COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on businesses. There is a silver lining amidst the chaos, however – moving your business online now will unlock new revenue streams, and also insure your business against another coronavirus-type catastrophe in the future. Taking the plunge and taking your business online now could save your business.
Taking your business online allows you to access more markets and countries – a big move with small risks. In business terms, it’s a no brainer.
Below we’ve compiled a short list of how to make the shift. It’s important not to get bogged down in the detail. Just begin.
1. Don’t redo your website
At the thought of going online, most business owners immediately want to redo their websites. We’d advise against this. It is more important to spend time and money on the tools and platforms that will continue the sales process online, and bring in customers and sales to the business.
You cannot audit your website insightfully if you have not done some marketing first, and received feedback from the targeted audience. It’s so important to first find out what makes your ideal target market click to the website, and engage with your business.
Updating your existing website with relevant content is all that is needed initially. Make sure the content is short, punchy, and relevant to the business and aligns with the new online strategy.
Another reason why we advise clients against redoing their websites initially is that the process wastes valuable time. Spend time where it is most needed – shifting the business during these challenging times – and use what is learned from your company’s online presence and marketing efforts to drive decisions about a new website later down the line.
2. Online marketing
This is not the time to try and save money on marketing. Online marketing is very affordable and your greatest tool. Targeting is the most complicated part of online marketing, and good digital agencies know exactly how to get your product in front of your customers. They also test a wide variety of different messages to see which bring in conversions.
We’ve said this before, but vanity metrics (e.g. likes and engagement) are meaningless. Conversion into sales is what actually matters to a business’ bottom line (what is your return on marketing spend?).
“Vanity metrics: good for feeling awesome, bad for action.”
A great degree of flexibility will be required to keep pace with market developments, so be sure to stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, and your customers’ changing preferences
3. Do not over-analyse
“In the beginning move quickly, do not over analyse, take the leap and launch before you’re ready” Mark Zuckerberg
You will have to get over your own fear first. The Internet is flexible, and things that do not work can be changed immediately. Launch, test and adapt. The Internet is the best place to test idea A against idea B and keep on testing until you have the results you want.
4. Selling must continue. Let that be the focus
Working out how to drive sales on a digital platform is the main focus. Figuring out what needs to be concentrated on first to achieve this is the company and team’s most important objective. And finding ways to automate this process is first prize. With all this in mind, it’s important to remember to keep it simple. Do not conceptualise or action too many solutions. Start with the most important online objective – online migration – test and build from there.
To automate the most important parts of your online strategy will be of big value to your business. Easier said than done, but it is important. We warn against convoluted automation solutions – keep it relevant and simple.
6. Research all possible online tools and systems, and pick the best
Consider everything and apply what is most needed for the business – is it e-commerce, a voucher system, an online registration process, or a tool for application?
Depending on the business, research and find the digital tools of most value to the sales process first. There are a myriad of sophisticated online tools available off-the-shelf – they only needed to be formatted and plugged into your website. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
7. Use Social Media
Use what is available to your maximum benefit. Start loading in-depth articles on the platforms that align with your business and customers. If you are in the B2B space, LinkedIn is the answer, while if you sell consumer products, begin with Facebook and Instagram.
The power of social media is in the ability of your message to reach all your potential customers in a variety of ways.
8. Publish your solutions
Start writing articles about all the topics that are important to your customers in your specific industry and business. Publish them on the appropriate platforms – this will optimise your online messaging and let clients and customers know how you can solve their problems, and offer them value.