Get ahead of your Black Friday Marketing

Get ahead of your Black Friday Marketing

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Anyone who is in the retail business or has previously owned a retail store of any kind will tell you that Black Friday – and the festive season as a whole – is the best time to grow your sales. 

And the numbers certainly don’t lie. A Geopoll survey showed that over the last three years, Black Friday shopper numbers have grown by an extensive 16 percentage points.

Despite South Africa’s slow economic growth over the years, consumers are still interested and willing to spend money – especially when there are major savings involved.

However, you can’t be too confident because your competitor knows this as well – and they will surely have a few tricks up their sleeves to cash in on the busy buying season. With this in mind, it’s always important to have a great marketing campaign that is unique to your brand in order to stand out from the crowd and bump up your sales.

 

Related: 5 Ways Your Small Business Can Prepare For Black Friday

 

Here are a few of our top tips for marketing your business for Black Friday.

1.Have your sale for longer

Extending your sale or savings period further than the Black Friday and Cyber Monday window will give you more opportunities for sales. Yes, we’ve seen this tactic many times before [How many businesses start promoting their Christmas promos in October?] This is the perfect time to get creative.
Using comedy, emotive language, and familiar faces or trends to lure customers will definitely re-engage the stragglers who might be holding off for a better deal.

 

2. Say yes to in-app offers

Mobile eCommerce is definitely where it’s at – whether it’s on a mobile site or an app. Most consumers are glued to their devices anyway, so offering a mobile-only saving is definitely a plus.
However, you have to be very clear in your messaging that deals on offer are specifically for mobile-only and will not be available in store. This provides your mobile-first audience with a sense of exclusivity, but it also allows you to easily track which – and how many – of your customers came to your site via push notification or email.

You can also use this time to remind your customers that shopping online saves them a lot of time and frustration during the #BlackFriday rush.

 

3. Make a gift guide

The festive season is a time for giving, and creating various gift guides for your customers using products they can buy from your business makes you stand out as a convenient store of choice.
This is also a great way to attract customers outside your normal target audience who are looking to purchase gifts for their friends and family.

A smart way to do this is to group your products first by your most overarching customer segments, then get more specific within each of these categories. For example, gifts for men, women, and children, and even colleagues.

 

4. Let your buyers shop ‘guilt-free’

While some shoppers are very clearly focused on the #BlackFriday specials for items they want for themselves, we should not forget that some people might also have the ghost of Christmas upon their shoulders to ‘do the right thing.’
So why not offer the best of both? Creating a donation option at payment is a great way to do this. This way, both your customers and a charity of your choice gets a little something – and you clean up. It’s a win-win-win situation.

 

5. Everyone loves a giveaway

Since it’s the season of giving, a little thank you to the customers that shop at your store will go a long way. The chance to win a great collection of goods from your store just for shopping during your #BlackFriday or #CyberMonday specials will keep the customers coming back.

 

Related: 5 Ways to support local businesses this Heritage Month

Even though you should leverage Black Friday and the festive season as an opportunity to increase sales and make your business some extra cash, you should not forget the complete customer journey. Sometimes, the most wholesome and effective approach is to stick to what your customers love while adding an extra saving on the goods they love.

If you’re in need of funds to make the most of your #BlackFriday sale this year, we’ve got you covered. We’re offering you a repayment holiday until January 2021 if you apply for funding before 30 November.

Check out more on this exclusive Lulalend offer here.

An Eye on the Metrics

An Eye on the Metrics

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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

What no-one tells you about marketing your professional services business

What no-one tells you about marketing your professional services business

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Reputation is everything in the professional services sector and has an influence on attracting new business. A big part of maintaining a positive reputation involves not only the work and results you produce but the relationships of existing customers you nurture.

You probably spend a large part of your week meeting one-on-one with clients and feel like you don’t have extra time to give to market your business. But what if meeting with clients was part of marketing your business?

The assumption that most small business owners make is that marketing is a separate business function that they need to pour energy into, or an added extra they have to make time for. But marketing can fit into your schedule and day-to-day business functions. You just have to put a little thought into it and be smart about how you can accomplish this.

To help you get started here are some thoughts and smart hacks that can help you achieve marketing and sales goals while still running a successful practice or firm.

1. Be smart about referral marketing

You spend a lot of time with existing clients and they know what it’s like to work with you. They know how you make their lives easier and how your services add value. They’ve gotten to know you and how you operate, and they have first-hand experience. So, what better way to get your business out there than to encourage them to refer you.

A referral program can be a great way to use existing relationships to get new business. Statistics show that word of mouth and online peer reviews carry a lot of weight when customers are making decisions about a purchase or service. In fact a study by Nielsen Global Survey of Trust in Advertising found that 84% trust recommendations by family or friends.

