However, every single business owner is wishing that they had a strong online presence and they hadn’t treated their website like a red-headed stepchild.
If I had a dollar for every small business owner who told me,” I started my business so I wouldn’t have to sit behind a computer all day,” or “My website takes too much time for not enough sales,” let’s just say I wouldn’t be writing blogs right now.
Most of you aren’t here to be tied to a screen. Like you are, right now (and I am honored to join you, I will make this worth your while).
So, why are you here? Because you have to be!
All of a sudden you can’t ignore the need to get your business online and selling fast.
Some of you may even regret that you didn’t arrive here sooner to be committed and focused on growing your online business.
The good news is you are here now, so let’s go through my Top 10 Tips For Growing Your Business Online…….and FAST!
Disclaimer: Every single one of these tips can be completed by you, within a few minutes, for FREE!
#1 You Have to Want It.
Honestly, your online business should feel, act, and smell (ok maybe we have yet to develop that technology) no different than your in-person business.
Your online business is a bricks and mortar, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and you’re located everywhere. Cool!
If I told you 1-2 hours on your website a day could translate to a 200% increase in profits (not just sales), would you care?
Because it can, easily. And websites do this for businesses, just like yours, every day.
#2 Your Website Is an Extension of Your Bricks and Mortar Business.
It should look and feel the same. Use the same headlines as you do signage in the store, “New Arrivals,” or “#1 Sellers.” “Homegoods” or “Gear.”
You don’t have to “go corporate” to understand why these massive businesses and their websites work well. They’re consistent. You can order online and pick-up in the store.
You can buy in the store and have an item not available shipped to your house. The shopping experience is seamless.
How do they manage this?
Your online and offline experience should flow the same.
The inventory is accurate. The point of purchase uses the same systems. Your staff follows the same prompts as the online sales form. Whether you’re a plumber or a plant shop, consistency is key.
#3 How to Translate Your Offline Business Into Winning Online Strategy
Your website, your headlines, your pages, every piece of copy should reflect your values.
If you haven’t taken some time to determine your business values, here’s your chance. Pick 4-5 of your top values and write them down. Need some inspiration? Check this out.
Every single hire, headline, Facebook post, product, receipt, everything should reflect these at least 4 / 5 of these values
For example, my values are; Fun + Excellence + Adventure + Authenticity. These words each encompass so much more, but they hold me and my business accountable in every way.
They’re a fantastic filter, especially for my website. And yes excellence means I will continue to make it better.
#4 Branding May Feel Overwhelming When It Comes to Your Online Presence.
It can actually be as simple as matching your bricks and mortar colors and fonts.
This might sound obvious, but your in-store/shop/office signage, your business cards, even your fonts should be consistent across all your marketing materials, especially your website.
Don’t forget your other digital platforms, like your emails, your social media platforms, even your online ads should be consistent with your branding.
#5 Make It Easy For People to Get Around Your Website.
Again, this should feel a lot like your real-world business. Honesty, I should stop differentiating between the two. the whole point of this blog is they are one and the same!
Your home page should make it 1 click to contact you, sign-up for more, and buy your most popular products.
This will look different for every business, but think “new arrivals,” “best sellers” or “book an appointment.”
The rule of thumb is 3-clicks to completion. Think about it like this; you lose 50% of your customers with every click. Ensure that people can easily find and buy what they’re looking for on your website.
Make sure you’ve tested your website on mobile devices. 80% of customers, especially new customers, are finding you on their phones. Then test it on different browsers if you can, think Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome.
And don’t just make sure the images and copy show up pretty, make sure customers can click and buy, or submit the contact form.
#6 Triple Check the Search Function On Your Website.
You want people to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for and fast. Whether it’s inventory, topics, or FAQs of troubleshooting.
Firstly, know this is called On-site Search and your website provider should be able to give more information on the customization, results, and even more. If not, you might be losing out on customers.
Do try to customize the responses. If people are finding what they want, they get a one-click way to contact you, or they get taken to your FAQ page. Or both.
My favorite thing about the internet is you can track what works best. You can even test if installing a google on-site search app is more effective then your web providers.
Lastly, there are a ton of online services that will test the “useability” of your website.
#7 You Want One Call To Action.
For most of us, it’s going to be “buy.” I want people to sign up for my newsletter. You may want your customer to submit info for a quote, or set up an appointment. Ask for one “call to action,” per page.
Your home page should really communicate your “Who” and your “Why.” Aka your values (had to).
What makes your business special? What differentiates it from all the other like-minded businesses out there? And If you can, get that email friend! First and foremost.
From there a section or page can let people click through to their point of inquiry - again, what do you want them to do after you’ve captured their details?
Don’t over-complicate this.
Even the biggest e-commerce sites in the world, repping the biggest bricks and mortar chains in the world keep it pretty simple.
The hero image, that top section that generally fills your home screen until you start scrolling, that section has one CTA.
#8 Make It Easy For Them to Engage With You.
You should have your contact details right at the top of your page. Ideally people can click and link though to email you, call you, and discover you are on their preferred mapping app.
Honestly, there is no excuse to lack a chat app. The data shows that a chat app increases sales/bookings / you CTA by 45% AND it increases the likelihood of a potential customer coming back to your website by over 60%.
These apps can be plugged in fast, free, and connect to Facebook messenger, your phone, and an app you download to your phone. You can pay for a service to answer your inquiries too!
#9 Video is the Number One Way to Ensure You Capture People’s Attention.
Google does rate websites by how long people engage with your website.
Even if it’s stock footage you use as your hero image background or a video intro to the owner in the about me section, this can make a huge difference. You can host the video on Vimeo or youtube and get engagement and eternal links, so you’re doing double SEO duty
Get creative. What website do you enjoy viewing? What are some like-minded businesses out there doing? How can you create a personal feel on your website?
It doesn’t even have to be you or an employee. You could post video testimonials from your clients. You could do a virtual tour of your shop front. The possibilities are endless.
#10 Tell Everyone About Your Website!
Again, your physical, in-person experience can be just as proud of your online experience and vice-versa.
Have your website and social media platforms shared widely on your signage, marketing materials, and at your point of sale.
Capture people’s email addresses. Ask for reviews. Reward people for tagging you. Create your own #hashtag. Even create a photo-worthy moment with your social media and website clearly stated!
Then share these posts online. Create community. Incentivize with contests and give-aways and whatever else your people are doing online to have some fun and stay relevant.
You might be thinking “I’m an accounting firm,” or “I’m a nanny.” You can do this too!
How does your business values inform your online community?
These tools will ensure your online presence matches the quality of your real-world experience, in every way!
You do have to want to build your business online. If you “hate technology,” or resent the (pretty amazing ability) to create a 24/7 business for anyone in need of what you got, you will not be successful.
How can you make this task enjoyable? How can you reframe this goal of building a booming online business in terms of your values and you're why?
What if creating the same successful online business you have in the “real world,” you were guaranteed the success you’ve been striving for?