Starting a business online involves some steps that can help you in establishing an internet presence to set up a website, build your brand, and acquire customers.
Below are some of the steps and their purpose to launch your business online.
Create a Website
One of the very first things one has do to grow an online presence is to hire a web development company to develop a site which serves your business’s needs.
Customers interact with your website to make purchases and learn more about your company. Its presentation, including your:
- The writing on the website (like your “About Us” page)
gives your customers an impression of who you are and provides a good user experience. Websites are the bare-bones basics for doing business on the web.
Also, make sure your site is mobile-responsive (meaning that it resizes appropriately based on whether it’s being viewed from a desktop, laptop, mobile, or tablet).
Make your contact information prominent on your website. Include a professional email address ([email protected]) and a phone number — which you can set up using Google Voice if need be. If you have any product pages, make sure that your contact information is visible from those pages so that you don’t miss out on any potential leads while people are interested in your product.
Forms can either be used to collect user information, say for a mailing list (lead generation), or to allow your potential customers send a longer message to you. Here are some best practices for composing forms:
- If you want to collect an email address, incline the user to provide it with the rest of the page
- For longer forms, make the copy surrounding them to-the-p0int
- Be mindful of the appearance of the forms (color, layout, font, etc.)
One more important place to position yourself on the web is with local listings. Many people use directories like Yelp, Google+ (which also gives you the ability to be found Google Maps), Bing, Yahoo, the Yellow Pages, and the White Pages. Make sure to get yourself listed here and you’ll reach out to many more diverse customers online — including older generations who might not be as familiar with the web.
Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing
Search engine optimization or SEO is a strategy that helps your website to become more visible in search results on search engines including Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. It involves looking at search analytics and using this knowledge to alter website content, change links, and make use of other strategies to rise in the search engine ranks. Keyword optimization is very important for SEO.
Search Engine Marketing or SEM involves leveraging the search engines’ paid advertisements (like Bing Ads and Google Adwords) to raise your web site’s traffic. It is priced with a pay-per-click schema. Many consider this to be the most powerful method of increasing the effectiveness of your website — it provides a lot of traffic, and the traffic it provides are visitors who often want exactly what you have to offer (similar to organic search traffic).
However, there are many statistics to monitor and potential adjustments to be made — so often it’s best to let an internet marketing expert in the field handle this for you. A PPC campaign done well can be the deciding factor in whether your company takes off or ascends to the next level of success — make sure you pay a lot of attention to its execution.
Please contact us today for FREE consultation or call us now at 619.567.9322.
Content marketing involves the creation of content with the goal of converting visitors to customers. You can achieve this by publishing the following:
- Any other type of media
An infographic with staggering statistics from Entrepreneur claims that blogs on company websites result in 55% more customers and companies with blogs get 97% more inbound links than others.
Video marketing involves making videos for your website and hosting them on video-sharing websites such as YouTube or Vimeo. Make sure you are available to check your web page often to respond to questions and comments.
You can use videos to do the following:
- Let people get to know your brand personality
- Market your products or services
- Improve the conversion rate at your online store by offering video product presentations and video user guides
Websites can be specifically designed to “convert” visitors (meaning have them take a desired action) — gaining customers involves not only getting visitors to your website but this “conversion”. A few actions can be taken to help ensure that this happens:
- Designing special web pages for accomplishing different purposes
- Coordinating layout elements so that all distractions are removed
- Sending emails to nudge your visitors to take a certain action (such as buying an item after abandoning a shopping cart)
- Targeting the right kind of traffic
If you want to get more people involved on your website, you can use promotions, discounts, and giveaways. By giving away one item, you generate a lot of appeal by inclining people to share it with their friends and family.
If you don’t want to give your product away, consider offering a discount to subscribers of your newsletter or other promotional materials. This encourages customers to visit your website again and again.
With platforms like Vine, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and more dominating the social lives of many who use them, Social Media Marketing has emerged as a very powerful and cost-effective way for businesses to put their brands out there that allow them to interact with customers on a personal level.
Naturally, there are specific trends within social media that might lead to better marketing strategies. For instance, sending tweets containing less than 100 characters and images might yield some of the best results. I won’t discuss the best practices for each platform in this article, but be sure to do a little research on them before venturing out into your company’s marketing for that platform.
People still shop at brick-and-mortar stores for only a few reasons:
- Ability to tangibly interact with what they’re buying
- Intangible elements
- Customer service (including knowledgeable staff and the ability to follow up with any issues they’re having with what they buy).
Convenience and the ability to tangibly interact can be solved by quick (often free) shipping and free returns and that leaves us with only customer service. If we can make our customer service process as seamless as possible, we can ensure that our first-time customers become repeat customers.
And for businesses that either operate in-person in addition to their online experiences or sell services/software, customer service is still of extra importance online to bridge the gap between customer and business operator.
I hope this article has served as a good introduction to what can be done to help you get more customers online. Here at PROS we offer all these and many more services as internet marketing experts to help your business acquire market share on the internet.
Please contact us today for FREE consultation or call us now at 619.567.9322.
Deepak Wadhwani has over 20 years experience in software/wireless technologies. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Intuit, ESRI, Qualcomm, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, Nortel, Microsoft and Oracle in over 60 countries. Deepak has worked on Internet marketing projects in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange Country, Denver, Nashville, Kansas City, New York, San Francisco and Huntsville. Deepak has been a founder of technology Startups for one of the first Cityguides, yellow pages online and web based enterprise solutions. He is an internet marketing and technology expert & co-founder for a San Diego Internet marketing company.