You may have been trying to move your business online to get more customers and have little or no idea on how to go about it.
These questions might be in your mind before now; How do I move my small business online? How do I change my business from offline to online? How do I change my business to online?
This post will show you not only how to move your business online but how to promote it.
The year 2020 has shown a lot of people the essence of having an online presence as a business.
Coronavirus affected all works of life, small scale businesses, large scale businesses, firms and industries. We were all affected and many businesses shut down. Many worked from home; for those who had access to the internet.
Those whose businesses were closed because of the pandemic suffered loss except for the ones that run their business online.
Let’s forget about coronavirus; pandemic or non-pandemic, there are many reasons to put your business online.
Why You Should Move Your Business Online
- You can reach more people in any part of the world if your business attracts global customers.
- It makes customer care service more responsive and reachable at any point in time.
- A business transaction can take place at any time without person-to-person contact.
- People can still find information about your business after closing hours without making calls or sending emails.
Now, have you decided to move your business online? If yes, what are the effective steps to take in promoting it?
Recommended reading: Best Ecommerce Business Ideas In 2020
How to Move Your Business Online
No matter the type of business you venture into, it can be promoted online. Here, we will discuss the ways a business can be promoted online.
Did you know most people first heard about a new business on social media? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are popular social media platforms where you can promote your business online.
Social media isn’t for just sharing photos, videos or news. It is alike TV station where billions of people around spend a countless number of hours daily.
How to Use Social Media to promote your business
For a starter, the most recommended social networking websites to use promote your business online should be Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook is the biggest and the most popular social networking platform on planet earth with over 2.7 billion active users. Does this not tell you anything about the potential of using Facebook to move your business online?
How to Use Facebook to Promote your Business
Facebook is against using your profile account for business purposes that is why they create pages.
You need to create a business page to start telling the world about your business. Almost all the top big brands in the world have a Facebook business page.
Should we mention some? MTN, Coca-cola, Nike, Apple, Huawei, Samsung, Barclay bank are just a few. We can continue to mention and this post will become lengthy but that is not the aim.
For instance, during this coronavirus lockdown, many people have been restricted from entering the banking hall. The banks are still working, customers were still been attended to through their online platforms.
So if you want your business to still be in business no matter the world’s condition, you should use Facebook for promotion probably by running sponsored ad too.
The mistake made by many and still making is by using their profile account to post about business daily. This is not a good business practice.
If you are selling clothes or any other product and all you do daily is to post the items on your timeline, a lot of people will get tired of your updates.
Sooner or later they might, unfollow, unfriend or block you. The Facebook algorithm will also deal with you. Most of your post will be seen by few among those in your friend lists because your updates are not engaging. They can even delete your account permanently.
Other Social Media Platforms to Promote Your Business
Twitter is best for customer care service. If you want a quick response to a complaint, enquiry or anything else, Twitter will be the best place to reach out.
Although, small business owners might not want to use this as some people are still not knowledgeable about how Twitter works.
This is true because I have had an encounter with different people of various ages both young and averagely old.
There was a time I went to buy toothpaste and there I met a situation where a young girl was paranoid that she couldn’t get money from the POS operator despite being debited. The transaction failed.
These things happen often with this country banking system. The girl was arguing and angry that she must collect her money, the POS operator was saying she can’t give her cash when the transaction failed.
To cut the story short, I had to intervene by the telling girl to contact the bank customer care on Twitter.
And she was like how does it work? I had to help her open a Twitter account at that spot with her details so she can contact the bank. And she was using an iPhone. This is to let you know many people are ignorant about Twitter.
So if you are a business owner and want to still keep in your touch with your customers during at all times, make sure you create a Twitter account and use it actively.
For a starter, you may not need to worry much about having a Twitter account but do note that you will need it someday.
Instagram has grown from just being a photo and video sharing social media platform to an online store for many vendors. A lot of business owners are using Instagram to sell their products and services.
Facebook and Instagram have shop features where customers can select a product, make payment with their debit cards or send money by bank transfer.
Instagram shops have limitations. They are only available in some countries. If your country is not included, it is so unfortunate.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t use Instagram for your business. It can be used as well and effectively just like a Facebook page.
You can still sponsor ad for your Instagram posts to reach many people even when they are not your followers.
It will be a very big mistake to rely only on Facebook and Instagram. These social media platform is like renting a shop. The day the owner give you a quit notice, you will pack and your customers won’t find you anymore. This could mean you will be out of business for sometimes.
That is what will happen when your social media accounts get deleted. Your Facebook and Instagram account can be deleted at any time for policy violations. Yes, shit happens. It has happened to some people before and it is still going on.
They might just tell you that you have violated a part of their policies and hence you are not fit to use their platform anymore.
Just imagine all the time and efforts you have put to get followers that have turn to become customers. You might have even spend a huge amount of money too and then wake up to see that everything is gone.
It is very devastating. Your customers will be searching for you on Facebook and Instagram but they can’t find you.
