Advertise online using Google Adwords

There has never been a better time for small business to increase their customer leads through online advertising. One of the most popular forms of online advertising is placing paid advertisements which appear on search engine results such as Google. This type of online advertising is also known as search engine marketing (SEM).

So how does SEM work?

SEM means that your online advertisement appears on the search engine results of organic web searches by individuals. Your online advertisement is either placed at the top and/or side column of the search result, as shown on the image below.

CC-BY Image by Digital Capability
CC-BY Image by Digital Capability

The placement of your online ad by the search engine is determined by its relevance to the organic search based on keywords, as well as the “Pay per click” (PPC) or “Cost per Click” (CPC) amount that you have selected to have your online advertisement placed. That is, the search engine will place those online advertisements which bid the most for a keyword in a more prominent position.

So how can you get started?

One of the most popular web search engine advertising providers is Google Adwords. Google AdWords allows you to reach new customers when they are searching for your type of product and/or service on Google.

CC0 Public Domain image from Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/photos/keyword/
CC0 Public Domain image from Pixabay https://pixabay.com/en/photos/keyword/

Google Adwords determines the placement of your online advertisement on web search results based by the CPC rate that you are willing to pay for each keyword. The position of the online ad is also determined by its ‘Click-through rate (CTR)’ , that is, how often are the people doing a web search containing your keywords actually clicking on your Google Ad.

If people are clicking on your Google Ad often, then Google is more likely to place your ad higher up on the results page. If the your ad’s CTR is low then Google considers that your ad isn’t relevant to the online search, and therefore removes your ad for the relevant keyword.

So how do you prepare your Google Ad?’

To get started with your Google Ad you will need:

  • a clear and measurable advertising campaign eg to increase sales, increase enquiries, or build brand awareness etc
  • a daily budget of how much you can spend on the online advertising campaign
  • a website or landing page which you can send people to which contains a strong ‘call to action’ when people arrive such as Buy now or Call now.
CC-BY Image from Joe the Goat Farmer - https://www.flickr.com/photos/132604339@N03/23480274281
CC-BY Image from Joe the Goat Farmer – https://www.flickr.com/photos/132604339@N03/23480274281

Then it’s time to design your Google Ad, which consists of:

  • An eye-catching headline
  • A two line description
  • A display link or URL, and
  • A destination URL.

Your Google Ad needs to be very succinct to express your campaign’s unique selling point (USP) because you only have 70 characters per online ad. This means you need to make sure your Google Ad message is clear and relevant to your “ideal customer” or target market to increase the likelihood that they will click on your Google Ad.

You then need to create a Google Adwords account so take a few minutes to investigate the Google Guide about placing online ads with Google at http://www.googleguide.com/ads.html.

So what else do you need to think about?

Keep your Google Ad’s display URL simple even if the landing page which you will be directing people to has a longer URL eg your display URL could be cheapcabinets.com.au even though your website URL is cheekcharliescheapcabinets.com.au/onlinestore.

CC0 Public Domain Image by mkweb2 - https://pixabay.com/en/website-url-go-button-www-web-454460/
CC0 Public Domain Image by mkweb2 – https://pixabay.com/en/website-url-go-button-www-web-454460/

Ensure that your actual online advert is keyword rich (more about keywords in the next section), and that your online advert message is consistent with the information which will appears on the landing page that you will be directing people to. It is the landing page where your call to action will help achieve your advertising campaign’s goal.

Also, think about your target market’s characteristics and behaviours to narrow the audience to which your online ad is placed by setting the types of devices your target market uses to search online eg mobile phones vs computers, as well as their location, language, etc, to really help ensure that the people who are most likely to engage with your online ad are the ones who receive your online ad when they do a web search. Also ensure that you set an end date for your campaign so that you do not go over budget.

So what are keywords?

Keywords are words which clearly describe what an online advertisement is about. For example, if you are selling Australian-made ladies leather boots, then some of the keywords could include ‘ladies shoes’, ‘ladies leather shoes’, ‘Australian leather shoes’, etc.

CC-By Image from J Photo Style http://jphotostyle.com/handwriting/k/keywords.html
CC-By Image from J Photo Style http://jphotostyle.com/handwriting/k/keywords.html

Keywords are the major trigger of when your online advertisement appears in a Google search result. When creating your online advertising campaign stick to between five to twenty keywords which best describe your online ad.

Sort your Google Ads into small ad groupings to ensure that your keywords are as relevant as possible to your advertisement. This will allow you to set a CPC bid rate at the ad group level which applies to all keywords housed within that ad group.

Google Ad’s Keyword Planner can help you determine the best keywords for your online advertising campaign. Take a few minutes to read this article on how to use Keyword Planner – http://backlinko.com/google-keyword-planner.

Online advertising done well can be a very powerful way of promoting your business to your target market, however, paid online advertising can be costly if you do not design the correct marketing campaign and ensure that you deploy it to the correct targeted marketing, so do your research and take the time to test your approach.

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If you would like to learn about being successful online contact us now (email or 0400 732 270) to find out more about how you can take these simple steps to online success to advertise online using Google Adwords.

Stay up to date with the latest in being successful online by subscribing to our Digital Capability eUpdate or connecting with us online through FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

So what really ‘sells’ on Facebook?

With 15 million Australian users, Facebook is by far the most popular social media site in Australia.  With this audience size, and an easy to set up web presence, Facebook is a great place for businesses and individuals to set up shop and ‘sell’ online.  

