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Breaking the mold in a pool of hopeful start-ups largely depends on catching the eye of a venture capital firm. When the odds are stacked against you and the most probable answer is “no”, it is pertinent you go the extra mile to stand out from the crowd. VC investments are hard to come by for a reason with over 65% of VC-backed startups lacking the income to return their capital, according to Troy Skalebund former CFO to the Walt Disney Company. The pay-out however certainly warrants the massive team effort it takes to impress the right people. 

Venture capitalists offer an abundance of not only financial backing, but business guidance from seasoned professionals that will give you the space to grow exponentially, as well as a competitive edge in the market. But to get money, the biggest undertaking will lie in your ability to prove that you’re capable of making that cash back tenfold. 

Being an enticing VC investment opportunity may feel like a cutthroat arms race with fellow direct-to-consumer businesses, but you may be surprised that the essential qualifiers to be considered an attractive prospect are things that should already be within your focus as a founder. 

An Exemplary Team

Investors look for a pairing of both good management and an accompanying team of skilled professionals that can demonstrate they function as a unit. Your business should be a well-oiled machine, with the employees, the moving parts, all working together to make everything run smoothly. 

But it takes much more than just skill to run a business. There also needs to be a harmonious blend of passion and a willingness to take criticism to be considered a worthwhile VC investment. This powerful combination of qualities tells investors that you have the grit and resilience to thrive during the growing pains of expansion. 

It’s imperative to remember the obvious but oft-forgotten fact that businesses are powered by people. When you have a team that exhibits the courage to take the bad with the good, you’re a shoo-in for a spot on a venture capital firm portfolio. 

A Promising Proof of Concept

As aforementioned, being an impressive candidate to investors means proving that you can make the big bucks so any evidence of positive early traction is going to great work in your favor. This is because early traction can tell them a lot about how your product is going to fair out in the real world, including if there’s a large enough market with the necessary problems for your product to be an undeniable solution. 

Luckily there’s a lot more than just compelling numbers that you can use to make your case as a viable VC investment. If you have: 

  • Customer testimonials
  • Admissions into competitive incubator programs
  • A beta creation of your product
  • Mentions in media publications about your company 

Together these will undoubtedly prove that you’re ready to take the next big step to scale your business. 

Nicky Minh

CTO and co-founder

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Facebook Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

The Asia Pacific region has the largest number of Facebook monthly active users with over 1.1 billion visiting the platform every month. The importance of Facebook for marketing your business is undisputed. Yet, in reality, it can be difficult for SMEs to reach a large audience organically.    

As a small business, your budget may not compete with larger companies, but there are powerful and budget-friendly strategies available to you. Without further ado, here are our top 10 tips for success on Facebook

1. Complete Your Facebook Profile

A simple but effective tactic, often overlooked. It doesn't take long to fill in all the sections of your profile. You are likely to have all the information at hand to do so. Customers use Facebook to check reviews, look up addresses or find a phone number. They should never struggle to find that information on your page.

2. Humanise Your Brand

Gone are the days of being a faceless organisation; people respond to people. Your audience wants to get to know your brand and the people behind it, helping them understand your 'why'. Especially in recent times with the push to support local businesses. By humanising your business, you build trust with your customers using your products, ideas and values too.

3. Create Content That Offers Value

You can't throw content on Facebook and hope for the best. You need to post with a purpose. Your content should aim to entertain, inspire, converse, educate or convince.

A great rule to follow is the 70-20-10 rule.

  • 70% of the time post content that supports building your brand
  • 20% of Facebook posts should be content from other sources; relevant business news or interesting articles.
  • 10% should be self-promotional content.

Think about the action that you want someone to take when you post. This will help write your caption and steer the audience to your desired outcome.

4. Create Content That Offers Value

It is best to plan your posts unless you are jumping on a trending topic. Deciding what and when to post should be part of your social media strategy. Posting should complement your other sales and marketing activities.

Devising a content calendar and scheduling your posts in advance will save you time. You can use the calendar to track company communications, social media holidays and sale announcements.

5. Track Useful Metrics

It is easy to get caught up looking at metrics that make you feel good, e.g. likes or followers. You want to focus on things that make a difference to your bottom line. Some vanity metrics are useful to track, engagement, for example; high engagement rate is a sign your audience enjoys your content.

Depending on your business, metrics such as click-through rates, and direct messages received are more meaningful metrics to track.

6. Consistency Is Key

To build a recognisable brand, consistency is key. From colours you use to the tone of voice. To gain traction with your audience, you should be consistent in everything you do.

