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Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

With financial year 2020 just begun, and after all the bookwork of the EOFY (hopefully) out of the way, it’s the perfect time to think about new ways to improve your business with the right digital techniques.

Things move quickly in the information age – our current era of physical and digital convergence – and with a new financial year comes new opportunities. Whether you’re starting out or looking to grow your business, it’s a good time to take stock in the resources that can put you ahead.

These 4 tips will help you start FY20 on the right foot.

Launch a social media strategy

Having and maintaining active social media accounts is a helpful way to get your brand noticed, and it should work hand-in-hand with your broader content strategy. Social media can also be a cost-effective way to promote your business without a large marketing budget.

But simply ‘having a presence’ on social media isn’t enough in 2019. The trick to staying competitive is knowing where to find your customers and appealing to them directly, either through paid and/or organic strategies.

According to 2019 research by Roy Morgan, Facebook is still the most popular social media platform, with over 17.1 million Australians visiting the site every 4 weeks. Usage is high and fairly consistent among age demographics, too, with 82 per cent of Generation Z (those born between 1991–2005) and 86 per cent of Baby Boomers (1946–1960) active on the platform.

Platforms like Instagram however receive mixed demographics. 68 per cent of Gen Z uses the photo and video sharing platform, while the number decreases to 52 per cent of Gen Y (1976–1990), 32 per cent of Gen X (1961–1975), 15 per cent of Boomers and only 7 per cent of pre-Boomers.

So think about who your audience is and do some research on which platforms they use and the content they like to consume. Then use this information to inform the content you produce and where to direct your social media marketing spend.

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Make a website that counts

First impressions last. And for many potential customers, your website will be their first point of contact with your business. Regardless of whether you do transactions online, a well-designed and well-functioning site is essential to a strong brand image.

Think with Google, a consumer insights and marketing resources platform, talks about shopping, or any business activity online, as an ‘omnichannel journey’. In fact, “Today’s shoppers like to browse and research online even in cases when they intend to buy in a store.”

So, even if your focus is selling or offering a service in person, your website is essential.

If you’re starting from scratch, there are plenty of site building platforms that cater to all businesses and budgets. DIY services like WordPress or Squarespace let you pick out templates and arrange content yourself. While Telstra Business Digital Marketing Services offer website plans that take the hassle out of the process, and can build a site for you from scratch.

Your site should be easy to find and navigate. Pick a domain name that’s identifiable, memorable, and ensure your content communicates a clear message. When you have a good site, start exploring how to optimise it with our five step guide to SEO.

List your business on Google My Business

The benefits of listing your business on Google are far ranging but businesses continue to overlook it. Today, it’s truly the bare minimum. It can help increase traffic to your website (driving sales), earn you star ratings that can boost your profile and provide customers with essential information like your phone number.

It’s up to you to set up and maintain your Google My Business account but the benefits are worth it. Follow the steps on their website and get your brand noticed. It will propagate your business presence across Google’s search, enable customer reviews (and enable your engagement with past customers), and locate you on the all-important Google Maps platform.

Network, network, network

Although nothing can perfectly replace the power of an in-person meet up, there are lots of ways to establish strong relationships online. LinkedIn, for some people, has long been thought of as a place for job seeking and career development, but the social media platform, designed specifically for networking, is also great for business.

It’s helpful to have both an individual profile for yourself (which is like a sophisticated digital resume) and a company profile that describes your business. If not for marketing, it’s proving more and more effective at helping foster communities of like-minded small businesses. Learning from your peers is an essential part of growing your business.

Other social media channels are also a good way to connect with people. If it’s an option, check your direct message inbox regularly. It could be useful for feedback on your product or service, or it could be a new customer with an enquiry. New opportunities continue to appear regularly in the digital age – so keep your eyes wide open for the next big thing.

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