Facebook users, however, jump onto their favourite site because of the convenience of communicating with others, for the comfort of knowing what others are doing and saying, and for its comic appeal in the way others play out their lives in a ‘public’ realm.

Being ‘sold to’ on Facebook is not very well received, so what really ‘sells’ on Facebook?

Public Domain CC0 from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/facebook/
Public Domain CC0 from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/facebook/

Love, lust and loyalty

A quick analysis of Australia’s top 10 Facebook Pages highlights that what clearly sells on Facebook is love, lust and loyalty. These top 10 Facebook Pages are made up of musicians, actors/models/sport and experts/thought leaders/self-helpers who are doing an amazing job appealing to, and engaging with, their many followers.  

The engagement statistics on these sites are exciting, with around 250,000 ‘Likes’, 2,000 shares and 3,500 comments in a matter of days for a quirky montage of Hugh Jackman and his wife.  This engagement is possible because Hugh is a friendly, fun loving person who knows that his fans love him as well as his work.  So Hugh shares his life and thoughts with his fans through interesting images and comments.

CC-By image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Love-lust.jpg
CC-By image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Love-lust.jpg

Lust is also a great seller on Facebook.  Self helpers, like Australian fitness goddesses Emily Skye and Kayla Itsines, appeal to an audience which lusts after having a perfect body and mind.  They both freely share their own expertise and drive through fitness videos and inspirational posts.  And, both have a strong call to action on their Facebook page, which is to ‘Shop now’. Their great content and ‘give to get’ attitude is driving their combined Facebook followers of nearly 20 million to their online shops.

And finally loyalty is a big draw card as the AC/DC Facebook Page is testament to. This Facebook page holds the No 1 spot on the top 10 list with over 30 million followers.  This page fosters a loyal community of AC/DC fans by sharing amazing imagery of the band.  This is possible because the band has produced some amazing songs and showmanship over the years, so sharing their quality product, and working to connect their fans who love it, is proving to be a fantastic formula for selling tickets to their next gig with a ‘Book now’ call to action.

But what else sells on Facebook?

WIIFMs, YOLOs and FOMOs

As a basic premise, Westernised societies are all about the individual or “me”, so anything which provides the individual with something is also very appealing on Facebook.  

Let’s start with WIIFMs (What’s in it for me)Appliances Online have been an industry leaders in this space by ensuring that they always post something on the Facebook Page for their followers, whether that be a dramatic discount or a great giveaway.  As an online retailer which has well priced white goods, and that is ‘always open’, means that Appliance Online uses a ‘Shop now’ call to action on their Facebook Page for when their followers (or friends) are in need of any white goods.

The introduction of Facebook Marketplace also recognises that Facebook users love a WIIFM bargain.  With more than 450 million people buying and selling through Facebook groups worldwide each month, Facebook Marketplace has now made this even easier, while allowing Facebook to take a ‘cut’ of these sales that wasn’t possible before.

CC-BY Image by Nan Palmero: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nanpalmero/14041764432
CC-BY Image by Nan Palmero: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nanpalmero/14041764432

Now that social media allows everyone to have their 15 mins of fame, the concept of YOLO (You only live once) has emerged.  This means that people are keen to share their life experiences, through the food that they eat and the places that they go, through social media sites like Facebook.  See Australia recognises the appeal of Australia’s unique countryside and animals, and shares this to their 7.3 million followers through amazing images and videos.  Interestingly enough, they haven’t taken advantage of a ‘See more’ call to action to drive people to their website on their Facebook Page.

Social media has helped create the state of mind of FOMO (Fear of missing out) – this means that through a 24/7 connection to family, friends and favourites, people don’t want to miss out on anything.  This encourages Facebook users to follow and engage with the things that they are really passionate (or political) about, and share this with others.  Animals Australia knows that their nearly 1.5 million followers are very passionate about animal rights, so they use great imagery and thought-provoking quotes to engage with their audience, and they use a ‘Donate now’ call to action.

 

These examples highlight many ways to ‘sell’ on Facebook, and so there’s no reason why you can’t take on and try some of these strategies to ‘sell’ on Facebook.  

One thing to remember though: Facebook (and social media in general) is not a Silver Bullet – It takes time, clever content, and paid marketing to get the same level of popularity on Facebook as the examples discussed in this post, so start your journey today.

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If you would like to learn about being successful online, check out the following events being run for Eastside Business Enterprise Centre:

And this workshop for the Polaris Business and Innovation Centre:

Or contact us (email or 0400 732 270) now to find out more about how you can take these simple steps to online success to using Facebook to ‘sell’ your business products and services.

Stay up to date with the latest in being successful online by subscribing to our Digital Capability eUpdate or connecting with us online through FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

Crowdfund your next big idea

The current Federal Government’s Ideas Boom Agenda would like us Australians to be coming up and realising amazing and innovative ideas which we can sell to the world. This strategy wants us to be embracing “new ideas in innovation and science, and harness new sources of growth to deliver the next age of economic prosperity in Australia”  

This agenda is backed by a number of funding initiatives and financial incentives in the Jobs and Growth component of the 2016-17 Federal Budget which you may be entitled to, however, not all new innovative ideas fit into what’s on offer, so an alternative way of funding your next big idea is through crowdfunding

CC-BY image from Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Crowdfundingescense.jpg
CC-BY image from Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Crowdfundingescense.jpg

Crowdfunding is a concept where an idea is presented to the world, usual through a crowdfunding website like Pozible, and the world is asked to fund this idea, either:

  • as a donation, or
  • in exchange for something such as the reward of goods, services or rights, or
  • to have an equitable interest in the idea, or
  • in a debt-based model where the funds are paid back at a later date

People and businesses are crowdfunding ideas such as: 

  • making and distributing music and films
  • restoring historical sites or recording historical information, and
  • investing in property and new technological ideas.  

