Forbes magazine wrote early on in the pandemic, and further identified that a key component in responding to the crisis lies in digital transformation. Many businesses have identified the opportunity and are working to strengthen digital marketing activities. At a time when flights are being canceled and business gates are closing or shrinking, digital marketing serves as an active channel with no boundaries of time zones and geographical boundaries and allows for business activity, capacity expansion and more. The way in which we used to market traditionally is changing, in all areas. In B2B, too, most of the marketing activity has gone digital So what do we identify? And how are you prepared? As a trend, there is more activity online, literally in the amount of surfing hours. More and more people are using the internet, therefore, marketing is making a larger switch from traditional to digital; even more so than the beginning of the century.
Many work from other work environments than usual or from home and surf from mobiles for their business needs as well. The big advertising companies have identified this and lowered advertising rates during the crisis. Those who continued to advertise gained an opportunity for exposure and prominence. Now, even in B2B, contact is also made through social networks, including requests for technical specifications and quotes. This direct connection with the buyer, sometimes gives a close look at our new and potential customers beyond those we have known so far. Digital marketing has turned a marketing effort into the center of gravity of the business – a channel open to communication 24/7 So what exactly is the change in marketing channels?
Changes across all areas
Network exposure has more value today If network advertising was once considered a luxury and a place for updates for special activities or consumed by certain populations for certain needs, digital channels are now a cornerstone of any business – a real mouthpiece and a direct means of receiving inquiries and providing a truly valuable response to customers. The demographics of the seekers have also changed and millennials now make up the majority of buyers.
Studies show that B2B buyers conduct online research just like a final consumer, before turning to a company. That is why, having a great online presence is going to help sell the business. People put trust and faith into a company that has a good online reputation, a good website, easy contact information and they can see what other people are saying about the brand too. The discourse is moving to digital and digital marketing channels have become power multipliers. With direct inquiries and targeted messages, it is possible to reach a variety of target populations and audiences and generate exposure to potential customers and even, generate interest and receive real inquiries. And this investment is long-term. A successful infrastructure will serve you well even when you decide to open an online store or a special area for distributors to download content and marketing tools efficiently and quickly. All together it will create a complete ecosystem that is your new business environment. It’s time to renew things! Companies are also exploring saas marketing in 2021 which is something to read up on.
How does digital transformation serve us?
It is definitely worth establishing digital marketing capabilities because our customers, business partners and distributors are already changing their behavior according to constraints and should be prepared accordingly. The expectation of easy and convenient access to information about the service or product you are looking for, accessibility to contact, receiving a quick and even immediate response requires preparation accordingly, including automation for response in other time zones. The gates have opened and we can work globally and now more easily than before. Budgets vacated from canceled exhibitions and flights, can now be invested in activities that will benefit us and can be measured live. No need to wait – the results are noticeable straight away because as with anything on the internet, there is instant gratification. The questions to be asked are: Are you interested in the ad, commenting on the message and contacting us? And who exactly is the company? Where is it located? People can find this information immediately on social channels and therefore these are the channels to invest in and how to direct the annual budget.
Building an ecosystem for winning digital marketing
We will donate a lot if we know how to appear and be exposed on a variety of platforms, of course in accordance with our product or service. As we create a denser ecosystem, we will increase the chance of creating a hook that will raise the next lead. In the components of the ecosystem, it is worth preparing the following:
- Understanding your target audience – what and where they are looking for.
- Original professional content with a tailored answer
- Reviews of the product and services
- Visual materials match for prominence and reinforcement
The visual content is already used for searches in a variety of channels, including of course shopping through online advertisements. Interactive content such as surveys, 360 greatly raises the interest as well as video and voice search is also here and the preparation for it should include reference to the manner and length of the wording. Mobile adaptation is of course a must in an age where browsing is done from anywhere, individual-level appeal whether on mailing or ad platforms also yields better results than general inquiries to our audience made up of individuals who appreciate addressing their unique need – even when the customer is a company.
