“The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
– Mark Zuckerberg, founder, Facebook
It now seems that anything you could ever desire can now be purchased online and shipped to your front door. Now more than ever, online shopping is relevant and trendy, many people opting to do most, if not all, of their shopping online.
Many small businesses, however, are being left behind in this age of the internet, and those not yet ready to take the steps to expand their online presence will lose out on a lot of money they could be making.
Whether you are simply growing your brand or planning to sell your products or services online, the internet can be a great tool for expanding your business.
But there is a lot more to going online besides getting a website and putting up content or an online store.
Here are some tips for expanding your business online.
Choose the Right Platforms for Website
Creating your website can be one of the most important steps when expanding your business online. But before you can create a stunning website that’s sure to draw your audience in, you need to make the important decision of which platform to use for your website.
Some platforms cost more money or are not intuitive to use, so making sure you do research and pick the right platform for you and your business’s needs is vital.
You also want to make sure you pick the right hosting company with an affordable plan that suits your business’s individual needs.
If you are unsure where to start, Repute PR can help you build a stunning website that will fit your brand’s specific needs.
Web Design is Important
Now that you’ve decided on a platform and web host for your website, you have to create and design it.
You don’t need a website that is professionally designed, although it may look stunning, as that can cost a lot of money that small business owners can’t afford. When starting out online, using ready-made themes, which many platforms offer, can save time, money, and look very attractive.
Website design is about more than just looking aesthetic. It’s about functionality, making sure your website is easy to navigate, making sure there is a balance between minimalism and clutter, with not too much empty space, but not so full that it feels claustrophobic.
You also want to be selective about color themes, graphics, and the overall layout of the site’s functions.
Even more important perhaps, is making sure your website looks and functions as good on the computer as it does when viewed on mobile devices. Many people use their phones and other mobile devices to surf the web, and you want to make sure when they look at your website that it looks good and is easy to navigate, or else they won’t stick around.
Use Social Media
Social media is a great way to build your brand without spending any money. There are tons of different social media platforms to choose from and creating profiles on most of them is free and easy.
You can use your social media accounts to share your website’s blog posts or bring awareness to your brand through engaging content.
It’s important to know who your target consumers are, as different audiences gravitate towards different platforms. Facebook is most commonly used by women ages 30-50, whereas TikTok is most commonly used by both men and women ages 18-29. You can look up the demographics of different social media platforms online and make your decision on which ones to use based on that information.
This goes for both your website’s blog, and your business’s social media accounts, but creating engaging content for your audiences is a great way to expand and promote your business online.
When creating content, you need to focus on engagement, consistency, and quality.
You want your audiences to engage with the content you create, which can be done by creating polls, quizzes, and contests. Interacting with your audiences can help make them feel like they matter, and that they are interacting with your business on a more personal level.
Putting out content consistently is also important. On social media, things move fast, so often you need to put out content daily to keep up and remain relevant. When creating blog posts and other such content, you may not have to post as often, but making sure you are consistent about how much you put out in a certain amount of time is key to keeping your audiences reading and engaged.
If you need help staying relevant and keeping up with the fast-paced world of the internet, Repute PR can help you to develop and distribute new content about your brand and your accomplishments with their Targeted Media Campaign Package.
Lastly, you want to create quality content, by avoiding turning your posts into commercials to sell your product, as that can be a turn-off for most audiences. You instead want to focus on creating content that is relevant to your business, adding in “calls to action” that were at all relevant, and keeping your content organic and personable.
Manage Your Brand’s Reputation Online
“Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealised, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.”
With the rise of social media, blogs, review websites, and other such digital platforms, keeping a good reputation for your company and brand is all the more important, especially when expanding online.
Social media can help you to connect with your audiences, and build their trust, but it can also be used by others to slander and spread rumors and bad reviews about your brand, which can greatly reduce the number of people who buy your product or service, and can influence people’s opinions when looking up your brand online.
It can be difficult to manage your brand’s reputation online, so many businesses turn to reputation management services to help bear the burden of maintaining a clean and healthy reputation.
Reputation management services, like Repute PR, can help you build your brand, showcase your successes in the nation’s leading news publications, suppress “bad news” in the media, control what shows up when people look your brand up online, and even recruit loyal customers to give praise to your brand through online reviews.
