Everyone wants to grow their local business, have more customers, more sales, and of course more profits as well. But the question that still remains is, HOW?
This is where the internet comes into play! According to UNCTAD, the global digital trade rate jumped from 14% to 17% in 2020 due to Covid. Also, the African marketplace giant, Jumia, reported a 50% jump in digital transactions in the first half of the year 2020.
It’s time for a change. If you have a local business, you should consider taking it online and global.
That’s because the internet gives you a huge audience and worldwide potential customer reach which results in massive sales!
Take your well-established local business online and tap into this potential. This article is all about the HOW of taking your local business online.
Why You Should Go Online?
It takes a lot of time and effort to establish a good running local business, as building up an offline business is tough. But an offline business has many restrictions in comparison with an online business.
- The offline business has limitations to its reach for new visitors and customers while an online business can target new customers globally.
- The offline business has many expenses like store rent, electricity, employees’ salary, etc. Whereas an online business can reduce expenses by 90% overall and increase profits significantly.
Don’t think too much, it’s always better to shift or extend your local business with an online presence.
Time to get excited! Here are a few easy steps on how to take your local business online and go global. You’ll also get some key points to help you make the shift.
Taking Your Local Business Online & Global
Shifting online is easy but there are many steps and important points to keep in mind to make your online presence a successful one.
Here we go!
#1 Be Present on Social Media
The very first thing you can do is create business profiles on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. We all spend a significant amount of time on social media and it’s a great platform to promote your business. This makes it one of the best places to have an online presence for your business.
Consider social media as a free global platform to showcase your brand, products, or services. As soon as you create a profile on any of the social media platforms, you are visible and your reach is now worldwide.
Use these social media platforms to showcase your products or service, share your offers, acquire and engage with online audiences, and understand their needs and feedback on your business.
To stand out in such an overcompetitive platform is to have a unique, attractive, and informative social media presence through posts.
A global audience will interact with your business online through social media platforms and to make their experience memorable you have to stand out through the social media content you share with them.
Create some meaningful content on regular basis either showcasing your products, educating, or informing people to get to know more about your business.
Social media is a very powerful tool or you can also say it’s the backbone of any online business. So, set up your business on social media and start utilizing its benefits as much as possible.
#2 List Business Online
A very important step for any local business is to list their business online. To increase local business visibility, you should list your business on local business listing platforms.
Local Business Listing Platforms such as “Google My Business” and “Bing Places for business” are two very popular platforms to list offline businesses. If your local business is in Ghana, you can also list it on “GhanaYello.”
Why should your local business be listed here? That’s because people usually search for their requirements and services on search engines like google and bing.
So, if you list your local business on these platforms, people can easily find your business. And they’ll have access to your business details, address, services provided, phone number, etc.
#3 Set up a Website
The main identity of your local business on the internet is going to be your website. Irrespective of the industry of your business, a website is somehow a basic requirement.
A website is basically a space occupied on the internet to showcase your business, its details, services, offers, and almost everything possible.
Some businesses require fully functional websites and some require just a landing page and it all depends on the type and needs of the business.
How to create a website for your local business?
Well, there are multiple platforms where anyone with minimal knowledge about coding can easily set up a website. A few of the website building platforms are:
These are some of the very popular website builders that you can easily use to build your business website, eCommerce store, landing page, list services, and whatnot.
You can also use your website to take appointments, generate leads, engage visitors and sell products online.
For instance, you can use Opterflow.com to build your business website, and create amazing landing pages that the whole world can access. Opterflow helps you do this easily with the various already built templates, so you only need to edit and insert your business details
#4 Setup Billing & Payments System
Now that you have a website for your local business. You can use your website to sell your services and products.
You may ask what about payments?
In a brick & mortar business, it is easy to accept payments via cash and swipe cards.
To accept international payments you need to set up a payment gateway on your site through any popular third-party payment solution. With the help of this payment gateway, one can easily accept payments worldwide and commerce his business smoothly.
Here are a few of the famous payment gateways which accept international payments:
#5 Add Sales Chat widget
Nowadays, people don’t want to wait for anything. Whether it’s about order delivery details or about clearing out their doubts. Your online business should have an automated support chat widget.
You can use a chat widget even for sales, where you can help visitors to clear their doubts and serve what they want even if you are offline through SMS.
That’s the best part about sales chat widgets. They work 24×7 with consistent results for your business but how to add them to your website?
You can always visit Opterflow.com and get the perfect sales chat widget implemented on your website.
#6 Educative SEO Friendly Content
Again, coming back to your website. You can also add useful and informative content around your brand, products, and services.
Write blogs posts!
Yes, blogs posts are a great way to get attention and trust on your website by sharing powerful, educative, and engaging content on the internet.
