Not only is it relatively simple and cheap to get your small business selling online, it’s also good for your profits.
If you’ve gone so far as to get your small business up on the web, but you haven’t gone beyond promoting your existence, then you’ll want to find out what else is possible for you. How can you and should you get into selling something directly to consumers?
Not only is selling your services or products online going to help grow your bank balance by introducing you to potentially thousands of new customers, but you can also develop your business into areas that you may never have considered.
Whatever you sell, there is most likely a way to sell it or promote it online. There is also the chance to get started with a new line of products that you may not have known were a possibility for your business – info products and online products. Being a business owner, you have specialist knowledge. Whether it’s specialist knowledge of your local area or specialist knowledge of your own products, you’ve got something that people want. If they want it enough, they will pay you for access to it and you’ll be pleased with the financial results. These can make the best of your specialist knowledge that you may have invested years into gaining. It’s time to get rewarded for your efforts.
If you don’t already have a website that you can use for your small business selling online, then consider following through with my guide on how to get a WordPress blog installed on a website host company.
Go to where your customers are
Most people know that the most effective marketing can come from going where your customers are and promoting to them. Most of your customers are now online. Adults in the UK were online for 9 hours a week in 2005, according to Ofcom in 2017 that grew to 25 hours per week. They are also spending almost one fifth of their shopping budget on the web.
However, with over half of UK small businesses not having got a website – according to a study created by GoDaddy and RedShift Research, there’s a lot of room for development. In a study, they gave reasons such as not having enough time to considering it to be very expensive.
What those small businesses don’t know is that it’s very affordable, and can cost just a few pounds a year to get a virtual shop or stall. To learn more about what’s involved, here’s what you need to know:
Select the right place for your small business selling online
There’s somewhere suitable online for every type of business. The first consideration is to understand what’s going to suit your business best. Some businesses don’t even opt to go with having their own website, but set themselves up in the online marketplaces such as Etsy, Amazon, eBay and Notonthehighstreet.com.
Businesses can also find success by operating in the social platforms of Instagram or Facebook. Facebook is a very powerful tool for any small business. Not only will you find over 2 billion people on it, but it’s also possible to do some incredibly targeted marketing. You can zoom into find your ideal market and appear in their newsfeed.
Many businesses started out with running a blog, and have grown into so much more. For example, the sewing products company, Tilly & The Buttons now sells online courses, sewing kits and clothes. You may also promote yourself by listing your business in online directories such as Yelp or Yell.
You don’t have to be a complete techno-geek to build a website
Even the most techno-phobe of business owners can get online easily with a great looking website using sites such as WordPress. Their drag and drop interface makes it easy to build an attractive online hub. It’s possible to use one of the website templates that they offer or get something pre-made from somebody such as Beautiful Dawn Designs.
Once the core website is set up, adding extras such as the powerful email service offered by ConvertKit and an ecommerce platform such as Shopify can be done by adding third-party plug-ins.
You may consider using a website builder for it’s tech department services that ensure sites stay operational and are well optimised for search engine’s such as Google and Yahoo to bring them back to those who are looking to buy from businesses like yours.
Be mobile friendly
It’s essential that any website you build is easy to access and navigate from mobile devices such as iPads, other tablets and smart phones. This will also help with staying on the favourable side of Google. To make the most of the time that visitors spend on your site, you will ideally use calls to action, show them where to find you on social media and provide them ideally with regular fresh information in the form of images and blog posts.
It’s also wise to demonstrate your credibility and authority by advertising any memberships you have with accredited industry bodies. By installing a mailing list or newsletter sign up, you can then build your own database of customers to promote to. This will cut back on advertising costs overall and you’ll have a group of engaged prospects who want to hear from you.
Sites such as Petite Anse Hotel (owned by a Brit in Grenada who is one of my clients) or Jimmy’s Iced Coffee are examples of great small business website that have been well thought out and have all the features you need to encourage visitors and retain them in your email database. They also do their own small business selling online using a combination of promotion methods and tools.
Maximise your SEO potential
The best way to get clarity on which keywords to use is to ask your customers what they would type into Google to find you. By installing Google Analytics, in tandem with a keyword tool such as Jaaxy will help you to understand where your visitors are coming from so that you can expand on successes. Jaaxy is a great keyword tool and I find it the easiest and fastest way to choose the best keywords to get found in Google. This will be what makes all the difference with the success of your small business selling online.
Accept online payments
If you opt to build your website with WordPress (the most popular website template and one that is very versatile) then you can use plug-ins for payment. For example, you can add PayPal buttons where you need them to be and it’s PayPal who would then hold the responsibility of ensuring that all data collected is safe and secure.
A blog brings your business to life
It’s important to run a blog on your site as it brings your business to life. Remember not to sell on a blog and write about what your customers want to know about, and you’re on the right track.
Socialise your business
Utilising social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram can give you the platform you need to build your following. By having Google Analytics installed, you can get a good idea of where people are visiting your site from and you can then focus on what’s working for you.
Know your legal and data protection obligations
In addition to connecting to your prospects in a friendly manner, you do need to be aware of adding some legal information to your site. Start with your business’s terms and conditions and ensure that your prospects can see that you adhere to the rules of Consumer Contracts Regulations. You can download legal templates from Clickdocs.
Do check out your peers and competition to see what terms and conditions they are using. If you are going to handle a lot of data, then you may need to consider legal requirements. However, most small business selling online is low in data, especially if you use PayPal for your payments.
Have you got your small business selling online now? What’s been your experience and what tools do you suggest others should use?
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