Taking your business online is a big step, although it’s entirely the right decision to make. Many people search for companies or make their purchases online these days, and so in order to stay competitive, you’re going to want to take advantage of all the Internet has to offer. This guide will go over some specific tools that will make your online transition easier and more efficient.
1. Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising
When taking your business online, the first thing you’re going to want to do is start marketing yourself to an online customer base. Fortunately, online advertising is relatively inexpensive. There are non-paid ways of advertising you should explore, but hands down the most popular and wide-reaching advertisers on the Web are Facebook and Google.
Facebook boasts almost two billion active users that utilize the site for many aspects of their lives, so it’s really an excellent place to try and attract some attention for your products or services. Facebook advertising is not only cheap, it’s also extremely targeted – because of the data Facebook collects on its users, you can target the audience who will see your ad very narrowly and thus get it in front of people who will be most interested in buying what you’re offering. For example, you can set your advertisement to only display to 20-30 year-olds who like comic books.
Google AdWords displays advertisements all over the Web and uses an algorithm to match your ad with search terms and determine where your ads will display. This can be on the search results page or embedded in third-party websites that receive revenue from the advertising. Google AdWords can also be targeted, although not as narrowly as Facebook. Given the amount of daily searches put into Google, having your business be mentioned at the top of the results when someone searches for “plumber st paul mn” is understandably a good way to generate leads.
PayPal is still the king when it comes to making online payments. If you’re going to be accepting payments from customers online, you should be prepared to accept PayPal. Customers also know, trust and use PayPal, so they don’t have to worry about giving you their credit card information or signing up for a new, unfamiliar service. When using PayPal for business transactions, you have a lot of options: everything from customers just sending payments to your e-mail address, to having a PayPal-powered storefront on your website.
3. LinkedIn and Crunchbase
While having a social media presence on major sites is important, using sites like LinkedIn and Crunchbase have their own unique benefits to offer your business. LinkedIn is easily the top lead generator for businesses operating in the B2B sector. LinkedIn is also one of the best resources to recruit top talent, because many job seekers are on LinkedIn, as well as all their information. This makes it very easy to not only quickly look through the qualifications of candidates but also to contact and recruit potential employees. Crunchbase is a database of businesses, like this Vasayo profile, that are an excellent source of market research, because profiles contain a lot of relevant information about a business, including who’s on a company’s board of directors, what products they produce, contact information and more. It also works as a social media site similar to LinkedIn where businesses can post useful content.
Especially if you’re not tech savvy, moving your business online can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, most programs now are very user-friendly and simple to use. The benefits of having an online presence far outweigh the negatives, and so take advantage of both the tools mentioned in this article as well as other specialty tools you come across to really help your business take off online.