are some of the key points to consider

Registering your Domain Name for the website:

The first easy step is to register your domain for the website. That’s how people find the name of the company on the web and its a central part of brand identity. There are tons of service provider available on the web where you can register your domain name, the most popular one is GoDaddy.com

Most of the small businesses missed out to register a domain name for the web and that’s the first step to have all the branding power.

Domain Email Address:

As a small business, if you want to establish a firm foundation of credibility and to be viewed by a customer as potential & real business, you need to include your business email address as business’ domain name (i.e., @yourcompany.com).

Having a domain email address project professionalism and represent your company as a legitimate and well-run business.

For starters, G Suite is one of the cost-effective services provided by Google to have an email add as a business domain name. It also includes online storage and more. The first 14 days are free. You can use the below codes to get 20% off on the first year of G Suite.

G3YU96PGX6PHUVP 

V46JL3VEDCVD69L

Establishing Professionalism:

xyz@gmail.com or xyz@yourcompanyname.com I will leave it up to you to decide which email address establish professionalism.

Having a business domain email address gives your customer the impression that your business is professional and has setup dedicated communication channel to serve them.

Domain Email Address Vs. Generic Email Address:

As discussed, a domain email address improves the credibility of your business. In contrast, a business email address ending in yahoo.com or gmail.com, for example, will give prospective customers doubts about how you run your company. A business domain email address lets people know you have an established operation that you take seriously, and it can be a valuable tool in generating brand awareness.

You don’t have to be big to sell to Big Businesses

If you running a start-up or a small business, the first thing you focus on is to increase your sales & revenue. It’s not necessary to wait for your organization to grow in order to tap big companies to sell your product/services. Selling to large enterprises will increase revenue & profile in a much faster way.

The faster way to get your foot in the door is to figure out of your own product/services addresses your prospect’s urgent and compelling needs.

You will have a lot of competition however you will have to figure out how your company is truly unique. Every small or start-up business will want to grow big and you need to illustrate what makes your company different.

As we normally do not ask to marry someone on the first date unless you are sure about it, you cannot ask a prospect to give you an order on your first connection. Develop solid relationships with your prospect. Every single time you communicate with your prospect, you make an impression.

When the prospect comes up with a question about your product, services, proposals, service terms, or anything else, you need to have the best answer. Do your research about your prospect before you make an approach.

Selling to big companies isn’t as difficult as it might seems, if you know how to approach the right connect. Understand their decision making process.

Lastly, I have been following Jill Konrathshe is a sales expert, also a frequent speaker at sales conferences and author of some of the best selling books on Sales Strategy.

Her book: Selling to Big Companies will help you discover how to

  • Target the right accounts.
  • Create Sales messaging that works.
  • Develop an effective, multi-faceted account-entry campaign.
  • Have powerful initial sales meetings that build unstoppable momentum.