By Nicola Kildunne
As the FSB’s Development Manager for Hampshire, Dorset and Isle of Wight I have seen the use of internet technology, e-commerce and social media platforms for reaching out to customers accelerate at a great speed over the last two years.
Small businesses have been forced to respond to an ever-changing world and changing customer buying behaviour by making the leap into the confusing and often daunting world of ‘digital marketing’ and everything that diverse spectrum of activity entails. Recent statistics from the Global Web Index for e-commerce UK internet (for people aged 16-64) show that 93 per cent visited an online retail site and 85 per cent purchased a product online. So the ‘power of the internet’ is definitely something small businesses can’t afford to ignore.
The tricky question is this - in this noisy and crowded marketplace, how does a small business stand out and attract customers? Well, with Forbes reporting “90 per cent of customers say that product video helps make buying decisions” and Animoto finding “64 per cent say that watching a marketing video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision”, it could be that SME owners now need to add creating video to their growing range of online activities.
At FSB we have been working with a video production expert, Jeremy Mason, to produce webinars and training workshops to help business owners explore all of the opportunities that video can provide. Check out Jeremy’s webinar Using and Creating Video to Grow your Business on FSB Demand.
Jeremy says: “The power of video is that you can communicate a lot of information quickly. You can use video in many different ways to build relationships with your customers at different stages of their customer journey. You can raise awareness with Vlogs and ‘explainer’ videos which you can put on your website as an introduction to your products and services. Or, as we’ve seen many entrepreneurs do successfully, you can establish yourself as an expert by producing thought pieces and ‘how to’ videos. Demonstration videos can generate leads by sending people to specially created landing pages,” he said.
Jeremy admits that many business owners are ‘daunted’ at the prospect of using video – but he urges them to take the plunge. “We have the tools at our fingertips with Smartphones and tablets. It doesn’t have to be complicated – the most important starting point is to understand your customers”.
So to navigate through the complex world of digital marketing is ‘understanding your customers’ the magic key? Jeremy suggests you should understand your customers to the point where you have invested time in profiling them and creating their ‘customer avatars’. This may sound like something from a sci-fi movie, but Jeremy argues: “without an understanding of who your customers really are, where they spend their time, what’s important to them etc how can you be sure you’re selling to the right people in the right places?”.
Yes, the digital world may seem scary but when you want to truly understand your customers and their needs, perhaps it’s just the tools we use now that are changing rather than the world at large.