If you are interested in the services a reputation management company can provide, then contact Repute PR, to find out everything they can do for you and your brand.
Creating great content is important, but if nobody is visiting your website, then it doesn’t matter.
Search engine optimization has become a very relevant topic in the world of content creation, and if your website is not optimized for search engines, it can be hard for your audiences to find your website at all.
Results found on page two of Google are 75% less likely to be clocked on than results featured on the first page, and 18% of people searching are likely to click on the top result, which means your website is doomed unless you can get it higher on the results page.
There are tons of resources online that can help you learn how to optimize your website for search engines, but if you don’t have the time to invest in learning SEO, then hiring a professional to help might be a good idea.
Make it Easy for Users to Contact You
If you want to bring in more customers online, then it is a good idea to have a simple and easy way for visitors to your website to contact you. If visitors to your website have a difficult time figuring out how to get a hold of you, they may get frustrated or feel that your company doesn’t care about them.
You want to make contact information readily available all over your website and even on your social media, making sure it is highly visible and easy to find.
Be aware that if you are putting down your contact information but are not responsive to those various forms of contact, then you could be putting your business’s reputation at risk, so make sure you use contact information for emails and phone numbers that are going to be monitored and responsive.
Another way to make it easy for users to contact you is by using contact forms, which can greatly increase the fluidity and ease of contacting you on your website without having to go to a separate tab or pull out their phone.
Build Email Lists
Many of the users who visit your site will never come back again, meaning that if you do not get their email addresses, then there will be no way to contact them in the future.
An easy and cost-effective way of keeping in contact with users even after they have left your site is through their email, so building an email list is crucial. With access to their direct inbox, you will be able to announce content, services, and products, ask for feedback and increase engagement across all of your online channels.
An easy way to start an email list is by offering something for free to your potential users and consumers, asking for an email address in return. This free thing could be a product, a coupon for your products, or a free trial of some service you offer.
Improve Site Speed and Performance
In a study conducted by Microsoft, it was found that people could only focus on one thing for the span of 12 seconds in 2000, dropping to 8 seconds 15 years later, meaning that the attention span of the average person is decreasing.
This means that your website has very little time to show visitors what your business and site have to offer them in order to convince them to stay.
In another study conducted by Aberdeen Group, they found that “A 1-second delay in page load time equals 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions.”
Because of this, it has never been more important to improve the speed and performance of your website.
Depending on the platform your website is on, there may be tools to help this process, and there are tools online to check the speed of your website as well to make sure it is running fast.
Focus on Your Target Audience
You wouldn’t want to be catering to an audience of middle-aged women if your product or service is for adolescent men. You also wouldn’t want to be catering to the entire world when your product or service is niche and mostly purchased by a specific audience.
You need to have a good idea of who your target audience is, that way you can better focus and cater to them. Although you may have some consumers who are outside of the target audience, it is better, and more profitable, to focus on who your majority of consumers are.
Once you know who your target audience is, you can use this information to better create content that will interest them, use social media platforms that they use, and advertise on sites and in ways that would attract them.
Partner and Network With Other Brands
A great way to increase your profits, as well as your audience and potential consumers, is to network or partner with other brands.
Reaching out to complementary businesses and brands who are in your industry, but not necessarily competing with the same buyers, can help to get your brand out in front of consumers who may not even be aware of your brand yet.
For example, a wireless network operating company could team up with a smartphone company, each promoting the other’s products or services as complimentary for their own.
By partnering with complementary brands, you can piggyback off their consumer base, so long as you are also promoting their brand as well. It needs to be a symbiotic relationship, otherwise, it won’t work.
Reach out to Influencers
With the rise of social media, there are a surprising number of influencers out there, each on their own platform, from famous and influential YouTubers, to up-and-coming TikTok stars.
You can reach out to these influencers, either to offer sponsorship if you can afford to, or to offer a free product or service you provide, in return for them reviewing it on their channel, or mentioning your brand to their audience.
There are loads of videos on YouTube that are unboxing products sent by companies they are working with, and having influencers create engaging and fun content using your brand, products, or services, can not only help expand your audience but also show the quality of your brand.
You can reach out to creators directly, or via Facebook for Creators, and start working with influencers, but depending on how big their audience is, it may cost more to work with or sponsor them.