Businesses have been faced with harsh decisions in the face of two hastily announced lockdowns during 2020. As we come out the other side of lockdown 2.0 now is the time to focus on your digital presence and strategy. Selling online means that your business can continue to operate, even if your physical location isn’t open.
Your customers still need the same things. But now more than ever they will look online for them. Make sure that everyone knows that you’re still open for business.
Phrases like eCommerce, social media engagement, and site maps may bring fear to some small business owners, but the following simple steps will help you either set up your business for online selling or give you a handy checklist to make sure all your bases are covered.
Put your best foot forward
You would pay attention to how your business looked to any customers visiting a store and online is no different. Creating a website to showcase your business is key.
A website doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles to be successful. Simply create a few separate pages that make sure your visitors know the most important things about your business. If you sell goods, can they be bought on your website? Some websites have shopping (or eCommerce) tools built in. If not, why not try a tool like Shopify*.
You can always add extra functionality or content as you get more familiar with your website, or what your customers are looking for.
* Digital Peninsula Network offer separate three- and four-day remote training courses on creating a website using WordPress or using Shopify to sell your goods online.
Creating a social media page for your business can be a great alternative to, or compliment, a company website. There’s a multitude of social media platforms to choose from so pick the most suitable for your target customers. Facebook is seen by many small businesses as superior for engaging with their existing or prospective customers.
Social media pages allow you to talk to your customers, share your news, and show your character the way you would face-to-face. Facebook pages also allow you to sell your goods directly from the platform.
Social media is a proven tool to drive traffic to your website, simply include links to the relevant pages when posting on social media so people can easily get to your most valuable pages.
Take it to the next step: video content showing you and your business is a great way to engage with your customers.
You need to be found online the same way a customer can find your store by walking past it. The good news is that there is a way of getting your business found by prospective customers online.
Google my Business allows you to add your business information to Google’s search listings. Show up on maps, include your contact details, and even post updates direct to Google for free.
Facebook groups allows you to engage with local audiences or specialist interest groups that suit your business. Think of your customer’s interests. Is there a social media group for that where you can share your business?
Create new business streams
Many of the business owners that we work with were not focusing on their online business presence before the Coronavirus pandemic forced a shift in their strategy. Now they have the tools to help their business succeed both online and face-to-face (restrictions permitting).
Using an email marketing tool like MailChimp** you can encourage sign-ups on your website and social media. With these new email addresses, you can create and send regular updates to your subscribers. Whether you are showcasing products, sharing knowledge, or providing an update on your business, the possibilities are endless.
** Digital Peninsula Network offers three- and four-day remote training courses on using the MailChimp email marketing tool to create newsletters and grow your business.
For many, your business has stemmed from your passion project. You never started your business to focus on sales strategies or posting content to social media at the optimal time. No one can be expected to know everything so why not seek out help and support from trusted sources. Here are a few sources of additional support to get your business succeeding online:
- Digital Peninsula Network (DPN) – DPN accesses Government funding to offer training on all aspects of digital marketing for start-ups and businesses under 200 employees.
- Start up Donut and Marketing Donut – offer a range of helpful articles covering all aspects of building and growing your business.
- Canva – Easy to use editable design templates to make your imagery look amazing, you can even make a logo if your business needs one. Canva has a massive range of free resources to suit your needs.