But how will people notice your website in the first place? That’s where SEO comes into play. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Keywords are basically those keywords that search engines web crawlers find relevant on your website based on the visitor’s search terms.
The better the SEO keywords used in your content, the higher the chances of coming on the first page of the search results.
This organically brings tons of traffic to your website globally and builds trust too.
#7 Target the World With PPC Ads
Building and setting up your online presence is almost done. Now, it’s time to target the world and create awareness about your business.
How to target the world? Well, there is a way, i.e PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Ads. What is this, PPC? It’s a way of advertising your business on the internet (websites).
You can advertise your online website/business on other websites and search engines and pay only when someone clicks on your ads.
This is a very great way to target a wide audience and at a very affordable price. In this way, you can expand your reach and eventually get more leads and sales.
#8 Try Affiliate Marketing
A very popular and effective way of advertising is word of mouth. How about using that same old and trusted method in your newly shifted online business?
But why would anyone share your business products and services with others without even using them? Affiliate Marketing is a new way of marketing where people share your products and services with others and if they bought something, the person who has shared receives rewards or a small percentage of the profit.
Try affiliate marketing programs for your business too and see the wonders! People will share your business like crazy and will boost your reach and sales.
#9 Leverage Global Influencers
Brands always reach out to celebrities to advertise their products and services. This is a very expensive way of marketing which is not possible for new online business owners. What options are available in such a case?
Nowadays because of social media, there are various celebrities in local regions on various social media platforms who have a huge fan following. You can contact them to advertise your products and services among their followers.
In this way, you can make your online business visible at a global level and also in a very effective and cheap way.
#10 Collect Reviews and Feedback
Now that you have started your online business journey, it’s time to improve the game! Every business needs feedback and reviews about the great work they are doing to improve for the better. But how to get those reviews and feedback?
Reviews and feedback are very important for your business and more important to respond to them. It becomes very difficult to collect and respond to every single review when you commence your business online and globally.
Here is the better way, Opterflow helps you to automate this important task for your business and helps you to collect and respond to the reviews provided by visitors and customers.
By doing this, you gain customer trust and word of mouth works for you, and eventually, this brings you more business.
#11 Hire International Talents
We understand that going online is not that easy for you. You want to shift as soon as possible but find technology a big obstacle. Don’t know much about or don’t have enough time to do all of the stuff mentioned above?
Well, in that case, You should consider hiring a professional to handle all your task. A Professional can be either an individual or a firm.
International talents can help you to scale up your business and solve all your problems when shifting from offline to online.
Hiring a professional is a very good option if it is within your budget because they know all the ins and out of the online business and this can give you a head start on your online business.
#12 Spy Your Competitors
Everything can wrong if your industry competitors can catch up to you! To be sustainable and have a stronghold in the market, you need to be aware of the market you are into.
The internet world keeps on changing and so do businesses. You always need to keep track of your business and, more important, spy on your competitors.
You have to stay ahead of the game against your competitors in the industry. See what they are doing, how they are doing, what is unique about them, and why people are choosing them? Try to get answers to all these questions and come up with a better strategy.
This helps you to be in the game for the long run.
#13 Connect With Online Communities
There are various other small business owners just like you who have online businesses. On social media platforms such as Facebook, there are multiple groups defined by industry where you can join and explore a new world.
Small business owners all around the world are connected through groups like these. Here, you can share your ideas, get your doubts cleared, and know more about the industry you are in, what works for others, and how others are doing the business?
All these questions can be answered in social media groups. These are very good resources to upscale your business knowledge, make meaningful networks, and generate more leads and sales by applying working strategies in your business.
#14 Pitch to Global Brands on Linkedin
Going online gives you a huge opportunity to make your current business a big success!
With time, your online business will grow so as the management and task of handling business globally. The best way to go for it is to pitch global brands for deals, and collaborations that can help you to get more reach and access to other aspects of the business.
A small business owner in Ghana can reach out to global brands via LinkedIn. It is a very popular platform for professional connections globally. You can pitch your ideas, business plans, and deals with brands here.
Every business has multiple parts and not each part can be handled by a single organization so there is a need to connect with other brands and work together for common profits and goals.
In a NutShell
Local business owners have now understood one thing very clearly, going online is the only way to expand their existing business. Many of them find it difficult where to start?
There is soo much noise on the internet which can easily distract newcomers. Every local business can go online easily through the steps mentioned above. Internet is on its boom and everyone should utilize its benefits through their business.
Create a proper website, index your business on search engines, have an outstanding social media platform, and connect with a third party to handle your sales and marketing.
Now you are just one step behind in starting a successful online business i.e To Execute! Contact Opterflow for sales and marketing solutions for your online solutions