Any profitable and smooth-running business nowadays is running online.
Whether it be to increase your sales, provide consultation or offer informational services, there is something that the internet has that no other form of marketing has; accessibility.
According to the Internet Database, there are over 3.5 billion daily active users of the internet – that’s half of the world’s population which have the potential of seeing what you have to offer for them.
Use this potential and utilize it to the best of your ability.
#1 Get a Navigable Website
If you haven’t got the skills to pay the bills when it comes to website design, leave it to a professional.
Those who have become more au fait with the tricks and trades of the internet over the years can easily pick out a website that has been put together using a website builder rather than core knowledge of HTML, CSS and any other coding language that can be merged together to create something beautiful on your screen.
You need to hit the demographic that your business appeals to; if you are aiming at younger people then bright colors and slogans will be a hit with fun activities, whereas those who are older and are looking for information will appreciate a sleek design that is easy to look around and find what they need quickly and efficiently.
#2 Database Management and the Capture of Leads
To see who is visiting your website, you could have their data analysed with a database management system.
These can come in many different forms, and it’s the idea that you need to capture your visitor’s information while they’re there with something that they are interested in that you need to focus on.
So maybe you could exchange their information for an offer, or have them sign up to a VIP club on your website which collects the personal information that they are willing to give.
You can then use this for further advertising and contact. It may just be their email address and age, which gives a great lead for birthday contact from your business, or it could go further than this and you could have their full address.
Depending on which database management system you opt for, it can usually compile a report for you full of the collated information with a detailed look at the demographics of your visitors. It’s a pretty useful tool.
#3 The Comeback – Blogs, Events, Competitions
You will need something on your page to keep people coming back.
Once a customer or visitor has information, that’s that – they have no more need to be on your website. Keep them returning by putting on offers and promotions that only last until a certain date, or have a great blog that you keep updated.
It may be worth hiring a copywriter or having a series of knowledgeable guest bloggers writing on a variety of topics each week. At the very least you could have an events page letting your customers know what’s happening with your business over the coming year.
That way they can prepare themselves for anything that might pique their interest.
#4 Backup your work with dedicated IT service
While on the subject of websites and database management, it is worth noting that you should be investing in IT services to ensure that everything is running just as it should.
No longer do you need an IT guy sat at the back of the room all day; you can now outsource and hire remotely, with any IT service being able to detect any downtime, crashes and lag using installed software.
They can usually fix the problem before you have even noticed that it’s happened. It’s definitely added peace of mind should anything go wrong.
#5 Utilize Social Media
If you haven’t got several different social media accounts for your business, you need to start signing up now.
There are six core brands of social media – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, Google+ and LinkedIn – which are there to be taken full advantage of.
They offer a free service with great outreach to both potential and existing customers. There are different formats for each one, and ‘rules’ that you need to follow in terms of marketing to capture the attention of those who are lurking on their own feed – these range from the time you post, to how often you post, to hashtags used and more.
There’s a lot to take in but you could incorporate it into your daily work routine with an app like Buffer, which allows you to predetermine the content of the posts and the time they go up, or hire a social media manager to take the stress away from you and provide a dedicated online presence on these forums.
Again, this is a job that can be outsourced, so is great for your business if you’re a one-man-band working from home.
Keep the online presence relateble to those who are visiting; people don’t like interacting with a robot, so make sure to keep in mind that your customers know it’s a human behind the tweets/updates with personability.
If you want to be a successful and thriving business in this day and age, your company does not have a say in the matter in whether it’s going online or not – it just needs to happen.
Don’t delay in getting yourself involved in this massive outreach. There are free ways to promote your business including SEO and link affiliation, hitting up a free press release and jumping in on topic threads on forums to offer advice linked back to you.
Take advantage of everything the web has to offer you; it is the biggest tool that you will possibly ever have to be able to engage with potential customers all over the world.
With all of the free ways to advertise yourself, it is not something to be dismissed lightly; the more your online presence grows and the more traffic that is heading over to your website, the more you should see your sales grow.