COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

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In this edition of the Business Brighspot blog, we’re covering two South African SMEs who have taken a knock during lockdown but have managed to keep their doors open.

Alice Taylor, Multiply Furniture

About your business

At Multiply Furniture we design, manufacture and retail a range of Scandi-lifestyle furniture and essentials, using both cutting edge technology and age-old carpentry methods. Our furniture is hand finished using sustainable materials in Cape Town, South Africa.

We pride ourselves in creating something unique for every home or office and more recently, home office.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

Sales dropped drastically, but we are now seeing a gradual increase since there has been more economic activity. 

Contact details:

Alice Taylor

Tumi Rabaji, Shauku Hub

About your business

ShaukuHub is a coworking space that offers beautifully crafted workspaces where people can create, connect, and grow their businesses. Located at Horizon Shopping Centre, the space offers all the amenities a business can require from parking space, banks, food courts, shopping and a Virgin Active Gym less than 100 metres from your office.

Renting space in a shared office means surrounding yourself with goal-oriented and high-achieving entrepreneurs and business people. This means every day is an opportunity to network with small business owners, great thinkers, consultants, and other entrepreneurs.

Being part of a coworking community means you are surrounded by potential partners, clients and mentors – giving you the ability to easily outsource to talent when you need help.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

We were closed for the first 5 weeks of lockdown and unable to open our doors to remote workers. Since Level 3, we have now started allowing a limited number of people to use our co-working facilities, under strick COVID-19 regulations.

Contact details:

Tumi Rabaji

 

Want to list your business? Submit your story here

The Business Brightspot blog is part of our Open for Business campaign. This is an initiative to give South African SMEs the tools and information they need to re-open their businesses during COVID-19.

For on the campaign, read this blog post.

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot – Get Access Home Decor

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot – Get Access Home Decor

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In this edition of the Business Brightspot blog, we’re covering an unconventional South African SME that has been affected by Covid-19 but has continued to push through to keep their doors open and service their clients.

Poppy Kabini, Get Access Home Decor

About your business

At Get Access, we believe that your space should reflect your own personal style. Each corner of your life should be eye-catching and unique. Get Access is a home decor store, dedicated to helping our customers discover their own design personality.

With an extensive selection of home goods and decor along with superior customer service, Get Access helps you find exactly what you need.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

Sales have dropped drastically but with the consumer market slowly opening up once again, we are seeing a slight increase in some of our more essential products such as baby clothing and furniture. 

What motivates you as a businesswoman?

I’ve always loved being a business person and using my creativity to solve problems. I started my business in tertiary, but because I didn’t have any formal training in business, marketing, and finances; the business failed. That did not stop me, I began conducting gatherings with women in business, where we could all share our experiences and give each other advice on how to improve ourselves as businesswomen. Today I run a home decor manufacturing business which is doing fairly well. Despite all the challenges I have come across, I still persisted; I took it upon myself to research, learn, and train on how to be a good and disciplined businesswoman. The one mistake small business owners make is to not equip themselves with proper tools; having a business idea and running the actual business, are two different things.

Contact details:

Get Access Home Decor

 

Want to list your business? Submit your story here to be featured on our Business Brightspot campaign.

The Business Brightspot blog is part of our Open for Business campaign. This is an initiative to give South African SMEs the tools and information they need to re-open their businesses during COVID-19.

For on the campaign, read this blog post.

An Eye on the Metrics

An Eye on the Metrics

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Over the past month, our digital marketing experts have talked through – Digital Marketing Tips and how to approach the two main digital channels for most businesses – Facebook and Google.

Today, we touch base with them to understand what and how to track your digital metrics for marketing success.

“Digital marketing is all about tracking what works, what doesn’t, and knowing how to improve this to make a channel work for your business,” says Stacey Vermaak, Growth Marketing Consultant at Lulalend.

Related: Small Business Marketing Strategies: Google vs Facebook

While each business is different, there are a core set of key performance indexes (KPIs) that you can start tracking in order to make sure that your marketing efforts are performing well for your business.

