By Chris Sims, Managing Director of BT for his SoHo unit (Single / Small Office, Home Office)
We should all be proud of the UK’s notoriety as a nation of traders, and much more over the past 18 months, with small businesses proving their worth by quickly adapting their business models and moving online. We have also seen the rise of kitchen entrepreneurs, with 800,000 new businesses created during the pandemic, all made possible by an increasingly âdigitalâ world.
UK start-ups and smaller businesses quickly realized that engaging with customers online was no longer a pleasant thing, with an average person in the UK spending 109 minutes a day on social media, according to Uswitch. Our recent research with Small Business Britain foundthis 74 percent of small businessesinterrogates have increased their use of social media to promote their business online. 43 percent of these said they used e-commerce more, whilealmost a third had increased their use of paid advertising on social media.
This is encouraging progress, but there is so much more that we can do to help small businesses thrive, by helping them build stronger digital foundations. This is what I focus on as MD for the BT SoHo (Small Office, Home Office) unitand I’m really excited to share some new innovations we’re launching for UK’s smallest and emerging businesses.
Introducing BT’s Digital Marketing Hub
While businesses recognize the importance of using social media to reach more customers online, 40% of the 5.9 million (2.4 million) do not invest in paid advertising campaigns.
Our knowledge of customers tells us that common barriers they face when adopting digital advertising strategies include: lack of time, scarce resources, and a lack of digital skills. I am therefore delighted to report that in response, we have launched theDigital Marketing Center. The new platformgives businesses the tools and support to create, publish and track their digital advertising on Google, Facebook and Instagram, all from a single platform.
From independent marketers and micro-businesses looking to take their first steps into paid social media advertising, to large businesses looking to optimize big-budget display or search campaigns, the platform gives them the confidence they need. to create their own digital advertising strategies.
We have also created a new digital marketing teamspecialists Toto give customersexpert assistance, when and if they need it. This is available as part of a fully managed pay-as-you-go service with âEssentialâ or âPremiumâ options. Customers can choose the level of service that suits them. In the coming months, BT’s Digital Marketing Hub will also include a pay-as-you-go self-serve option.
With artificial intelligence (AI) running in the background, customers receive automatic recommendations on the best keywords, ad copy, and media spend to include in their campaigns, ensuring maximum return on investment. And with the unique analytical dashboard, customers have a complete understanding of their marketing performance.
We’ve had great customer feedback already and the flexibility of the platform means there is something for everyone, regardless of their business size or marketing budget.I can’t wait to see how our clients will use the platform to harness the power of digital advertising to drive their business over the next few months.
Be supervised, grow
In the coming months, small businesses will also be able to access a wider range of tutorials, guides and expert reviews to further develop their digital skills through BT’s Digital Marketing Hub.
We also recently launched ourâGet mentored, growâ campaignin partnership with Google, which offers free one-on-one mentoring sessions for UK small businesses and charities, covering a range of topics including digital marketing, e-commerce and business strategy. As an extension of our mentoring program, we are offering small businesses the opportunity to win a one-on-one mentoring session with UK entrepreneurs Levi Roots and Liz Earle, where they can also learn from their start-up and business experiences. brand development. like adapting to a digital world first. To enter small businesses can visit:Registration: one-on-one mentoring with BT and Google.
Connectivity Small Businesses Can Count On
With more and more people working from home and starting home businesses, it’s also more important than ever to improve access to affordable broadband. Our recent research found that 65 percent of small businesses said their need for a reliable broadband connection has increased over the past year.
Many of the country’s smaller businesses are feeling financially strained from the continuing effects of the pandemic, so we’ve come up with our best fiber optic broadband plans to date. The new plans give smaller businesses in the UK a reliable broadband connection with guaranteed signal wherever they do business, all at an affordable price.BT Full Fiber Business Essential plans start fromÂ£ 25.95 for speeds up to 150 Mbps – that’s double the speed of a standard Fiber to Cabinet (FTTC) connection. Companies can consult the newsoffers available here.
And with more and more businesses needing the flexibility to work from their mobile device, we’re also improving our mobile offerings for our smaller business customers, focusing on both reliability and value. With our lastEA plans, small businesses can benefit from enhanced support through services such as free technical inspection of the device, as well as smart benefits such asInternational direct dialing allowance for calls made from the UK to Europe and countries in the business area – all on the UK’s best network for business collaboration.
With the recent launch of BT’s new SoHo unit, this is just the start of our enhanced offerings for the UK’s smallest businesses and the thousands of start-ups that have thrived during the pandemic – whether in helping them stay better connected; help them reach more customers through the power of digital advertising; or by strengthening their digital skills through our mentoring program. I look forward to working with my colleagues and clients to continue to build on this foundation in the months to come – so watch this space!