Referral marketing will require a little thought but once that is up and running it can work for itself. You’ll need to put some thought into what you can offer your client as an incentive to motivate them to ‘market your business’. Some businesses offer discounted rates for one or more referrals, others offer commission or a reward based system. Consider what kind of offer would be compelling enough for them, and what you are able to offer. Then be sure to communicate this with existing clients via an email campaign or when you meet with them, so that they understand that they benefit from sending new business your way.

Just be sure to have clear terms and conditions laid out so that you don’t run into any issues later down the line.

2. Be smart about your business website

The upside of a business website is that it can generate a steady stream of leads and doesn’t require your time each day. An effective website is user friendly and easy to navigate. Using a booking form on your website can help potential customers get in touch with you, schedule a meeting or ask questions and queries. If you don’t use an online form for prospects to contact you then make sure your contact details are easy to find on your website so that they can call in or email. Prevent barriers for new business by making it easy to find and contact you.

Also, be sure to include your website URL on business cards, invoices, email signatures and other forms of communication. This way it is always visible and easy for someone to click through and find you online. For more website tips, read our blog on how to create an effective website on a budget.

3. Be smart about the time you spend on email

You probably spend a fair amount of time on email, who doesn’t these days. It’s one of the biggest forms of communication for businesses. So, while you’re responding to emails or scheduling meetings, draft a customised email that you can send out once or twice a month updating your database on specials, your referral marketing or business news.

In this way, you are touching base with your customers, or new contacts and you’re doing it in the time you’d be using to catch up on emails anyway. Outlook, Gmail and other email tools can make it difficult to send out bulk emails to your database but a tool like MailChimp can make this easy. And if you’re checking and sending emails on a weekly basis you can make it a habit to include this in your email practices.

Marketing your business is important. It’s not a nice to have, it’s a necessity. But it doesn’t have to take all your time or cost your business a significant amount. There are clever ways to fit marketing into your daily schedule and make it a part of what you are already doing, and there are clever ways to take advantage of free marketing tools that can lend a hand. But, if you have the luxury of dedicating time to marketing your business or a team that can do that, there are also clever ways to finance your marketing campaigns with small business funding offered by Lulalend.

5 things BnB owners can do to see more business come through the door

5 things BnB owners can do to see more business come through the door

Reading Time: 4 minutes

South Africa is a melting pot of different cultures with a diverse range of things to offer tourists. We have the breathtaking Table Mountain, the Kruger National Park that is home to the Big 5, and the warm waters and popular beaches of Durban. All these attractions make South Africa the perfect place to holiday, as a local or a foreigner.

So, with the constant flow of holiday makers and tourists, how do you make sure your BnB is on their radar and you’re getting business through the door? Here are a few tips on what you can do to be noticed by those searching for the perfect place to stay while on holiday.

1. Showcase what clients can expect to get

According to a study conducted by MDG Advertising, 60% of consumers are more inclined to select a business with images in its online listing. In an industry where people are making choices that are based strongly on liking what they see, showcasing your BnB with attractive pictures is a competitive advantage.

Make sure that any flyers, pamphlets or your website itself show off the beauty, functionality and practicality of your facilities. This way your customers can get a better sense of what type of experience they are in for.

Include a gallery on your website that depicts the type of experience they can expect. This can help to communicate whether it has a warm, cozy, homely type of feel to it, or is more of a cosmopolitan, boutique type BnB. If it’s a tranquil cottage by the sea or a cabin in the Drakensburg ,where customers can snuggle up next to a fireplace, make sure you highlight those strengths. People know what type of holiday experience they want, so images can help them decide if your BnB will offer them what they are looking for.

Also, make mention of the amenities and added extras that your BnB has to offer. For example, do you have a pool, are you situated close to restaurants and other night life, do you offer Wi-Fi connectivity or a shuttle services to get around? Of course, price is a big deciding factor but these extra offerings can also help persuade people to book in at your BnB instead of another one down the road

2. Consider advertising on other platforms

Travel websites and online platforms can be a great place for people to find your BnB. Consider using directories like ExpediaBooking.com and Airbnb. These serve as a marketplace for hospitality services and allow holiday makers to find accommodation easily.

These websites act as brokers that receive a percentage of the service fees from guests and hosts for every booking made. Their rates vary depending on the website, so do some research and decide whether you’re willing to pay a percentage of your earnings to market your business there. If it brings in more business it might be worth it, but you need to weigh up your options.

3.   Collect reviews and get ratings

Customer reviews and testimonials are incredibly powerful, particularly in today’s online world. First time customers have no idea what to expect, so they rely heavily on first-hand experience and recommendations from others.

