For most businesses, the biggest challenge when going online is understanding how to effectively reach and engage with their target audience.
There are numerous pitfalls to avoid when transitioning from a traditional brick-and-mortar business model to an online presence, such as needing more resources or knowledge about digital marketing strategies.
It can be difficult for businesses to know which channels to focus on to get the best results – without wasting time or money.
Also, many companies need help creating content that resonates with their customers and makes more sales. For this reason, businesses must clearly know what they want to accomplish before building their online presence.
In this guide, you’ll discover valuable tips and strategies to help you get your business started without the headache. We’ll show you common mistakes and how to avoid them so you can create an online presence that will help build your brand and reach new customers.
Are you ready to take your business online? Let’s go!
Why Should Your Business Go Online?
It’s important to know why you should go online in the first place. So you don’t waste time or money going down the wrong path.
Here are three reasons to go online :
Reason 1) Safe Guard
With the pandemic, many brick-and-mortar businesses were forced to close down. And since they didn’t have an online presence, they lost a lot of customers and money. Some even went bankrupt.
On the other hand, many e-commerce stores like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay flourished because they were already established online.
For this reason, having an online presence is more important than ever because it can help you stay afloat during difficult times.
Reason 2) Reach A Larger Customer Base
Keeping a business local can limit the number of customers you can reach. With an online presence, companies can reach customers worldwide without geographical limitations.
This can exponentially increase your online sales and your brand’s reach.
Reason 3) Cost Effective
A digital presence can also be much more cost-effective than maintaining a physical store. This means you don’t have to pay rent, utilities, or other associated costs.
Instead, you can invest in online marketing strategies that will help bring new customers to your business.
These are just a few reasons your business should transition to an online presence.
4 Common Problems And Solutions Most Businesses Have When Going Online
Time and money are precious resources, so knowing what you’re getting into when going online is essential.
Here are five common problems most businesses face and solutions you can use to overcome these issues:
Problem 1) Not Having Enough Resources
This is a common problem for small businesses, which often need more resources or budget to build an online presence.
You may think the highest cost will be building and maintaining a website. But most likely, that won’t be the case. To have a website, you’ll need to invest in hosting, domain names, and probably web design.
You can inexpensively get a web host provided for $3 monthly. If you want a better service, about $30 monthly is enough. A domain name costs about $10 yearly.
Of course, this depends on the size of your business. If you’re a business owner of a small company, you can learn the basics of web design and SEO to save money. However, for a larger business, you may need to hire professionals.
For this reason, you should first determine how much money you can afford to invest in your online presence before getting started.
Solution 1) Develop a Business Plan
You don’t need a large budget or complex strategies to launch a successful website. The best way to have an idea is by following a plan.
1) Check your competition
See similar websites in your industry to get an idea of what they’re doing.
This may help you see if they built their website on WordPress, Joomla, or another platform.
Also, head to their blog section and see if they have posts written by several authors. If there are multiple writers, they may have a team of writers.
Lastly, you can also contact their support to ask some questions. This should give you an idea of what to expect.
2) Set a Budget
Set a budget before you start building your website and before hiring people. This is important because you don’t want to overspend on things that may not be necessary.
Also, you probably won’t need to hire ten writers, marketers, etc., immediately. You can start your website with a smaller team if required, and as your online business grows, you can hire more people.
3) Write Down a Plan
It’s essential to write down a plan of what you’re trying to achieve. You may know what your website should look like, what content you should have, and who will do what. Or how many people you may need to hire.
Writing down a plan will give you an idea of what to do and when to do it. It also allows you to make adjustments as needed.
By planning and budgeting your online presence carefully, you will be able to save money and make sure you don’t miss anything important.
Problem 2) Lack Of Knowledge About Technology
Many small businesses lack the knowledge or experience to create an online presence. The skillset necessary to maintain a brick-and-mortar business is different from an online business.
You may need to become more familiar with technology, web design, or even website coding. You also may not be familiar with SEO or digital marketing strategies.
Solution 2) Skillset Needed
Fortunately, the internet is full of free resources and tutorials. If you’re unfamiliar with technology, you should learn the basics before investing in a website. You can spend your time learning these skills or hire or train someone to specialize in each of these areas.
If you decide to learn it yourself, you should take online courses, and you can also find excellent YouTube tutorials on nearly every topic.
You can also read e-books and articles about web design, SEO, digital marketing, or whatever your needs are. This can help you build the skill set necessary for your online venture.
Let’s look at the main specializations needed:
1) Building a website
You need to be able to create a website. To do this, you can use platforms like WordPress or Joomla. These platforms let you easily create a website without coding. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Nowadays, most people are using mobile devices to visit websites.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is another skill you need to learn about if you want your website to succeed. Your website needs to be optimized for search engines to get found by customers.