“As a fundamental rule of thumb, you want to make sure you are tracking through to your final goal – either a sale or a signed client or contract. Also be sure to track the monetary value of these.”

Michael Rampjapedi, Digital Marketing Manager at Lulalend says, “You should focus on implementing the conversion tracking tools available on the various marketing platforms, as well as in setting up Google Analytics to track any actions on your site that are important to you.”

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

Vermaak continues, “One mistake many businesses have made is tracking to a point too early in their funnel and then judging their marketing based on the number of leads, or cost per lead, without understanding how many of those leads convert into sales for that specific channel or campaign. This often leads to over investment in a channel and under investment in others. It’s important to understand that not all leads are created equal.”

“It is important to assess marketing performance based on return on ad spend and profitability rather than on metrics such as cost per lead,” said Vermaak.

They agreed that, for most businesses, the below metrics are a good starting point:

  • Traffic split by channel (users) – get this in Google Analytics
  • Cost per user by channel or CPC (cost per click)
  • Conversion rate by goal and by channel/ campaign/ ad message
  • Customer repeat rate – how many purchases each month are from repeat customers vs new customers
  • Lifetime value
  • Retention rates (for long term clients, or subscription services)
  • Cost to acquire a customer by channel
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROI) – while you can simply divide revenue by costs, we prefer to divide profit by cost in order to benchmark based on profitability.

While some of these may seem foreign now, if you can get started with tracking these on a monthly basis you will start to understand how the different levers involved in your marketing are working. Once you understand which ones you can affect, you are able to develop a plan to get you where you need to go.

Related: 5 Simple Ways to Generate PR for Your Small Business

Small Business Marketing Strategies: Google vs Facebook

Small Business Marketing Strategies: Google vs Facebook

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Finding the best small business marketing strategies isn’t easy.

But what if you don’t have a massive budget?

Or, maybe you’re a small business owner who doesn’t have in-house marketing expertise.

The good news is you can get started small.

And a key step in that journey is learning more about the biggest digital marketing channels: Search and Social.

In this post, Lulalend’s digital marketing experts, Stacey Vermaak, and Michael Rampjapedi, discuss how to use these platforms to grow your business online.

Small business marketing strategies: search and social

Search and social are the cornerstones of most small business marketing strategies.

No matter what industry you’re in, chances are your customers are online.

It’s estimated South Africans spend more than 9 hours a day online, according to this report.

Vermaak explained the main differences between social media and search:

“The fundamental difference between the two is the basis of their targeting: how you tell each platform who you want to speak to.

“For search, this is based on keywords that tell Google what search terms you want your business to show up for; you are targeting people who are already looking for what you do or sell. For social media, you tell Facebook, or even LinkedIn, which types of people you want to show your ads to based on who your customer is and what their interests are.”

Search is an “always-on” types of media, explained Vermaak. This means your marketing is always visible to people searching for your business 24/7. This is because your audience is self-renewing; as new people start looking for your business or it’s products you want to be visible as long as you are profitable when including your ad spend.

In addition, both platforms allow you to narrow or expand your targeting based on age, gender, location, and device.

You can even include how your audience has interacted with your business before. And this targeting will help you to get better performance from your campaigns.

“For both, you need to install conversion tracking or use UTM tagging to understand if your campaigns are making you money. However, understanding the primary targeting for each allows you to understand the fundamentally different ways the two work.”

Setting up your small business in search

Getting started with building your presence in search begins with finding the right keywords, said Vermaak.

Rampjapedi added that you could use a free tool like Google’s keyword planner to find the right keywords.

Once your campaigns are live, it is very important to compare your keywords with your Google Adwords’ search query reports. These reports are available in your account and detail what searches are triggering your keywords, allowing you to expand or refine your targeting.

“These things will help you be visible for the most relevant searches that make your business money. Using your search query reports to refine what searches you are visible for becomes even more important to avoid wasted money and to help you achieve Return on Ad Spend (ROAS),” said Vermaak.

