Have you had to change what you do recently?

Small businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.  If your business has been faced with a sudden loss of revenue, you may have had to look at what you do and how you do it.

Some businesses have been able to take advantage of the mass take-up of online products and services but without a strong online presence, this can be difficult to do.  If you have pivoted your business or are considering doing so, here are five things you need to consider.

Five things to consider when launching an online business

1.      Your website is your shop

If you’ve been operating a bricks and mortar business, it’s possible that you have neglected your website or not had to give to much attention to it.

Unfortunately, if you are launching an online business, you can no longer afford to neglect your website.  Your website is now your shop.  Visitors to your site will decide with three seconds if they like the look of your business and if they want to continue exploring what you have to offer.  If within that first three seconds visitors can’t tell what you do and how you can help them, they are likely to click away.

The secret to creating a great website is to ‘keep it simple’.  We are all busy.  We’d all like more hours in the day and when we want information or we want to buy something we want to do it as quickly and as painlessly as possible.  We don’t want to have to plough through loads of information or pages to find what we are looking for.  We don’t want to use too much brain power trying to figure out what someone is offering and how it is going to help make our lives better.

Too many businesses and web designers focus on what the site looks like.  And while this is important, the most important things are your message and the user experience.  Think of your website as an elevator pitch.   The customer simply needs to know that you have something they need and you can be trusted to deliver this.

Things to do:

  • Write great content to engage and delight your customers
  • Ensure a look and feel that you and your customers will love, aligned to your brand.
  • Create a customer journey that is simple and allows customers to find what they are looking for quickly and easily
  • Make sure your site is optimised for mobile and tablet
  • Ensure your site has an easy-to-use Content Management System

2.      Your buyers are using social media

Regardless of what you think of social media, if you want to launch an online business, this is where you customers are.  It’s time to get social media savvy.  The good news is, you don’t have to be an expert – there are plenty of people who can help (us for one 😉).

You will need to be prepared though to create at least one social media account.  And, depending on the nature of your business, you should also consider other platforms.  Where you promote your business and the platforms you use will depend on where your customers are.  You will need to carry out a little research (at least) to find out which platforms your target audience are using.

Things to do:

  • Ask your existing customers which social media platforms they use
  • If you’re new to social media, don’t try and build a following on all platforms to begin with. Focus on the most popular.
  • Create the relevant business pages on your chosen platforms
  • Clearly define what you want to achieve from social media
  • Create a calendar of posts, to ensure that you are consistently posting relevant content that engages and delights your target customer

3.      Your prospects have to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they take action

The odd post here and there just isn’t going to do it.  You need to engage with your target audience on a regular basis and you need to be consistent with your messaging.  The beauty of digital marketing is that it is so accessible and affordable.  The downside of it is that it’s accessible and affordable to your competitors too.  There is a lot of noise out there and if you want to break through the noise and be heard, you need to make sure you shout louder than the competition.

That doesn’t mean posting meaningless content.  All your content should engage and delight your target audience.  It should provide value and it should reflect you, your business and your brand.

You need to build trust with your content and you will only do that if you are authentic.  Don’t try and do anything that just doesn’t feel right or comfortable.

4.      What are your prospects searching for

If you want your business to be found online, you need to know what exactly it is your customers are after and what they are searching for.  You need to understand what problem you are solving for your customers and what search terms they may be using.

Websites such as Ubersuggest and Moz allow you to search for the best keywords for business.

5.      Where do you rank in search engine results

Consider which results you click on when you carry out a product or service search.  Top three?  Top five?  Second page?  The chances are if a product or service doesn’t rank within the top 5 of a search engines results, you’re not going to click on it.

You want to be in that top ranking position.  Knowing the keywords your target audience search for and optimizing your website for search engines will help you gain that coveted top spot.  Of course, there’s a little bit more to it than that, but this will get you heading in the right direction.

Things to do:

  • Carry out a full site optimisation audit
  • Research keywords and competitors
  • Create buyer personas
  • Produce a full strategy for increasing the number of visitors to your website

If you would like any assistance with any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We’re always happy to help and specialise in helping small businesses increase their online presence.