Start selling online
The websites of many small businesses are effectively brochures that can be viewed on the web, but you may want to take your site from being a flyer about what you sell to actually capturing purchases and being an active part of the delivery process.
Like everything else in your business, your website has to pay its way. Opening an online store can be a powerful way for it to do that, while also improving the turnover of your business. Your web shop will be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and capable of selling worldwide.
Web shops may be referred to by a variety of names, including shopping carts, e-commerce systems, online stores and virtual stores. While the technical stuff in the background will vary, it all comes down to one fairly simple thing – being able to sell your stuff online.
Your website can collect visitors’ names, phone numbers and email addresses to feed into your customer relationship management (CRM) system and allow you to contact them in the future. This may be as simple as asking for their email address. It may also be integrated with your web shop or a separate automated process that has the capacity to deliver freebies in exchange for your visitors’ contact details.
Being able to communicate with your website visitors drastically improves the likelihood of them becoming customers down the track and allows you to stay top of mind by using email to deliver examples of your business experience.
Staying in touch with your prospects shows you care. Just make sure you stay within the boundaries of privacy and anti-spam laws.
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Right now there’s a big buzz around social media. But before you engage with your customers on Facebook or Twitter, remember that social media is what you make of it and how you participate in it. Used wisely, it can broaden the presence of your brand and promote your expertise and credibility. But done poorly, it can backfire.
Don’t do anything until you’ve spent some time thinking about your social media strategy.
Trust is everything
Like a bricks and mortar shop, your website needs to look, feel and function right. Above all else, it needs to be trustworthy.
It’s vital that you use your copy to establish your trustworthiness. Additionally, bear in mind that your site will need maintenance so it doesn’t start to look stale or present the customer with a broken, frustrating or old-fashioned experience.
Attention spans on the web are fleeting. If your website is frustrating or doesn’t “feel right” then someone else’s is only a click away.
Ideally, you should allocate funds in your budget and time on your schedule for ongoing enhancement, maintenance and even expansion of your site.
Got any other tips for newbies to the online world looking to enhance their web presence? Please share them below.