Generally speaking, there is no barrier to what idea could be put up for crowdfunding, it’s just that the idea needs a few things to ensure it gets the world’s backing (or a small component of it anyway).  

These include:

Being unique

Disruptive ideas like Uber and AirBnB have come about because they solved a pain point in their industry.  Uber recognised that taxi companies were not servicing their clients properly, and AirBnB recognised that some travellers want to experience what it’s like to be a local in their travel destination.

CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay - https://pixabay.com/en/square-peg-wrong-fail-different-855294/
CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/en/square-peg-wrong-fail-different-855294/

Coming up with an unique idea means listening to yourself, your networks and new channels about what makes you and others unhappy and under-satisfied, then thinking of ways to solve this pain or gain point.  This idea could come from people are not getting a good product or service, or that they need help to organise their lives or their businesses in a better way.  Alternatively, cultural and community based crowdfunding ideas also attract backing, and so crowdfunding is great for social-preneurs.

Crowdfunding is also a fantastic way of testing out new ideas because you can find out whether your unique idea is needed in the marketplace without having to invest in the prototype or product before going to market.

Standing out from the crowd

Crowdfunding campaigns also help you to hone your branding and marketing skills to promote your idea – essential for any new business idea.  That is because it doesn’t matter how unique your idea is or how well it solves a person’s pain or gain point, if you don’t get people’s attention through your crowdfunding message then your campaign will just gather digital dust. 

CC0 Public Domain image from Pixabay - https://pixabay.com/en/one-odd-loner-feathers-bird-985535/
CC0 Public Domain image from Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/en/one-odd-loner-feathers-bird-985535/

This message needs to ‘speak’ to your donors about their WIIFM (what’s in it for me), so really nut out who your ideas is likely to appeal to, both now and into the future.  Also consider how you can make your message ‘newsworthy’.  This may be something controversial or eye-capturing such as live streaming a 50 hr loo-in, whereby Who gives a crap toilet paper company owner, Simon Griffith, live streamed himself sitting on a toilet until he raised $50.000 through crowdfunding to kick-start his social-preneur business idea.

Build momentum by drip feeding information about your crowdfunding idea before it goes live through your social media channels.  This curiosity will increase the number of people who will be interested in checking out your campaign as soon as it goes live.

Loving all your donors

Ensure you incentify the donors of your crowdfunding campaign by appealing to them by what’s driven them to check out your crowdfunding idea in the first place. Enterpreneurial ideas may offer the ‘be the first to have’ incentive, while Socialpreneurial ideas may offer the ‘be part of creating of something great’ incentive.  

CC0 License - Image by burak kostak https://www.pexels.com/photo/love-people-silhouettes-letters-13918/
CC0 License – Image by burak kostak https://www.pexels.com/photo/love-people-silhouettes-letters-13918/

Start by asking people in your network to donate or to share your crowdfunding campaign with the people in their network who they think would benefit from your crowdfunding campaign.  Aim to attract some ‘big donors’ through possible sponsorship or investment as well through a variety of incentives which appeals to different budgets.

However you decide to incentify your donors to contribute to your crowdfunding campaign, ensure that you live up to these promises.  Then use these ‘giving back’ moments to continue to build the momentum around your idea by sharing them through good news stories on your blog, via social media and through media releases.

Don’t give up if you are not successful on your first attempt at crowdsourcing an idea.  Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple to be one of the most successful international companies by throwing in the towel when things didn’t go his way. Also, don’t forget that declare the crowdfunding as income (if necessary).

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If you would like to learn about being successful online, check out the following events being run for Eastside Business Enterprise Centre:

Or contact us (email or 0400 732 270) now to find out more about how you can take these simple steps to online success to using crowdfunding your next big idea.

Stay up to date with the latest in being successful online by subscribing to our Digital Capability  eUpdate or connecting with us online through FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

Spread your cred through Facebook Live and Periscope

The stats around video content marketing speak for themselves:

  • Companies using video enjoy 41% more web traffic from search than non-users
  • Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more
  • Video in an email can lead to a 200-300% increase in click-through rates

To view these stats and more, check out this:

Live streaming video services, like Facebook Live and Periscope, are also increasing people’s engagement online and becoming mainstream.  These services allow you to use simple apps on your mobile device to live stream yourself openly to the World Wide Web.

These live and interactive services also provide you and your business with the opportunity to spread the word about your credibility. This can lead to new customers.

Consider the following ways that you could also be using these services to ‘spread your cred’ online:

Doing live demo sessions 

CC-BY image from Side Wages - https://www.flickr.com/photos/92646347@N02/8505225386
CC-BY image from Side Wages – https://www.flickr.com/photos/92646347@N02/8505225386

The “how to” world is no longer about looking up online manuals and participating in how to discussion forums. It’s now about watching people share what they can do via video.  In a give to get world, people are more likely to engage with an individual or business who openly shares what they know.

Most people/businesses can do a live demo by considering the practical aspects of their work, eg fixing things, make-overs, updating things through simple and inexpensive ideas, or by sharing the key steps of a routine or process.  You can also use live demo sessions for market research to find out what appeals to people and what doesn’t by polling the live audience or by asking for feedback via the text chat facility in the app (more about this later).

