Throughout the world, businesses are choosing to transition to online because of the continued growing popularity of online shopping and other pivotal world events. Becoming familiar with the benefits of an online presence and how to manage it effectively are the first steps to getting the results you’re hoping for. Whether it’s creating an effective mobile SEO strategy or establishing a strong communication pattern with your customers, an online presence will help get the word out about your brand and drive more traffic.
What Is the Value of a Strong Online Presence?
As every industry has continued to evolve and transform, transitioning your business online is becoming more popular. We live in a digital age, and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Because of this, it’s become essential for business owners to have an online presence of some form, from a website or e-commerce platform to a social media page or a mix of all three. The online presence is essential to businesses’ success today, as the consumer market expects to see the products and services they love online. Unfortunately, with how much competition there is in every industry, if businesses aren’t online, there is a risk that a company may lose out on growing a customer base. The chances of getting the word out about your business are decreased. Choosing to transform your business online comes with many noteworthy benefits:
- Wider Customer Reach
- Increased Accessibility for Customers
- Lower Administrative Costs
- Better Promotion for Brick and Mortar Locations
- Enhanced Customer Support
- Build Stronger Relationships
- Better Showcase Offered Products and Services
- Market Your Brand More Extensively
Choosing a Platform
Once you’ve decided to transition your business online, the first step is finding and choosing the best platform based on your needs. Many different eCommerce platforms make it simple for you to conduct business over the internet, meaning you must pay attention to your expectations, business model, and program complexity. Choosing the right platform is vital as this serves as the foundation of your online store, similar to how your storefront is the foundation of your brick and mortar location(s). Take your time in choosing a platform, as this choice will help ensure you have a smooth transition into your online presence. A few popular eCommerce platforms that business owners can choose from today are:
Focus on Mobile-Friendliness
We no longer access the internet from only a desktop computer. Did you know a majority of today’s shoppers access the internet from their mobile devices? This makes it extremely important to optimize your new website for mobile viewing. If you haven’t designed your website to be compatible with different devices and web browsers, you may risk losing the attention of potential customers if they cannot navigate your website easily. Business owners transitioning online are encouraged to test the website regularly, so you can be sure it’s easily accessible and navigated on various devices.
Mobile-friendliness also plays into the user experience. When a potential or existing customer comes across your website, they expect to find what they’re looking for quickly without running into any obstacles. You are invested in the appearance of your brick and mortar location, meaning you should be invested just the same in how your store looks on a mobile device or desktop computer.
An appealing web design goes hand in hand with mobile-friendliness. There is a lot of competition on the internet today as many businesses choose to transition online, meaning perfecting the design of your website will help you stand out. If your brick and mortar location isn’t a nice place to shop, it’s likely customers won’t become frequent shoppers – the same goes for your website. Every time a potential or existing customer visits your website, they should be able to navigate from page to page effectively. Your content should also load properly, and issues should be nonexistent.
It’s encouraged to seek guidance from a web developer and graphic designer, especially if you’re unsure of where to begin in designing your website. A web developer will help build your website skillfully and ensure everything is optimally functioning at all times. A graphic designer will help you choose the best colors for your brand and update your logo, so you can look top-notch and further grow brand awareness with your target audiences.
One of the obstacles that many online businesses experience each day is abandoned carts. Shoppers will visit your website, add products or services to their virtual shopping carts, and leave their carts before getting to the credit card entry stage. When transitioning your business online, it’s imperative to focus on how simple the checkout process is. You’re likely to draw more traffic if the checkout process is easy and requires minimal steps. Customers are more likely to leave your business page if the checkout process is lengthy as they may have more time to think about their purchase, look at competitors, and more.
It’s encouraged to use the best payment service for your unique needs, as this will help make checkout quick and easy. There are many different payment portals and processing options that may be perfect for you, from PayPal and Square to Stripe. Business owners are also encouraged to take payments from various credit cards rather than just certain types. This will allow for a simple and easy process for all shoppers and ensure you’re not losing out on any business.
Choosing to transition your business online also comes with risks, but being aware of these obstacles and taking proper preventative measures will set you up for success. Unfortunately, businesses of any size can become targets of data breaches, and it’s your job as a business owner to ensure your customer’s information is protected at all times. The consumer market wants to shop with businesses that make them feel safe, meaning communicating that their credit card information is protected is a priority. Whether you seek guidance from a website security expert or choose to take matters into your own hands, creating a secure server through an installed SSL certificate is a significant first step in creating a safe customer experience.
Optimize Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Deciding to transition online opens the door for learning different ways to market your website, referred to as digital marketing. Many businesses find digital marketing to be incredibly useful, especially when used correctly. Like how a physical store will print advertisements or purchase radio spots, online companies communicate with the consumer market through different digital marketing forms. More times than not, digital marketing helps you communicate directly with your target audience and keeps bringing them back time and time again.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Paid Advertising
- Google Ads
- Social Media Ads
- Email Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
Interact With Your Customers
The consumer market is drawn to businesses they can trust, and even though you’re transitioning online, it doesn’t mean you can’t preserve the employee-customer interaction. Many eCommerce websites utilize automated robots to communicate with their customers, but did you know online businesses that communicate directly with their visitors gain more trust? Just because your business is online doesn’t mean you can’t be authentic and create a memorable customer experience.
Social media is easily one of the best ways to interact with your customers. Still, it’s essential to keep your interactions and content conversational rather than overly selling your products or services. Creating real relationships with your customers will help your following grow substantially. Aside from social media, it’s encouraged to display contact information on your website and offer chat or easy contact methods, so your customers feel heard and cared about every step of the way.
Expand Your Business Today With an Online Presence
Regardless of your brick and mortar location(s) size, transitioning your business online will benefit you in numerous ways, from reaching customers worldwide and building stronger customer relationships to growing brand awareness. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge. Instead, focus on how your business can grow with an online presence and get the results you’ve been aiming for.