2020 has been a year like no other with Covid-19 wreaking havoc on life as we know it. As we slowly emerge from lockdown and try to adjust to ‘the new normal’, many businesses have had to adapt business operations, processes and products in order to survive, writes Kimberley O’Hare, Communications Executive at InterTradeIreland as she shares some useful insights to help firms embrace digital and adapt to the ‘new normal’.
Before the pandemic, although businesses had heard of the power of social media and the digital world, not all were reaping the benefits. Brandwatch noted 81% of all small and medium businesses utilised one or more social platforms in 2019.
With no alternative during the ‘lockdown’, firms took advantage of the online tools and stayed in touch with their customers, marketed their business and some even set up websites to sell their products.
An increase in small businesses joining the digital community, has seen the market place become even more crowded. Standing out can be difficult, especially when you’re in unfamiliar territory.
Although it can be daunting, evolving your business online can be very exciting.
InterTradeIreland Communications Executive, Kimberley O’Hare provides some tips below to help embrace digital that might aid the transition.
Messaging – Clear, consistent, relatable.
The key to messaging is keep it clear and concise. Customers are not going to read text repeatedly if it doesn’t make sense the first-time around, they are going to keep scrolling – resulting in missed opportunities.
Ensuring consistency across messaging is something many businesses fail to do. Once you have established the tone of voice of the company, this should translate across all external communications.
You should know your target audience inside-out, therefore you should become familiar with the language they use. Ensure the messaging and style of writing is relatable to your customers – make them feel a part of your brand.
Design – Attractive, defining, simple.
People see hundreds of posts on social media every day and can be exposed to thousands of ads across the board on a daily basis. Your content has to be attractive in order to stand out. As not everyone has the budget to pay for a graphic designer, Canva is a free and easy to use tool that allows you to create eye-catching content.
Your designs should define your brand. Similar to the messaging, your designs should compliment your company’s tone of voice. You want customers to see a social post and instantly associate it with your brand.
‘Simplicity is key’, a rule that can be applied to many aspects of life. In this case, simplicity is key when creating designs. Many have the view that white space is wasted space and decide to clutter designs with images and text, this couldn’t be further from the truth. White space can be effective if used correctly, it can ensure your text is clear and legible and therefore successfully convey your message.
Mediums – Social, Digital, PR.
If you’re starting out, do a little research into the best social media platform for your business. There is no rule to say that you need to have an account on every platform, it takes time and resource to build and maintain a following. It may be the case that focusing your efforts on one platform will be more effective.
Digital is one of the most effective forms of advertising for small businesses, it allows you to target your budget at a select audience and closely monitor the engagement. Your customers are all online one way or another, this means that they could be searching for a product that you offer right now as you read this blog, if you have no presence digitally then that’s a missed opportunity!
If you don’t have a website, get one asap, it lends legitimacy to your business and allows you to utilse search engine optimisation. You can get ahead of your competitors by being the first result that appears in a google search.
Finally, public relations (PR) can be a very effective medium to raise brand awareness. Coronavirus has been the main item across news outlets recently which makes now a great time to sell in a good new story. All you need is a strong news hook, find out the journalists of your local papers and contact them, generally they will be happy to take your call as they will have many pages to fill. Most papers are also online, if your story gets picked up then it’s great content to share on social media to generate conversation.
InterTradeIreland Emerge Programme
InterTradeIreland has launched a range of Covid-19 business supports to help businesses embrace digital and adapt to a post-Covid reality. This includes the new Emerge programme which provides £2500 fully-funded consultancy support to help businesses embrace digital and develop online sales and eCommerce solutions.
Support is provided in a range of areas including:
- How to promote and sell online e.g. E-Marketing, Social Media
- Website management
- SEO optimisation
- Identification of sectoral e-markets
- Online payment systems/ billing/ security
- Product listing
- Product packaging & labelling
- Pricing/price matching/batch offers/discounts
- Secure logistics/ delivery methods
- Customer service/ managing satisfaction ratings
- Legal & Insurance implications
To find out more about Emerge visit https://intertradeireland.com/sales-growth/covid-19-supports/covid-19-e-merge/