Consistency extends from the aesthetics of your brand to the amount you post. Not only does your audience like to know when they can expect content from you, but the algorithm does too. Maintaining a predictable posting schedule helps you stay top of people's news feed. When you decrease your posting, Facebook decreases your views. Post regularly, and you get more exposure.

7. Post When Your Fans Are Online

A quick and easy win to maximise your reach. You can find this data in your page insights under the 'posts' tab. This graph tells you the days and hours when your fans are online. Post when your audience is most active.

8. Build Relationships With Your Audience

Use social media as a tool, not only to make sales but build relationships too. Don't feel shy about being social. Genuine engagement with others encourages brand trust and supports humanising your business.

Build relationships with other accounts for mutually beneficial growth; new and potential customers, influencers and industry experts.

9. Use All The Facebook Features Available

Use every Facebook tool to promote your business, providing they are relevant.

Facebook Live is a fantastic way to engage your audience in real-time. Your followers will receive a notification when you are live; they can then click to watch. You can host a Q&A or showcase a new product.

Video consumption is a growing and in-demand media type. By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic. Focus on uploading video content to Facebook.

Facebook stories are another great tool to increase your organic reach. A story will expire after 24 hours; it's another way to humanise your brand by showing behind the scenes footage or giving an announcement in real-time.

10. Consider Running Targeted Facebook Ads

If you aren't getting the reach you want organically, try Facebook ads. Quickly and effectively target your ideal audience using Facebook's detailed targeting. Due to the data Facebook collects on users, you can target people by location, age, gender and interests. You can also reach people whom Facebook think are likely to be interested in your business because they're similar to your existing customers.

Fund your Facebook ads with Jenfi. Access fund to get your business in front of the right audience in as little as 24 hours.

Nicky Minh

CTO and co-founder

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Chances are you have your own personal Instagram account, or you know someone who does. This is because when it comes to building your network, whether it's made up of friends or potential customers, Instagram has had a spotlight on it in the past few years, and by the looks of it, will continue to burn brightly in the years to come. In Singapore alone, joining Instagram means access to over 75% percent of the population, or up to 4.7 million people according to Statista.

If you’re a start-up company and you haven’t figured out how to reap the fruits of this popular social media marketing hub, you can always reach out to your friends over at Jenfi to get your started with the capital you need of course, but here are some additional tips to reinforce your overall marketing strategy for 2021 and beyond.

Optimize Your Bio

So you’ve got your account set up, which is great, but you’ve written in a very generic bio that basically states what you do. Understandably doing anything else can be confusing, considering you’re only working with 150 characters, but your bio is going to be the “call to action” button of your whole account, leading them to important links as well as being a place to showcase your brand voice. 

Make sure to fill in every text box when editing your profile, including:

  • Business category
  • A clickable URL for your site
  • Contact information (email, phone number)
  • Add an action button along the lines of Book Now, or Reserve as it pertains to you. 

Establish a Brand Theme

When you sat down and developed the visual branding of your company, you more than likely had to take into account things like colors and fonts. Well, when it comes to Instagram, carrying out those brand consistencies is key to having a successful marketing strategy.

If you take the time to visit the accounts of similar businesses or any business, you’re going to see that the same colors are used throughout the page, creating a clean look that also distinguishes your brand from users’ feeds.

Whether you choose to go bold, or sleek, the more recognizable you are on the app the more trust you’re going to build with your ideal customers.

Videos Are Everything

Instagram has the capability to either film short-form video content called Reels, or deliver live video streaming on the platform. Videos give a face to your brand. Psychologically you now have so much more depth than the products you sell. Instagram lives in particular, are a great way to interact with your audience and potentially get some insight as to ways you can improve your strategy. 

Reels are an excellent way to hop on viral trends early on and get extra exposure for your account. Bottom line, during a time when face-to-face interaction is scarce, videos are essential in connecting with your customer base in a way just words or graphics could never accomplish. 

Marketing for a Cause

In the same vein as video marketing, incorporating philanthropy in your social media strategy is a wonderful way to emotionally reach your followers, and for a good cause!

Just back in July of 2020, Instagram unveiled a social fundraising feature as an answer to the devastation caused by the pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter protests in the US. The rise of digital activism has opened the door for companies to not only be vocal about social issues but also to allow crowdfunding to support those very causes. 

The public craves transparency now more than ever, and choosing to take a stand will earn your company the respect of all your customers. 

