Since the pandemic crisis, many small businesses have learned to adapt and move their businesses online. We want to assure you that the leap to the online business model may be scary, but actually making money online is easier than you think.
If you are a small business owner, you most likely have been wearing multiple hats at the same time: being a sales representative, accountant, budget strategist, etc. Check this basic guide of successfully running your business virtually. With the changes in the pandemic situation, you may consider a hybrid business model where your virtual efforts no longer take much time you but bring you excellent results.
Basic Guide for Successful Small Business Online
If you already have an online presence (long forgotten and neglected), or starting it from scratch, here is a small list of online tools that are absolutely necessary for a small business's success. Also, in this guide, we will provide information on how to create your online presence even if you are not tech-savvy.
- Make sure you have a working website with updated information, the content of services and products, contact information for customers. If you are running a shop or offering services, make sure you research which platforms are friendly with build-in plug-ins for charging or appointment settings.
- Create a business email and phone number. Google offers options to actually almost run a business via its platform. Many professionals in digital marketing find Google My Business to be the most effective tool for local small business to reach their clients for free. Make sure all your information matches profiles online.
- Research tools and accounts that accept online payments and track payment information.
- Set up social media accounts.
Working website: things to consider
If you have no experience in website building or designing, do not despair. Check these easy-to-build platforms that have many pre-existing designs for you to use. Squarespace, Wix, GoDaddy are one of many. There are multiple specialized platforms designed specifically for some industries, for example, Ihouse.com has all the designed set-ups for realtors.
- Easy navigation, easy access, and easy edition of the text and design of the page. You want to be able to communicate with your customers if there is a change in your policy, hours of operation, or any other change.
- Make sure that the important information is in front of your potential customer – hours of operation, contact information, map, etc.
- Contact forms, email forms, or even live chat options for your customers to contact you directly. Make sure to set up notifications on your email/phone to respond to inquiries in a timely manner.
- Appointment or booking options. It is crucial to include, keep track and update the schedules if you have an online booking system. But the convenience of it should not be overlooked. People simply prefer booking online rather than calling now.
Business email, phone number, and online payment accounts
You may think that it’s such an unnecessary step to create new emails and phones when you have already been running your business with an email like email@example.com. But believe us, your business makes a much better impression on a customer with professional email and voicemail. As it was mentioned, Google has a lot of easy tools and products to use for small businesses. For a free online phone number for your business, you can check out Google voice or other options. Finally, for your payment accounts, the three most used and user-friendly options are Paypal, Square, and Stripe. Check these platforms and connect them to your website to make the user experience flawless for your customers.
Social Media Accounts and Digital: things to keep in mind.
One reason to put some additional effort towards digital marketing and your social media presence is the fact that customer interaction has shifted towards virtual drastically with the pandemic. It is also paramount that you consider and think through the ways you communicate with your customers online. Prompt responses, appealing design, user-friendly, and easy-to-follow communications forms are your best friends in creating a proper online presence. Finally, for a local small business, consider social media channels that make sense – Facebook and NextDoor. There is a special niche for Instagram, and some small businesses are more successful there than others. TikTok and Snapchat are mostly age-specific, so depending on your product, consider having fun and viral content ready for these media channels. For additional support and all your social media questions, check our PR and Digital Marketing Page. Keep in mind that all social media channels offer you options to run your ads, and it has never been easier to target the audience that you need.