It seems change is the only constant in today’s unpredictable environment. The pandemic has forced many businesses to re-invent offerings in how customers can access their products. While, sadly, there have been many casualties and some businesses simply couldn’t pivot fast enough, we have seen a number of success stories. We spoke with Lucy Johnson, founder of SHiDO Digital to get her perspective and what expert advice she can offer to businesses going through the adaptation process.

 

vWire: Have you seen an uptick in request for helping small businesses create a more robust online pipeline?

We have seen a significant rise in small businesses moving online. In particular, those within the food and drink industry. It has been amazing watching the ingenuity and creativity of these businesses. Many knew it was a matter of evolving or being left behind. Restaurants have been creating their own meal kits for customers to make their own favorite restaurant meal back home, pubs started selling drinks kits online, and many shops have set up their own safe delivery networks.

One example is of a vegan pub and deli  in Suffolk, UK – Hanks Deli & Pub. They responded very quickly during lockdown by moving their whole shop online, offering clean safe home deliveries, which included wholesale items at cheaper costs.

But many businesses weren’t able to react so quickly and may have found it difficult to adjust to the online world. So, our team has seen an increase in small businesses requiring help with their online marketing. Be it through ads, SEO, or social media. Moreover, many of them are willing to learn, so marketing consultancy has been a big hit recently!

 

vWire: What advice would you give small businesses looking to adapt their offering to a mostly online market?

I’d say there are 2 main areas that small businesses will need to consider as they move online:

  • Online Presence & Visibility
  • Customer Behavior

 

Online Presence & Visibility

Setting up a website and making it look pretty doesn’t then mean anyone will find it. In order for it to be found you will need to work on your online marketing. This means working on your social media and your search engine visibility, be it through organic SEO, or paid media (ads).

We have created this handy guide and overview to everything vegan digital marketing: https://shidodigital.com/ultimate-vegan-digital-marketing-guide-2020/

Once you get the gist of digital marketing, you then learn how to implement it. I’d highly recommend doing some courses through Hubspot – https://academy.hubspot.com/courses (they are industry experts and most of the courses are free!)

 

Customer Behavior

Once you have people looking at your site you need to work out how they will behave on it. For instance, most website visitors won’t buy the first time round. So maybe consider how to retarget them – through social ads, or maybe through an email campaign. Also, communicating with your visitors is going to be completely different online than in person. Maybe set up more channels for communication, with links to facebook messaging, or a chatbot on your site. Once you get to know your visitors and potential customers, analyse them and their behaviour, maybe even ask them for feedback.

 

MY TOP TIP:

Search in Google for a keyword or phrase that is related to your business, which a potential customer would search for in order to find you/your products… i.e. ‘buy vegan cheese’ if you are a vegan cheesemaker.

Scroll through and find out who are in the top spots. Take a look at their website and pretend to be a potential customer. See how they are marketing their products and how they communicate with you. Make notes for your own website.

They are obviously doing something well if they are in the top spot for that keyword, so make sure to study them well!

Now using all your learned knowledge from the online courses, your competition, and from your potential customers, implement all these changes on your own site.

Lucy Johnson

Founder of SHiDO Digital

www.shidodigital.com