Why Take Your Business Online?
Whether it is starting a whole new business online or taking your pre-existing one onto the internet, building an online presence can be a daunting task. There are endless possibilities and no right answer, but with these tips, you will be starting off in the right direction.
More and more businesses are making the switch to online, and you do not want to be left behind. Having an internet presence will allow you to reach new customers and clients, reduce your operating costs and interact more with the people who access your services. Just by making this impression, showing that you are a business built for 2020, you will come across as confident and in control, innovative and imaginative.
Taking your business online opens you up to a whole new world and will allow you to expand to new people and places.
What new customers or clients will I reach?
To give an idea of the number of people you can reach with an online presence, statistics show the number of digital buyers in 2021 will be over 2.14 billion worldwide, compared to 1.66 billion in 2014. Around half a billion more people making online purchases in the space of seven years: the online market is growing.
This is the pool of customers and clients you could be tapping into by giving your business an online wing. A software company, for example, could quickly start selling their product to all four corners of the globe. A tutor who is currently only based locally could start finding clients around the country, or even overseas, if they began online and video tutoring alongside their traditional profession.
Some people feel far more comfortable online than they do in person, or simply find it far more convenient. Allowing them to access your business from the comfort of their own home helps those who are less mobile, less confident in public spaces or busier with their own work schedules.
If you are a small business based on the high street, maintaining that presence and the human element is vitally important, but there is no doubt what untapped potential there is for you online.
Will it take time?
Creating your own website is not as difficult as you might think. With easy to build blogs on WordPress or website creators like GoDaddy, you can start building your online presence straight away. They have guides to help you and online support if you need it. It will take a little bit of time to decide what design you’d like, what the angle of your website will be and what exact purposes the online segment of your business will contain, so planning is critical.
Once your website is up and running, it will be all about marketing and driving traffic towards your site. This could take more time than building the site itself, as you may want to build a strong social media following, create a regularly updated blog or perhaps print business cards to direct people towards your online product.
Increase your responsiveness
Creating a regularly updated blog will take dedicated time, research and creativity, but will be worth the investment. A blog increases the responsiveness of your business – you might answer customers’ questions in it, allow people to post comments which you can reply to or use it to give some background to your business, such as anecdotes or top tips.
If you don’t always feel like you have the time to be writing and updating a blog, it could be useful to look into guest posting services to produce content for you. It’ll take time off your hands and keep your website up to date and successful in search engine rankings.
A live chat function would give customers and clients an easier route to contacting you and if done well, quicker response than trying to call your busy office or shop.
One way you can increase your business’ productivity would be to automate more of it, helping you with scheduling, stock management and improving customer experience. This allows your workers more time to continue doing what they do best, which, in your new online business could be operating the online chat or creating communications emails to be sent efficiently around stakeholders.
Productivity and efficiency are intrinsically linked, and using the internet often makes many of your business’s tasks much more efficient. This could be faster payments, easily scheduled appointments or simply somewhere to browse all of your products and services quickly and in one place.
Reduced operating costs
Running your business online allows you to keep operating costs lower. If there is more work that can be done from home, then you may not require a big office, and you will need to travel less. With an online branch of your business, it can be easier to personalize a customer’s experience and make them feel valued. This could be with automatically issuing returning customers a discount, asking them to join your mailing list or getting them to fill out a survey telling them what it was they liked about your business.
This, in turn, encourages them to keep coming back. The more returning customers you have, the less stress you will experience when trying to attract new ones. It will cost you nothing to gain this sort of valuable insight into your clients and customers minds while encouraging them to be loyal to your brand.
Never miss a beat
With a bit of work, your business can start operating on a 24/7 basis. This allows you to tap into business in different time zones around the world and allows your business to keep working for you even when you’re taking time off working on it.
When your business grows, and you want to tap into overseas customers, being online will help you hire employees in other countries to work the hours you are asleep and keep your company responsive and welcoming every minute of the day.
Taking your business online is bringing your business into the modern age. You will be able to interact with new audiences; expand your brand and increase the amount of time your business is operating. This will, of course, take time, and you may not get it right the first time, but it has never been easier to make a start.
Operating in more countries will increase your reputation and revenue, while still providing a platform from which you can value and interact with your existing customers.