9 Ways to Grow Your Small Business Online
With so much technology available at our fingertips these days, there are so many ways to grow your small business online. From Zoom meetings to online shops, see what areas you can implement or update that complement your business.
We’ve put together a list of areas we’ve seen small businesses absolutely smashing it on their websites and beyond.
Whether you have an existing site, just on Facebook or only a physical store at this stage, one or more of these tips can still apply to you. Have a read through to see what changes you can start making right now.
Areas to Grow Small Business Online
Bookings & Online Chat
Online bookings are a great feature for those in the service industry. Whether it’s a 15 minute discovery call for coaches and designers or booking appointments in the health industry.
It’s a great way to show openings on your calendar and allow clients to book themselves in 24 hours a day, without needing the office open or a receptionist on standby.
If calendars won’t suit your setup, online chat might. There’s two plugins we have used and recommend – called Drift ($40/month) or Facebook Messenger (Free). This allows you or your staff to chat directly with clients while they browse your site in case they have any questions before purchasing a product or booking a service.
Online chats can also provide auto-responses with critical information or updates regarding your business, working hours, menus or pricelists etc.
Okay, so an online shop is an obvious one, but can be crucial in making the purchase process easy for your customers.
If you already have an online shop, you could add new payment options such as After-Pay or PayPal to allow customers to check out with their preferred online payment system.
For those with physical shopfronts who are wanting to make the leap online, if you already have a WordPress site, you can usually integrate WooCommerce straight into your existing setup.
If you don’t yet have an online presence, you could create an online shop direct on Shopify. Here’s more information on which website builder would suit you. If you still have questions, you can always contact us.
No matter which site builder you choose, you should also be able to integrate your online store with Facebook or Instagram, making it even easier for customers to purchase through their favourite channel.
We cannot recommend Zoom highly enough as a digital meeting tool. The free plan is suitable for most users and there are so many features that go beyond just a phone call.
Zoom features we love:
- Setting specific dates and times and being able to send a single link to recipients.
- Screen recording so you/clients can have a copy of meeting ideas/discussions etc.
- Screen sharing which is great for reviewing work and making live edits (we love using this with our website clients!)
- Can set up a waiting room, that allows you to leave attendants waiting until you’re ready to start the meeting.
If you want to have some fun, you can set a custom backdrop so you can pretend you’re in the Bahamas, and not just in your study in your uggboots. Come, join us!
Get more Zoom Benefits for Small Business here.
Blogs are one of the most underutilised features that allow you to grow small business online organically.
Blogs can be used as a gateway for potential customers trying to find your products through Google, helping to build natural SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
As an example, if you sold baking implements online, you might write a blog on how to bake the best chocolate chip cookies. Someone wanting to cook chocolate chip cookies might find your blog recipe through Google and then see you supply baking trays and purchase those to make the cookies they need.
You can apply the same mentality to any industry.
If there are no other takeaways from this post, step one would be to utilise your blog. Blogs are free to post, they have a long lifetime value online and through Google, and you can share them time and again on your social media channels.
Online courses can be both a new online income stream for your business and an educational tool for potential clients.
They can be as simple or as complex as you like, from free to paid options depending on your target market and value of your content.
There are some great tools to help integrate courses into your existing website, one of the simplest platforms is to use Teachable. Teachable is a great user friendly way to build and sell your course, especially if you don’t have an existing shop on your site.
An alternative option could be to add a membership plugin or a password protected page built as a resource hub for downloadable files or member-only content. Resources could include videos, PDFs, audio files, work books or other high value content.
Either as a sold product or a free downloadable, Ebooks can be a quick and easy way to attract customers on your site. HubSpot even has free templates and a how to guide to creating Ebooks.
Ebooks are usually given away free to entice users to sign up to your mailing list or as an intro product to give customers a taste of what you do, how you work and how you can help them on an ongoing basis.
If you’re curious and would like to check out our example, here’s one we prepared earlier you can download ;).
Ours is a simple PDF download that helps business owners to read and identify important areas of their Google Analytics. It’s a related topic to our main service of building websites, and is helpful and educational to introduce new readers to our knowledge, style and personality.
Think about what topic you could talk about that would help your customers and give them value.
Gift Vouchers can work great for both product and service based small businesses.
They’re also a great way for existing clients to share your services with loved ones. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth!
Vouchers can be setup for a variety of uses, whether it’s products in your online shop or even in-person services.
You could even send vouchers out for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries or any other celebration that is relevant to you or your customers.
For businesses not necessarily wanting to sell products, donations can be a great way for clients or readers to show their support. This could be setup through a platform such as Patreon, where readers subscribe to a monthly donation plan that supports people in creative industries such as illustrators and artists. Patreon also supports other industries – so if you’ve just launched a podcast or a new album as a musician, think about seeing how this could help you.
If you do have an existing site, you could set up your own monthly subscription or one-off Donate Here button to allow users to give directly to you or your business.
It’s not enough these days to have a website and hope the customers will come.
Get on your social channels and tell them how to use the content on your site and why they need to check it out.
Let readers know about your latest updates – even if it’s something simple as a quick shout out to say you now accept online bookings. If you think you need social media coaching to be able to utilise this area more for your business, check out another Adelaide local, Sonia, from Scribe and Social.
We hope these suggestions above have sparked an idea or two that you can implement in your own business. We’ve made sure these tips to grow small business online shouldn’t break the bank, but they will take time. Set aside an hour or two to sit down and brainstorm what areas you could work on to help your brand shine brighter online.
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Or if you just want to know more about us click here.