4 Useful tips for planning your 2022 marketing content

4 Useful tips for planning your 2022 marketing content

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Content marketing plays an important role in the business marketing mix. Major changes in consumers’ behaviour and needs for information, thanks to the pandemic, have catapulted content marketing trends and opportunities. In the past, content marketing revolved around using the right platforms for promotion, creating ads and collecting data. 

In 2022, it will be about creating an effective brand through compelling storytelling and measuring the success of that story by not only collecting, but analysing data as well. With compelling findings from the Search Engine Journal we’ve rounded up 4 trends to incorporate into your plan to enhance your content strategy next year. 

  1. Understanding consumer intent 
  2. Data driven content planning 
  3. Balancing authentic storytelling with automation
  4. Strategic content formats 

 

Understanding consumer intent 

Get to know the intent behind your consumers’ searches. Understanding what people are searching for and why is essential in planning and crafting content that speaks directly to their needs. Being hyper-focused on just keywords and their performance may not be as prevalent in 2022 as in 2021. In 2022 the importance will be put on connecting with your audience in a more meaningful way. 

 

Tips on how to approach this are: 

  • Tapping into real-time search insights to understand what motivates your prospects.
  • Working through your customer’s journey for content gaps. 
  • Using keywords and data to inform content that better meets each searcher’s intent.

 

 

 

Data driven content planning 

There are currently more touch-points and interactions online than marketers can track and analyse on their own. Try not to aim for a perfect content strategy by the beginning of the year. Rather design your strategy to include people, processes, and tools that analyse and incorporate data to inform content throughout the year.

If you don’t have data-driven creatives in-house or as freelancers yet, start working on either up-skilling employees or outsourcing specialists to get the job done.

 

 

Balancing authentic storytelling with automation

Automation in content and SEO has been a big trend in 2021 and will continue growing in 2022. But, creativity and human connection are still the most important factors of content. Try to capitalise on the intelligence and efficiency of machine learning and AI without sacrificing emotive connections with your audience. Machines are important for data analysis from various touch-points and once it’s been collected, creating well crafted stories from these insights needs a real human touch.  

 

 

Related: The Guide to 2022’s Most Important Trends for SMEs

 

 

Strategic content formats 

Voice, video, and visuals via mobile & social will continue to be a big trend! Establish which ones will be the best mix for presenting your information to your audience. In 2022, challenge your team to think about how your stories and information are being presented.

Could your stories be more compelling as video? Or could a podcast better work for your audience? Research your consumers’ online behaviour, observe your competitors and get insights on your industry trends, then see which content formats are trending and meet your audience there. 

On mobile and across social channels, consumers are craving interactive, short form, entertaining content. Be the brand that meets them there. 

 

 

Related: 5 Ways to prepare your business for festive season sales

 

 

Apply for Bridging Finance with Lulalend

We have solutions that offer your business a cash flow boost when you need access to funds sooner rather than later. We offer bridging finance that is unsecured, and easily accessible within 24 hours. We also offer the option to settle early without having to worry about penalty fees.

 

5 Ways to prepare your business for festive season sales

5 Ways to prepare your business for festive season sales

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The festive season is synonymous with an increase in shopping behaviour and the best way to leverage on all the activity is to be prepared. Even with specials and promotions from other businesses creating tough competition, you can give your business an edge with early preparation. Below we share tips to help you get the most out of the festive season peak.

Strategise Early
Planning Your Product Offering
Marketing and Promotion
Securing enough Capital
Leveraging Omnichannel Customer Experiences

 

Strategise Early 

The festive season is filled up with many public holidays. From as early as Black Friday, the opportunity for high sales volumes begins. To add to this many retailers start their Christmas promotions from late October into early November.

It’s vital that you factor these, and other seasonal occurrences, into your plan so that you aren’t caught out. The earlier you do this the more time you have to develop specific actions and align your resources to ensure you take full advantage of the opportunities that will inevitably arise.

 

Planning Your Product Offering

Just because it is a busy shopping time of the year it doesn’t mean that all your products or services will be a hit. Thorough research of your audiences’ requirements, challenges and price points is required to understand the products you should prioritise at this particular time of year. Don’t forget to use the learnings from previous years to help plan your product range.  

 

 

Marketing and Promotion 

Once you’ve established your plan of action and agreed on the products or services you’ll be focusing on, you can start your marketing and promotional activities. Create enticing offers (not necessarily always discounts) for your customers as often as possible. During the festive season consumer attention is contested for by many businesses so you want to ensure that you stay top of mind.

Choose a mix of marketing channels that best suits your audience and reach out to them in the best way possible. Consider which of the following work best and get creative:

Social media,
– Email
– Search Engine Marketing tactics, as well as
– Traditional offline advertising eg: radio/television, newspapers, and direct mail. 