CC0 Public Domain image from Pixabay - https://pixabay.com/en/photos/faq/
CC0 Public Domain image from Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/en/photos/faq/

 Doing live Q&As / FAQ sessions

If you need to ‘educate’ your audience about a product or service on how it solves their pain point or gain point, then a question and answer (Q&A) or frequently asked questions (FAQ) session is just the answer.

Being live online to answer people’s question is not just about winging it, so take the time to plan out what you would like to share. As it is live, you need to be prepared for unexpected questions which your audience might throw at you.  However, as an expert in your field, thinking on your feet is something that you do on a daily basis, so doing it in front of a live audience shouldn’t faze you.

Doing compare and share sessions 

CC0 Public Domain image by isi159 - https://pixabay.com/en/share-sharing-bubble-rainbow-1039045/
CC0 Public Domain image by isi159 – https://pixabay.com/en/share-sharing-bubble-rainbow-1039045/

People are always looking to compare products and services, and more and more people are going online to do this, so a live compare and share session is becoming very popular.  If you offer consultancy services or independent advice, you will have lots of knowledge about a range of options for your industry which people are looking for eg different devices / software programs / hardware, or different learning and development / self-help options etc.  

The benefit of live streaming video over static video production is that the live audience can interact with the presenter through text messaging.  Live streaming a conversation which compares different products and services will allow the audience to ask real time questions of you as the presenter. You can then customise the presentation to the audience’s’ needs.   

CC-BY image from Sebastiaan ter Burg - https://www.flickr.com/photos/ter-burg/27261647224
CC-BY image from Sebastiaan ter Burg – https://www.flickr.com/photos/ter-burg/27261647224

 Beaming out presentations

You and/or business may already be delivering presentations or hosting events with excellent and informative guest speakers.  Beaming out these presentations live means that a much wider audience can participate in the presentation, just as if they were in the room.  

While live streaming offers many opportunities for beaming out these presentations, remember to consider the length of the session, as the people at the other end of the streaming point need to justify their time spent being their live online versus watching it as a recording later on.   Keeping both the in room and online audience engaged is the key to having everyone focussed and interacting.  
Remember, the success of spreading your cred through live streaming services like Facebook Live and Periscope will be having a live and interactive online audience.  This will require the effective promotion of the session(s) which explains the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) for the viewers and by highlighting how the session will solve their pain or gain point.

As well as building your credibility in your industry, regular and well thought out live sessions provides the perception that you are reliable as well as knowledgeable.  Humans associate this consistency of approach with reliability of behaviour, so consistent and regular live online sessions will also build people’s confidence in you and what you do.  

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If you would like to learn about being successful online, check out the Selling Online being run in Payneham (Adelaide) on 22 September 2016 for the Eastside Business Enterprise Centre.

Or contact us (email or 0400 732 270) now to find out more about how you can take these simple steps to online success using live streaming to spread your cred online.

Stay up to date with the latest in being successful online by subscribing to our Digital Capability  eUpdate or connecting with us online through FacebookGoogle+LinkedIn and Twitter.

Use Pokemon Go to grow through leverage, brand awareness and engagement

Pokemon Go is the new and very popular mobile game which allows people to play the original very popular game in the real world.  

Pokemon Go is based on another popular mobile app, Google Maps.  

The combination of these two big boys offers your business great ways to grow through three killer marketing activities: leverage, brand awareness and engagement.

 

Leverage the popularity of Pokemon Go

Tweet by @haztelf "When Eevee comes out for a drink with the lads #AdelaideOval #PokemonGO"
Tweet by @haztelf “When Eevee comes out for a drink with the lads #AdelaideOval #PokemonGO”

Pokemon Go works on providing information to a person about where Pokemon characters live based on their geographic location (geolocation) through an internet-enabled device, such as a mobile phone or tablet.  This location-based activity offers businesses lots of opportunities to leverage this popular game.

Adelaide Oval recently used its giant outdoor screens on its outer walls to notify passersby that “Eevee lives here”. This clever bit of leverage marketing now encourages Pokemon Go players to detour off of their given path to visit Adelaide Oval in an attempt to catch Eevee.  And, while they are there they are ‘taking a tour’ and/or ‘having a refreshment’ at the Oval.

Pokemon Go players, and non-players alike, are also snapping images of their encountered Pokemon on their mobile devices and sharing this information with their networks via their favourite social media eg Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter.  The clever ones also include the hashtag of their location eg #adelaideoval.

Build brand awareness by getting your name in the game

CC-BY image from Wikipedia - Google Maps pin
CC-BY image from Wikipedia – Google Maps pin

Pokemon Go encourages people to explore their physical environment and beyond.  As it is based on Google Maps, real local landmarks in the area, like businesses and public places, are identified in game on a person’s screen near where the Pokemon live.

Getting your business’s name in the game means that it will remind people playing the game in your local vicinity about your business .  It will also highlight your business to new people exploring your area on their Pokemon expeditions.

To get your business on Google Maps you need to join “Google my business”.  There are many benefits to doing this apart from ‘getting your name in the game’ such as ensuring that the Google search engine presents the correct information about your business on an organic web search, instead of what whatever it finds itself online.

Engage ‘em all

CC0 Public Domain image by stux on Pixabay
CC0 Public Domain image by stux on Pixabay

Now the Pokemon Go crazy won’t be here forever, and it won’t be long before some other geolocation game will takes its place, but in the meantime it’s certainly flavour of the month, so use this opportunity to engage with your online audience.  

