There's been an ongoing steady rise in the number of retailers selling products online[i] even before Covid. So, if your business doesn’t already have a web presence, now may be the time to consider it. Some operate solely online, while others are bricks-and-mortar businesses that also offer products and services via their websites.
The Internet has transformed marketing opportunities for small businesses. Regardless of sector, product or service, digital should be at the heart of any marketing activity.
How to create a website
If you want to avoid the cost of a web designer, it's easy to design and build your site using tools such as Wix and Wordpress. For retailers, another option is to sell your products through an established online outlet, for example, eBay or Amazon.
Having an online presence allows you to communicate with customers collectively, for example sharing information about opening hours, products or appointment availability.
Is your site Google-friendly?
If you already have a website, now is an excellent time to review its content and functionality. Is it Google-friendly, for example? With the right information, your site is more likely to appear higher up the list when people search for you online. This is called SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
How to get customers online
Running a business can leave little time to focus on managing your website, and not everyone can be a Google expert. This doesn't mean your business can't benefit from being visible in search results. Here are some tips and tools to achieve this.
Online business directories and listings sites can drive potential customers to find your business. Benefits of featuring in these directories include:
- Reasonably low-cost
- Customer reviews and ratings
- Trade specific versions available, i.e. Checkatrade.com
- Google-friendly and SEO optimised.
As the most used search engine with almost 85% of the world's searches,[ii] Google has a useful tool called Google My Business. This can help your audience find you online and read reviews about your work.
Another way to feature in Google's results is to run advertising campaigns, pay-per-click (PPC). When a potential customer searches for something your business offers, your advert appears at the top or side of Google's search results, depending on the bid you've placed. If they click on your ad, you pay a fee, but hopefully, the click will lead to a sale.
As well as including key phrases and words relevant to your products, making your site easier to browse on mobile devices is also looked on more favourably by Google.
Understanding how people are interacting with your website
With all this focus on improving your online presence, wouldn't it be useful to know who's using your website, and more importantly, what they're looking at when they visit? Google Analytics allows you to understand your customers and how they're interacting with your website.
Whether your business is already active online, or perhaps you're looking to embrace new digital marketing opportunities, these are just a few ways to strengthen its online presence.
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