Starting a new business can be daunting and attracting new customers is one of the biggest challenges that you will have. Here are a few helpful tips that can help your new business thrive and get new customers online.
90% of 16–24-year-olds surveyed said that having a website, social media or e-commerce capabilities were important for businesses. This includes online sales, web and email marketing tools.
In comparison, 88% of UK business founders of all ages see the value in having an online presence. There is a significant drop off in over-55s with only 59% believing that an online presence is important.
With 89% of purchases starting online, ignoring the potential of the internet could mean lost sales.
There are additional benefits to having an online presence. Firstly, your business is available 24/7 for sales anywhere in the world and provides a more convenient method of your customers making purchases.
A well optimised and user-friendly website coupled with an online strategy can also help you to reach customers who you may not have previously been able to. This can be through your website or through other online channels including social media and search engines.
Make a plan
There is plenty of opportunity to sell your product or service through the internet.
More and more transactions are shifting online as households rely more on deliveries. This has been further emphasised since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hugely disrupted retail outlets.
Office for National Statistics data shows online sales made up more than a quarter of retail sales last year. This is a rise from a third during the first and second lockdowns in March and September.
That is up from a fifth in 2019 and has been rising each year.
It is, however, still important to check that there is enough demand or that you can offer something particularly unique before investing time and effort.
Have you spotted a gap in the market or can you compete on price, service or value for money?
Will there still be online demand for your product once lockdown restrictions ease?
It is best to consider what is the best way to sell your product and service online and how to reach the right people as well as any costs you may face such as web hosting or delivery fees.
Make sure your online presence is targeting the right customers or otherwise you are effectively just shouting into the world wide web.
Your virtual brand
Research has found that young entrepreneurs derive 12% more revenue from online sales than the average business owner.
Their online sales were reported as having increased 10%, from 32% before the pandemic, to 42% since February 2020.
Your website should be user-friendly so that customers are encouraged to make a purchase. The language and layout used are important as you want to use attractive words and imagery that keeps people on your site.
However, your website is just one aspect of your brand.
Many customers start their search for a product or service via search engines, so a well-optimised website using the right language (SEO) and imagery featured highly in search results is crucial.
Additionally, monitoring and responding to feedback on social media or on review websites can help to boost your brand’s reputation. A bad review can be damaging to your brand and create lost sales.
Also, think about your email address. Separating personal and business might be desired. Customers may also feel more comfortable sending messages to an official-sounding address. The email does not have to be one that is linked to your domain, it could be a Gmail or Outlook account where the username is your website name.
A website isn’t the only place that businesses are relying on to attract business online.
Many customers rely on recommendations and make purchases through their social networks.
Being available and accessible on these websites helps maintain the personal touch with current and potential clients. They also provide an avenue to promote products to your customers.
That may sound complex and time-consuming but there are numerous systems that allow you to schedule your social media posts as well as keep an eye on comments and messages you receive.