Whether your business is online or not, the online marketplace is already impacting your revenue, client base and potential business growth.
Whether you’re a new business owner or have a well-established business already, now is the time to get online.
Looking ahead, joining the digital marketplace is likely to be the only way to maintain your competitive edge and grow your client and customer base into the future.
With more and more internet users relying on search results and online information to find products and services, the web is made for business. It’s an ideal place to communicate and transact as well as reach new markets.
If you’ve decided to bring your business online, here are five fundamental principles to a successful digital business experience.
Develop a Compelling Website
Your first activity should be to build your online presence with a clean website. The key points will be:
- Deciding on a relevant name for your URL
- Purchasing hosting
- Building a clean, well-optimized website
- Creating user-friendly content
- Including a Call to Action
- Ensuring compatibility on all devices
Your website should be viewed the way you would view any other real estate investment. This is real property, owned by you, with real monetary value.
So, make your web design great!
Get Your Local
SEO Set up Early
If you are going to deliver services or products to a specific location or locations, you need to get your head around local SEO for small businesses.
If you don’t have the skills or the time, you will need to outsource this aspect of your online marketing early.
- Setting up Google My Business
- Accurately completing your Google Business Listing
- Populating available fields with rich images, video, contact details and business details
- Verifying your listing with Google
- Including location-based keywords in important areas of your website.
Develop a Network of Integrated Social Tools
Make full use of the most relevant Social Media Platforms for your business and begin to grow your social media following and start a conversation on these platforms.
Some of the most relevant would be:
You will also need to develop a deliberate, well-branded social media content management strategy. This means you will want to publish to these platforms in a consistent way and in a way that is easily identifiable with your brand, style, tone, etc.
The goal of social media management is to articulate a clear project management plan, create, analyze, and optimize social media content to increase brand awareness, visibility and trust.
Use Updated Technology and Automation Tools
Various technologies and applications are constantly emerging to provide businesses with the tools they need to manage their online presence, increase traffic to their website, and convert more leads into paying customers.
Some of the many services your business needs to consider are how it communicates with customers, responds to inquiries, and processes transactions.
Business communications have improved due to the latest in information technologies and are now an essential factor in any business.
One of the most significant areas of business operations that have benefited from information technology is the communications functions.
As more companies utilize remote workers, virtual phone systems are becoming vital tools to bring your business to a new level.
Virtual phone systems enable both small and large businesses to take their phone service to the cloud where incoming calls can be routed to the business phone number of choice from any landline, mobile phone, or VoIP device.
Automating mundane business transaction processes reduces risk, increases efficiency, and saves companies time and money.
Various functions utilize transaction processes, such as invoicing, payment processing, and task management.
Automating business processes enables companies to reduce the risk or human error and reduce the amount of paperwork while delivering a positive user experience for customers.
Begin to Network
Networking online is a great way to build up your brand, find new client and customer markets and reach new demographics.
With more and more people relying on user reviews, you will want to network with both customers and industry experts to increase your own online authority.
Some keys to good networking online include:
- Don’t sell yourself, provide support and expertise.
- Give away your time (within reason)
- Invest in new relationships on LinkedIn
Also look for complimentary, non-competitive partners to work with. For example, a hair salon might find a great ally in a car hire service – since they both serve the wedding market.
Look at ways you can collaborate and network with other non-competitive but compatible industries online.
Consider joining a forum where your demographic is gathering to ask questions. Quora can be a good place for this.
A few more things to consider when bringing or developing your business for the online marketplace.
- Know the legal requirements in your region
- Devise a clear strategy for developing fresh, well-branded content for your site and social media channels
- Develop a complete online marketing strategy
- Investigate paid media buys (ads) and compare this to
SEOand other online marketing strategies
The key to coming online successfully is to do your homework before you start your journey. Avoid nefarious
One of the biggest setbacks that a small business will face is ineffective – or defective – site technology. Consider using only tried and tested platforms such as WordPress and avoid putting your brand into cheap or free site platforms.
Talk to those who have already come online. Get into groups where you can learn about content,
Taking these things into account will help you start out on the right foot and avoid many of the expensive and time-wasting pitfalls that small businesses often fall into when they first come online.
Feature Image source Pixabay