According to Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices data, small businesses are struggling to recover amid pandemic-related headwinds. The data from a forthcoming survey completed last week is a critical warning sign for policymakers amid the increase in COVID-19 cases that more action is needed to aid small business owners as they continue on their road to recovery.
Some 44 percent of small business owners have less than three months’ cash reserves, putting their businesses and employees in danger should a COVID-19-related shutdown or emergency occur. In a troubling sign of an uneven recovery, the number is higher for Black-owned small businesses. If small companies need to access capital, only 31 percent of them report they would get funding, and 20 percent are very optimistic about their access to capital.
Experts say it’s wise to plan your next moves regarding an intelligent budget and expenses optimization. It’s required to balance finding new customers and saving budget to cover credit obligations. One of the most rational strategies is lead generation using online advertising.
We talked to Roman Ihnatenko – a digital marketer whose company, Heavy Value, generates leads for big insurance companies and small local businesses. Roman consults business owners on how to transform their business and get back on track after hard times. We tried to get viable information and details on how to launch the first ads, what’s the main things to focus on, and how to get maximum efficiency from online advertising.
What businesses can be interested in online advertising?
R: Literally, every business can implement new marketing tools to get back on track and increase sales. For example, an individual entrepreneur who used to run an HVAC business but lost his clients can start running ads on Facebook or TikTok. An outsourced call center can manage job bookings for business owners. Same time business owner may focus on his work. It does not matter if you’re an independent mortgage officer, insurance agent, farmer, or roofer – an online advertiser will be helpful for your business. But it’s important to run ads intelligently.
There are various advertising platforms on the market, so what are the most efficient ones for small businesses?
R: Various strategies can work for this or that business niche. Businesses who get used to working with leads and phone sales should focus on Facebook Lead Ads. It’s a great tool that helps to generate leads with multiple targeting options: location, gender, age, and interests. I would recommend going online and focusing on TikTok ads for businesses that used to operate offline shops. The ad platform can provide direct access to influencers who knows how to produce viral videos that can deliver profitable results. So even if you used to sell sauces from your farm on the local Sunday market, consider selling online throughout the country.
Undoubtedly, online advertising is a powerful marketing instrument, but how not burn money and make advertising campaigns profitable?
R: Online advertising is a complex tool and activity focused on defining your audience, making sales, and retargeting your customers to repeat the sales. Our main goal will be to increase customers’ Time Value and decrease the marketing cost. But, first, let’s review several business niches:
Insurance agent/mortgage/real estate/HVAC/carpet cleaner. The best way will be to generate leads from Facebook or Google ads. You need to define who’s your customer and target people based on that. You can use such targeting options as location, age, gender, and interests (homeowners, just married, etc.). It will help you find the most interesting audience for your product/service. Facebook Lead Ads can help collect names, mobile numbers, and emails. You can automatically email your special prices and offer free dates for booking/home review/carpet cleaning. You can use automated emails to send a notification monthly basis to offer carpet cleaning or send a notification once a year to renew clients’ auto insurance.
E-commerce. The best way is to start with TikTok ads. It is crucial to produce high-quality visual content. Next, you can run video ads and create a lookalike audience of those interested in your product. And then you’re 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’re selling some farming products with delivery, meal packages, etc., there’s a possibility your customers want to repurchase them. It’s generally true that making a recurring sale is cheaper than finding a new customer.
Let’s get to the basics – how can a business transit from offline to e-commerce store and online advertising?
R: My recommendation is to create your store on the Shopify platform. It allows you to make it from A to Z within one day. Then you can connect all advertising platforms. There are detailed instructions on how to do that. It’s important to follow step by step; eventually, your efforts will generate decent revenue.
ABOUT 10,000 SMALL BUSINESSES 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 across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C.