CoVid has impacted every business in Australia, but small businesses without an online presence have felt that impact ten-fold and have had to cope with the new societal norms and the new ‘remote’ way of working.
And just when we thought that things were getting better, Melbourne is in lockdown again and partial restrictions are back in NSW. The virus is relentless which means we have to be too. Relentless in our fight against it and in keeping our businesses alive by adapting to the demands of the times and being accessible to our customers online.
Here are 5 simple and doable steps you can take to ensure you do not distance yourself from your customers.
Create a Google My Business account
When people search for a product or service near them, they most often than not want that service or product on the same day or in the next few days. You want your business to appear in these searches.
GMB is a great starting point without getting deeper into SEO. Log into the Google account for your business or set one up if you don’t have one already. You can then enter your business name, address, hours and contact details. Verify your account by following the instructions and voila, you’re set!
Yes, we know we’re social distancing but you don’t have to distance yourself from social media! Set up a Facebook business page. Not a profile, a page. There is a difference. Users can simply ‘like’ your page without having to send ‘friend requests’ and a business page gives you a suite of tools for content creation, analytics and paid campaigns.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform world-wide with 2.7 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2020. Facebook is also the most rapidly growing network in Australia with 40% Australians forecasted to get on the network by 2022 according to this report by Statista.
A business page on Facebook is effective at engaging with your followers, you can update your customers on any changes in your service, timings and how you’re dealing with the CoVid situation. If your business has had to unfortunately close during this time, you can still engage with your followers by posting regularly.
Get a Domain Name
A domain name is nothing but the part of your website that comes after the www., for example, www.getonline.com. You would also get a business email address that would like [email protected].
Choose a domain name that reflects your business and what you do. It is not expensive to buy a domain name and you can easily buy one from GoDaddy or even on WordPress.
Set Up a Website or an eCommerce Store
Okay, we know this sounds like too much if you’re not very technically inclined and do not have any budget to pay someone to do it for you. BUT setting up an eCommerce store or a website is not as difficult as it’s made out to be.
If you do not sell products, you will need only a simple website of about 4-5 pages. There are many platforms like WordPress, Wix or Square that are very easy to use once you get the hang of them. We personally find WordPress the simplest. Set up an account on WordPress. Play around with the design, templates, etc. There are many videos on YouTube that help you set up and design your website.
If you do sell products and do not have an online store yet, now is the time! There are many eCommerce platforms that are easy to use and affordable. You can also get a WooCommerce plug in for your WP site and list the products you want to sell. Again, many online tutorials are available to get you started.
Choose a platform that comes integrated with payment gateways, so you can accept payments online, and freight and accounting integrations
Drive Traffic to your Store or Website
Without getting into heavy SEO, the simplest thing you can do to optimise your website or store is to create engaging content, create a blog if you have the time. Use keywords that you want to be found for. For example if you are a hairdresser, use keywords like ‘hairdresser in Marrickville’. Do some research online to discover the words and phrases people use to search for your type of business. And use these in your content, Optimize your products description using relevant keywords, use high quality images and optimize them by adding an alt-tag. Link your post on social media back to your website.
Sell on Marketplaces
If you’re beginning to think that setting up an online store sounds like too much work, (it is not! Do it!), an easier starting point is to list your products on Amazon or eBay. You would need to set up an account and follow the steps to get started.
Remember that on Amazon you are competing with thousands others selling the same or similar products. But you cannot deny that the traffic on Amazon is great! Try a healthy mix of both to see what works best for your business.
We’ve tried to keep things really simple and doable, but steps that will show you some great results. This is just to get you started. There is so much more that you can do once you are comfortable and ‘get the hang’ of things. But don’t hold back from starting because you only see the peak! Follow these steps and get to base camp!
Let us know if any of these tips helped you, or if you did anything differently that has worked for you and can help some other business keep afloat in this time. Remember, we’re all in this together.