If you have a Pokemon or two living near your business, then screenshot them or take a video of them in game and post this to your social media profiles.  Then ask your followers whether they have caught these Pokemon near your business. And don’t forget to use the #PokemonGO hashtag as this will help encourage more people to your locality, and it will also help you pick up a few more followers.

Then do another social media post which encourages people who have caught the Pokemon near your business to post something about this.  You can do this by offering a discount or 2 for 1 offer if people tag your business in their post. This will also encourage people to buy from or engage with your business.

 

Remember, Pokemon Go isn’t just for children.  People of all ages play this game so really think outside the square in this space.  Also, keep an eye on other geolocation apps or apps with geolocation functionality to see how you can also use them to leverage, build brand awareness and engage with people online so you can ‘Catch em all’ and grow your business.

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If you would like to learn about using geolocation apps like Pokemon Go to grow your business, check out the Online Business Essentials Workshop being run for Polaris Business and Innovation Centre at Mawson Lakes (Adelaide) on 31 August.

Or contact us (email or 0400 732 270) now to find out more about how you can take these simple steps to online success using leverage, brand awareness and online engagement to grow your business.

Stay up to date with the latest in being successful online by subscribing to our Digital Capability  eUpdate or connecting with us online through FacebookGoogle+LinkedIn and Twitter.

Simple steps to online success using social media

Using social media is an important ingredient to your business’s online success.  As highly interactive online spaces which are available to anyone, social media sites have grown to be one of the best ways to connect with your customers.

Social media sites should be your number 1 port of call for marketing your business and to be driving people to your website.  This is done through a ‘front of mind’ approach.  This means that through regular social media communications, when someone is looking for your types of goods / services, they are more likely to think of your business.

To help you understand this more, consider these four simple steps to online success using social media to get you on to, or reconnect you with, your social media journey:

1. Determine your social media goal 

Public domain image from: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=3029&picture=goal
Public domain image from: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=3029&picture=goal

Social media is so successful as it allows people to easily interact and communicate online on a regular basis, hence the ‘social’ part of social media.  So it is important, therefore, that you do not use this space to simply sell your business but rather socialise your business.

When considering your online success using social media, consider the many aspects that these services offer your business, then set your social media goal, such as: brand awareness, educating your marketplace, building brand loyalty, establishing yourself as an expert, or simply improving customer service or helping you with your market research.  

Determining your social media goal is done through knowing who your ideal customer is and understanding their pain or gain point, then ‘speaking’ to them about this pain or gain point through social media.  This message should also always keep in mind the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) of your ideal customer.  That is, what’s in it for your ideal customer to take the time to interact with your social media posts.

2. Determine which social media sites are the right fit

CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/task/
CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/task/

The term social media includes Facebook and YouTube, to LinkedIn and Twitter, to Instagram and Snapchat, and many, many more.  However, each of these sites offers a unique service to their users, so you don’t need to be across all of them.

To determine which ones are the right ones for your business, consider who is your ideal customer and where are they likely to be ‘hanging out’ online.  For example, if you are a retail / personal services ‘business to consumer’ type business, then Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are where your ideal customers are likely to be.  However, if you are a professional services ‘business to business’ type business, then LinkedIn, YouTube and Snapchat are morely likely to be where you will find your ideal customers.  

This smorgasbord of choice often makes it hard for a small business person to know where to get started, so until you know exactly which social media sites will work for your business, stake your claim in all of the big ones that you are likely to trial.  This means, create a profile for your business in the main ones even if you don’t use them in the short term.  This will ensure that someone else doesn’t get this profile before you, and then want to sell it to you as your business grows.

3. Determine the what, when and who 

CC0 Public Domain image by Peggy Marco - https://pixabay.com/en/question-mark-question-response-1019993/
CC0 Public Domain image by Peggy Marco – https://pixabay.com/en/question-mark-question-response-1019993/

The next hurdle small businesses grapple with in their ‘I know social media is good for my business, but I don’t know where to start or what to do’ journey is what to post, when to post and who will do the posting, so it is very important to plan this out.

Knowing what to post goes back to:

  • what is your social media goal, and
  • understanding who is your ideal customer and how you are helping them through social media

These messages can come from you and your business or you can source them through curating current information that is happening in your industry through services like “Google Alerts” which regularly brings the latest news to your inbox.

Consistency of when you post is important as consistency builds the perception of trust and reliability in people’s minds about your business.  Consistency can mean posting once an hour, once a day, or once a week depending on your social media goal.  What’s really important, however, is that you set your benchmark for consistency and you stick to it.  You will also need to decide who will be responsible for your social media campaign – will it be you or will employ you someone to do it or outsource it another company.

4. Determine if it’s really all worth it

CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/good/?image_type=vector
CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/good/?image_type=vector

As you can see, social media offers your business many ways to help your business succeed online, however, it does take time and possibly money if you are paying someone else to help you do it, so it’s important to determine whether it’s all worth it.

This means that you need to be clear about what your goal is for achieving online success using social media, as discussed above.  This goal needs to be easily measured, for example: increase the traffic to your website by 20% within 6 months.

Once you have this measurable goal, it’s now time to determine how well you are on track in achieving it.  Unlike traditional advertising medium like newspapers, magazines and radio, social media offers plenty of free information to help you do this through the data it collects about your social media interaction, as well as Google Analytics, which provides information about which social media sites are bring people to your website.  

