Put your best foot forward online
Taking your small business online is a great way to reach customers and build your brand. Here are some tips and best practices to guide you through the process.
- Keep it simple. Customers stay longer on user-friendly sites. Most customers will decide whether they want to browse and purchase within minutes.
- Embrace the digital storefront. Customers want the convenience of making purchases directly from your website from the comfort of their own home or on the go with their mobile phone. To set up a digital storefront for your business you can use a website solution provider, which takes the hard work out of selling online.
- Enable site search. Customers expect to be able to visit a store and search for specific things like “blue women’s shoes.” Showing the most relevant products will greatly increase the likelihood that they’ll make it to checkout.
- Content is key. Plan out what people will see and do when they visit your website. Many site visitors will not want to buy right away so give them reasons to visit and stay other than to buy.
- Include how-to guides. How-to guides and project templates help customers plan a project related to the product or service you sell. You may not get direct sales immediately but, keeping customers engaged and online means they will keep returning to your website.
- Start small, then expand. Nail the basics first: products, services, hours, offerings, testimonials, and contact information. Features like subscriptions, bookings, and memberships may come later, unless they’re the focus of your business.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is another excellent way to promote your business online and help you reach more customers. And best of all, the costs are fairly low and the upside potential is high. There are plenty of brands that excel at social media. Whether it’s clever writing, inspiring images or short informative videos, social media offers a range of possibilities for small businesses to reach new customers and keep current customers engaged.
Choose the right social site for you
No two social media platforms address the same customer base. For example, businesses that sell to other businesses may see better results from a business-focused social media service. Businesses selling visually appealing products to consumers may prefer a platform set up for sharing photos.
Make the most of your time by posting when your customers are online
Experiment with different times. Each audience is different. For example, some customers may browse social media more during commuter hours or lunch breaks.
Identify clear objectives and build metrics to help you gauge your success
If your objective is getting the word out about your business, then having 30,000 people share your posts is great progress. If you’re using social media to drive sales, then new inquiries about your product, like ‘where can I get this?’ is a performance indicator that really matters.
Test, review and learn
Periodically check which of your posts are more successful. Most social media platforms provide a dashboard that shows which posts get the most views, likes or shares. Once you’ve identified the successful patterns, build a theory for why they were successful—then test your theory with more posts.
Be yourself: Harness your company’s personality on social media. Focus on what makes your business unique. Authenticity rules on social.
Use Smart marketing methods
One of the best ways to promote your business is to take action using time-tested marketing methods. If you’re on a budget, offering free samples, posting free listings on business organization websites and sending emails to your customers are great places to start. To start attracting new customers, try these simple tips.
Offer a deal
By offering a special deal, you can increase sales while making customers aware of a certain product. Limited-time offers like free shipping or 10 percent off for new customers are great ways to reach new people and increase sales. You can also use ongoing promotions, like free samples, to attract new customers. Offering a one-time discount to customers who sign up for your email list is another way you can increase sales and connect with your customers. Learn more.