The Importance Of Understanding How To Effectively Market Your Business*

 

 
*This is a collaborative post*


The Covid 19 pandemic has caused all kinds of trials and tribulations for businesses and business owners over the course of the last 12 months. Whether a sole trader or multinational conglomerate, the economic turmoil has been very real for many businesses across many sectors. With in store retail sales drastically down anywhere from 25% plus on the previous year of trading.

People are obviously opting to stay in the relative safety of home rather than going to the store, and with government lockdowns in full effect, the surge in ecommerce has been tremendous. Established businesses are being left with little alternative but to embrace this all prevailing trend of online business or else they face being left behind.

Marketing is a forward looking approach used by any person or business organization with the fundamental goal of attaining a sustainable competitive advantage by understanding the needs and demand of customers.



What is Ecommerce?


For the unfamiliar, in simple terms, ecommerce (electronic commerce) simply refers to the process of buying and selling products or services and exchanges of information between businesses and individuals via the internet. Although ecommerce has undoubtedly grown due to the Covid pandemic, it should be noted that ecommerce has been growing year on year at a very healthy rate long before the pandemic arrived.

For example in 2015 during the first half of the year, ecommerce in China accounted for 10% of all the country’s sales for that period. With 668 million online users, China has the largest ecommerce market in the world, with more than double the number of internet users in the United States. 

 

 


 

One of the greatest attributes of having an online business or at least a business which is accessible online to consumers, is that you are then able to market your product or service to a far greater consumer base. Why struggle selling your wares locally when you literally have the opportunity to engage with a truly global online marketplace with hundreds of millions of consumers.

China had increased its ecommerce transactions with other countries by 32% to $375.8 billion) in 2012, which accounted for 9.6% of China’s total international trade. More recently as of October 2020 US ecommerce sales were predicted to reach $794.50 billion for the year. This represents an increase of 32.4% on the previous year of trading. This is a much higher growth rate than the 18% predicted in the 2nd Quarter forecast, again this is due to consumers continuing to avoid stores and opt for online shopping during this pandemic.



Marketing an Online Business



With so many people being furloughed and losing their jobs as a result of the economic downturn online businesses are being set up in record numbers everyday. From people creating online stores, making and selling cakes and confectionary, to online car traders, there seems no limit to the potential for online commerce. However, it is worth noting that with so many new businesses all shooting up, and all in search of their own percentage of the global online market share, competition is fierce. 

It is not enough to just set up or digitalise your business and simply sit back and think the job is done. 

Like all aspects of business, the businesses which are least likely to adapt will be the least likely to survive and you must remain highly active as trends can change rapidly in the commercial sphere, marketing is something which should be at the forefront of your mind at all times.

In order to maximise the profitability of your business and to ensure that your foray into ecommerce is a fruitful one, it is important to consider how you will market your business/services. How will you advertise your business and how will you ensure that as many potential consumers are aware of your existence. There are many methods for doing this but i’ll just give a couple of examples here as follows:



Marketing Your Business With Facebook Ads


As of February 2020, Facebook had 2.7 billion monthly active users which makes it the biggest social network on youtube. This makes it a fantastic platform to utilise in order to help the expansion of your business. There are many benefits to using facebook ads such as the fact it can increase brand awareness and it can help to generate greater traffic to your business site.

Facebook advertising is also very fast, you could literally be reaching thousands of potential customers by the end of today which is a huge bonus for those who feel they have little time to waste. Another huge benefit of using Facebook Ads is that it is so inexpensive, it is one of the cheapest forms of advertisement available. For the nominal sum of $5 you can reach 1000 people.




When one considers the traditional costs associated with advertising it really is a great option, especially for smaller business owners who may not have access to a huge advertising budget and are therefore looking to reach as many people as possible while doing so in an economically viable way.

For anyone new to the online business world, or if you’re just getting started with your own venture, definitely do some research into some of these cheap and very effective marketing methods, it could save you and your business a fortune.


Email Marketing


Email Marketing is one of the biggest and most popular forms of online marketing. I’m sure everyone reading this is familiar with the seemingly endless torrent of spam mail which fills our inboxes on a daily basis. This seemingly annoying fact actually tells us just how good a tool for marketing emails are. Once again it is comparatively cheaper than traditional methods of advertising or trying to reach an audience via other media avenues such as radio, newspapers and TV.

Email is consistently cited as one of the marketing methods which delivers the highest return on investment. By utilising email you can reach an already engaged audience which enables you to deliver targeted messages. Email marketing can help you to drive revenue and it is easy to use, simple to measure and you can engage with a global audience too. You can find out more here.

 
 
*Header photo source. Second photo source. Third photo source
 

Exploring Mindfulness with Your Child*



*This is a collaborative post*

Mindfulness is a popular meditation technique that encourages a person to live in the moment, to help draw their thoughts and feelings away from things that might be causing them distress. It can be used to boost positivity, increase concentration, improve creativity, and help with relaxation. As a result, a person who regularly practises mindfulness may end up with improved overall wellbeing. If you’d like to explore the concept of mindfulness with your child, here are some tips from a private school in West Sussex to get you started.


One thing to note is that mindfulness can be practised at any time or in any place, you don’t necessarily have to set time aside for it. For example, when eating a snack, encourage your child to really savour the experience by thinking about the tastes and textures. You should also encourage them to observe their surroundings whenever you go somewhere new.