Otherwise, your web pages won’t appear on the search engine results pages. As a consequence, your website won’t get the attention it deserves. For this reason, you need to learn about SEO to boost your online presence and get more customers.
Furthermore, obtaining backlinks and increasing your domain authority will help you rank higher in the search results. In other words, getting links from other relevant sites is also essential.
3) Writing Content
Your website’s content should be interesting and informative. By delivering content that explains the benefits of your products and services, you can help customers gain a more comprehensive understanding.
At the same time, it needs to be SEO-optimized so you may receive visitors from Google and other search engines.
4) Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing involves promoting your website on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This will help you reach a larger audience and get more visitors to your website.
This marketing might not be necessary right at the beginning, but it’s essential to consider if you want your website to grow.
Problem 3) Overspending On Advertisement
When you first launch your website, you shouldn’t expect to start getting visitors from search engines immediately. Often it takes time for SEO and content marketing to work.
For this reason, you may consider paid advertising to get immediate visibility and attract visitors. However, if you don’t know how to use these paid methods properly, you can easily overspend and get little or no results.
Solution 3) Paid Advertising Strategies
Before investing in paid advertising, you should learn the basics and research. You need to know what platform will work best for you, how to set up your campaigns, and how much money you should spend.
For instance, Facebook ads are better if you want to reach an older audience, and Instagram ads are good for reaching a younger audience. Google AdWords can help you reach those looking specifically for your product or service.
Choose the best form of advertising for your business, determine your target audience and budget, and set up a strategy.
Consider hiring an online marketing agency or consultant to help you get the most out of your campaigns. Although it may be expensive upfront, it’ll save you money in the long run. They can help you create a successful strategy and maximize the results of your campaigns.
Problem 4) Not Understanding Your Audience
If you don’t understand your target audience, creating content that resonates with them will be difficult. You need to understand the needs and wants of your customers to create content that will engage them.
Solution 4) Audience Research
Research is critical when it comes to understanding your audience. You need to know who they are, where they live, their interests, and more.
With this information, you can create more enticing content for them. You can also use this information to optimize your ad campaigns better.
I suggest tools like Google Analytics or Hotjar to monitor your visitor’s behaviors on your website. You can quickly see the content that’s performing best and the content that needs improvement.
You can also use surveys and interviews to collect data about your audience. Ask them questions and get to know them better. This will help you understand their needs and create content that resonates with them.
3 Examples Of Successful Businesses That Went Online
Now that you know the many challenges businesses face when going online, let’s look at three successful companies that went online.
When Nike went online, it quickly grew its brand by creating engaging content and leveraging influencer marketing. They were able to reach the younger generation with their trendy and stylish shoes.
They also implemented an effective social media strategy, which helped to increase their brand recognition and loyalty.
In 2022, Nike’s retailer’s e-commerce sales accounted for 24% of brand revenue, which is a lot!
The company’s dedication to technology and innovation has caused impressive growth. Since 2019, the company’s digital revenue has tripled and now exceeds $10 billion.
Lululemon sells athletic apparel but didn’t have an online presence until recently. Now, they have a website and mobile App where customers can shop and purchase items. They have also spent money on marketing campaigns that help them reach new customers and sell more products.
In the third quarter of 2021, Lululemon’s online sales made up 41% of its total revenue. The company is doing well. They are one of the best in their industry, continuing to grow by expanding their online presence.
Williams-Sonoma is one of many retailers that have adapted to the digital age and embraced e-commerce. The high-end home furnishings retailer started selling things online instead of just in a catalog. Now, more than half of its sales come from online sales.
These three businesses show that an online presence can benefit any business with the right approach. You can also succeed if you take the time to understand your audience and use digital marketing strategies.
When you move your business from a physical store to an online store, you will face many challenges. And without a well thought strategy, you may end up overspending and underperforming.
For this reason, develop a plan and understand who your target audience is and how much you can budget. Also, see if you need to learn or hire people to help you with the digital aspects of your business.
Having an expert on social media ads and other digital marketing tactics can be very beneficial. Also, make sure to measure the performance of your campaigns and adjust them when needed.
Lastly, learn from successful businesses that have transitioned online successfully. Nike and Lululemon are great companies to look at for inspiration.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to transition your business online and reap the rewards successfully.
With over a decade of experience under his belt, Jordan Alexo is a digital marketer who knows how to make money online. He excels at self-publishing and content creation, and he also teaches others these same skills! His website provides strategies that have actually worked for him in the past as well as product reviews to help you grow your business online. With Jordan Alexo by your side, you’ll be successful in no time!