If your business isn’t selling services and products online, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
In our second of four Black Friday Entrepreneur Prep series (read the first article here), we’re going to dive into all the ways that you can support your B2C (business to consumer) and D2C (direct to consumer) customers in their ecommerce sales while still finding new ways to win as a B2B (business to business) service provider.
Ecommerce sales have steadily increased in recent years, but during Q1 and Q2 of 2020? They jumped 31.8% in one quarter. Ecommerce now accounts for 16.1% of ALL U.S. sales and all signs point to continued, exponential growth for this holiday season.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) and business-to-consumer (B2C) brands will benefit most from this boom, but business-to-business (B2B) brands can also take a lesson from this economic shift. Consumers are no longer an isolated group -- they are not just purchasing products for themselves and their loved ones. They are engaged individuals who, more than likely, have entrepreneurial dreams or are already one of the 27 million Americans that FreshBooks estimates will be full-time self-employed by 2020. Consumers are business owners, business owners are consumers.
Older consumers are also being influenced by younger generations more than ever before -- multigenerational households, the prevalence of Zoom, Slack and other WFH tools, and the need for always-on communication with loved ones has accelerated Baby Boomers and Generation X’s comfort level with technology in a way no one could have predicted.
And for a marketer? That’s a dream come true.
For a business owner? It’s a miracle in the midst of chaos.
How can we use tried-and-true tools to reach new audiences?
Generation Alpha, which comprises those individuals born after 2010, is making more purchasing decisions than ever before. They are more likely to interact with smart speakers and devices as if they were humans, asking them personality-based questions like their age and favorite color. They are also more likely to have a deep understanding and trust of video-related content, being a generation that wants to be able to purchase the things they see their favorite content creators using.
Why should YOU care about this audience?
Because they help their credit-card-carrying adults discover products and services that they eventually purchase.
Because understanding this audience will allow you to engage them for the long-haul and because by understanding this audience, you can capture the eyes, ears and dollars of their adults who diligently consume content with, and sometimes for, them.
Because Generation Alpha is the key to all the other demographics AND the key to your brands’ future.
Generation Alpha is, in most cases, not even old enough to BE on Facebook or Instagram, but many have access to YouTube, YouTube ads and other video-based platforms.
If you’re not leveraging video content in your marketing efforts, you’re missing an opportunity to showcase your product, service and results.
Video ads can be as simple as a 15-second pre-roll clip that allows you to highlight ONE service in the beginning of related content on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
Instagram story video ads can also be a huge resource to new brands due to the fact that you can’t have a Swipe Up option until you have 10,000 followers on Instagram. Any and all Instagram story ads allow for a Swipe Up option and allow you to get a sense of whether or not your Instagram audience is engaging with the next steps in your funnel.
Once you determine if these outreach efforts are working, you can determine how they fit into your overall strategy for Black Friday, Cyber Monday (BFCM) and how you can continue to leverage an always-on strategy with micro tests along the way to increase your success.
Leveraging existing tools for an always-on strategy
Small business owners need to have an always-on digital engagement strategy. From email marketing to updated website and landing pages, to social media content on the platforms where your audience is most likely to engage, you need to have a consistent flow of two-way conversation with your ideal client in order to activate the conversation and turn it into a conversion.
This is something a lot of small businesses struggled with at the beginning of the pandemic -- their websites weren’t transactional or they hadn’t been updated since they were “originally developed” and they also didn’t have a strong sense of community with their target customer. Even the most community-focused business struggled to bring that experience online.
The challenge is truly an opportunity because it allows you to leverage existing tools in new ways-- and I don’t just mean Zoom events. Sure, in the beginning, that was a viable solution, but people (consumers and business owners alike) are now suffering from Zoom Fatigue and that means you have to get extremely creative.
Every business has something that makes it unique. When you are brainstorming new ways to engage your ideal customer online, consider what makes you (or your client’s business) engaging in person.
All of these unique interactions can be shifted to a virtual experience -- create a VIP DM group on Instagram for your most loyal engagers and offer them sales BAE (Before Anyone Else). Create a Facebook group for your most loyal customers and ask them to test out new products or services. Offer a deep discount for newsletter sign-ups and follow-up on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis with specific and unique deals and steals.
These organic strategies can be supplemented by paid media strategies once you have a true sense of who your ideal client is.
Leveraging your existing interactions for exponential growth
With ecommerce sales increasing every single day, your website traffic is more important than ever before. Creating a Facebook lookalike audience will allow you to remarket to individuals who have visited your site and also find new audience members to sell to.
Facebook Ads, and by extension, Instagram Ads (they’re owned by the same company and use the same backend technology and Business Manager Portal) are a great way to find MORE of the people who are already buying from you.
The top 3 ad objectives for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Lead generation ads
The lead generation ad objective is one of the best for small business owners who are capturing their web traffic data with a Facebook pixel. Why? Because it allows you to serve those customers a video, photo or another downloadable resource directly in Facebook’s app and capture their auto-fill data right then and there. Pro-tip: make sure that your lead form is set to higher intent versus higher volume to ensure that you get the highest quality lead possible.
Instagram story ads
If you haven’t reached the coveted 10K followers on Instagram (as we talked about previously in this article), you can use Instagram story ads to add a Swipe Up option and drive your followers to your website. You can also target like-minded and lookalike followers to bring them into the fold, too. This is one of the tools I used to help a client increase Instagram sales by over 300% in one month. (True story) Pro-tip: make sure that this video does not speak to the pandemic OR the state change of your intended subject… otherwise you’ll have a hard time getting it through the Facebook review process.
Web traffic ads
Web traffic ads drive traffic to your website. They are a great way to determine what changes need to be made to your website BEFORE BFCM. It is also a great way to feed your remarketing funnel and ensure that the target audience you’re working with is right for your main business objectives.
The most important thing to consider when it comes to your BFCM strategy is where your audience is and what they’re MOST concerned about. Start early, share and promote often and focus on value, first. If nothing else, you’ll gain valuable data as we head into the final month of 2020 and learn how to focus on converting your audience as ecommerce sales continue to rise in 2021 and beyond.
Have a tip you’d like to share? Find me online at @vixreitano on Instagram and Facebook, @vixinthecity on Twitter or email me at [email protected].
Vix Reitano is a Creator, the Founder of Agency 6B and an International Speaker. Reitano has provided content to brands like AOL, USA Today, The Skimm, Huffington Post, Thrive Global and dozens more. She is a Google News Initiative Trainer with the Society of Professional Journalists and focuses on providing quick, thoughtful content for audiences of all ages. Learn more at vixreitano.com.