The transition to online business has shifted and accelerated even more in 2020 than ever before. So, it makes sense that even the smallest of companies has an online presence of some description. Otherwise, you are likely to find yourself falling behind your competitors. However, if you have been running your business in an offline capacity for a number of years, it can be extremely difficult to know where to start.
Now is not the time to worry. Thankfully, this article has compiled some of the easiest ways that you can make this transition.
Launch Your Website
The hub of your business’ online activities is bound to be your website. If you decide to make sales directly through the site, it is obviously even more vital, but even if it is just a source of information, it is likely to be the first point of contact that people have with your company. Therefore, you want them to walk away with the best impression possible, whether you decide to build the site yourself or hire the services of a professional agency to take care of it for you. Ultimately, if you are trying to save money, you might want to take the former option, but there is also the time commitment that you have to think about as well. Having said that, there are plenty of platforms that have been designed to simplify the whole process as much as possible.
There are a few main factors to consider on a website. Essentially, you want people to find what they are looking for within the first few seconds. This means that the website loading speed needs to be quick. You also need some clear copy explaining your business and everything that it has to offer. The design needs to be clean and simple, and you also want to have some clear website navigation pointing people in the right direction. Another major factor is clearly listing your contact information. This is especially important due to the fact you are running a local business and people need to be able to locate you if they want to pay a visit in person. If you get the online and offline parts of your business working together in harmony, this is likely to lead to the maximum level of profitability.
Make Your Business Searchable
There are a couple of different factors involved in making your business searchable. The first is listing your actual physical location to ensure that people can find it on Google Maps or whatever location service you use. Also, this is where people will find your contact information such as your address and telephone number. For example, if you run a café in the local area and people search for a phrase such as ‘cafés near me’, you need to ensure that your business is popping up.
Closely linked to all of this is making sure that your business is SEO-friendly. When you spend such a long time making a website, it is only rational that you want people to be able to find it. There are several ways of making your site as appealing to search engines as possible. First of all, you need to ensure that you use plenty of key search terms throughout your website. You should also update the site with fresh content on a regular basis. Then, there is ensuring that the site is well-built. There are tools that you can use to crawl the site and ensure that everything works well from an SEO perspective. If there are any improvements that need to be made, it is worth doing so at the earliest possible opportunity.
Another aspect of ensuring that your business is visible online is creating a domain name that people are likely to search for. While .com is the most popular choice, this doesn’t mean that you should necessarily opt for this one if you are going to end up with an obscure domain name that is a struggle for people to come across. As you have a local presence, there is every chance that people will wander past your physical store location and type in the name of it. Ideally, your domain name will be a variation of this.
Create Your Social Media Profiles
Another part of the online presence of your business is ensuring that you have all the relevant social media profiles. In the first instance, this tends to mean having Facebook and Twitter accounts, but remember that this is a sector that is continually evolving, so you need to be ready to open new accounts as required. For example, if you are trying to launch a business that targets a younger demographic of people, you will want to open up accounts on newer forms of social media such as TikTok. If you open up a business that is strong from a visual point of view, Instagram could end up being your social media of choice. However, when you open these accounts you need to make sure that they are properly managed. Otherwise, they are not going to do your business much good whatsoever. To ensure that there is always fresh content to add to your social media accounts, it is worthwhile creating a content calendar. Always monitor your posts to see how well they do. This way, you can tailor your content to your audience. Make sure that your social media accounts are always clearly listed on your website, so people are able to access them easily.
Use the Data You Gather
One of the main advantages of running a business online is that you are able to gather data from your customers. However, you also need to ensure that you use this in the most effective way possible. This article tells you more about data analytics. Otherwise, there is no point in collecting it in the first place. For example, if you can gather email addresses from your customers, this gives you the opportunity to target them directly with marketing emails. There are several rules to follow when it comes to the most successful ways of email marketing. First of all, you need a good subject line that draws people into clicking on the link in the first place. If you are not able to achieve this, the email is not going to do much good at all. Next, you need to design it well and highlight any news or offers that you want to put front and center. Don’t overdo email marketing as people can end up unsubscribing and you lose your ability to contact them entirely.
Stay Active in Online Communities
A part of running your business that you may end up overlooking is getting involved in online communities. This is a good way of networking with other local business owners. The connections that you make with other entrepreneurs can end up being invaluable, and you may even form some partnerships that last for years to come and prove to be mutually beneficial in all sorts of different ways. Of course, you need to ensure that you are active in these communities to make the most of them. Essentially, they act as a useful way of establishing yourself as an expert in your field, as well as promoting your business and its products and services as a whole.
Remember to Keep Everything Updated
Half of the battle when it comes to deploying a successful online strategy is ensuring that all of your content is kept updated. So, if you have any news at your company that is worth reporting, you need to put it out there in the form of blogs and social media updates. By showing that you are active online, this is a clear demonstration to people that this is a business that continues to not only survive but thrive. Not only this, but continual updates are important from an SEO point of view as well.
Bringing your local business takes time and a clear strategy, but it is one that is certainly worth putting into place. Everything needs to revolve around your website in the first instance, so take the time to get this right before it is launched. It is worth bringing in some third parties to give you the most honest opinion possible about it. Ensure that there are parts of your website that are updatable and that it has been build with an SEO focus firmly in mind. You need to continue this strategy by listing the key information of your business online and ensuring that everything is clearly and obviously searchable. A big part of all online marketing activities that you take part in is the data you gather, so don’t forget just how important this is to the long-term success of your business.
Finally, when you commit to an online strategy, you need to ensure that you have covered all your bases and you continue with it for the longest time possible to achieve success.