We live in what is being called the “Digital Age”, and that impacts all areas of our lives. Business, communication, education, it’s all been impacted by technology. This month I have been giving you tips on starting and owning your own business, so today I wanted to touch on business in the digital age, and how best to conduct your business online. This post goes over the basics, so if you have any follow up questions, comments or tips, I’d love to read them in the comments below! I also encourage you to ask people who have knowledge in this area if you need help. However, I have created a crash course on the basics here.
Create a Home Base Online
First and foremost, your customers have to be able to find you online. This means you need to set up a website. The easiest way to do this would be to outsource to a web developer, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s not to say that you can’t do it yourself though. I am going to give you a few tips here, but you should definitely research it more on your own.
- Brainstorm a wireframe. A wireframe is simply the path your customers will follow on your site. The key thing here is making their path logical. For example, if someone wants to find out more about WealthBuilders on our site, they would click the “WealthBuilders” tab. We want this to give them an overview of what WealthBuilders is and what we do. We will have another page for partnering with WealthBuilders, and another one for events that WealthBuilders hosts. These are all pages that will be under the WealthBuilders tab. If you scroll to the bottom of your post and enter your email, I will send you a link to my resource library. There, I have uploaded a sample wireframe chart that you can fill out for your business.
- WordPress is a great place to start. They are incredibly easy to work with and have great customer support. There are also tons of resources out there on how to start your WordPress site – just google it!
- Upload good content, which included content your customers need to know. Tell the customer a little about your business – why you do what you do, the services you offer, why you’re better than competitors, etc. Content is received well visually, so consider putting this in a video, and include pictures if you can. Make sure to write your contact information and hours of operation – and make this information easily accessible! If you have testimonies from customers, make those apparent! You want to add valuable content and a store if you sell products, but we will get to those later.
Create Valuable Content Online
When your company goes online, you want customers to visit it over and over again. In order to do that, you must create valuable content. This can be hard for some people to figure out but think about your value proposition on your Business Model Canvas. Do you provide teaching/training? If so, a blog might be right for you! That’s what we do here. Here are some other ideas for valuable content adds:
- Video Content
- Forums or Discussion Boards
- Free eBooks
There are many ways to create value for your customers online, so consider which ones are right for your business.
Make Products Available Online
This is huge. Customers are no longer interested in getting into their cars, driving to a store, and picking up what they need. Most people would rather get online and shop from the comfort of their couch. You have to put your products online to make great sales. Again, this is a huge topic that could be written about in several blog posts by itself, so I am just going to list a few tips here:
- Provide informative descriptions. You want to entice your customer to buy your product, so why is it going to benefit them? Bring out your inner wordsmith and give them all of the information they need to make a confident decision to buy your product. Make it clear why your product is better than competitors.
- Publish reviews. Social proof is one of the biggest factors in customers deciding to buy your product online. If your product is good, your customers will let you know. People love that validation. They know with reasonable certainty that your product works.
- Ship fast. Most customers expect their packages within 5-12 business days, but if you take too long, they aren’t likely to buy from you again. Of course, this depends on where your business is located, where your customer is located, and the shipping company, but just be mindful of the time it takes.
- Include a personal note. I like to include a personal note anytime someone buys something from my website. It is a personal touch they wouldn’t get at a retail store, and I love to connect with my customers. Something personal can only increase their view of your business.
Again, this is huge. This is something a lot of people in my generation struggle with. I have girls in my office that work on this, which is why you should hire to people’s strengths, as I talked about in this blog post. They have given me some insight to share with you today because people cant connect with your business if they don’t know you exist.
- Social Media. This is the place that most people start, and it is a great way to get your name out there. It is also a great way to connect with your customers on a more personal level, as they can leave comments and ask questions. There are so many resources on how to use social media for your business properly, and I encourage you to research on your own. Some tips that we can give are creating valuable content (what your customers want to see from you), making it aesthetically pleasing (use a similar color scheme, font type, good quality pictures), and always respond to followers promptly!
- Email List. Your email list is your ticket to online success. These are customers that are invested in your company; they want to hear about your events, and they want to get your content sent to them directly. These customers are valuable. You can sign up for email servers such as MailChimp, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, and many others! They will help you manage your list and grow it!
I know this was a long post, and still there is so much I could write about for each topic, but I wanted to get the basics down for you. Do you have any questions about online business that I haven’t answered here? Comment below!