Hi, I’m Sara Lynn also known online as the Domestic Geek. I launched the Domestic Geek six years ago as a passion project, a way to share my love of all things edible with the world. And since then, our online community has grown to include more than 2 million food enthusiasts who all appreciate a fresh, fuss free approach to healthy home cooking.
But beyond the camera, I am also an entrepreneur, like so many of you. My business partner and I run a digital production company called Inspired Entertainment that specializes in food and lifestyle content for brands across North America. We also offer consulting services to help these brands build their presence online and to connect with our customers in a meaningful way.
Obviously COVID-19 has changed the way so many of us do business, especially if you’re accustomed to selling your products business to business, you might be noticing your customer base collapse due to closures, reduced hours, and generally reduced operations.
Now more than ever, it’s incredibly important to be diversifying your revenue and selling direct to consumers is one of the most effective ways to do that. And the best way to reach those consumers is by building and maintaining a strong online presence. Now, this might sound like a bit of a daunting task at first, but I swear to you, it’s a lot easier than you might think.
And the best part is there are hundreds of resources available online to ensure you’re getting it right. And you’re already in a great place to start. In this video, I’m going to share the four main areas as you should think about when building an online presence and great ways to connect with your consumers directly.
And the best part is there is no time like the present to get started. The first step is to create a consumer-facing website. If you’re already coming from the business to business world you likely have a website up and running today. That being said, your business customers probably have a pretty different set of values and priorities than your consumers are going to.
So it’s a good idea to have a site directed at them. The good news is building a website is simpler today than it ever has been, thanks to a myriad of online tools. In fact, a simple consumer site with e-commerce capabilities can be up and running in less than a day, without having to hire a fancy developer to work on it.
That being said, if your tech skills aren’t exactly where you need them to be, you can always look into the help of a virtual assistant, which is a really handy and very affordable option. They can sort of help you with your blind spots to get that site up and running in no time.
One important thing to keep in mind when building your site is to offer either a discount code or some sort of free e-book as a way to entice your customers to leave their email addresses. Email marketing is still one of the most valuable tools when it comes to marketing business to consumer, and I always recommend building your email marketing list as quickly as you possibly can.
Trust me it will come in so handy in the future. Another great way to build your online presence and connect directly with your customers is to start blogging. I know I can flee your eyes rolling already. A lot of businesses don’t think blogging is worth the time and effort especially when you’re small.
That being said, starting a blog has a ton of amazing advantages. First of all, it helps immensely with SEO, which is going to help your site become more discoverable. Second, it also helps to establish you as an expert in your domain. Finally, it gives you a chance to engage your customers week after week after week, which, of course, is what you want. Blog posts can be shared through your social media accounts and also used as an email marketing tool to help entice customers back to your site.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for writing blogs. First of all, keep it light and conversational. Remember, this is an opportunity to talk to your customers not at them. Second, when you’re choosing what blog content you want to cover, make sure it’s not about you and your product.
Nobody wants to read a long-form ad. The blog post should really add value to the customer’s day to day life. So things like recipes are really wonderful or lists of resources that they might find handy. Tips and how tos are also really great.
Again, we’re talking about adding value to the consumer’s life, not about selling products. But you don’t have time to write blog posts while you’re busy running your company. Trust me, I get this part. As an entrepreneur, you’ve got a lot on your plate and it’s hard to commit that time.
That being said blog posts are one thing that should not be outsourced. You are the expert on your product and your domain and you want to make sure that you are the voice of the brand. Set aside an hour to write your blog posts every week; I promise you, you will not regret it.
That being said, once you’ve got that blog post written, you can use a virtual assistant to optimize it in so many ways. They can manage your content calendar for you. They can format your blog post to make sure it shows up beautifully on your website. They can select photos for you.
And then they can work on all of that backend stuff like keywords and metadata to make sure that your blog is extra discoverable. Virtual assistants, as you may have noticed, come up as a theme time and time again. They are really, really handy and worth their weight in gold. They also happen to be a super-affordable option.
The last thing I’ll say about blogs is that they are an amazing place to connect with prospective customers. I always recommend really engaging in the comments section. Make sure you’re reading all the comments and responding quickly and genuinely. You’ll gain really valuable insights and it will help you better tailor your future content to your readers.
It’s an absolute win-win. The final area I want to talk about is building and maintaining a social media presence. It sounds easy, but if you’ve ever tried it, you know it’s a lot harder than it looks. In fact, it’s one of those few places where I always recommend if you can afford to bring someone on to help craft and manage your social media messaging, it’s definitely worth the investment.
If not though, it’s something you are totally capable of managing yourself, if you follow these few handy tips. My first tip; know where your customers are, and find them there. Social media can be absolutely exhausting, especially if you’re trying to hit every platform.
Instead, identify where your customers are the most engaged, and then focus on that platform. In the food and lifestyle space, for example, Instagram, and Facebook are usually safe bets. Next; consistency is everything. So create a manageable schedule and then stick with it.
You don’t need to feel pressure to post every single day. Just choose a schedule that’s realistic and go for it. You want to always be really thoughtful about the content you’re posting on social media, since it’s a direct representation of you and your brand. Again, posting too much about your product isn’t always the best approach.
I always like to think of social media as a place where I can share valuable information and insights with my customers, and they seem to really appreciate that. Videos are ideal, but can be expensive and time-consuming to produce. Photos are another great option, but you’ll want to keep quality in mind.
Now, if you’re not a photographer yourself, not to worry. There are great stock photography options online that you can use to include with your posts. If you’re looking for a great free service Shopify actually has one called Burst that I find super helpful. Otherwise, you can always consider a graphic text post with inspirational quotes or messages.
These can easily be produced using free software like Kimba. If you find a piece of content is really resonating, usually by garnering more views, likes or shares, you should consider turning that content into an ad. It’s actually really easy to do using most social media platforms and it can be really easily targeted to whatever audience you’re trying to reach.
In my experience, I always found that content that evolves into an ad is almost always more effective than an ad that was created for an ad sake. (Does that makes sense?) My final tip, and in my opinion the most important, is to engage, engage, engage! Social media is such a unique place to really have a two-way dialogue with your customers, and you want to be using that opportunity to its fullest advantage.
So you always want to be listening, learning, and growing based on your customers feedback. This will help serve your company for years and years and years to come. Guys, I hope you found these tips helpful. And if you’re looking for more wonderful resources.
Definitely check out the other amazing videos here on Compass. Thank you so much for watching. And best of luck in the future.