Taking Your Business Online Requires More Than A Web Site
Did you know that there is one situation that is all too common these days? Get rich, quick schemes. People hear about the Internet and that people are making money on it and immediately want in. They also buy into all the online scams claiming you can make money overnight (spoiler: overnight success is nearly impossible, even online). But, because they buy into the hysteria and intrigue, they head over to their computer, spend a few minutes trying to figure out how to turn the darn thing on, and then create a single website that does nothing but mark their territory and make them look old. This kind of “Internet marketing” is as effective as writing your company phone number on the wall inside a public bathroom and waiting for the phone to ring.
Obviously, making an offline business successful online takes a lot more work than that. That’s why the search engine optimization industry even exists. If all you needed to rank and increase sales was a page hosted on Geocities, we’d all be making a lot more money than we currently are, but it’s not. Developing an online presence actually takes work. And more than that, sometimes it requires that you have an entirely different skill set than you currently do.
Running a business offline is very different from running one online. Your customers are different. They have different needs. You have to market yourself differently. You have to provide support differently.
If you’re getting ready to take your business online, you have to realize these differences and work towards addressing them. In the article, Bruce mentions that websites need to actually be developed. You can’t just throw up that single page and think that the search engines are going to take notice and rank you as an expert. You have to create an authoritative site, one that meets both the needs of users and the search engines. And it’s very likely that if you’re running an offline business and selling products, that web development isn’t a skill you possess. When that reality hits, it’s time to hire out. You could take the time to learn how to do it, but who’s going to run your offline business while you’re doing that? You can’t do it halfway. If you’re going to take your business online, you have to entrust it to people who know how to do that.
You have to create a website that builds trust and that will serve to answer customers’ questions 24 hours a day. This is something I’ve seen a lot of offline companies forget. And it’s understandable. They’re used to dealing with customers face to face. They can sense their reactions and alter their sales pitches appropriately. They can answer any questions they may have at the moment. They can let customers hold and touch and feel the product so that they get a sense of what they’re buying. None of this is available on the Web. So you have to address these concerns and offer the same visuals with words images, and videos about your product. You have to describe your product, explain how it works, and how it will help them and make their lives better.
You have to find out where your customers are on the Web and how they search. Just because you take your site online doesn’t mean you’re suddenly targeting everybody. You’re not. You’re only targeting the people who would be interested in what you offer. But it takes knowing who those people are how they think, and what words they use when they search.
You have to earn your attention. In real life, you get attention because people pass by your store on their way to work. Your business is located on their street or in the local mall or because your ads run in the local paper. On the Internet, you’re not just competing with those in your area; you’re competing with everyone. If you don’t know how to market and position yourself in that new sea of competitors, you’re dead in the water. If your site doesn’t rank for the terms your customers are going to use to look for you, you may as well not even have invested the time in creating a website. If they can’t find you, you don’t exist. Being online takes a new kind of research.
Your online business is more than just your offline store copied and pasted to the Web. To do it right, you have to pay attention to and address the limitations that come with interacting with a Web site instead of a salesperson inside a store. That may mean hiring people with different specialties than you, spending a few months testing designs, or taking the time to really “sell” the products on your site through your content. Do that, and you’ll be rewarded with a booming online business. Fail to give your site the attention it deserves, and the online counterpart to your brick-and-mortar doesn’t stand a chance.
Ready to take your business to new heights online? Embrace the power of SEO and let our agency guide you through creating an authoritative site that builds trust, engages customers 24/7, and earns the attention your business deserves.
The global digital marketplace provides vast opportunities for growth and resilience. As an expert in this field, I will guide you through a whitepaper-style article that addresses the intricacies of successfully taking your business online.
- Understanding the Landscape:
Before you dive headfirst into the digital realm, it’s crucial to comprehend the online business ecosystem. This includes knowing your target audience, competitors, and market trends. Conduct in-depth market research to identify your niche and potential customer base. This will form the foundation of your online strategy.
- A Strong Digital Presence:
Your online presence starts with a user-friendly, responsive website. Invest in a professional website design that aligns with your brand identity and offers a seamless user experience. Ensure your site is optimized for search engines (SEO) to increase visibility and attract organic traffic.
- E-commerce Platform Selection:
Choosing the right e-commerce platform is paramount if your business involves selling products. Evaluate options such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento, and select one that suits your business requirements, budget, and scalability.
- Secure Payment Solutions:
To build trust with online customers, implement secure payment gateways. This includes SSL certificates, secure payment processing, and clear privacy policies. Security is non-negotiable when handling online transactions.
- Content is King:
Creating valuable, informative, and engaging content is essential for online success. Develop a content strategy that includes blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media updates. Consistent content creation attracts visitors and builds your authority in the industry.
- Social Media Engagement:
Leverage the power of social media to connect with your audience. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X.com can be invaluable for brand promotion and customer interaction. Tailor your social media strategy to your target demographic.
- Email Marketing:
Email remains a powerful tool for online businesses. Build a robust email marketing list and create compelling email campaigns. Personalization and segmentation can significantly improve conversion rates.
- Online Advertising:
Consider investing in online advertising, including pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and social media ads. These can quickly boost your online visibility and help you reach a broader audience.
- Customer Service Excellence:
Online customer service is crucial. Ensure that customers can reach you easily and provide prompt, professional support. Reviews and ratings can significantly impact your online reputation.
- Analyze and Adapt:
Continuously monitor your online business’s performance through analytics tools. Track website traffic, conversion rates, and customer behavior. Use this data to make informed decisions and refine your strategies.
Transitioning your business to the online world is an intricate process, but with careful planning and execution, it can be rewarding. Remember that success may not be immediate, and adaptation is vital. By embracing the digital realm, you open up new avenues for growth and resilience in an ever-changing business landscape.
Step-by-Step Procedure: Transitioning Your Business to the Online World
- Conduct comprehensive market research to identify your target audience, competitors, and market trends.
- Invest in a professional, user-friendly website with SEO optimization.
- Choose an appropriate e-commerce platform for your business.
- Implement secure payment solutions for online transactions.
- Develop a content strategy that includes blog posts, videos, and social media updates.
- Engage with your audience on social media platforms relevant to your business.
- Build and utilize an email marketing list for targeted campaigns.
- Consider online advertising to boost visibility.
- Prioritize exceptional online customer service.
- Continuously analyze and adapt your strategies based on performance metrics.
This article was updated on December 1, 2023.