 

Securing enough Capital 

During the festive season you may need to have more funds readily available to increase inventory, hire more staff or set up promotions and holiday displays. If you don’t have sufficient cash on hand to give the season your best shot, talk to a trusted lender about securing a line of credit or short-term business loan. Lulalend, for instance, offers access to working capital with quick turnaround times, flexible repayment terms and no collateral.

 

 

Related: The SME Guide to Managing Business Finances over the Festive Season

 

Leveraging Omnichannel Customer Experiences    

If you can’t beat them, join them! That’s truly the long and short of digital retail trends. Omnichannel retailing only increases during the festive season. This is driven by people wanting to avoid long queues, needing to receive items at short notice or even having to adapt when load-shedding strikes.

With these factors in mind, having an integrated approach that offers a seamless shopping experience for consumers regardless of whether they are shopping from a desktop, mobile device or physical store is a great advantage. For example, customers might buy online and want to collect in-store later that same day rather than wait 2-3 days for home delivery. You ideally want to have a solution that can cater for all of these moving parts.

The festive season can be a stressful time for a small business, especially with pandemic-related issues still lurking, and load-shedding slowing productivity down.  But with enough planning and preparation, you can make it a truly profitable period for your business.

 

Related: The SME Guide to Understanding your Financial Health 

 

Apply for Bridging Finance with Lulalend

We have solutions that offer your business a cash flow boost when you need access to funds sooner rather than later. We offer bridging finance that is unsecured, and easily accessible within 24 hours. We also offer the option to settle early without having to worry about penalty fees.

 

Understanding the benefits of Bridging Finance

Understanding the benefits of Bridging Finance

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Bridging finance can be used by business owners for a range of purposes. Particularly when they need a quick cash flow injection. It’s a form of business finance that works as a cash advance and helps to bridge that gap in your cash flow. With bridging finance you can cover costs immediately while waiting for an expected cash boost. 

Definition

Bridging finance is any type of short-term financing arrangement intended to cover a business’s cash flow gaps until it can arrange for longer-term financing. This type of financing is generally needed to fund a business’s operational needs and is usually in the form of working capital.  It can be particularly handy when expanding your company or premises or when there is a project that requires you to have immediate cash flow but only pays out later.

 

 

5 Ways that Bridging Finance can help your business

  • Fast access to finance to boost cash flow
  • Provides a buffer in between receiving payments from customers
  • Gives options of flexible repayment options 
  • Can prevent financial loss for seasonal business needing to purchase stock mid-season to make profit 
  • Allows you to buy out a difficult partner

 

Types of Bridging Finance that are useful for business owners to know

 

  • Closed bridging finance: Is available for a fixed period of time (generally a few months) agreed on by the lender and borrower. It tends to be more accessible as the lender has a higher level of certainty when it comes to repayment of the loan.
  • Open bridging finance: Has no fixed date for repayment. This can be a desirable option for businesses who don’t know when they will be accessing the funds needed to pay off the loan. The interest rates tend to be higher because of the higher level of uncertainty around the repayment.
  • Debt bridging finance: Is when a business takes out temporary finance to cover short-term costs while awaiting finance. The loan serves as a bridge as it connects the borrowing company to debt capital. For this type of debt, it’s important to understand what interest you’ll be paying so you don’t exacerbate any existing financial difficulties.
  • Equity bridging finance: This is when businesses seek capital from venture capitalists to avoid high interest debts. For example, a venture capitalist firm might provide a business with capital in the form of a bridging finance round to tide them over while they raise equity financing. The borrowing business might then offer the lending firm equity ownership in exchange for funds.

 

Related: 5 Reasons why access to business funding is important 

 

Common uses of Bridging Finance 

  • Helpful for quick access to cash for a down payment.
  • Purchasing new equipment that is priced above the amount of cash on hand available to a business
  • Covering essential operational costs (such as salaries) during temporary dips in cash flow 
  • If you’re a seasonal business, it can help sustain cash flow during low season

 

Related: The SME Guide to Understanding your Financial Health 

 

Apply for Bridging Finance with Lulalend

We have solutions that offer your business a cash flow boost when you need access to funds sooner rather than later. We offer bridging finance that is unsecured, and easily accessible within 24 hours. We also offer the option to settle early without having to worry about penalty fees.

 

5 Reasons why access to business funding is important

5 Reasons why access to business funding is important

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Running a business is a long game that requires flexibility, adaptability and money. To keep it running in the right direction and meeting your growth trajectories is an ongoing commitment. Just as you’ve gathered the funds to get started or your profit is looking good, there comes occasions when extra funding is needed. It goes without saying that access to funding is vital for your business. Particularly funding that can keep up with needs intrinsic to your industry changes, challenges and requirements. Here are 5 reasons to keep in mind on why access to funding is important for your business.