Being ‘in’ social media means that you have lots of wonderful opportunities for online success, so ensure that you set yourself up right by planning, resourcing and evaluating the journey.

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If you would like to learn how to be successful online, check out the “Online Business Solutions program being run online for Eastside Business Enterprise Centre with onlineiq:

Or contact us (email or 0400 732 270) now to find out more about how you can take these simple steps to online success using social media.

Stay up to date with the latest in being successful online by subscribing to our Digital Capability  eUpdate or connecting with us online through FacebookGoogle+LinkedIn and Twitter.

Online success: Evaluating the journey and moving forward

You’ve come on a journey over the last four months of setting and achieving your goals for online success based on:

It’s now time to evaluate whether your online success has been all worthwhile and moving forward, by:

  1. Analysing data as your point of difference 

    CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/data/
    CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/data/

Data to your business is like the blood to your body.  You know it’s there but you don’t pay too much attention to it. However, this mindset can be the death nail to both you and your business if you don’t monitor it properly to ensure it is healthy.

One of the killer features of online technologies is that they gather a lot of data through logs and reports.  Data from websites, social media sites and Google Analytics provides you with insights into:

  • Who is interested in your business
  • How people are finding your business online, and
  • How they are interacting with your online information

When analysing your data analytics, determine how your online success is providing your business with a point of difference from your competitors.  This data should be used to complement traditional data such as financial reports.

  1. Planning for the solution after next

CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/solution/
CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/solution/

One thing the second decade of the 21st Century hasn’t been is a time to sit and watch.  Change is the only constant, so listening to business and consumer trends, and futurists, will help you plan for your solution after next.

A solution after next starts by determining what you want to achieve in the next 3-5 years, and then when making decisions about how to get there.  You need to take into consideration what the world and your business will be like in the time period after that eg in about 8-10 years.

By taking into account likely situations and solutions of the future, this will influence the decisions that you make now and ensure that have the horizon in sight, looking for those oncoming disruptors to you and your business.

  1. Being a “give it a go to grow” business 

    CC0 Public Domain image by bykst - https://pixabay.com/en/growth-chart-map-graph-arrow-1140534/
    CC0 Public Domain image by bykst – https://pixabay.com/en/growth-chart-map-graph-arrow-1140534/

Your journey for online success has hopefully highlighted that you need a “give it a go to grow” attitude.  That is, growing from a business perspective, as well as an individual perspective.

Successful entrepreneurs will tell you to “fail fast, learn quickly and move on”.  You should apply this mindset to your journey for online success.  You need to recognise that there are trials and tribulations when having a go, but taking a risk and learning something is better than just pondering what could have been.

Encouraging your staff to have a ‘give it a go to grow’ attitude is important.  Preparing them to work in semi-autonomous team environment, where they are empowered through systems and guidance to run your business will enable you to grow your business very quickly.

  1. Recognise, reward, recognise, reward

CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/loyalty/
CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/loyalty/

People are the heart and sole of our business, whether they be advocates, customers, suppliers or staff.  Without them, there is no business, so recognising and rewarding people for their efforts is the key to your online success.

Recognition and reward for online success does not always have to be managed and administering by you.  Creating recognition and reward frameworks such as:

  • Referral / loyalty schemes for advocates and customers
  • Quality product / service awards for suppliers
  • Exceptional customer service celebrations for staff

means that anyone in your organisation can instigate the recognition and reward process, and build a celebratory business environment.

Having these frameworks in place will help your business retain all of these key stakeholders.  These frameworks should also recognise and reward people who have taken a ‘give it a go to grow’ approach, and may be not succeeded.  This will encourage others to try something new to improve the business.

_______________________________________________

If you would like to learn how to be successful online, check out the “Online Business Solutions program being run online for Eastside Business Enterprise Centre

Or contact us (email or 0400 732 270) now to find out more about how you can take these simple steps to online success.

Stay up to date with the latest in being successful online by subscribing to our Digital Capability  eUpdate or connecting with us online through FacebookGoogle+LinkedIn and Twitter.

Four ways to leverage the impact of your new online technology

Once your new online technology has been implemented you need to measure its impact to determine if it has met your goal for online success.  

The evaluation stage enables you to determine whether your investment of time and money into implementing the new online technology has been worthwhile, and how you can continue to build the momentum of its success.

This should be done through considering these four ways of leveraging the impact of your online new online technology

1. Did we win?

StartupStockPhotos - https://pixabay.com/en/children-win-success-video-game-593313/
CC0 Public Domain by StartupStockPhotos – https://pixabay.com/en/children-win-success-video-game-593313/

Implementing something new takes a lot of energy and resources, so from that, you will want to know if your goal for online success has been achieved through measuring whether it is doing what it is supposed to be doing – ie solving your pain point (eg increasing revenue) or a gain point (eg being the best business in your industry).

Having a key metric and gathering data related to your goal for online success will help you do this.  This metric may be increased sales / larger contracts or more referrals, or reduced operating expenses, staff absenteeism or less customer complaints.

The data to measure the impact of your new online technology can come from a range of sources, such as:

  • Sales / Finance reports
  • Hits on your website or social media
  • Increased enquiries / referrals

2. Should we do more?

CC-BY image from Crystal - What's Next - https://www.flickr.com/photos/crystalflickr/2317183342
CC-BY image from Crystal – What’s Next – https://www.flickr.com/photos/crystalflickr/2317183342

The ongoing use of the new online technology, coupled with the above data, will highlight areas of success as well as gaps which will need more work.  