A long-term strategy is a necessity for the business, but the recent period has shown us how important it is to be prepared even with short-term goals and objectives for quick wins. It all depends on the general business purpose of the company, of course. Accordingly, metrics will be set, accurate and improved as the process progresses. It is important to understand the great advantage in that with one click, a campaign can go up and down, a target population can be created for us based on insights and increasing the exposure is also possible relatively easily by budgeting. It’s time to make the most of 2021!
There are as many different funding stories as there are businesses. Venture capitalists, self-funding, crowd-funding, and loans can all be a good fit at times, but in some industries, government grants are the easiest, fastest way to grow.
There are pros and cons to working with government funding, but if you go into the process armed with facts and flexibility the pros generally outweigh the cons.
The upside to government funding
Government funding is appealing for obvious reasons. It’s generally free to apply for and, unlike a loan, doesn’t need to be paid back. Most government programs also offer some form of mentoring service or access to research and development opportunities. With more resources at your fingertips, you can level up your skills as a business owner.
Government grants also provide instant credibility to your organization. Having the backing of a state, federal or national agency shows that you have a solid plan and beat out other proposals. That vote of confidence can go a long way in attracting customers and investors.
Do your homework
As with most things in business, working with government funding is complicated.
Finding grant opportunities is generally as simple as searching the internet, but finding the right opportunities is a different matter. Government grants generally have a focused set of goals and strict requirements. Applying for grant money that isn’t a good fit is a waste of time.
Once you’ve identified a solid funding opportunity, it’s good to do some background research on the grant process in general. Things move fast in the corporate world, but the government operates a little differently. Expect the process of applying for and being awarded funding to take at least 6 months.
You should be prepared for the complexity of the process, as well. Missing technical details can disqualify your application. Plan on turning everything in ahead of schedule, so you have time for last-minute additions and corrections.
Know the cost
While government grants don’t drain your financial resources directly, don’t be fooled into thinking there is no cost associated with them.
Once you get through the application process, if you’re awarded a government grant, there are conditions attached. You’re expected to provide regular reports, which means a lot of paperwork and a large time investment. You are responsible for the administration of the funds, and must stick with the plan you outlined in your application.
In some cases, you might also be asked to participate in PR efforts, giving press interviews or meeting with government officials. Think of these events as opportunities to put your business in front of new audiences.
An influx of cash is always welcome, but when it comes through bureaucratic means, you will be pulled into some red tape.
Have a plan B
When working with the government, you are at the mercy of the political landscape. This means that the people you work with, policies and procedures, and departmental goals can change every couple of years.
An awarded grant is like a contract––the money that you’ve received or are due to receive over the course of a year or two won’t be affected by every election. That said, you need to be aware of politics, shifting legislation and administrations when working with government agencies. Electoral results can definitely have implications for future funding opportunities.
Grants also run out after a set period of time, and it’s not guaranteed to be renewed. Using government funding to add to your business is a good plan, but relying too heavily on that money can set you business up for failure if it falls through. Plan ahead, and have an exit strategy if you don’t receive grant money in the future.
Government grants are an incredibly useful tool for small business owners, but navigating the process takes patience and real work. Understand the advantages and disadvantages before diving in, have a backup plan, and you’ll be well prepared to take advantage of the valuable programs available to small business owners.
About the Author
Tim Carter is an entrepreneur and the owner of Discovery Tree Academy, a top rated childhood development center with locations in Springville and Payson, UT. Tim began his entrepreneurial journey at the young age of 19. He has experience in sales, professional cooking and is even a licensed pilot. Weaving his diverse talents together, Tim is on a mission to create a better childcare model. His passion lies in helping kids thrive, including his own daughter and twin toddlers at home.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We need people from all walks of life leading the charge towards equal opportunities for women. But wouldn’t it be amazing if women were paving the way for more females to succeed in competitive markets?
