Businesses all over the world have had to adapt quickly to operating in a global pandemic. From allowing employees to work from home to adapting your operations to allow a remote service, these decisions will have helped to secure your business at a time when others might not have been so lucky.
While some changes have been necessary to keep businesses running, the pandemic has allowed opportunities to introduce new products and services, helping to grow businesses in a way that wasn’t possible before.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this time, and one of which is the value that can come from having an online element to your business that can continue to serve customers and clients. With a lot of creative ways you can operate your business online, your online strategy should be a firm part of your planning going forward.
Take a look at some of the ways you can future-proof your business by improving your online offering.
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Make your website an attractive place to visit
Your online presence is an important part of your business, and even more so when the spotlight is on your online offering. Making your website an attractive place to visit should be a priority, especially if you’ve been getting by with a basic web page up until now.
Some of the most stand-out websites are also the simplest. Current web design trends include attractive 3D visuals, multimedia web experiences, illustrations and muted colors. With a new web design, you can make a great first impression for your business, helping to keep your existing customers while winning over new ones.
But an attractive website isn’t all about looks. It must function too! People have very little attention spans when it comes to browsing online, so you need to make sure they can find what they need the second they land on that page. Loading speed is important, as well as limiting the steps required to complete an action such as making a purchase.
Finally, a strong SEO strategy will help you appear high up in those search engine rankings. Effective SEO comprises many elements, but there are some simple ways you can improve your SEO to help your business become more visible online.
Transfer some of your products and services online
Could your business be adapted to sell products and services online? During the pandemic, many businesses have been able to adapt their businesses to move their usual offering online. Restaurants have sold home meal kits and food delivery, while stores which typically have a physical location have made the move to selling products online.
Hosting online showrooms, consultations and even studios have all been innovative ways of providing an online offering - could your business do the same? Online services can run alongside your offline services, boosting your business and making it more accessible to customers and clients in different locations.
Learn lessons from other businesses
How have other businesses thrived during lockdown? There are some great lessons you can learn from other companies that have managed to adapt and enjoy success during lockdown.
The Beachbody Company is a leading online and virtual fitness company that has continued to expand in recent years. You can learn more about The Beachbody Company and discover more about what they do. The fitness industry is one that has been able to make the most of online solutions, and could be a great one to learn lessons from at this time.
As lockdowns begin to ease and things start opening again, you can be sure that there are many businesses who will be willing to share their success stories about how they’ve navigated the pandemic.
Create an engaging and creative content strategy
To help you build a successful online presence, you’re going to need to focus on content that engages your target market. This isn’t always easy, especially for small businesses that may not have full-time marketers available.
Your content strategy needs to contain various elements, focusing on areas such as design, copywriting and more. It will underpin the content you put on your website, as well as your marketing communications, social media posts and more. Many people believe that content is about the quantity, not the quality, but it’s the opposite that’s true. Your content should provide your audience with value, delivering messages that will resonate with them, rather than constantly bombarding them with information.
Creating a content strategy gives you the perfect opportunity to hone your business’ tone of voice and to develop a brand that people can easily recognize.
Make the most of social media marketing
Social media is a crucial marketing tool for your business. Being able to share the latest information with your customers is important, and it’s vital that you keep your channels up to do date with the latest information about your business, your opening hours, etc.
Your social channels can help you create engaging content every day, which can include a combination of information, campaigns as well as more entertaining elements. This can help you grow your audience online and use it to promote your online offering.
Social media is also a valuable digital tool for local businesses. Local businesses can use digital marketing effectively to reach more customers something that can benefit your physical business, as well as your online elements. Targeted advertising through social media is simple to set up and is affordable, and could provide an excellent return on investment for your business.
By growing your social media accounts, you can also expand your reach to those outside of your location - something that could be valuable if your online offering has the potential to be marketed wider.
Improve your online security
Security should be one of your main priorities when working on your online presence. Data is valuable, and businesses of all sizes are at risk of leaks and hacks that could expose their customer data. If you’re going to be focusing more of your resources into developing your online offering, then you need to ensure that your website is as secure as possible, with an ongoing security strategy that will help your business keep on top of the latest security threats.
Many businesses choose to outsource their IT operations to help them manage online security. However, if you’re a small business, you can get to learn the basics, with Google providing a free online course for improving your business’ online security.
Focus on providing good customer experience and service
Moving your business online can open a lot of doors, introducing you to new customers and clients, as well as providing additional services to your existing ones. But it’s vital that your business adopts the same customer experience and service that you offer offline to help secure repeat business, as well as good word of mouth.
Your website needs to be easy to navigate, with every step of the process clear and easy to follow. Your customers should be able to access what they need easily, as well as have clear paths to asking questions and getting help when they need it. You should work on having a fast response time, and being as helpful as possible to your customers.
With customers unable to see your products or talk directly to you in person, the user experience needs to provide them with what they need to make an informed purchase. Detailed descriptions and comprehensive images (as well as close-up angles) can help you give a more accurate picture to browsers, while reviews can also help provide additional information.
Ask for feedback
Whether online services are new to your business, or something you’ve always offered, it’s important to make constant improvements. One of the ways you can identify areas for improvement is to ask for feedback from your customers.
Customer feedback can give you a clearer indication of how happy people are with your service, and whether it’s something they will continue to support in the future. It can also help you provide a better experience for your customers, allowing you to focus on the things they care about and getting rid of services they’re not interested in.
Another key benefit of customer feedback is that it can help provide you with valuable data to make better business decisions. With real data and customer insights to help you, your future strategies and decisions will be better informed, helping you save time and resources when it comes to planning and development.
Businesses today need to be prepared for all kinds of eventualities. The pandemic has shown just how much different events can impact businesses, with even large companies having to make changes and sacrifices to survive. While it’s impossible to know what the future holds, there are steps you can take to future-proof your business. Start by improving your online offering and see how you can help your business succeed now, and in the future too.