By Camilo Vinales - Performance Manager
In the last couple of years, we saw an increasingly large number of SME businesses modify their retail models in order to survive lockdowns, financial strains, and supply chain blockages. Traditional retailers moved from bricks and mortar to the abstract world of e-commerce, navigating the new frontier of a digital landscape.
While e-commerce may not be a new concept, for many SMEs it has been a huge adjustment, for example in the self-storage industry we saw many retailers shut up shop and move their inventory to storage units to reduce their overheads and keep their businesses afloat. Meanwhile, consumer behaviour also shifted towards a preference for online shopping over physical stores, and it seems as though this trend is here to stay - the industry is forecast to make S$13.4b by 2026 in Singapore alone.
As the Performance Manager here at Space Next Door, it’s my responsibility to ensure that we are visible online and our campaigns convert into sales. So, I’m going to share some tips on how to get started and how to maintain a successful online business.
Do online market research
First, think about who your competitors are. You could make a list based on your knowledge of the industry, but another way is to look into the keywords you’ll be targeting as there might be some less well known but equally viable competition. There are a number of online software resources you can use - HREFs, Moz, SEMRush are some examples.
Then, map out the internal and external influences that will help you to understand your business objectively. The best way to do this is with a SWOT analysis. You could even get your friends and family involved with this; the more unbiased opinions, the better!
- Strengths - What do you do well and what do you offer that other companies don’t?
- Weaknesses - Where do you fall short and what do your competitors offer that you don’t?
- Opportunities - Are there any emerging trends within the market/industry that you could utilise?
- Threats - Are there any competitor activities or industry trends that could disrupt your business?
Now, you’re all set to figure out your unique selling point and how best to stand out from the crowd.
Define your target audience
You now know who you are, but who are your customers? Next, it’s time to find out who you want to focus on and how best to speak to them. You can determine who your audience a number of ways:
- Age or life stage
You may have more than one ‘type’ of customer, and when budgets are low for digital marketing it’s important to tailor your messaging appropriately to each group as a ‘one size fits all’ approach will be an inefficient use of funds. You can once again research what your audience reacts to and how your brand aligns with their needs, and use this as a basis to communicate with them. They may have an interest that resonates with your brand that you could use to start the conversation or you may meet a requirement they have in their lives.
Pick your marketing channels and craft your content
Where will you promote your business to your customers and what kind of tools will you use to market to them? Here you can deploy a mix of paid-for and organic content across platforms such as FaceBook, Instagram, and Google, each of which has its own advantages within the promotional mix.
- Raise brand awareness
- Build a relationship with your customers
- Show your customers who you are with relatable and informative content
- Use social media to demonstrate your superb customer service skills
- Just be aware that organic growth can take time and that’s why it’s best to be paired with some efficient and strategic paid-for promotion.
- TIKTOK, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are examples of platforms that you can use, but it’s best to see which ones your customers are prevalent on and focus on those
- Paid for content is great for reaching a large audience
- It also helps to drive sales and conversions
- ‘Boosted’ social media posts - This is when you use your budget to target your organic posts and reach more people. If you are looking into going down this road the best way is to start with content that performed well with your audience
- Paid-for advertising - These are purpose-made adverts for specific channels that include Google (PPC), Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. There is usually a standard format with character counts, so the visuals and copy need to be crafted for impact within a limit.
- This type of content is highly targeted so you can really reach your desired audience
Analyse your performance
Finally, it’s very important to monitor all your campaigns and regularly audit your strategy. Keeping track of your results will help you to shape your content and campaigns and utilise your budget wisely. There are many ways you can assess their success, depending on your initial goals.
For paid-for content you’ll want to assess the following:
- Click through rate - this is the number of times that a customer clicked the link in the content, it demonstrates whether the content was relevant and the service or item was convincingly presented
- Cost-per-click (CPC) - If the cost per click is high, this means that your return on investment (ROI) won’t be as much as you’d like
- Impressions - The higher the impressions, the more people you’re reaching! This means that your ad is well
- Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) - Much like cost-per-click, the higher the cost of the CPM, the less your ROI will be
- Spend - No matter whether large or small, it’s always a good idea to watch the overall cost of the campaigns to remain within budget
For organic content you’ll want to review these metrics:
- Engagement rate - This is how many times you get a like, share, or link click vs the post impressions. It’s a great indicator of how relatable and interesting your post are to your audience
- Reach/impressions - You want your posts to be seen by as many people (within your target audience) as possible, and this metric tells you how visible it was. If it’s low, you might want to check on your hashtags, your content quality, and your content type
So there you have it, your strategy for how to get online and thrive in a digital environment!
If you’re looking to move your business online and would like to talk about how self-storage can help, contact us.