There’s a phrase that ‘if you are not online, you don’t exist’ which keeps getting thrown around a lot. If you don’t think that’s a valid observation, you better take a seat…
Your business may be flourishing offline but having an online presence gives you unique opportunities that other marketing channels can’t. It also adds credibility to your work.
A number of customers report that they are more comfortable buying from businesses that have a digital presence than those who don’t.
If you’re a small business that understands the benefits of going online but can’t reap them because you don’t know where to start, we can help you with that.
Most smaller operations have a limited team therefore they avoid building their digital platforms as it is an additional task they simply don’t have time for. While it’s true that effectively managing your online presence can take extra time, we can help you save time by pointing you in the right direction.
Before you take your small business online, there are some basics you should know.
Buy a Domain and Find a Website Host
Your website is probably the most important and basic part of building an online presence as it legitimizes your business in the digital landscape. When you start to develop a website, make sure the domain name you choose represents your business. It is a long-term decision, so you need to choose one carefully.
Your domain name doesn’t need to list your service, but if you’re a new brand just starting out it definitely makes things easier when someone can see the service you offer directly from your URL.
Domain names are a lot like real estate, once someone has claimed that .com address, no one else can have it until the purchaser decides to sell it (or lets it expire).
After you’ve purchased a domain name, you’ll have to find a web host to take your website live. Your host is where all of your text files and website information lives. Choosing a web host has an impact on things such as site speed, security, and capacity.
Magnifyre can help you in this regard and assist you with all the technical parts of this decision. You can ask us about the functionality, security, costs and weigh the pros and cons of the type of website you want to opt for.
Plan Your Website Design and Structure
Before the website design goes into the conception, make sure you are clear on your creative and branding material. Your corporate font, colors and overall aesthetics of your website should be a reflection of your brand.
You want to create a consistent image that clearly communicates what your brand stands for, and how you want to speak to your customers. Continuity in your messaging across all marketing channels builds customer recall and professionalism for your brand.
When planning a website a blueprint of your site, including what and how the information should be arranged, is crucial.
The information on your website should have details on all of your services you are offering, and this information should be presented in a logical manner so potential customers have an easy time understanding what you offer.
Easy navigation of the site is critical. Don’t make your customers hunt for answers on your website, otherwise they may venture over to the competition to find the answers they’re looking for. Most internet traffic comes from mobile so having a mobile-friendly layout is a must.
Managing Website Leads and Sales
Sharing information about your business online is important, but you can also use your website as a lead generation platform. Make sure you have contact information and lead forms easily accessible for all of your website visitors. If they are on your website, chances are high they are interested in the service or product you provide.
However, security measures and handling of online leads and orders need to be fool-proof. The website should be optimized to handle traffic and incoming orders.
There should also be an effective method of collecting customer information which can be used to get in touch and market offers to them. Opt-in offers are a great idea to include on your website and will help you gauge a valuable customer base.
A number of online businesses make the mistake of overcomplicating the user journey. Don’t repeat that mistake.
You want to grow your business and make the process easy for your consumer. This means eliminating extra steps required to register on your website and purchasing from it. The easier the process, the more likely your website visitors will convert into paying customers.
Keep your website simple and focused on the user experience.
Make a Social Media Page
One of the easiest ways to establish your digital presence is by creating a social media page.
For starters, you can use Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to connect with your present and potential customers, depending on where they spend their time.
Social media can serve as the eyes and ears of your business. You can become a thought-leader among the people who follow you and if there are any grievances from your customers, addressing them through social media can be an effective solution.
There are plenty of platforms to use, but it’s more important to be active on one platform than to spread your brand too thin across many. You can experiment with a few to find out where your ideal customers spend their time, and focus your efforts there.
Social media is meant to be used for communication, having a website to send your social media followers to when they are looking for more in-depth information is incredibly powerful after the relationship has been established.
Business Listings and Third-party platforms
Some people may be interested in your products and services but may be reluctant to buy from you. The best way to build customer confidence is to have your business listed in online directories and allow present customers to share reviews.
Having a positive word-of-mouth in the form of testimonials on third-party platforms such as Yelp and Google My Business can really help your business take off and foster credibility.
Not only will these platforms help your customers make confident purchase decisions, it will also send signals of credibility to the search engines, which will in turn help you rank your site higher in their directories.
All of these added listings will ultimately make your website easier to find. SEO is powerful, and if your site is optimized for the search engines, listed on third party platforms, you can get your brand in front of a large part of the market.
Once you’re online, make it simple for your target customers to find you!
Are You Ready To Take Your Small Business Online?
Although establishing your small business online can be tricky, once you’ve crossed this milestone you’ll find yourself surrounded by numerous opportunities. An online presence is only going to increase in importance as more people get comfortable with using the internet to conduct business.
If you are ready to take your business online, or update your current online presence, Magnifyre can help. We specialize in helping small businesses create robust and effective online platforms, and offer comprehensive marketing services that are easy to scale.
See you online!