As the world is increasingly shifting digital, business people have to quickly adapt. Taking your business online provides a growth path that can take your small business all the way from a physical location to an identity in the digital world, permitting purchases online anywhere and anytime around the world.
We know that this remains a tough call for many small business owners at the moment. So, how do you make this happen?
Here are 7 steps that will help take your small business online and give it the digital footprints it needs:
1. What do you want to sell online?
Do you want to offer your existing offline products and services? Do you want to expand into a new line, like teaching aspects of your business as an online course? Or do you just want to create an online platform to generate leads for your offline business? In taking your business online, you have to first determine what it is you want to sell.
Also, if you don’t have the means to store new inventory, you can make use of dropshipping. Dropshipping is a business method where you can sell as many products as you want without having to keep them in stock.
2. Decide on a custom domain name
Getting a domain name is a fundamental step in taking your business online. It provides a great way to represent your business – from your business website, your company-branded emails, to the web address of your social media page.
In selecting a domain name, the .com extension is usually the first choice for many people, it is generally regarded as the most powerful domain doorway. You may want to look at the available options.
Hyphens and numbers are also a big no for domain names because it’s hard to verbally communicate a domain name that has space or a number.
3. Create a business website
After getting your domain name, an essential part of building your site is choosing a platform where your content will be hosted. If you plan to offer coaching services, you might want to start with a blog where you can share tips or give advice. If you plan to sell products directly through your site, you’ll need to build an e-commerce website.
The design of your website – your logo, colour, and social media links – should also reflect your brand image and personality. Just ensure your website is easy for customers to navigate. Now, you’re ready to build your website and start selling online.
4. Provide valuable content
Content is crucial to taking your business online. Adding content to your site is the easiest way to help people get an idea of your business and what you offer since they won’t be able to visit you in person.
You add content to your home page so that people can become familiar with your business. Add to your ‘about’ page for people to learn about your story and to know that there’s a real person behind your company. Add content to your sales page for people to see details of the products and services that you sell, their features, and benefits. Also, add content to your contact page for new leads and customers to get in touch with you.
5. Create an online payment system
To be able to receive payments from your customers online, you need to create a payment system with a checkout page on your website and then integrate this with a payment gateway.
Just like the checkout line at a supermarket, this will permit your customers to complete their purchases online. All you require to pull this off is a shopping cart, a processing platform, and an SSL that encrypts the information your customers’ send when they make purchases online.
6. Launch your business online
Taking your business online is one thing, but getting people to actually see what you are selling is another. That’s why it is strategic to announce your business presence for the right audience to see your business and what you offer.
One way to announce your presence online is to launch your business to the world. Another is to use SEOs so that you can be found by potential customers. Others include digital advertising to introduce new customers to your brand and the use of social media to create announcement posts on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, among others.
Doing this will drive your ideal audience to your online business and encourage them to patronize you.
7. Use email marketing to convert clients
To encourage leads generated to make early purchase decisions, you need to follow up with them. There’s no better tool to do this than the use of emails. Here, you set up an email management system that is convenient, personal, relevant, and can reach wide audiences, then start by sending a weekly or monthly newsletter with engaging content from your blog or social media page. It’s best to start small and work your way up. That’s how you build trust with your ideal audience, begin to make sales online, and ultimately thrive!
Whatever it is, whether you’re a successful small business or about to start one, growth is a part of the journey. Taking your business online provides a growth path that can help your small business navigate the new normal.
So now, let me know how you are coping with the current economic situation.