This experience and data will then raise questions such as:

  • Should we ‘scale up’ what we are doing?
  • Do we need ‘add-ons’ or ‘added extras’ to truly leverage the new online technology?
  • Does anything need to be customised to meet our particular needs?

It will also highlight considerations for the next iteration of the new online technology, because one thing is certain, technology changes rapidly, so you will want to be thinking now about what you would like to achieve in the next 12-24 months with the technology.

3. It’s all about people

CC0 Public Domain image from Pixabay - https://pixabay.com/en/photos/therapy/?cat=people
CC0 Public Domain image from Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/en/photos/therapy/?cat=people

Your goal for online success could not be realised without the help and input of people, including: your staff, customers and suppliers, so recognising and rewarding this effort is important.

This recognition can be:

  • Intrinsic: through a simple thank you or acknowledgement of their input into the success of the implementation of the new online technology or
  • Extrinsic: through a bonus for staff, a discount for customers or thank you gift for suppliers

Asking for feedback from these key groups can highlight further opportunities for achieving your goal for online success. Analysing this information and the above data may also highlight the need for further training or for hiring / contracting more staff to really leverage the new online technology.

4. Exploit the change

CC-BY-SA by Leyla.A called Let's hear it, share some of your good news! - https://www.flickr.com/photos/leyla_arsan/22873063254
CC-BY-SA by Leyla.A called Let’s hear it, share some of your good news! – https://www.flickr.com/photos/leyla_arsan/22873063254

Achieving your goal for online success is a great way of sustaining the momentum generated through implementing your new online technology.  This is best done through sharing the successes of your new online technology through good news stories, both internally and externally.  

From these stories builds a history about your business which can be shared with potential customers and future staff which helps to bring life to your company’s brand which people can relate to, connect with, and share.

Also, share what you have learned from your experience with others.  Implementing a new online technology comes with its trials and tribulations, so sharing these with others through blog posts, media articles and presentations.   
So, don’t be afraid to leverage the impact of your new online technology to help build and grow your goal for online success.  

_______________________________________________

If you would like to learn how to be successful online, check out the “Website fundamentals – Getting it right – program being run online for Eastside Business Enterprise Centre

Or contact us (email or 0400 732 270) now to find out more about how you can take these simple steps to online success.

Stay up to date with the latest in being successful online by subscribing to our Digital Capability  eUpdate or connecting with us online through FacebookGoogle+LinkedIn and Twitter.

Four techniques for implementing your new online technology

After designing the key aspects for integrating your new online technology, it’s now time to implement the new online technology using effective tools and techniques.

The integration stage will require you to stay focussed on your goal and reason for online success by being determined and disciplined to succeed.  

Use the following four techniques to help you do that:

1. Create a plan of attack

CC0 Public Domain image by geralt https://pixabay.com/en/arrow-planning-plan-design-idea-394142/
CC0 Public Domain image by geralt https://pixabay.com/en/arrow-planning-plan-design-idea-394142/

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” (Benjamin Franklin).  

Once you know which implementation strategy you will be using, take the time to map out the steps needed to achieve your online success using a simple document such as the following Online technology implementation action plan (Click here to download a blank version) below:

Online technology implementation action plan

What? How? When? Who?
Inform key stakeholders about new online technology and when it will be implemented period Staff / Suppliers – email, meeting One month prior Information Technology Manager
Customers – information on website, email One week prior Customer Service Manager
Train staff to use new online technology In house training Two weeks prior Learning & Development Manager
Change over / start using new online technology Will depend on your implementation strategy Project Manager

Creating your plan of attack should be led by the ‘project manager’ responsible for the successful roll out of the new online technology, with the input of the key people responsible for supporting this process.  This way all aspects of the roll out can be taken into consideration from varying viewpoints and needs within organisation.

2. Get the skills mix right

CC0 Public Domain image by geralt - https://pixabay.com/en/mark-marker-hand-leave-training-589859/
CC0 Public Domain image by geralt – https://pixabay.com/en/mark-marker-hand-leave-training-589859/

Now that you have taken a workforce development approach to determining the new skills needed to ensure the success integration of the new online technology, deciding how these skills will be brought into the organisation is the next step.

Do this by undertaking a training needs analysis of your staff’s current capabilities and mapping this against the skills required to successfully implement your new online technology.  Any identified skills gaps in your organisation can be filled by:

  • Training of your existing staff to gain these new skills (either through formal/informal training) by running in house training or outsourcing it to an expert
  • Recruiting new staff who have the required skills, and/or
  • Contracting the work out to someone with the required skills

3. Break old habits

CC-BY-SA image from http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/tablet/c/change.html
CC-BY-SA image from http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/tablet/c/change.html

Often the hardest part of implementing something new into an organisation is getting people to change what they do now.  

This requires a change management process of:

  • Involving everyone impacted by the change from the start
  • Effectively communicating the need and benefits for change
  • Updating organisational policies and procedures to incorporate the change
  • Training staff and/or having people with the right skills to do the job
  • Having easy ‘how to’ resources such as help guides and videos
  • Asking for feedback throughout the process and making any necessary tweaks 

Taking ‘baby steps’ where the roll out of the new online technology is trialled by a small group of willing participants first helps to build champions who can then help others as the full implementation takes place.  

4. Gather data as you go

CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/data/
CC0 Public Domain image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/data/

Measuring whether the implementation of the new online technology has helped you achieve your goal for online success is very important.  Evaluating the impact of the new online technology will ensure that the investment you have made, both in time and money, has been worthwhile.

