Do you want to take your business online? Do you want to know how you can start a thriving business online to complement your offline business? Maybe you have a website, and it’s not doing as much as you want. But you know your competitors are doing well online?
It might even be that you know little about online business. Or you don’t even know how your company will benefit online. But you want to take your business online.
Let’s begin to look at your chances of taking your business online. What is the processes of your business, from customer acquisition, service delivery and customer satisfaction?
If you can break down your business into these three functions, you can begin to see how the internet may be of help to your business online.
Why Your Business Should be Online
If your business is doing well in the current structure, you might be wondering why go online? Especially when you quote these words: if it’s not broken don’t fix it. You might see those who are online as wasting their time. You may even classify them as teenagers catching fun while business people like you are busy.
But when you are confronted with significant figures of potential customers online, you may want to ask how is that possible? Facebook currently has over 1.4 billion daily active users. And. Nigeria Internet population is at 47.7 million. While Google, the king of the internet has over 3.9 billion Searches per day and 1.2 trillion per year.
Targeting potential customer with your business online is the best marketing strategy. But don’t just do it like some have done in the past. Although, it was on a wrong premise just to have a presence on the internet.
Also, everyone has the same amount of daytime, but there are different day times in different countries. Your business online will take advantage of the different time zones to operate a 24 hour service.
Now I’m not asking you to have a presence on the internet but to take your business online. That means whatever your company does offline, do it online. And we all have business to do online.
Understand How Online Business Work
Your business online should have a focus. You need to understand how business work online. There is a necessary consideration when taking your business online. One is speed. You want to increase the rate of your service to customers. You want to be able to attend to more people with the same level of satisfaction and quality.
Also, you want to reach more customers and increase your income. And you want to tap into another aspect of your business using the online platform.
But you need to know how the internet will help you achieve it all. A website is one tool that you would need. You will also need to know how to drive targeted customers to your business online using search engines.
And most importantly, you need to know what aspect of your business is adaptable to your online strategy.
The internet is primarily an information platform. People online are mainly looking for answers. Your business online has to be a provider. It’s either you are pointing people to where they can find a solution or you are providing them with the answer on your site.
What Needs are You Meeting?
Since your business is already existing, but you now want to take it online, what are your current solutions? How are you providing for the needs of the customers? And what are the current expectations of your target customers? How can you meet their expectations for your business online?
Your business online shouldn’t be another business but an extension of your existing business. And it should focus on efficiency and convenience. If you search for reasons why people shop online, the number reason is convenience. But being efficient will keep them coming back for more.
You should make your list of reasons why people would like to do business online with you. If you don’t think you know, start by asking your customers. Ask them what they would want you to provide online?
If you know what your customers want, you would be able to provide them with the best user experience. And it will help you to build the best website to serve that specific need.
What’s Your Competitors Doing Online?
It’s equally important to find out what your competitors are doing on their business online. Essentially Studying them will help you see the direction you should focus on.
However, be sure they are targeting the same customers as you before you consider their methods. And think of a better way to improve on what they are doing as well.
The most critical area to copy about your competition is how they drive customers to their site. Your online business will only thrive if you are getting lots of visitors.
Find out how much visitors your competitors are getting and the source of their online traffic. If possible, also identify the service that is more appealing to their online customers.
How Can Online Improve Your Business?
Sometimes it’s not really about doing business online but how it improves your business. It’s like when you amplify your voice with a microphone, if the people can hear you clearly without it, then there shouldn’t be a need for it.
It’s the same way with taking your business online. You have to know how it will impact your business. It’s really about what part of your business that can be improved by the internet advantage. That would help you know the focus of your digital marketing. And what you should be emphasising on your website.
That means you can focus your online strategy to making your customers do just what you want them to do. And that would help you avoid building a lame website. In fact, that should be the primary focus of your site.
For example, Uber website just helps you find a taxi. And that’s it’s primary focus. It’s not offering you products to buy or selling you adverts. So, it only helps you find a taxi and then gives you the platform to pay for it.
If you are thinking about taking your business online, then think about it the Uber way. Know your strategy and how best to implement it. Avoid building a website that is lame and unproductive.
Action Points to Take Your Business Online
Once you know what your business should be doing online, then it’s time to get online. That should be the only reason why you are taking your business online.
Here is what you need to do to take your business online:
Step One: Define Your Online Strategy
Since you already have a business offline, you won’t need steps on how to start a business. But you will need to define your online strategy. What do you want to achieve with your business online?
That should form the basis of your online strategy by providing answers to what you will be doing online. That is also what your website should be helping you do as well.
Step Two: Budget for Your Business Online
You will need money to take your business online. Don’t treat it like it’s not essential. If it cost you lots of money to start a business offline, consider this another startup business to fund.
See your website as the cost of rent. Good Office rents offline are not cheap. The same with good sites. Have the same mindset and don’t be looking for an affordable website for your business online. Unless your business website needs are not custom required.
Step Three: Build Your Website
Build a website that provides the services you want to offer to your customers. Don’t just have a site. It should be an extension of your offline business. That means it should do whatever it is that your company does offline.
It may not cost the same as every other regular website. So, you should be aware of the cost implications. It should be a significant part of your budget after marketing.
Step Four: Drive Targeted Buyers to Your Site
You have to drive customers to your website. It’s an integral part of your business online. If you invest little in your marketing, you will get little results. Treat it as you would treat advertising cost on radio, television and newspapers.
In fact, you should even treat it more highly. And don’t have the wrong mindset that online marketing is cheap. It’s not cheap, but in the long run, it can be.
However, you need to pay more attention to search engine traffic if you want to save the cost of marketing in the long run. Search engine marketing takes times and resources to build. But it’s the most lucrative online marketing investment.
Step Five: Achieve a Reputation for Your Business Online
One of the realities of the internet is that people can lose trust easily. You won’t like that to happen to your business. So, you need to build a reputation online. People need to trust in your service.
That means you should be seen to be good at what you do online. You should also seek to build testimonials and excellent customer experience. The more reputation you have online, the bigger your brand gets.
Step Six: Use Email Marketing
When people come to you, help them to keep coming back for more. And because time is precious, most people hardly remember something during their busy time. You have to opt to help them remember you.
The email is key to doing that online. That means you have to collect emails from your visitors who love your site. And keep in touch with them, depending on the kind of service you are rendering.
Step Seven: Use Social Media Well
The social media is for socialising. You have to socialise with your customers. But it has to be directly or indirectly about your business. Don’t deviate into other issues that may hurt your brand in the name of trying to socialise.
Plan your social media strategy and stick to some basic rules for your business online. And most importantly, you don’t have to be in all social media platforms. Choose only the ones that can help you achieve your goals.
Step Eight: Increase Your Income Through Backend Sales
Apart from reminding your fans about your business, seek ways to sell your product. If they didn’t close the sale online, device a backend strategy to get the transactions done.
Don’t assume if they don’t buy online they are not really interested in buying. No! Sometimes it’s because they needed more clarity but couldn’t find one on your site or don’t know how to ask.
Conclusion on Taking Your Business Online
Taking your business online should be to increase your revenue and not to add a financial burden. The strategy to go online shouldn’t be different from how you st. You should apply the same conviction, focus and investment.
After all, your business online can be making more money than your offline business if things are done rightly. But it might not happen if you don’t do it like it’s business.
I have outlined for you the steps you should consider. It’s just to help you take the steps. But you have to be entirely convinced that moving your business online is the best for you.