Taking Your Business Online: It's Easier Than You Think
During the 2013 holiday season, 34 percent of shoppers bough at least half their purchases online. In any economy, 34 percent is a significant number you can't afford to pass up. If your Internet experience is limited to sending emails and posting on Facebook, creating an online business presence might be daunting, but many companies have created their sites with novice users in mind. Getting your business online is simpler than you think:
Build a Website
A website is your virtual storefront, where potential customers learn about your business. Whether you're in the service industry and need customers to contact you, or you're in retail and have merchandise to sell, a significant number of people will look online first when shopping for your products or services. Website services offer very simple tools to produce a professional-looking site in only a few hours. A plain site with a couple of pictures and some business information is enough to put your site online and you can add a blog or more elaborate details later. Many companies even offer free trials, so you can play around until you get the site you want.
You may have an accountant who does all your financial bookkeeping chores for you, in which case you're spending a lot of money on the job. But, if you keep your own books by hand, you're probably spending too much time every week just keeping up. Moving your accounting online can take time at first, but once you're up and running you can update your books in just moments every day. After the initial setup period, you'll save both time and money doing your books online.
If you keep in contact with friends and family on Facebook, you know the reach social media can have. Think about all you learn about each other on the site, from pictures of pets to problems with kids in the neighborhood. Your business can have that sort of impact on potential customers by using social media the right way.
The key is to make an account for your business and treat it as if it were a person. The most important part of social media is the "social." Use the 90/10 rule when posting. For every post you make about your business, post nine more about interesting topics that pertain to your business, but aren't sales related. If you run a bar, post interesting drink recipes, histories of different drinks, or bartending cartoons. Your shoe business can post running advice, articles on fitting kids in the right size, or humorous pictures of outrageous shoes. Keep your posts in the same basic genre, but make them interesting enough so that readers will want to share them with their friends. It's this sharing with others that will make your online presence grow.