4 Best Practices for Taking Your Small Business Online
If the covid-19 pandemic taught business owners anything, it’s that it pays to be online. The world was undeniably moving in a digital direction pre-pandemic, but the crisis accelerated this shift and many businesses were forced to go online almost overnight. As a result, speed, rather than precision, was understandably of the utmost importance. Now that the world is slowly recovering from the pandemic, it’s time for business owners to consider making certain changes permanent and employ best practices going forward. Here’s what to do.
1) Be Visible
Customers cannot buy from you if they don’t know you exist, so shout about your business online!
You need to make sure that your website is as easy to find as possible and establish a social media presence across a range of platforms. You should aim to post as often as possible because each new piece of content is a chance for a prospective customer to discover your business.
You may want to consider some pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to get the ball rolling. The great thing about PPC ads is that they are super targeted so you get a maximum ROI. If you’re struggling with SEO, it is worth hiring an expert to make sure that you are showing up as often as possible in Google searches.
2) Make Use of Your Website Data
Your website data can help you create more precise and effective marketing campaigns to maximise sales. It can help you identify which social media platforms are sending the most leads your way, which content resonates with your audience and identify other useful customer behaviours. This in turn will help you to ensure that you are targeting the right people with the right strategy at the right time.
3) A Fast and User-Friendly Website
You would strive to create a great in-person customer experience and the same rules apply online. It should be fast and easy for your customers to buy from you, so make sure that your website offers as pleasant an experience as possible.
If your site is too complex, users won’t hesitate to defect to a competitor. An outdated or unprofessional-looking website will also put off prospective customers; a study from Blue Fountain Media found that 81% of people think less of a brand if its website is not up-to-date and 39% of users would then hesitate to buy a product or service. Meanwhile, 43% of respondents said that ease of use was a top priority for their online experience.
Speed matters greatly in e-commerce, too. A report by Website Builder Expert found that 1 in 4 visitors abandon websites with loading speeds longer than four seconds and that a one second delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16%. In the digital world, every second really does count.
Some ways to improve your website speed include:
Using a quality web host
Repairing broken links
Using a Content Distribution Network (CDN)
Using browser caching
4) Grow Your Email List
Growing your email list is important because the more email addresses you have, the more leads you can nurture and reach out to with new information and offers. The Data & Marketing Association found that businesses can expect a $42 return for every dollar spent on email marketing, so start growing your database as soon as possible.
There are a number of ways to grow your email list including:
Downloadable freebies, such as ebooks
Quizzes and surveys
Encouraging customers to register at checkout
As the pandemic dust slowly settles, business owners should prioritise these best practices. After all, there’s no point in being online if you are invisible or your website is so slow that it drives customers away. We are undeniably doing business in a digital age, so it’s important to adapt to the online dimension and make the most of these changes.