Last Updated on 25/06/2021 by Steve Wanjie
4 Steps to follow taking your small business online:
- Set online goals, i.e., why are you taking your business online?
- Build your digital presence, e.g., business website or mobile app
- Build awareness for your digital presence, i.e., market your website or mobile app
- Set up and use analytics – to track and measure your progress online
How to take your small business online?
Why would you want to take your business online?
To make the world know your business exists. Announce to potential customers that you are here and ready to serve them.
Taking your business online would help you to increase sales and ultimately business profitability.
How do you take your small business online to take advantage of digital marketing opportunities?
Remember, we are in a digital era, and every aspect of life has been affected by this phenomenon.
And there is no going back because digitalization is here to stay.
So you have no option but to take your small business online because it is the right thing to do.
This article discusses steps you need to take to create a successful online presence.
1. Set online business goals
What is the importance of setting online business goals?
Setting online goals shall help you;
- Focus on crucial business options and tasks online
- Navigate the digital world successfully and cost-effectively
- Serve your clients efficiently
- Grow customer base and generate sales easily
- Grow and expand your business
Taking your business online offers many opportunities, but without concrete goals, you can lose focus.
And go astray on the web.
That is the reason you need goals.
Goal setting will always lead to the attainment of success, at least most of the time.
Online business goals examples:
- Build your brand
- Relationship marketing: Interact and bode emotionally with current and prospective customers
- Increase your market share
- Generate leads and increase sales
- Automate business processes
- Maximize profitability
What do you want to achieve online?
Find the answer to this question, and you will create your online business goals easily and fast.
Here are some pointers to help you out:
- To Create Brand Awareness
Taking your business online will help create brand awareness
- Build Relationships:
Taking your business online could make it easy to build relationships with clients on social media.
- Sell online:
When you take your business online, you can sell your products 24 hours a day through sales processes automation.
- Generate sales leads:
Because of the power of digital marketing, you can generate sales leads any time of the day.
30 days a month.
2. Build your digital presence
What tools do you need to build an online presence for your small business?
You can use anyone of the following digital tools to build your small business presence online;
- Local listing
- Social media
- Mobile Apps
You don’t need a website to establish a digital presence.
There are cheaper options as opposed to owning a website.
A website is an expensive digital tool; therefore, a small business may opt to start with cheaper digital presence options.
Here are cheaper options that enable you to take your business online.
- Google My Business
Google My Business gives you a free online presence by allowing you to create a free account and thus list your business.
Google my business is an online business listing directory.
- Free classified ad sites
Classified ad sites allow you to create free accounts.
You can then use your free account to advertise your product or service online.
Free classified ad sites help create an online presence for your business too.
Examples of free classified ad websites are;
– Bid or Buy
– The Star classified
– Cheki Kenya
Social media platforms:
Facebook allows you to create a free business page.
You can use the page to create awareness, interact, communicate, and sell products and services online to your customers.
Twitter also allows you to create a free account.
Instead of using your details while creating your profile, use your business name, logo as the profile photo, and a short description of your business.
Find how to use Twitter for business marketing tips here.
– You can use your profile to market your business via this platform.
You can open an online shop on Instagram and start selling products or services on the internet.
You can sell and advertise on Instagram.
LinkedIn allows you to create a free business page.
LinkedIn pages are used for marketing your business online.
Mobile Apps for customers
A mobile app is another tool that can give you an online presence without a website.
Your business needs a mobile application to compete with its competitors for market share.
Mobile apps help improve customer care, create a loyalty program, promote your brand, and communicate with customers.
And increase sales and profits.
Mobile apps like websites give 24 hours service to your customers.
7 days a week.
Ultimately you will need to own a piece of online real estate (i.e., website.)
You pay to buy, build, maintain, and run a successful business home online.
A website is a valuable digital asset to own.
You control your online destiny by owning a website.
Your Facebook business page could be deleted anytime by Facebook.
Cancellation happens whenever they feel like it for any given reason.
You don’t own Facebook but, they own the pages on the platform.
So they can take down the business pages anytime in the future.
Former USA President Donald Trump doesn’t own a Twitter account anymore because the platform decided that he doesn’t deserve a Twitter account.
Do you get what I mean?
Benefits of having a business website:
Why you must take your small business online via a website–the benefits;
– 24-hour presence online to serve your customers any time of the day
– Business credibility is significantly enhanced
– Eases communication between your business and its customers
– Helps cut marketing and sale processes costs
– Customer base expansion
– Gives you a competitive advantage over local competitors
– Increased sales and profitability
– Automation of sales and payment processes is made possible
3. Market your digital presence
Having an online presence is a good move but it’s not the end of the journey.
Nobody knows you are on the web.
You need to inform current and potential customers of your presence on the internet.
How do you market your presence online?
How do you get noticed online?
Here are the tools for marketing your online presence:
Search Engine Optimization is a free strategy that lets you announce your presence online.
SEO uses keywords that are relevant to your business to attract and drive traffic to your website.
More on search engine optimization here.
Search Engine Marketing is an effective way of marketing and growing your business online.
SEM uses paid advertising so, your business promotion ad appears on the top of search engine result pages.
You pay a search engine such as Google to market and promote your presence online using Google display ads.
Social media platforms
Social media allows you to meet, engage and create relationships with your current and potential clients.
It is easy to create awareness for your brand using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
You make use of the resources these platforms offer to their users to promote your business on the web.
You send emails to family, friends, and acquaintances informing them about your presence on the internet.
Let as many people as possible know.
Ask them to tell their friends about your behave.
Collect emails using your Facebook business page and on your website to create an email list.
You build an email list of existing and prospective customers.
Network with websites that are offering the same services similar to you do.
Link to websites in your industry via quality and helpful comments.
Linking to well-established websites in your business sector may help you get noticed by your peers and customers online.
If you are a member of any group in WhatsApp, let them know of your website’s presence online.
These groups include Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter groups and communities.
4. Analytics: Set up and use website analytics tool
You need to know how your business is doing online.
You need to track and measure your results accurately.
You have to use analytic tools that help you understand your website’s performance.
Examples of website analytics tools are;
- Google analytics
- Spring metrics
Most people use Google Analytics because it is free, simple, easy to implement and use.
You can use any one of the tools mentioned above.
Why do you need to use analytics tools?
- To measure your online performance
- Track your online progress
- Use collected data to improve website performance
- To improve your digital marketing plan as you go
- Learn how customers are finding you online
- Use collected data to improve customer (or user) experience
Website analytics help you discover what is working and not working on your site.
Then you can correct or improve your website performance accordingly.
How to take your small business online is the question this article has provided answers to today.
You must know it takes time for people and search engines to discover your online presence.
You need up to one year to begin seeing results.
If you follow the steps discussed here, success is going to come your way.
Thanks for your visit
Challenges for taking business online
Steve Wanjie is a digital marketing specialist, SEO Expert, expert article writer, blogger, sex educationist, and businessman. He is the founder of Dijito Marketing and Laikipo.com. He works and lives in Nairobi Kenya.