The world is now more digital than it ever was, and more people are coming online. Offline businesses are now taking a cue from this and getting their business online in order to reach more customers.
For a small business owner, the benefits of taking your business online make the effort worth it. You get to find more customers, sell more, and expand your digital footprint.
If you're thinking of taking your offline business online, here’s a handy guide you can use to kickstart the process.
Get a website
Creating a new website might sound daunting if you do not have technical skills, but these days, there are lots of easy-to-use drag and drop tools that make it easy to create great websites.
Once you decide on the kind of website that your business needs and what you want it to look like, you can head on to platforms like Wix, Squarespace, or Webflow to get started.
If you simply want an e-commerce platform that allows you to showcase your products and collect online payments at the same time, you can try platforms like Paystack Storefront, Flutterwave Store, or Shopify.
If your website needs are niche and these platforms won't do the trick, you can hire a good developer to help you create just what you need.
Whichever way you decide to build your website, just ensure that your website is mobile and user-friendly, and is clear about what your business offers.
Have a social media presence
Social media lets you have a two-way interaction with your customers online. You can get discovered by new customers, stay in touch with existing ones, get feedback on your products/services, share updates with customers, and even handle support requests. As more people like and share your content on social media, your business can also be discoverable by new audiences and leads.
Start off by finding out what social platforms the audience you're trying to reach uses the most, the kind of content that performs well on them, and then consistently create engaging content on those social media platforms.
Use local SEO
With your business online, you can use that to your advantage and get people near you to walk through the doors of your business' physical location.
One simple way to achieve this is to list your business on Google My Business. With a Google My Business profile, when someone looks up your business or keywords relevant to your business on Google Search and Google Maps, they can easily find your business and its location.
Your business listing also ensures that they can find essential details about your business when they search for you such as website, contact information, business hours, product and service offerings. You can even ask customers to leave reviews on your profile.
Run digital advertising campaigns
With digital advertising, you can make paid advertisements on digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites, to introduce your business to new customers online. This means that you get to connect with current and prospective customers wherever they spend their time online.
Paid ads cost money and as a small business, it's recommended to start with a lean budget for this. You should take into consideration what you want to achieve; do you want people to simply be aware of your business, follow your page, visit your website or buy a service that you're offering? This will determine the best platform to use. Before you decide to try paid digital ads, speak to a digital marketer or a small business that currently runs ads, watch tutorials, and read paid ad documents on your desired platforms. Whatever you decide to do, start small, monitor your return on investment closely, and learn from any mistakes.
Create useful content for your blog
Getting found online by potential customers is easier when you share something relevant to your audience on the internet. One way to do this is by creating consistent and well-written content on a blog. This will help search engines find and rank your content better, and make it easier for your audience and potential customers to find you online. This is a long-term strategy and does not yield results overnight.
Helping your business get discovered online is a big step but it will help you reach more customers who are interested in your product. We hope these tips can make the experience smoother for you and you achieve great results.