According to data from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices, small businesses are struggling to recover amid pandemic headwinds. Data from an upcoming survey completed last week is a critical warning sign for policymakers amid rising COVID-19 cases, indicating that more action is needed to help small business owners as they continue on their way to recovery.
Some 44% of small business owners have less than three months of cash reserves, putting their businesses and employees at risk in the event of a shutdown or COVID-19 emergency. In a disturbing sign of an uneven recovery, the number is higher for black-owned small businesses. If small businesses need access to capital, only 31% say they would get financing, and 20% are very optimistic about their access to capital.
Experts say it’s wise to plan your next moves when it comes to smart budgeting and spending optimization. It is necessary to strike a balance between finding new customers and saving money to cover credit obligations. One of the most rational strategies is lead generation using online advertising.
We spoke to Roman Ihnatenko, a digital marketer whose company, heavy value, generates leads for large insurance companies and small local businesses. Roman consults with business owners on how to transform their business and get back on track after tough times. We tried to get viable information and details on how to launch the first advertisements, the main things to focus on, and how to optimize the effectiveness of online advertising.
Which companies may be interested in online advertising?
A: Literally every business can implement new marketing tools to get back on track and increase sales. For example, a sole proprietor who ran an HVAC business but lost customers can start running ads on Facebook or TikTok. An outsourced call center can handle job bookings for business owners. At the same time, the business owner can concentrate on his work. It doesn’t matter if you are an independent mortgage agent, an insurance agent, a farmer or a roofer, an online advertiser will come in handy for your business. But it is important to advertise intelligently.
There are different advertising platforms on the market, so which are the most effective for small businesses?
A: Various strategies can work for a particular business niche. Businesses getting used to working with leads and sales over the phone should focus on Facebook Lead Ads. It’s a great tool that helps generate leads with multiple targeting options: location, gender, age, and interests. I would recommend going online and focusing on TikTok ads for businesses that previously operated offline stores. The advertising platform can provide direct access to influencers who know how to produce viral videos that can yield profitable results. So even if you were selling your farm’s sauces at the local Sunday market, consider selling nationwide online.
Without a doubt, online advertising is a powerful marketing tool, but how not to burn money and make advertising campaigns profitable?
A: Online advertising is a complex tool and activity focused on defining your audience, making sales, and retargeting your customers for repeat sales. Our main objective will be to increase customers’ time value and reduce marketing costs. But, first, let’s review several business niches:
Insurance/mortgage/real estate/HVAC agent/carpet cleaner. The best way will be to generate leads from Facebook or Google ads. You need to define who your customer is and target people based on that. You can use targeting options such as location, age, gender, and interests (owners, newlyweds, etc.). This will help you find the most interesting audience for your product/service. Facebook lead ads can help collect names, cellphone numbers, and emails. You can automatically email your special prices and offer free dates for booking/house checkup/carpet cleaning. You can use automated emails to send a monthly notification to offer carpet cleaning or send a notification once a year to renew customers’ car insurance.
E-commerce. The best way is to start with TikTok ads. It is crucial to produce high quality visual content. Then you can run video ads and build a lookalike audience of people interested in your product. And then you are ready for conversion campaigns. This method will save your budget. Later, you can retarget your ads to those who have already made a purchase. So if you sell farm produce with delivery, meal packages, etc., your customers may want to buy them back. It’s generally true that making a recurring sale is cheaper than finding a new customer.
Let’s cut to the chase: how can a business transition from an offline store to an e-commerce store and online advertising?
A: My recommendation is to create your store on the Shopify platform. It allows you to do it from A to Z in one day. Then you can connect all advertising platforms. There are detailed instructions on how to do this. It is important to follow step by step; eventually, your efforts will generate decent income.
APPROXIMATELY 10,000 SMALL BUSINESS VOICES
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices is an initiative for program participants to organize and advocate for policies that matter to them. It builds on Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, which over the past decade has provided access to education, capital and support services to more than 10,000 small business owners in all 50 states, to Puerto Rico and Washington DC.