Next time you’re out on a walk, encourage your child to tune into their senses and properly experience the moment. Ask them what they can see, hear, smell and feel. If they’re struggling, put forward some of your own thoughts, like the sound of the leaves crunching beneath your feet or the feel of the wind on your face. Gardening is also a good activity to inspire mindful thoughts. 


If your child finds it difficult to fall asleep at night, this might be a good opportunity to practise mindfulness. Once they have climbed into bed and found a comfortable position, ask them to close their eyes and gradually observe each part of their body and how it feels against the sheets, starting from the tips of their toes to the top of their head. 


When your child is having a tough day, encourage them to find a comfortable spot in the house, either laying down or sitting up, and focus on mindful breathing. This means paying attention to each breath as they inhale and exhale, observing how their tummy rises and falls each time. This should help them calm down and tune their thoughts back into the present moment. 


*Photo source Pexels


Top Tips for Choosing a Sixth Form for Your Child*



*This is a collaborative post*


Choosing a Sixth Form is much like choosing a primary or secondary school, except your child will have a greater input this time. The best thing you can do is listen to their thoughts and opinions, give them your advice, but ultimately let them make their own decision regarding the Sixth Form and the subjects. Here are some tips from a top A Level college in the UK to help you and your son or daughter make the right decision. 


Start with some research into local sixth forms. Think about your priorities as a family, such as location, and have a think about what else the schools have to offer. If your child is keen to join some extra-curricular activities, like sport or music, have a look into whether or not these options are on offer. 


Be sure to attend the open days/evenings with your child at various sixth forms in your area. This will give you an idea of what the facilities are like, as well as the courses available. Use it as an opportunity to ask lots of questions and find out more about a levels in general. Afterwards, have a chat with your teenager and discuss your thoughts. What are the positive aspects of the sixth form? Are there any negatives? Can they see themselves spending every day there? What were the teachers like?


It’s also wise to book a private tour during the day so that you and your child can get a better idea of how the school operates. Open evenings are great, but you should take them with a pinch of salt, as its not necessarily how they function on a normal day; they are showing you their best bits. Visiting during the day will allow you to see what the other students are really like and get a feel for the general atmosphere. 


Communicate with your child as best you can during this period, as it can be quite overwhelming for all of you. They might be feeling pressure from their friends to attend the same sixth form as them, so remind them that they will be able to make new friends, while keeping in touch with their old ones. The decision should be theirs and theirs alone and they should not be swayed into making the wrong choice based on what other people think. 


*Photo source Pexels



Helping Your Child Prepare for the School Bus*



*This is a collaborative post*


Waving your child off when they catch the school bus for the first time can be a daunting experience for parents. It’s tough watching your child grow up and start to find their feet in the world, without needing to hold your hand every step of the way. If your child has never taken the bus before, the chances are it’s probably just as daunting for them, if not more so. Eventually it will become a normal part of their day, but for the first week or so, they’ll probably feel quite nervous. Here are some tips from a prep school in London to help you prepare your child for the school bus.


The best thing they can do is practise, with you by their side. Catch the bus to and from town and other locations so that your child becomes more familiar with the experience. This will help them learn how to pay, when to press the button to stop the bus, and where to get off. You should also practise the route to and from school. The more your child catches the bus, the more comfortable they will feel when doing so; it won’t seem as scary when they have to do it without you.


You should also chat with your child about it. Ask them how they feel and if they have any questions. If they share some of their concerns, try to put their mind at ease. It’s important to have these conversations alone, as if there are other people around, they might not be as forthcoming about their feelings. Talk to them about the rules, like no talking to strangers and holding onto the bar if there are no seats available etc. Remind them to speak to the driver if they have any problems whilst on the bus. 


Get in touch with the school and find out if there are any other children in the area who might be catching the same bus. Your child might feel more relaxed knowing that some of their peers will be with them to share the experience. For the first few days, or even weeks, it might also be beneficial for your child if you walk them to and from the bus stop every morning and evening.


*Photo source Pexels 


Should I Encourage My Child to Learn an Instrument*


*This is a collaborative post*


It’s important for parents to encourage their children to pursue their hobbies outside of school, not only to ensure they are spending their time wisely (i.e., not wasting hours on end playing video games) and also so that they develop key skills. Music lessons are one option you could look into, as there are many benefits of learning an instrument. I have teamed up with a senior school in Hampshire to explore these benefits.


A child who learns an instrument must learn to juggle having various important responsibilities and manage their time effectively. They will have to fit in school, homework, music lessons, music practise and downtime. The ability to cope with a busy schedule will prepare your child for adulthood, and even for periods in their school life when the pressure is mounting. It’s also a chance for them to understand the importance of dedication; sticking at something even when it feels tough or overwhelming.


Learning an instrument also helps boost a child’s confidence. When performing in front of people, even if it’s just you, they will receive praise that will make them feel proud of themselves. At times they will be given constructive criticism, which will help them learn from their weaknesses and turn them into strengths. A confident child, and one who is able to move on from their mistakes, will be better able to handle any challenges that are thrown their way. They might also feel more comfortable raising their hand in class and contributing to discussions. Confidence will even help them in social situations, of which there will be many as they grow up.


Young people who are able to demonstrate interests and skills outside of their school commitments will be looked upon favourably by universities and prospective employers. In other words, learning an instrument might help a child land a job or a place on a university course. This alone is a fantastic reason for your child to consider learning an instrument.


*Photo source Pexels



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