Everything Small Businesses Need To Know To Go Online

With everything — right from grocery to vacation packages — being sold online, a majority of brick and mortar stores are seeing a decline in in-store sales. Many small business owners are already aware that the digital revolution is the reason behind this decline. However, they possibly have several unanswered questions and concerns because of which going through the transition themselves seems disconcerting to them. That’s why they settle for a fewer number of customers showing up at their store. But, the fact is, the best way to bolster their business in this digital era is by getting it online.

When buying is possible anytime, from anywhere, at the click of a button, the need to venture out to make a purchase is diminishing. This trend is seeing a steep rise with each passing day. This could prove to be a threat or an opportunity for a businessperson depending on how they choose to react to the situation. If you, too, are an entrepreneur, you need to consider adapting your business to these changing consumer trends and explore the opportunities that follow thereafter. This blog will give you reasons why you should get your business online without further ado.

The World Is Switching Over To Digital Technology

1. Technology has made everyday lifestyle convenient

Right from shopping to banking, from storing of information to sharing it, from networking to instant communication across the globe — digital technology has made everything convenient and easier. No wonder it is an integral part of an average consumer’s life today. Super fast internet and smartphones are accessible to practically everybody now. That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise that the first instinct of most consumers is to look up online. If you are not present at their go-to marketplace, you may be missing out on a lot of prospective sales. That’s why you need to put all your apprehensions to rest and hop onto the digital bandwagon.

2. The Internet is a consumer’s go-to library for research

The process of buying has also seen a change, thanks to technology. Today, consumers are more aware of brands and their offerings. Be it an automobile, television or even lipstick, consumers like to take an informed decision and hence invest time and effort in researching the product before making a purchase. Besides reading or watching expert reviews, they also check out what other consumers have to say about the product or brand on social media channels. 

3. Consumers like to stay in touch with brands

A majority of internet users are active on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. These channels are also an excellent platform for them to connect with businesses they are interested in or would like to stay updated with, irrespective of whether they have made a purchase from them before or not.

4. Consumers are not hesitant to make an online purchase

Shopping at a brick-and-mortar store is no longer an exciting option for most shoppers today thanks to the hassles associated with it — combatting unfavourable traffic and/or weather conditions, fuel and parking expenses, time-consuming browsing, queues, etc. On the other hand, online shopping provides more convenience, exciting offers, and apparent levels of security online (http vs https). That’s why an increasing number of consumers are willing to switch from offline to online shopping. 

Considering the fact that the digital marketplace, more often than not, offers its customers more convenience than the traditional marketplace, an increasing number of people are making purchases online. While the world is embracing technology with open arms, you cannot let your business lag behind; you need to be where your customers are. 

Why You Should Bring Your Business Online

1. Sale is possible 24/7

Your brick and mortar shop can’t be open 24/7 all days of the year; but if you have a website and social media presence, customers can visit you at any hour of the day from any part of the world. They can explore what you have to offer, shortlist what they like, and even make a purchase online. Not just that, having a website for your small business establishes credibility and earns the trust of visitors as a legitimate business. 

2. Helps boost customer relations

As an entrepreneur, you may understand how important customer relationship is. In this digital age, keeping in constant touch with existing and prospective customers is an integral part of customer relationship management. It could either be in the form of email subscription or social media. Based on their demographics or browsing history on your site, you can email relevant content to someone who has subscribed to your list. Other than that, social media is an excellent way to stay in touch with existing and prospective customers, speed up the buying cycle, and improve revenues. Also, social media facilitates replying to consumer queries, concerns, and issues. This further helps establish your emphasis on customer service. 

3. Helps keep up with competition

Irrespective of whether your rival small businesses are online or not, your business needs to go online to cater to consumers in the digital era. Making this shift will help your business keep up with the times as well as competition, both big and small. If your competitors are already online, you can observe their website and social media activities and accordingly plan and/or modify your digital strategy and campaign. If your rival small businesses are not online already, this is your chance to get ahead of them in the digital race. 

4. Advertising online can be cheaper and more targeted

Big players in the market may have the budget to advertise on television, occupy prime spots in newspapers and magazines, and advertise in a coveted spot outdoor. As a small business, these high-budget media may not have been an option for you; but online media levels the playing field for everyone. Advertising on the internet — whether it’s on social media or search engines — is very inexpensive in comparison with traditional advertising. In fact, it costs the same for everyone, depending on their chosen targeting and other criteria. Also, since you can customize the targeting as per your needs, you know that your ads are going to reach a more relevant audience when compared with the traditional modes of advertising.