 

1. Research and development
2. Fast access to funding helps secure cash flow
3. Good liquidity helps SMEs trade through turbulent time
4. Funds on tap allow businesses to respond quickly to growth opportunities
5. Unforeseen costs

 


Research and development


While not every business needs research and development in the earlystages, every business needs to stay relevant and innovative. Especially SMEs because they have to keep up with unexpected challenges and competitors with better resources. On the other hand many business owners still rely on thorough research to get ahead of the competition, often leading to having to finance the process. Ultimately, research and development is necessary for accelerating innovation and sustaining relevance, and it requires funding.


A few meaningful ways to start your R&D funding include approaching venture capitalists, seeking government assistance, alternative lenders such as Lulalend and using crowdfunding.


Fast access to funding helps secure cash flow 

The money that moves in and out of your business is important. Any sudden changes can impact your business negatively. Which is why positive cash flow is so important. If it dries up it’s difficult to recover and this inevitably affects all aspects of your business. Anything from seasonal slowdowns or recessions can strike at any time and it’s important to be prepared. With fast access to the right funding you’ll be able to keep a positive cash flow problems arise. Consider flexible options such as Lulalend’s revolving credit facility which is useful to business owners across all industries. This allows you to keep up with the kind of cash flow challenges that affect your business directly without applying for funding every time. 

 

Related: Understanding business credit assessments

 

Good liquidity helps SMEs trade through turbulent times

SMEs generally don’t have big cash reserves to fall back on, so when sales drop they need a safety net to meet day to day operating costs. Ideally a business should have anywhere from a month to six months of cash on hand in case of emergencies. Liquidity requires having accessible funds and together with cash flow, it’s crucial to the survival of small businesses. Keeping a close eye on liquidity allows business owners to make smart decisions about their finances and a healthy ratio helps creditors determine your creditworthiness to secure your business the credit it might need. SMEs need to track the financial health of their businesses and measuring liquidity helps to strike the right balance. 

You can look to financing companies to secure additional funding when the chips are down. This can afford you the flexibility to get through unprecedented cash flow crunches and buy you time to improve or rebuild your usual ebb and flow. 


Funds on tap allow businesses to respond quickly to growth opportunities

A new, recovering or growing business needs money to fund expansion strategies. When a business begins to grow, new locations, products, equipment, more marketing or employees might be required. Consider businesses in the construction industry for instance, where upfront investment may be required to fund projects. These activities add to the existing costs and may need additional funding. At this point profits may be slim and whatever the stage your business is in, outside financing might be an important driver of success to reach those new levels of growth and business development.

 

Related: 4 Ways to improve your business’s cashflow

 

Unforeseen costs

There’s no telling when an accident might jeopardise your hard earned work. From fires to floods, natural disasters and as recently experienced in South Africa, destructive protests and looting, or even staff injuries. You have to stay prepared. While insurance might cover most events, premiums still need to be paid and money for salaries still needs to be available during repairs. Even for less disastrous accidents such as malfunctioning machinery or outdated machinery, equipment breaking, just needing to be upgraded or systems being hacked, funding can come in really handy.

Funding allows businesses to plan ahead. In today’s rapidly evolving financial services industry, it’s good to know the options you can rely on. Importantly, it’s good to build good credit and relationships with alternative lenders like Lulalend that can offer you the flexibility you need to access funding easily and efficiently. 

 

The Basics of Reviewing your Business Model

The Basics of Reviewing your Business Model

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Your business model is your business’s plan to make a profit. It’s an outline of how your business plans to make money which allows you to identify your target market and their needs, the expenses you should anticipate as well as the products and services your business plans to sell. Business plans are important for both new and established organisations, as they help businesses attract investment and talent. Importantly, they help assess whether things are working the way you want them to.

To keep ahead of trends and changes, it’s important to review and update your model. Here are 4 ways to consider reviewing your business model. 

1. Customer value proposition
2. Profitability
3. Resources
4. Processes 

 

Customer value proposition


Do you still resonate with your customers and are you taking their feedback into consideration? Reviewing your value proposition is a great way to establish your relevance in meeting your customers’ current problems, or how you can make adjustments to your product to keep improving their situation. Doing customer research to establish what your customers need can help you in this process. It can give you quantified feedback on the specific benefits of your products. You can find some useful tips for this on our blog post How to Drive Sales Through Customer Retention. It could also spark ideas that you may have overlooked initially. Remember to solve real and important problems for your customers, maintain your differentiation from competitors, and remind your customers why they should trust your brand.  