If you didn’t create other channels aside social media to reach your customers or followers, you will be starting from scratch. And who wants to start from scratch?
That is why we always advise business owners to build a list and a website.
How to build a list
A list could be phone numbers or email of individuals that have patronized your business or have once contacted you regards your products or services.
There is no rule to go about this but there are best methods to do this.
Your customers will surely have your numbers but not everyone will want to call. Some people are stingy with their call credit. So it left for you to contact them either through call or SMS. To avoid this hard way, you could start using Whatsapp for customers to reach you.
Another thing is that WhatsApp can still ban your number. It has happened to me and others too. In my case, I had to change my Whatsapp business line.
Sometimes, Whatsapp can ban you repeatedly. If you are changing numbers, people might start seeing you as someone into shady activities.
So what is the best way out of this?
We recommend building an email list.
There is no way anyone that will find him or herself on the internet using Facebook or other social media platform will say they don’t have an email address. You need an email address for so many things. Many online portals will ask you for your email address before you could signup on their platforms.
Building an email list means you collect the emails of your customers or individuals that have shown much interest in your business.
By this, you can contact them at any time.
You are almost independent. You will be using an email marketing service to send them updates to their inbox.
Even if the email marketing platform closes your account for any violation, you can import your list to another platform and continue reaching out to your customers.
Before You Start building an Email List
Before you think of building an email list, you will need to sign up with any of the email marketing platforms. There are so many of these email marketing companies. We won’t recommend any of them for now until you truly understand the basics.
I am pretty sure you have seen an email opt-in form where you are asked to subscribe or input your email address to access certain information.
The owner of such a webpage is building his email list so he doesn’t need to post on social media daily or run paid adverts regularly for a new product launch.
Above all, to fully and completely move your business online, you need a website. If you didn’t read that clearly, I will repeat it. To fully and completely move your business online, you need a website.
Benefits of Having a Website
The benefits of having a website are enormous but I will highlight just a few.
- Your customers will always find you even after closing hours. That is, even when you are closed for business, they can still find information about your business through the website.
- They can easily find the information they need without one-to-one communication. The type of services you render, price, contact information, etc will be available to them without calling or sending emails.
- Even though some websites are created to scam others, your website can increase your credibility if everything is put in order. If thequickweb site was hap-hazard, I am sure by now you would have exited this page without going through the content.
- Your website can save you costs. It is not all businesses that have a physical office. Some sell their services and products from their website. Thequickweb, for now, does not have any physical office but we still make money and have clients all over the world.
- With a website, your business can be accessible to anyone over the world. Unlike a brick-and-mortar store where people must come by and can have dealings with you; your website bridges such gap.
I can go on and on to tell you the benefits of having a website for your business. The few benefits listed above should at least tell you having a website will be beneficial for your business.
How to Set up a Website
The accessibility and availability of your website at all times are dependent on the host.
As a starter, you might be interested in knowing what is a host. There are posts on this blog that explains that.
For emphasis, we will explain once again what is a host. A host is an internet company that provides the resources for a website to stay online and running.
For every website to be accessible on the internet there must be a host.
There are so many hosting companies in the world but there are some that surpass others. Not all hosts are reliable.
Have you ever visited a website before and it is offline for some time and later it back online and then goes offline again at another time?
That is the result of the host. Downtime is what they call it. I am sure you don’t want your business website to be experiencing frequent downtime. No one loves that!
Getting your website up and running means you will need a good and reliable host that provides all the needed resources and functionalities.
Every business at this time needs an online presence to keep customers abreast of the latest products, services and news.
Questions You Might Ask
If you have read this post to this stage, you might have various questions to ask.
And the truth is that it is not possible to use this post to explain the technicalities of some things discussed here.
For instance, you might want to know how to use Facebook and Instagram ad to promote your business online.
I talked about Facebook ads but did not explain the processes. It is not something that can be explained so easily by typing words. You need to see and feel how it is done.
I talked about building a list but did not give full details on how to get started.
Then I also talked about creating a website as an integral part to move your business online and did not show the step-by-step guide in doing so.
Never worry, I am not leaving you in the dark.
Teaching every aspect to move your business online, from A-Z will take days. It is not something that you can grab at first hand.
Here is what I decided to do; I will do a step-by-step comprehensive newsletter training of how to get started in moving your small business online.
It means I will send regular updates via email on moving a business from offline to online, which will include
- how to promote your business online with working strategies.
- how to start Facebook and Instagram ads. You will get a free ebook and live video training.
- how to begin email marketing without having to spend a dime on software, page builders, etc.
- how to start WhatsApp marketing.
- how to create your website without coding or having any programming skills.
- how to get your own company or professional email and many more.
If you are ready to calm down and put your mind into knowing all of these, signup using the opt-in form below this post.
Follow the instruction by filling your email. After that, go to your inbox and confirm your sign up.
There are many articles online on how to move your business online, they will tell you what to do but not how to do it.
This is why you should take this newsletter training seriously.
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