There are various ways to go about collecting reviews. If you’re using online booking websites there are often review sections that customers can complete. But you can also keep a visitor’s book that customers can fill in after their stay or share their thoughts on your website.

Be sure to also leverage social media for reviews. Encourage customers to like your pages, check-in online, leave comments and share pictures of their stay.

4.   Keep the lines of communication open

Just because guests have checked out, doesn’t mean that your relationship with them should end. You’ve done your best to make their stay unforgettable, now make sure you follow up so that they remember you for next time.

Send personalised emails to thank them for their visit and use the opportunity to communicate special deals or discounts in the future. This is also another great way to get reviews. When you send them a courtesy email thanking them for their stay, why not ask for some feedback on what they enjoyed and if there is anything you can improve on to make their next visit even better.

5.   Invite influencers to stay for free

Another way to get your BnB in front of people is to invite online influencers to come and stay and share their experience with their followers. An influencer is someone online who has established credibility in a specific industry and has access to a large audience online. Perhaps you can reach out to a travel writer and offer them a free stay at your BnB in exchange for a short feature or some social sharing.

We mention some great ways for you to start drawing in more customers and getting your BnB noticed, but this doesn’t always come for free. Marketing can cost money. Lulalend can prevent that from being an obstacle by lending a helping hand. With our short-term funding of up to R500 000 you can invest in marketing your BnB. Or, if you’ve already got that covered and are doing all the right things but cash flow is your biggest challenge, we can help you with that too. Whatever the case, Lulalend offers quick, easy access to short term business funding to help your business get more business.

 

How small businesses can build a website on a budget

How small businesses can build a website on a budget

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We are living in a fast-paced world where everything has gone digital. Customers these days prefer the convenience of an online world and make their purchasing decisions by doing their own online research. According to Web Archive, 36% of people gather information from a company’s website before making a purchasing decision. A business website is a representation of your brand, an important communication tool to explain what your business does, and a means of converting prospects into customers. If your business doesn’t have a digital footprint, you’re going to miss out on targeting a large chunk of your potential customer base.

If you haven’t got a website because you don’t have any change lying around for this right now it is important to know that you don’t have to break the bank to get a business website going. A website doesn’t have to cost you and arm and a leg. There are ways to get an eye-catching, user-friendly website up and running on a budget.

1. Register a domain name with a web host

If you get a domain name that describes your company’s business or name, people can easily search for you online. Web architect and designer Phillip Hollowell, owner of PS Web Design Studio, suggests checking affordable web hosting sites like to see if the domain you want is available. Purchasing a domain name from someone else will cost you extra, so it’s advisable to go for one that’s available for registration. Inexpensive sites include GoDaddy, that costs around US$10 to US$35 (R129,66- R453,82) for a domain name and includes freebies like web redirection, a starter web page, and a “for sale” page. Another great tip is to search online for any coupons and discounts. RetailMeNot has a wide selection of coupons to choose from for sites like GoDaddy, Name.com, and Domain.com.

2. Use website builders

If you’re new to creating a website, then a website builder can simplify things for you. A website builder helps you create a website without needing to have any special programming skills or use manual code editing.  Some good examples of website builders include Weebly which include an option to create a blog and mobile apps if you want to take your business’s digital experience to the next level. WordPress, although not a website builder, also works great for the purposes of a business website and has some great free themes and templates to choose from. These are also easily customisable, safe and secure, and search engine friendly. Because both of these tools make it easy to customise a website yourself you don’t need to hire a web designer to create and manage your businesses website.

3. Use free online tutorials or guides

You might not know the ins and outs of what website best practices are – it is probably not your area of expertise, and that’s okay. But there is a ton of free content, videos and downloadable guides out there to help you gain some basic knowledge.

4. Market your website

Once you’ve created a business website you want to start focusing on getting traffic to your site. A big part of this involves good website SEO basics to start bringing in organic traffic. But you can’t always rely on this alone. You need to consider running some online advertising through AdWords or social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or one of the other channels you are on. This will help you to get in front of the right audience and highlight your website so that they can find out more about your products or services and get in contact with you.

While we’ve shared some great ways to save on building a business website there will be small costs involved in registering a domain, purchasing the theme or template and possibly hiring a freelance content writer for some initial help with your website copy. While these costs will still be a lot lower than hiring an agency or web designer, some small business funding can come in handy, particularly when you feel you’re ready to market your website.

Lulalend offers short-term business funding to help you finance this expense, or other small business marketing needs. We can help ensure that you have a steady cash flow to spend on the immediate needs of your small business such as an online presence. The benefits of a website are clear; it can help you reach a wider customer base and bring in new business. So if you require small business funding to assist with these needs, contact Lulalend for more information.