Profitability

It’s imperative to understand your profitability for the success of your business. The profit your business makes should be used to help secure growth opportunities. Analyse how your business brings in money and opportunities for growth. Start with a profit and loss statement. If you don’t already have one in place, you can start by individually listing how your business generates income and spends money. Also, consider doing a pricing review to understand if you’re making enough margin to be profitable. Once you’ve consolidated the audit, you can try to eliminate work that costs you money and focus on opportunities that generate income. To get a good idea of how to approach this, have a look at Freshbook’s step-by-step outline on how to check if your business is profitable. 

 

Related: How to Drive Sales Through Customer Retention 

 

Resources

Take some time to consider if the resources currently available to you are appropriate for your business model and how it’s evolving. Do you have access to the right people, and are you meeting your financial goals? Whether the answer is yes or no, it’s always a good idea to review this aspect of your business. Consider your capacity and demand management, your resource utilization as well as your progress and time tracking. It’s important to establish your actual resource availability and to get a realistic view of your demands and capacity to deliver. Understand what roles and skillsets you need and streamline communication between your employees and the business, as well as with your stakeholders. If you’d like some ideas on how to get started, Planview – a portfolio and work management solutions organisation – has great advice on resource management best practices. 

Processes

To run a business, processes are used every day. In the quest for efficiency, it’s important to review them and keep the ones that make sense, and improve the ones that don’t. With rapid changes in technology and the evolving demands of your target market, dysfunctional processes can lead to breakdowns in communication, increased costs, or unhappy customers to name a few challenges. Make this an important step to review to help streamline your tasks and business activities. To get started on this consider these steps recommended and outlined on Mindtools:


Step 1: Map the process
Step 2: Analyse the process
Step 3: Redesign the process
Step 4: Acquire resources
Step 5: Implement and communicate change
Step 6: Review the process     

 

Related: How to Write the Perfect Business Plan 

 

Running a business is hard work, but regularly reviewing your Business Model can make planning for the future easier. Make it a priority to keep up with the ever-evolving needs of your clients, talent, and expectations of any investors so you can stay relevant. Try not to overlook the components that make you successful and how you can upgrade them. Remember, if any of your adjustments need financing that you might not have at the time you can always get in touch with one of our Funding Specialists at Lulalend to find out how we can help you meet your business objectives.

 

365 Days of Covid-19: The year that’s been

365 Days of Covid-19: The year that’s been

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27 March 2021 marked one year since the introduction of the five-tiered Alert Level system and South Africa’s move to Alert Level 5. Like many people, we’re reflecting on the year that’s been. 

 

One year later and many businesses are still feeling the effects of having to adapt and survive during a global pandemic. We’ve seen many businesses close their doors, some shift their focus and new businesses arise. All of this indicates that South African entrepreneurs are committed to strengthening the economy with the help of government subsidies and other alternative business funding resources. 

 

In more recent months we have seen an undeniable surge in business activity due to the easing of lockdown restrictions. There has also been overwhelming support shown between businesses as well. “There is a rich abundance of knowledge, skills, and expertise in our SME sector – all of which has played an essential role in SMEs survival and ability to adapt during the pandemic. Part of this is that we have had to move away from a ‘business as usual’ approach and realise the need to learn from the lessons that the past year has taught us in order to plan and prepare for the future,” says Trevor Gosling, CEO, and co-founder of Lulalend.

Download our eCommerce Guide for more information on how to take your business online.

 

Related: 5 Digital Marketing Strategy Tips: COVID-19 SME Support

 

The most obvious and widespread impact of the pandemic and resulting lockdown on SMEs was on revenue.

 

The commencement of Level 5 lockdown impacted SMEs income streams, leading to cost-cutting and even layoffs. Some of the most affected industries include tourism, hospitality, non-essential retail.  At the height of lockdown, a large percentage of Lulalend’s customer base told us that they only had 1 month of cash runway to make it through. 

Source: McKinsey & Co “How SA SMEs can survive COVID-19” July 2020.

 

In an effort to adapt and diversify, many businesses turned their heads towards a more digital approach during the early days of lockdown. This encouraged online sales and boosted vulnerable retail sectors that would ordinarily function on a bricks-and-mortar basis. And here we saw the rise in new – and quirky – new business too. The rise of eCommerce brought about a new digital age like never before. “People have now gotten used to living in a digital world,” says Gosling. 

Businesses that were able to take advantage of digital optimisation are those that had access to a line of credit in a time of need. Positive cash flow is essential for the survival of your business – especially during uncertain times. When you run into cash flow challenges, you are not able to pay your bills on time risking a decrease in its credit line or higher interest rates. That’s why having access to fast and efficient business funding or a revolving line of credit is essential for all small businesses.

 

Related: What Challenges Do Female SMEs Face in South Africa?

 

While the economic recovery from Covid-19 is well on its way, we have to understand that it’s far from over. Business owners need to take the necessary steps to plan and develop long-term strategies to survive and thrive in the ever-changing global economy. Taking the time optimise business operations will go a long way in determining the success of the organization in the long run.