No matter what industry you work in, the only thing that’s constant is change and how you move forward with your brand. This couldn’t be any truer for business owners who want to connect with consumers online and create new growth opportunities. To do this, you’ll need to bring your brick-and-mortar store into the digital world, and it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. To help make the transition easier, I’ve put together five of my top tips for moving a business online.
1. Start with a website
Firstly, you should think about creating a website for your business. You’ll need to think about the type of platform your website needs to be built on; this will vary depending on your needs and your industry.
For example, if you own a fashion business, then Shopify is an ideal platform, because it’s specifically designed for eCommerce and makes it easy to sell products.
On the other hand, if you want a website that’s content-rich then WordPress may be more suitable. WordPress is a popular platform for blogging and has plenty of helpful widgets to enhance the customer experience.
Whatever platform you choose, make sure you do your research to find what works best for you and your business.
Don’t forget, you’ll also need to choose a domain name for the website of your online store. It’s good practice to have a domain name that matches the name of your business so your customers will recognise it immediately when they search online. When picking a domain name, make sure you try to keep it short and easy to understand, plus if you’re trying to target a local audience, then .uk or .us may be most appropriate.
2. Think about how people will find you
Having a website is great, but now you need to make sure people can find you. Thinking about your local presence is a great way to get started, along with relying on referrals from others.
A great first step you can take is building a Google My Business page. This creates a free online listing for your business, that allows you to add a description and photos, along with your contact details and address, meaning people can find your business in local searches. This is great if you still have a physical presence and want to drive footfall to your location.
Another great mechanism on Google My Business is the reviews platform. Recommendations, referrals and word of mouth still work online as a great way to win new business. Make sure you are delivering exceptional service and ask your customers to leave you a review. This will help you to grow your audience and build credibility online.
3. Build a community of brand advocates through social media
My next tip is to create a social media strategy that’s linked with your website. Whether it’s Instagram, TikTok, Twitter or Facebook, social media is an easy way to connect with new customers, sell more products and drive business growth through website traffic.
Where I think social media really shines is in the power to create an online community of customers who are passionate about sharing your story. A platform that’s particularly great for this is Instagram, as you can use features such as Instagram Stories and Instagram Live to encourage people to share content that’s related to your business.
This user-generated content can be seen and shared by people who may have never heard of your brand and help to build more awareness. It’s because of this type of content that social media is such a great tool to use to reach more people organically.
If you’re looking to make a quick return from your online business, then you may also wish to consider running some paid social media ads, which will use specific demographics to target adverts at your audience.
4. Video marketing makes a difference
As part of the wider strategy for moving your business online, you’ll want to invest in video marketing. This is because video is arguably the fastest-growing content medium in the world, with 54% of consumers wanting to see more video content produced by brands.
Video is an invaluable tool for increasing customer engagement across multiple platforms and providing more context about products and services.
I recommend experimenting with short form and long form video content to truly get the most value. This could involve creating 30 – 60 second videos that are displayed on product pages to give customers a deeper understanding of your goods, or used purely for engagement purposes on Instagram Reels and TikTok.
You could also consider starting a YouTube channel and create long-form videos, which dive deep into your brand story. This will have the benefit of building a stronger connection with your audience and going into detail about your products and services.
5. Create an engaging blog to build your authority as a thought leader
My final tip is to create a blog section for your website, where you can craft high-quality articles that are relevant to your industry.
Blogging is an integral part of any content marketing strategy and for building brand awareness. In fact, 60% of consumers feel that blogs provide useful information for them early in the buying journey and help them make an informed purchasing decision.
Here’s a quick check list of what you should consider when developing a blog:
- Have an engaging title that grabs the attention of the reader.
- Clearly separate blocks of text with H1 and H2 tags for better Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
- Include short and long-tail keywords in the text to improve the chances of a blog being found in search engines.
- Use high-quality images and feature alt text as part of your SEO strategy.
- Feature a clear call to action at the end of the blog.
There are many benefits to moving your business online, which range from increased brand awareness to future proofing your business sales channels. By following these steps, you’ll be in a better position to move your company online and continue to adapt to the needs of your customers.
Claire Daniels is the CEO of Trio Media, a fully integrated digital marketing agency and Google Premier Partner in Leeds. Claire was voted as Most Influential CEO of the Year in Leeds in 2021 and also spends her time co-hosting two podcasts, The North Star Podcast and Bobble Pod.