To be able to measure the success of the implementation of your online technology requires that you factor in ‘trigger points’ to collect and analysis data along the way.

These trigger points can be:

  • Referring to your Online technology implementation action plan to determine if you have achieved key deadlines
  • Discussing the implementation of the online technology at staff meetings
  • Reviewing feedback about the impact of the implementation from staff, customers and suppliers
  • Analysing financial reports for improved income / reduced expenditure, and analysing HR reports for productivity improvements such as improved absenteeism / performance reviews 

These trigger points will allow you to see whether the roadmap to achieving your goal for online success is on track and when it’s been achieved.  

When determining what data you will use to measure the impact of the new online technology, also consider any ‘Plan B’s or C’s’ you could use if any of the original steps do not go according to plan.

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If you would like to learn how to be successful online, check out the “Website fundamentals – Getting it right – program being run online for Eastside Business Enterprise Centre

Or contact us (email or 0400 732 270) now to find out more about how you can take these simple steps to online success.

Stay up to date with the latest in being successful online by subscribing to our Digital Capability  eUpdate or connecting with us online through FacebookGoogle+LinkedIn and Twitter.

Four design aspects for integrating your new online technology

Once you have decided on which online technology that you will implement, it is now time to design the integration of your new online technology.  

This is best done through a project management approach which has someone in charge of the integration process.  This will ensure that a number of key components of the integration process are happening at the same time.  This will also ensure that key milestones are established and effectively managed to ensure the new online technology is being fully utilised.

Consider these four design aspect for integrating your new online technology:

Which implementation strategy will you use? 

CC-BY Image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/integration/
CC-BY Image from https://pixabay.com/en/photos/integration/

The integration of online technology requires careful consideration of how it will be implemented so that there are:

  • no interrupts to the business, especially to customers
  • no bugs or loss of data when the new online technology goes live, and
  • strategies to ensure that key stakeholders are fully informed and trained

There are four ways to implement your new online technology:

  • Piloting – where the new online technology is trialled by a small group of people for a short period of time to gauge how it will impact the business
  • Parallel Rollout – where the new online technology is implemented at the same time as the existing system is running to gauge its impact on the business before changing over to the new system
  • Phased Rollout – where the new online technology is brought in incrementally over a period of time to gauge its impact on the business before the old system removed
  • Direct Changeover – where the new online technology fully replaces the existing system, usually after a successful pilot has occurred

2. What policies and procedures are needed?

CC-BY image from Open Access Policies: An Introduction from COAPI - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcXpF8bU714
CC-BY image from Open Access Policies: An Introduction from COAPI – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcXpF8bU714

Concurrently, an investigation of the policies and procedures to support the effective implementation and use of the new online technology is very important.  

Policies and procedures are important intellectual property and risk management tools in a business as they ensure that the business can function effectively regardless of the people running it.  The investment in time to write or update policies and procedures is also quickly recouped through improved productivity and through the consistent approach by everyone delivering your products/services.

The best way to write and share policies and procedures is using a collaborative writing system such as Google Docs (inside Google Drive).  Google Docs allows you to create your policies and procedures so they can be easily accessed by your staff from anywhere and from any device, and so you can also allow your staff to edit them, so they can always be quickly up to date.

3. What skills are needed? 

CC-BY image from geralt - https://pixabay.com/en/skills-can-talents-training-835747/
CC-BY image from geralt – https://pixabay.com/en/skills-can-talents-training-835747/

When considering the skills needed to effectively use the new online technology it is best to take a workforce development mindset.

As part of your decision making about which new online technology you should use, you set yourself a key goal about how you would like the new online technology to improve your business eg generate more revenue or be the best at what you do.  When considering the skills needed to use the new online technology, keep this goal in mind, as it will ensure you consider all of the skills needed for your online success.

A workforce development approach involves:

  • identifying the skills needed to achieve the goal of your new online technology
  • mapping these skills against the current skills in your organisation to identify any skill gaps, and then
  • determining how skill gaps will be addressed eg: internal/external training, recruiting new staff, or outsourcing to contracts

4. What ongoing management and maintenance is required?

CC-BY image from WHY MAINTENANCE ROBOCRAFT??? | Robocraft #1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e70s4yIAzfA
CC-BY image from WHY MAINTENANCE ROBOCRAFT??? | Robocraft #1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e70s4yIAzfA

The integration of the new online technology will only be truly successfully when it is fully functional and an established component of your business.  However, like any technology, ongoing management and maintenance is an important part of its success.

This is done by regularly reviewing the effectiveness of the new online technology through system checks and reviews.  Key considerations of system and security updates is required, as are the processes needed to ensure that new staff can easily gain access to the online technology, and exiting staff are quickly removed from use.

Assigning a person or a team who is accountable for the management and maintenance of the new technology will ensure that it is always fully utilised. It will also allow this person/these people to manage and implement processes for any ongoing risks to the business such as the system ‘going down’ for a period of time.

Designing the integration of a new online technology can make or break its success, so to ensure that your investment into the new online technology is fully realised, take the time to do this stage well to ensure your online success.

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If you would like to learn how to be successful online contact us now (email or 0400 732 270) to find out more about how you can take these simple steps to your online success.

Stay up to date with the latest in being successful online by subscribing to our Digital Capability  eUpdate or connecting with us online through FacebookGoogle+LinkedIn and Twitter.

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