By Dmytro Spilka
The coronavirus pandemic has heralded a brief era of uncertainty where we are all looking to prioritize the safety of ourselves and others ahead of our business’s financial security. This has led to scores of companies closing their doors in the short term and setting up to operate online in order to serve people in locked-down communities.
Fortunately, we live in a time where technology has enabled countless businesses to serve their customers entirely online. While some companies are focusing on optimizing their output towards online consumers, others are choosing to offer products and services for free or at a discounted price with a plan to build databases to work with over the coming months.
There are plenty of approaches to take when transitioning your company from a brick-and-mortar entity into a full-fledged online service, and luckily today’s technology means you can be up and ready to accept digital payments in a matter of moments.
For small businesses, it’s vital that you continue to find ways to create revenue in order to stay afloat. While the act of building a presence online is relatively straightforward, it’s important to optimize your business to become more discoverable and more capable of receiving payments right away. With this in mind, let’s take a deeper look into the process behind establishing your business online:
Choose how to enter the market
The first and perhaps most important consideration to make is how you plan to enter the market. Naturally, this will depend on the industry in which your company operates. While many businesses will have their own websites, it may not be the best place for them to secure sales and win customers.
For example, if you own a restaurant that’s aiming to transition into an online business, a major boost to your sales will likely come from some form of partnership with an established online delivery service like Grubhub or Uber Eats. Whereas, if you specialize in creating quality picture frames, you may be best off listing your products on Etsy.
Remember that you’re looking to strategically enter the right market in order to attract more prospective customers. Businesses that sell competitively priced hardware are likely to stand out from competitors by making their products more readily available, and could find websites like Amazon ideal, while other high-quality brands that aim to add an element of prestige to their online presence will likely opt to create their own e-commerce store.
This part of the process requires a level of introspection. What does your business stand for? Where are your customers located? By answering these questions you’ll find some clarity on where it’s best to list your products and services.
Establish a payment service
The emergence of COVID-19 has made it necessary for businesses to sell products online. This transition calls for a solid payment service that’s capable of supporting multiple transactions and payments via different channels. Different payment systems can benefit businesses in different ways, and you’ll need to consider the pros and cons of the systems you’re looking at.
One of the most prominent payment systems available for businesses to use online is eWAY. This system is relatively simple to create, and payments can be processed within six days of establishing your business’s internet merchant account.
eWAY allows your business to accept multiple payments at the same time online as well as accept PayPal-based purchases. The payment service also has 24/7 customer support that’s accessible via phone or email if you run into problems online.
Analyze your performance
One of the most significant perks of transferring your business online is that your performance can be comfortably analyzed and improved upon with just a matter of clicks. The wealth of insights available to companies online means they can effectively run trials of new landing pages or website designs to see which ones give sales the best boosts, and they can also fine-tune content strategies and digital marketing campaigns to attract their target audiences.
There are plenty of great analytics tools available to better monitor your performance, and Google Analytics is a strong contender for best in its category. Through the data shown by Google Analytics, users can gain insights driven by machine learning to deliver accurate results. Here, it’s possible to see where your customers come from, how they’ve visited your site, and where their location is.
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Other analytics platforms like Finteza can analyze the quality of the traffic you gain and how all of your marketing campaigns are performing in terms of attracting the right customers. Tools like HotJar and Crazy Egg allow you to analyze what exactly grabs the users’ attention and where specifically they click on your website. These tools provide insightful, visual heatmaps that show you exactly how your visitors are responding to different elements on your website.
Many businesses make a fatal error ignoring the chance to analyze their performance online. If you don’t spend time monitoring the effectiveness of the ads you set up, the content you produce, or your marketing efforts, you could be wasting hours of valuable time on the wrong endeavor.
When promoting your business, take the time to analyze what effect it’s having on your desired audience. Producing a 2,000-word article in a bid to win traffic for your website may be a wise choice, but it will only work if it engages with users who will act on it and make a purchase.
Essentially, if you make sure all of your key decisions are backed by data, it will be significantly harder to make a mistake as you continue to build your presence online.
Optimize your socials
For better or for worse, the 2020 landscape is dominated by social media. As a business looking to operate online throughout the time of coronavirus, your social presence will have to be optimized to gain better exposure.
If your company doesn’t already have a presence on online platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it’s vital that you take the time to build your profile so that you can directly interact with your audience and draw them to your website or selling site. Also, be sure to leverage your platforms by creating engaging content. Different social sites benefit different businesses, so it’s worth strategically identifying which platform would suit your business best.
For instance, the pictorial nature of Instagram can be useful if your business creates visually appealing products; it would especially suit artists, florists, designers, and engineers. Twitter focuses on microblogging for global audiences and could be suitable for text-based companies in media and journalism. Facebook has a huge social presence that suits just about any organization, but it is particularly good at allowing businesses to bond with more localized audiences.
Newer networks like TikTok can be a a good way to show that you’re business is innovative; the video-based nature of the content can be great for companies within a range of industries to demonstrate their products and services.
Be sure to always link back to your website in your posts and remember to be sociable with those who interact with you. Social media is a great way to demonstrate good customer service.
The great thing about creating a social media presence is that businesses tend to get back what they put into their efforts. You can be as proactive or casual as you would like when setting up social accounts, but customers will be won over by more active accounts.
The coronavirus pandemic has created difficulties for many companies and hard-working business owners. While transitioning online may be an essential move to secure your business’s future, it’s also important to keep yourself and your employees safe. Be sure to practice caution in the decisions you make and avoid putting any stakeholders in danger. Remember to stay safe while staying profitable.
About the Author
Post by: Dmytro Spilka
Dmytro Spilka is the founder and CEO at Solvid. Founder of Pridicto, an AI-powered web analytics SaaS that enables users to forecast website traffic and set visual aims. Dmytro is a contributor for Entrepreneur.com, SEW, ClickZ, TechRadar, Social Media Today, WooRank, SEMRush, and ITProPortal.
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