We hope these reasons have psyched you enough to get your small business online. But if you, too, like many others are feeling lost on how to get started, here’s help.

How To Start Your Business’ Digital Journey

1. Be clear about your goal

Every business could have a different purpose behind going online — it could be to boost sales, to improve visibility, competitor analysis, increase brand engagement, etc. No matter what your goal is, you need to be clear about it, only then will you be able to plan and strategize accordingly, and subsequently enjoy a successful online existence. 

2. Be ready to invest

With several DIY website builders available on the internet for free, it may be tempting to try your hand at designing your business website on your own. But do not do so; our blog Build your website for free — Why it’s a bad idea for your business will tell you why. As a matter of fact, some people also believe that they can handle their website’s social media pages on their own, after all, they have handling their personal social media accounts too. However, setting up and managing a business account is different from randomly posting stuff on your personal social media accounts; you need to create an effective social media plan taking into consideration several criteria. Lastly, your website is not going to show up on search engines unless it follows SEO best practices. Thus you see, on the surface, going digital might seem easy and doable without any professional help. But the fact is for efficient website designing, social media management, and SEO, having a professional’s expertise is crucial. Else, the online reputation of your business could be at risk.

3. Be a part of the planning process

Hiring experts and trusting them to take care of the assigned job well is essential, no doubt. However, you need to be clear on the kind of image you expect them to build for your business. This is possible only if you have unambiguous two-way discussions with them. Let them know what you need, and understand from them what they can do for you. Content is crucial in websites, social media as well as SEO, after all that is seemingly you speaking for your business. So make sure your writer is in sync with your thoughts and beliefs. 

Where To Be Noticed Online

1. Website

In general, whenever someone wants to know more about a business, their first instinct is to look up for the official business website. That’s why, having a website is necessary. Here, you can provide any information that visitors may need about your business; for example: the Home page can give visitors a gist of what to expect from your business, the About Us page can talk about your business’ history and beliefs, the Contact Us page can share your address, working hours, contact details, GPS coordinates, etc. Also, a well-organized Products and Services page, replete with Filter and Sort, can ease the process of buying for a potential customer. 

2. Social Media

Social media is the second-most popular go-to for someone looking for information about a business. Many things that are possible on a website aren’t possible on social media, while the possibilities on social media cannot be matched with that on a website. No wonder both of them are equally important for a business. In fact, websites and social media are not alternatives, they are complementary to each other. Click here to know why website vs social media is an unfair comparison. 

3. Search engines

Building a website and establishing social media presence are just the initial steps to being visible online. Offline activities may help push a few people to your website or social media pages, but nothing helps as much as Search Engine Optimization does. Proper SEO measures can help search engines find your website and boost its visibility before netizens searching for businesses like yours. However, SEO isn’t a short-term exercise, it’s an ongoing process. Hire a professional who’s aware of the latest SEO best practices and who can drive your website to search engine success. 

4. Be listed 

List your basic details like name, description, address, contact details, business hours, etc. on Google My Business. These details will appear at the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP), thereby not only improving your visibility but also showing your important details to netizens at one glance. To further improve your visibility, post on local business platforms like Bing Places for Business, Yahoo! Small Business, and Yelp since they already have a fantastic presence on search engines.

5. Advertisements

Both your website and social media pages can get more traction if you advertise well. Advertising on the internet will cost you a tiny fraction of what it would in traditional modes of advertising. Increasing the number of fans, boosting sales, redirecting people to your website, and a lot more is possible through advertising on social media and search engines. In fact, you can also choose to advertise on popular apps and other websites.  

We hope this blog furnished you with all the information that you would need to get your business online. Now, hop onto the digital bandwagon without further delay and see your business flourish.

Foundous believes in working with you as your design partner so that you can focus on your business. We believe design should be uncompromising as it gives the first impression of your business. That’s why, we give your website the ideal look and feel. Most of all, we understand cashflow; accordingly, we have amortized the cost of building your website, over time, with our affordable pricing. Contact us to know how we can help with your business.