My service-based business is women owned, women centric, and women powered. From the beginning, I have made lifting females up part of my mission and our company culture. After just a year in business, we are thriving in ways none of us thought possible. I attribute a lot of that to being surrounded by incredible women with unique ideas and perspectives, and I know that other organizations can benefit from a similar model.
I want to see more women seeking out ways to bring their fellow females along with them in their entrepreneurial journey. Instead of pushing others aside to get to the top, what if we helped each other along? I’m not talking about simply offering encouragement or mentoring, I’m talking about creating the opportunities we want to see for other women by becoming entrepreneurs who hire and give real power to other women.
Here are three ways I’ve accomplished this in my business:
1. Focus on talent.
Women tend to be hard on themselves. They don’t always believe what they are capable of, even after achieving results. It’s up to women in leadership positions to actively identify talented women and make space for them to shine.
As a young professional, I had a friend reach out and invite me to attend a prestigious aesthetician program. I was in a different industry and happy to just coast, but she saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. This changed the trajectory of my life and directly led to me opening my own business and giving other women jobs.
My business director is a former client of mine who I saw amazing leadership skills in. She wasn’t looking for work, but seemed a little lost in the direction her life should go. I created an opportunity for her and we’re both beyond glad we took the leap.
There’s a ripple effect when women show other women their value.
2. Hire moms.
Motherhood is near and dear to my heart. I built my little business empire from a rocking chair, holding my twin babies. So I know firsthand what can be accomplished.
Not all women choose motherhood as their path, but those who do deserve options. While it is true that sometimes accommodations must be made for working parents, there are so many solutions that don’t put out the organization in any significant way, particularly as work is becoming more modular.
For me, the strongest statement in favor of moms in the workplace is simply to hire them. Use your actions to prove that you have confidence in their ability to navigate the work/life balance. Millions of women with real talent are being left behind, and both moms and corporations will benefit from a new way of thinking about work.
3. Be the example.
Women need to model leadership behavior for their younger counterparts. Young girls need to see women who own businesses, women as CEOs, women holding patents, women innovating, and women teaching and training others.
But that’s not enough.
Women need to see other women creating a work environment that invites female perspectives on their own terms. The workforce was created with men in mind, and it’s time to change that.
If women band together to make the kind of future we’d all like to see for girls everywhere, we’ll get there in no time. Focusing on women’s strengths and giving them tailored opportunities, hiring parents, and leading through example are great ways to start. As women lead other women through the corporate landscape, they will slowly begin to hear more female voices chime into the conversation. What better way to learn how to truly empower women?
About the Author
Gia Carter is an entrepreneur and the owner of The Brazilianaire Studio, a full-service luxury medical spa in Spanish Fork, UT. As a licensed master esthetician, Gia has developed a proprietary method of Brazilian waxing that minimizes discomfort, along with her own private-label wax line. She has used her talents to expand her clientele and become one of the most sought-after waxing professionals in Utah County. Beyond her professional success, Gia has dedicated her life to empowering women to love their bodies and believe in themselves. When she isn’t changing the world, Gia loves to spend time with her husband, four year old and twin toddlers.
Realizing that it’s time to expand your professional services business is a big moment. You’re ready to grow your business, but you also know that you want to protect your brand and your reputation. Up to this point, you have run a small business that perhaps offers a very personalized service. As you grow, you don’t want to lose that integrity or compromise on the quality of the services that you offer. Fortunately, you can expand your business while sticking to your values and focusing on what matters to you. Keep reading to find out how you can grow your business without compromise.
Find the Right Staff
One of the most important things when you grow your business is the people that you hire. They need to share your business’s values and be a good fit for the company. This goes double if you’re looking for someone with more authority, such as a partner in your firm. Using a search firm can help you find the right talent. Wegman Partners lawsuit attorneys, paralegals, and other experts could help you to fill your legal firm with top talent. Look for recruiters that specialize in businesses like yours to get the staff that you need.