Once you start developing ads, you should make sure they’re relevant to your customer’s needs.

“Your search term should match what you are selling, which should match your advert (or organic result or business listing) and this should match the page you send a user to. When optimising your advert you are working to tell a searcher why your product is right for them.

“You want to give them as much information as possible so that they are hopefully clicking through to find the product or service they need,” said Vermaak.

Rampjapedi said it was worth hiring a professional to set up your website to make sure your technical SEO was correct.

This included, making sure:

  • Google could index your website pages
  • Your site is mobile-friendly

Missing this step could hurt your rankings. “When SEO is setup correctly this allows you to use Google Adwords DSA campaigns”, said Vermaak.

Using Facebook to find new customers for your small business

Most businesses are on Facebook. And it makes sense why.

By 2023, it’s expected 19.8 million South Africans will use Facebook, according to Statistia.

Vermaak said approaching FB was different:

“For Facebook, you are looking for the right audience targeting that finds the people who are looking for, and engage with, your product. Facebook has a lot of targeting options from interests to demographics that you can use to define and test users.”

Consider using customer information in other ways to reach new customers.

“You should at least test remarketing to offline customer lists, site users, site converters, page and advert engagers, and test acquiring new customers using similar audiences based on each of these.

“What this means is your primary targeting is a group of people who generally remain fairly consistent. The goal is to find the audiences that work for your business.

Because the audience remains fairly consistent, you should be creative with your content.

“You need to be constantly changing up and testing your messaging, with images, videos, and carousel ads. Consider combining ads featuring different campaigns, products and messaging. Invest in boosted posts to keep the audience engaged. “

“This is very different from paid search which is generally a self-renewing list as new people come into the market for your product or service.”

Looking for more on small business marketing? Read 5 digital marketing strategy tips here.

This article is part of our Open for Business campaign, a drive to set South African SMEs up for success when they re-open during the lock down.

If you are trading in these uncertain times and need funding to really get your business going, Apply Now for instant access to funds from a credit facility that increases as your business recovers.

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

COVID-19 SME Support: Business Brightspot Listing

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In this edition of the Business Brighspot blog, we’re covering two traditional South African SMEs who have taken a knock during lock down but have managed to keep their doors open.

Imelda Kekana, The Muff’n Lady

About your business

We are an artisan bakery offering nutritious and scrumptious goodies. We use good quality natural and indigenous ingredients sustainably grown by local farmers, as part of our strategy to combat/reduce lifestyle diseases whilst at the same time creating awareness to the forgotten sound food intelligence that our ancestors thrived on. For premium quality and freshness, our products are only available per order.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

Sales dropped drastically.

Contact details:

Imelda Kekana

Yaniv Belinky, Tapitalia

About your business

We import Italian bathroom fittings including taps, sanitary-ware, vanities, accessories, baths and showers.

How has your business changed during COVID-19?

We were closed for the first 5 weeks of lockdown and unable to generate sales and business has been slow since we have opened.

Contact details:

Yaniv Belinky

Want to list your business? Submit your story here

The Business Brightspot blog is part of our Open for Business campaign. This is an initiative to give South African SMEs the tools and information they need to re-open their businesses during COVID-19.

For on the campaign, read this blog post.

5 Digital Marketing Strategy Tips: COVID-19 SME Support

5 Digital Marketing Strategy Tips: COVID-19 SME Support

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing your customer’s behaviour.

Studies show more people are shopping online than before the pandemic.

And statistics reveal climbing internet traffic since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in March.

But does this all what does this all mean for your SME?

If you’re doing business during COVID-19, you need a digital presence.

Now, this was true even before the pandemic.

But right now social distancing and changing lockdown levels keep us physically separated. You need to be able to reach your customers online at any time.

Let’s find out exactly how you can do that.

5 Tips for setting up your SME’s digital marketing strategy

Many business owners who added their SMEs to our Open for Business listing told us they had started operating online over the past few months.

