10 Tips for Taking Your Business OnlineOctober 30th, 2015
The Internet is here to stay, and it’s going to remain an integral part of successful business in the future. Rather than fight against the tide, now is the perfect time to be part of the success and take your business online where there is a lot of money to be made.
We’ve taken a look at 10 of the main tips for businesses looking to establish an online presence. If you’re willing to put the time in and follow this advice, pretty soon your venture will be enjoying the synergies and advantages offered by businesses employing the Internet that simply can’t be matched by their traditional bricks and mortar counterparts.
- Be prepared to invest in your product
Having a website for your business is like having a calling card everyone in the world can see at the same time, so making sure you invest in your site to achieve a streamlined, professional look is essential. Generally it’s best to go with a clean design that’s friendly to mobile platforms and is in line with the branding of the rest of your business.
- Establish a social media presence
This is a fantastic way to promote your business and score some easy marketing wins. Social media is a huge part of consumer’s lives, and if you’re engaging them with new, exciting content then it will allow you to develop a degree of brand loyalty and create a platform to launch campaigns. Be sure to optimise your profile with bios and descriptions that link back to the website, and use business social media best practice guidelines when posting and responding to your audience.
- Create informative, engaging content for your customers
The copy on your website is essentially you speaking directly with customers, so make sure you take the necessary steps to ensure this is done right. Content must be informative and engaging, but also easy to scan. Customers need maximum info in as few words and possible. Keeping a blog is also a great way to attract and engage potential customers.
- Get the word out there with referrals
Even if you don’t have a lot of engagement to begin with, ask friends, family members and employees to spread the word via their social media platforms – the more people engaging, the further your reach extends. A neat way to do this is to reward people for sharing links to your site by offering referral discounts such as freebies or discounts on their purchases.
- Commit to the venture as much as you can
There’s nothing in the world of online business that looks worse than a website that hasn’t been updated since 2005, and while tangible benefits may take a while to notice make sure you’re well prepared to see this venture through. Perseverance and a willingness to learn from your mistakes (and successes) is often the difference between success and failure.
- Reach out and communicate with your peers
Just as no man is an island, no business is the first one to go through a particular situation. Don’t be afraid to share your experiences with business-people that are operating in a similar field online. You’re bound to find some likeminded people who are going through comparative difficulties, and you can form useful support groups.
- Optimise your entire web presence
Simply having a website in and of itself is not going to be enough. You have to make sure the metrics are performing to your advantage. Google Analytics is a useful way to figure out which strings you need to pull, in addition to implementing Search Engine Optimisation strategies as well as online advertising and maximising the user experience of your website.
- Rethink your business plan thoroughly
Many of the principles of good business still apply online, but not across the board. So if you’ve got a clearly defined business plan in place it might be time to start considering moderations you can make to it to optimise your trading in this new environment. For example, instead of a traditional business plan make a model adapted for ecommerce.
- Consider advertising on Facebook
Facebook now has a sophisticated ad platform that allows you to get very specific with your target audience, so you’re marketing directly to the group you’re trying to hit. You can make a range of choices in terms of how the campaign is budgeted and what success will look like, and this is a great way to get the name of your business out there in an online space.
- Contact a financial advisor/accountant
Ultimately, while establishing an online presence is important it can also be quite expensive, so it’s vital that you employ the services of a financial advisor or accounting professional who can advise you and your business on essential information like outlays and costing. The last thing you want is your business to go into debt after establishing an online space.
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