Become a Voice of Authority
Becoming a trusted voice of authority in your industry is a great way to grow your business and the reputation of your brand. It can increase your integrity and trustworthiness by showing that you know what you’re talking about and that you can be trusted to give valuable advice. Think about how you can find opportunities to share your thoughts and expert opinion, whether it’s through your own business blog, giving talks at events, or various other methods. The more you show that you’re knowledgeable and helpful, the more it benefits your business.
Offer New Services
Offering new services to your clients can be an excellent way to expand your business. You can look into what services your current customers might be looking for, as well as add new services that could attract new customers. Are there any services that your clients have asked you about that you’ve had to turn them down for? Perhaps there are some services that will complement your current services? Make sure you don’t rush to add a new service to your business. Spend some time researching to find out how to set up your service.
Expand Your Target Market
As well as adding services to your business, consider whether you can expand your target market. There could be an additional audience that you’re not capturing, whether it’s customers who are close to those you already have or a completely different demographic. Do some research to find out whether there could be an audience you’re missing. Perhaps you don’t even realize who your current audience is. Get to know your customers so you know more about them and can market more effectively.
You can grow your professional business without compromising your brand or lowering the quality of your services.
In its short, 30-year history, the internet has come to transform almost all areas of modern life – everything from how and where we work to the way we shop and find/watch media. However, while the web has changed our business and personal lives, one particular technology has utterly upended the online experience – namely, social media.
In the not-so-distant past, if you wanted to get your firm online, you would have needed to employ the services of a web design agency to develop a website and, hopefully, start building your online profile. With the advent of social media sites, all that changed and now anyone with an internet connection can have a personal or business page up and running in minutes and start reaching out to clients (existing and potential).
The power of posts
Social media has revolutionized publishing, putting firms big and small in control of their online profile and allowing customer penetration and reach on a scale never before possible. Where once firms would publish content on their corporate sites in the hope that visitors might take the time to come and read the content, nowadays companies can broadcast on social sites and their posts will appear automatically on their followers’ timelines. Furthermore, using social media marketing software, firms can now schedule the time of their posts to coincide with when the majority of their users are online to have a greater impact. Furthermore, the software can also offer useful insights on the effectiveness of posts.
‘Going viral’ – a phenomenon born by social media
Most of us are familiar with the ‘going viral’ concept but perhaps haven’t contemplated how it works in practice. When you consider the average Facebook user has 338 friends (obviously some have many more, some less) – if one of your followers shares your post, it has the potential to be seen by each of those 338 friends. Extend that process again with just one of those additional 338 also sharing your post it will have already reached almost 700 users. And so the phenomenon continues.
Viral posts have the potential to be seen by thousands – if not millions – and all at zero cost to your firm. It’s little wonder traditional media is having such a hard time in the social age with many traditional magazines, newspapers, radio and TV stations finding themselves unable to compete.
The importance of having a strong social presence
Today’s internet users expect firms to not just have a website but also be present across the major social platforms. Indeed, these days it’s not uncommon for customers to use social sites almost like search engines – an idea proven by the fact that YouTube is now the world’s second-biggest search engine, just behind Google (both platforms are owned by parent company Alphabet, which shows just how important its search-based platforms have become).
Posting regularly to social sites allows companies to build a stronger, two-way relationship with clients, making them feel actively involved in their brand and encouraging dialogue and reactions.
The major players in the social landscape
All firms are different and have different target markets, however, the mainstays in the world of social media typically include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Depending on your type of company, you might also consider Pinterest (particularly successful for clothing companies, especially women’s clothing) and LinkedIn.
While there are many, many other online social platforms, if you attempt to publish to all, you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin. You should constantly be mindful that the quality of your posts is the most important aspect of building a strong social media profile, so be wary of trying to take on too many accounts and potentially watering down your content.