But it can be overwhelming if you’re not sure how to get started.

In this post, Lulalend’s digital marketing experts share their tips to help you get your business in front of your customers online.

1. Develop your brand message

Before you go online, you need to define what makes your business stand out.  If you have not done this  already, then it should be the first step in building out your digital marketing strategy.

Michael Rampjapedi, digital marketing manager at Lulalend, said a competitor analysis could help create your brand’s unique messaging.

“Identify potential competitors and differentiate yourself. Based on your product, understand how you’re providing value and how you’re different.”

In this article for Hubspot, Kathryn Wheeler writes about the role of a memorable brand identity that becomes the face of your business and builds credibility and trust.

Keep two questions in mind when you’re developing your messaging, suggest Wheeler:

  • What makes your business unique in your industry?
  • What can you offer your customers that others can’t?

“And don’t forget that you already know your product and customers probably better than anyone.  Start there and build out”, says Stacey Vermaaak, growth marketing consultant at Lulalend.

2. Don’t copy your competitors

Now, while it’s a good idea to understand what your competitors are offering, you should avoid copying other companies, said Rampjapedi.

“You don’t know the internal metrics your competitors are using. They might be appearing first in Google search ads, but they might be losing money. Their bidding strategy might be different.”

Your competitors may have a bigger advertising budget and different goals, said Rampjapedi.

“Their mission might be to dominate market share in search. As a new business who wants a profit, you can’t be that aggressive if you are not profitable on that sale or on lifetime value.”

Adopt a similar approach to content creation.

While a tool like Buzzsumo can show you the most popular content for each topic, you should remember that those sites might be established, so have an existing audience and strong credibility.

Instead, pay close attention to your own results.

Monitor your web traffic using Google Analytics and study engagement on social media.

Most platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, offer built-in analytics. Using this data you can discover the content that’s connecting with your audience.

3. Get professional help

Managing your online presence can be daunting.

  • Which platforms should you choose?
  • How much money should you invest?

Here’s where a little bit of professional help can make all the difference.

Vermaak, suggested hiring an expert or agency to set up your business’s Google Adwords and Facebook Ads account, even if you plan to run these yourself.

“An upfront investment in professional help can save you a lot of money in the short and long term.”

“Be upfront and explain that this is your plan. This allows you to get your Adwords account structure and all of your tracking set up correctly. The agency or provider will also educate you during calls and meetings so that when you do take over you waste less time and money.”

“This advice will leapfrog your knowledge and help you hone in on the information and campaigns that are important to your business” advised Vermaak.

Rampjapedi said some agencies offer free introductory consultations. Consider finding an agency that specialises in your niche, e.g., e-commerce or business to business.

4. Create quality content

There’s a lot of content out there.

According to Internet Live Stats, each day:

  • Bloggers write two million posts
  • People upload 35 million photos to Instagram
  • Twitter users send 322 million tweets

Fortunately, you’ll set yourself apart if you create quality content that responds to your target audience’s questions.

Rampjapedi encouraged SMEs to use Google’s free Keyword Planner to discover the kinds of questions people were asking in their online search. Next, create content that responds to those questions.

Other free tools you can use, include:

Finally, when putting together the content plan for your digital marketing strategy listen to your own customers. Which questions do they frequently ask you? What are people talking about in industry forums

5. Run small tests, keep track and get better.

And once you’re ready to launch your campaign, you should start small, said Vermaak.

“Have a test goal in mind – think about how much you are willing to pay for a lead/ sale based on conversion rates and costs. Then take a small budget, look at your targeting options, see how one campaign does vs. another platform or other targeting. When you start with a small budget, you also give yourself space to iron out the kinks. What happens when an online order comes through? Call those people and learn about their experience, make it better. Focus on the path to conversion. Can it be simpler, faster, clearer?  If it can you will save money on your acquisition costs.”

If you’re still looking for marketing help, check out these resources: