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If you plan to sell any product or service of any kind, you should put your business online. Almost every business today has a presence on social media, email, and even their own website. Most customers aren’t going to be sitting at home to find the best deal. Nowadays, they’re on their mobile phones finding places to bring their business to, so that conversion you’re looking for can happen any time of the day. That is why your business should be online—you can reach the most people possible, and you don’t even have to spend a lot of money to establish your online presence.
First Steps: Email and Website
A business begins with an email—most email providers are free and come with plenty of storage. Most people tend to use Gmail because of its large and growing storage space. Gmail is also tied in with the social network Google Plus. Next, hire a website designer and start making your company website. Website hosting is generally affordable starting out and you should scale your bandwidth hosting as you generate traffic to your website.
One of the most mandatory steps to any business website is making it mobile-friendly. Many customers are viewing your website via mobile device—at least 58% of American adults have a smartphone, and 60% of Americans access the Internet through their smartphones. You also want to keep it simple, as customers may be overwhelmed with a snazzy website design that may look great as an art project but not as something you want to present to an ever-fickle customer base buying your product or service.
After establishing your email and website, you’ll also want to take a look at establishing yourself on social media. Making a social media profile is free, once again giving testament to the lower costs of entry when doing business on the Internet. Being on social media can help you connect with your customers, employees, others in your industry, and even investors. You should also push for a presence on all the major social media networks—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram should cover all the bases if your products and services are targeting a more general audience.
You can focus on one of them specifically once you find out who is buying your products and services. For example, if your customers tend to be working professionals or if you want to attract investors, you should try focusing on LinkedIn. If you want to reach out to influential people who can possibly promote your products and services in the future, Twitter is the way to go. Instagram generally tends to have younger customers in mind, so if you’re trying to sell to those between the ages of 18 and 35, you can focus your marketing efforts there.
You should also use analytics tools—these tools don’t cost a lot of money and you can find out who is engaging with your company more to get an idea on how to maximize revenues and have better chances at making conversions.
Establish Sales Platforms
You’ve got your website, email, and social media presence—now you need a platform where to sell your products and services. You can host an online store where customers can access your products and server—once again, make sure that it’s mobile-friendly. You can even create QR codes for your platform so that mobile devices can access it with ease. The cost to establish an online store is not cost prohibitive—smaller businesses can use these platforms at little cost and they can scale up as time goes along and sales numbers go up.
It’s About The Customer
You also want to make sure that you have great customer service that is available around the clock. With social media, this is currently possible. Word spreads a lot faster on the Internet than face-to-face, especially now with social media—and there are websites that exist where people can document poor customer service experiences.
People can repost these customer experiences (good or bad) on social media where all their friends and followers can see it—with each person having an average of 338 Facebook friends, word can travel very quickly, so make sure you answer all customers’ inquiries and make sure to solve the problems they are having with your products and services efficiently. You should also follow up—enough that they remember who you are, but not so much that you become annoying.
First Thing On Their Minds
SEO can bring your business a lot further. Do you want to be the first thing that people see when they use a search engine searching for something you sell? Making great copy that uses keywords will launch you quickly to the top of the search engines’ results. Internet advertising isn’t very expensive either, giving the small entrepreneur a chance to be on equal footing with a Forbes 500 company. If you already have a site, we encourage you to check your SEO score.
Bringing your business online is a lot of work, but it’s practically mandatory in today’s world. Conversions can happen any time of day and you will have plenty of eyes on your website, social media page, or online store, so you want to make these mobile-friendly as well. Combined with excellent customer service and SEO best practices, you can not only survive—but even thrive in the extremely competitive online business market.