Rock Talk

Small Business Owners: Offline to online part 1

Last updated on November 19, 2019 at 08:58 am

Recently, the Google Webmaster Central Blog wrote a helpful post for small business owners to help them get up and running on the web. Considering that many consumers search for products and services online with devices other than just computers, building a web-presence can be challenging. With various ways to get online, business owners need to be accessible via computers, tablets, and smartphones. Gone are the days when people simply typed a question into a search engine to get information. Now, more people rely on review sites, social and professional network sites, and even map applications to browse businesses online. Given the variety of sources customers can use to learn about a business, being “online” means a lot more today than just having a website.

However, fear not business owners! Whether you’re an independent insurance agent or a jewelry store owner, understanding the basics and following a few simple steps will help get you reaching potential customers at work, home and on-the-go in no time. Although the steps are straightforward, we’ve broken them up into two segments for the sake of keeping things short and sweet.

Many businesses have an online presence, so before you begin planning your online strategy, it’s important to think about what makes your business special. Why should a customer choose your product over another? Highlighting your business’ ethos or specialty – your “value-add” – helps customers parsing through the competition narrow down their search. For real life examples of a value-add and how to use it online, check out this video from Google Webmasters.

Of equal importance to your unique value-add is your internet goal. Is your goal to increase revenue? Or maybe it’s to improve customer satisfaction. Whatever it is, your goal will help shape your online strategy. For example, if you’re trying to increase revenue, simply making your contact information available online will make your business more accessible, thus ideally increasing inquiries from customers. As you become more internet savvy, your goals may shift and your online plan could become more sophisticated. Check out the same video as above for more examples on setting internet goals for your business.

Another factor to consider before implementing your online strategy is how customers are finding your business. Customer journeys could begin by a word-of-mouth referral or a visit to a review site. Whatever their journey is, remember to consider the various avenues a customer will take to find your business. For example, for those customers dependent on personal referrals, creating a business page on social networking sites like Facebook would be helpful.

Stay tuned for part two of this blog, where we’ll cover what comes next: now that you’ve identified your business’ value-add and established your online goal, you’re ready for implementation.

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