The digital age has been a revolution for businesses of all kind. With the pace of change happening so quickly, you need to make sure you are on top of current trends or risk falling behind the crowd. Many businesses have now moved solely online, while for others the main marketplace has significantly shifted. When people are looking for a product or service, their first port of call is often a Google search.
All of this change means that a host of new opportunities have opened up. But with these opportunities, have come challenges. Here are a few things to think about if you are in the process of starting an online business, or if your company is looking to do more online.
Get the Website Right
Even if your business already has a pretty good website, the speed of development means that it could easily start looking a little tired after only a couple of years. With so many web developers available now, try to find one that can make a site with all the functionalities you require. As your site is being built, you also need to consider your business cyber security. Whereas some sites merely act as a shop window, others need a selling function as well so make sure to look at the designer’s previous work.
Think about how you would like your site to function – whether it will be clean and simple, or full of animations and exciting features. When it comes to written content, sometimes more is less. You have to consider that people will only be on your site for a matter of minutes, so you really have to hold their attention in this time. On your homepage, stick to big and bold statements. You’ve always got room to tell them more on the rest of your site once they delve in deeper. Your content should also be SEO friendly, focusing on particular keywords. There is plenty of advice available online about how to write good content. Also, make sure your site is easy to navigate and your contact details are always clearly on display.
In terms of the photography, it’s always a nice idea to take some pictures of your own or have a professional take them. This gives more of a personal touch. Also consider having some video content as this can be a good way of holding the attention of visitors to the site.
After you have created your site, you need to think about the fresh content that you will be adding to it on a regular basis. Your blog page provides the perfect opportunity to write about relevant topics to your industry. Rather than constantly writing promotional pieces, try to engage with relevant news articles, solve problems by offering guides or shout about anything new in the business.
The main idea is that this should all be sharable. Try to say something different that will make you stand out from the crowd. Creating fresh content on a regular basis has been found to be one of the most important factors in boosting your search engine ranking. As well as blogging for your own site, try to contribute guests posts on other reputable blogs. Getting backlinks to your site is another important factor when it comes to SEO.
Many businesses have social media but simply don’t know the best ways to utilise it. One of the main clues is in the name: social. It should act as an instant communication portal between you and your clients. Facebook and Twitter are the best places to start, but consider setting up an Instagram and Pinterest account too – particularly if your business is a visual one.
Make sure to update all your accounts on a regular basis. Nothing looks worse than logging onto an account that hasn’t been updated in several weeks or months. People are much more likely to unfollow you. As well as posting your own content, try to engage with other businesses or bloggers who work in your field. Respond to all comments you receive to show you are active and care what your customers have to say.
Email marketing is another tool that has proven to be effective, but you have to get it right. Try to avoid sending any more than one email a week as people hate to be spammed. It is likely that they have already subscribed to a number of other services so you have to work out ways to get your email opened above all the rest. This starts with a particularly catchy title. Sometimes it’s okay to make it salesy, but only if you have something specific to shout about. This works particularly well with limited time offers or competitions you are currently running.
Once they have opened the email, you want them to actually read what’s inside. Many people only give the content a quick scan, so you really need to draw them in with strong headlines that are easily readable. Again, this is a case of less is more. This goes for the design too, which should be simple and clear.
If you have recently started a new business and are still waiting for the true effects of SEO to take hold, pay-per-click advertising helps to get your business noticed straight away. Although this represents an initial cost, it has the added benefit of being fully trackable so you can analyse your results. Try to experiment with different keywords and different sales approaches to find out which work the best for you. The biggest challenge remains to minimise the amount or irrelevant clicks you are receiving which is really a case of trial and error.
These tips should help you boost the presence of your business online. It is worth trying out a combination of techniques to see what works best for you. With the speed of technology, this is something that should be constantly on review as you adapt to the rapidly changing times.