Instagram Shopping 

Instagram Shopping is a feature that’s blowing up in a good way. If you’re a direct-to-consumer company, long are the days of solely having to rely on customers directly visiting your site to purchase from you. This in-app shopping feature makes it possible for your followers to shop your products directly on the app, almost like having an additional home for your products aside from your website.

So if you’re having any doubts as to whether this is a feature for you, Facebook reports that over 70% of users use Instagram to find new products, so why not make it easier for them to shop without ever leaving the app?

Social media marketing is its beast, but certainly not one you can’t conquer. A major element of a solid marketing strategy is also includes paid advertisements on Instagram, Facebook, or Google. Accruing sufficient funding to hit the ground running shouldn’t be the most stressful part of your growth journey. Apply for Jenfi funding today, and get pre-approved with no obligations!

Nicky Minh

CTO and co-founder

Top 5 eCommerce Business Trends for 2021

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The future of commerce looks a little different than what many of us imagined, but this ongoing pandemic has largely shifted the tides. Where there once was a hesitance about eCommerce, now there is a great reliance. This of course bodes well for the eCommerce business, which saw a surge of over 30% in sales in the year 2020, according to Shama Hyder of Forbes. 

This means that Direct-to-Consumer businesses have had to quickly adapt to the accelerated changes brought on by this unexpected catastrophe. With more individuals turning to their phones and laptops to shop for goods, the future of eCommerce has seen a cardinal deviation toward a more custom and convenient shopping experience. 

Influencer Marketing

It’s no secret that in the past decade many internet dwellers have opted to exclusively get their shopping recommendations from their favorite influencers. This is why influencer marketing is being touted as a major trend for the upcoming year and beyond. 

Influencer marketing allows for brands to achieve a more targeted reach through User-Generated Content that not only allows an eCommerce business to show their ideal customers a real person using their product when many customers are unable to see it or experience it in person, but it is also a stellar opportunity to keep up with current trends and what the public has to say about them. 

M-Commerce

Online shopping isn’t just for laptops anymore. Around 73% of all eCommerce sales will take place on a mobile platform, Statista estimates. This means that commerce business owners need to rush to make certain their mobile interfaces are up to par. 

“I feel like we’ve moved five years ahead in just one,” says Silvija Martincevic, Chief Commercial Officer for Affirm. “I recommend retailers take a close look at their mobile product roadmap to ensure that it is just as robust as their online shopping experience-”.

A preference for shopping right in the palm of your hand was no surprise to anyone, but the world’s sudden twist of fate has us all growing up faster than we ever expected. 

Text-Message Synergy

If you find yourself opting in or out of text messages before checkout, this is why. To continue to personalize user experiences on mobile platforms, DTC businesses are making sure to hit you up on your cellphone. 

Text-message allows companies to send customers tailored messages that let them know companies have their best interest at heart. You can send things like cart reminders, limited-time offers, delivery updates, and so on. Experts project that this interactive function will eventually lead to real-time messaging between an eCommerce business and a customer in the year 2021. 

Efficient Fulfillment

The beginning of the pandemic proved to the world that they desire to have home essentials on hand in case of emergency are a top priority. Not only have companies begun to stock these essentials in their arsenal, but they’ve now begun to offer express delivery to ensure their customers get what they need when they need it. 

Multiple eCommerce businesses are adopting the Amazon Prime model of overnight or 2-day shipping. Offering fast fulfillment of orders pretty much guarantees your customers will continue to turn to you as their reliable, go-to seller.  

Sales conversions are sure to skyrocket if these uber-fast shipping options are emphasized on all platforms and advertisements across the board. 

AI-Driven Personalization 

We’ve all encountered the very obvious chatbot that only seems to be able to answer the most basic of inquiries, but the future of eCommerce in 2021 holds the key to advanced artificial intelligence capable of mimicking emotional responses and comforting even the most frustrated of customers.

AI also holds much promise in the personalization of the shopping experience. This means that bots will be able to track the behavior patterns of your customers as they shop, eventually offering more tailored product recommendations when it comes time for them to make their next purchase.

And an additional benefit for eCommerce business owners is that leaving the product recommendation to AI has an interesting domino effect on predicting inventory needs in the backend, thus killing two birds with one stone.

These are just a handful of ways that you can scale your commerce business. Like the aforementioned influencer marketing trend, marketing your business in the early stages or any stage can feel daunting when you’re so preoccupied with front-end tasks in the rapidly growing Southeast Asian market. But Jenfi can help alleviate the worry of finding the capital you need to succeed! Contact us today to see how we can help you stay on-trend while doing what you do best!

Nicky Minh

CTO and co-founder

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