We frequently have newer clients who ask lots of question that relate to gaining clarity on what it really takes to shift a larger portion of their business and revenue to be driven by the internet. We all know that any business that choses to believe they can compete in this day and age without being found online (and without having a positive presence online), is living in denial – a denial that will more than likely put them out of business in the near future – or well behind their competition as a best case scenario.
I’ve decided to create this short series for our small business owners who are looking for similar answers – for clarity on what it really takes to get established online. Being armed with this information, and understanding the sequence and many of the steps required, will help you to build confidence and get results faster as you move into any unfamiliar territory.
Today, we’ll be covering the first installment of 5 Keys To Taking Your NH Small Business Online. I intend on releasing the remaining installments over the next couple of weeks so that you have time to absorb each piece and get clarity on the big picture, and so you can understand why strategy is so critically important in this process.
So let’s get started with a brief introduction then…
Times are changing.
More and more people reference the Internet before making a buying decision (or even before deciding to visit a local business in the first place for that matter). Having a great storefront… having a unique business in a great main street location just isn’t enough anymore.
The’ Internet Revolution’ is in full swing.
People look to the Internet for pricing, reviews, ideas, directions and choices – options for where to go… where to spend their money – and if your business isn’t being found online, then your competitors will capture more and more of your market share.
This is a Handbook – dare I say a Survival Guide, for not only what it takes to get found online, but what it’s going to take to come out on top when you climb in the ring with your competition (and you may be surprised to find that your ‘local’ competition isn’t even your competition at all – but that’s another report altogether ;)
I’m all about getting to the solution – the exact steps for building a G.R.E.A.T Online Business. It’s a simple 5 step process to market domination – to bringing any offline business, online – and getting results. But don’t be deceived… there’s a very specific process you must follow to have any hope of success. This guide will introduce you to that process.
Let’s get started…
Step 1: Groundwork
There are three main components when laying the groundwork for the new (or revised), ‘online’ arm of your business – and these are:
- Finding your Audience
- Determining the Purpose of your online efforts
- Dialing in exactly what you initial Presence looks like
Let’s start with your Audience.
If you’ve been in business for any period of time, then you probably already know who your in-store audience is. This may or may not be the same audience as your online business. This is an important distinction that many small businesses overlook when moving online.
The single most important question I ask when researching online audiences for our local business clients is this:
“Is it possible that there are a large number of people searching online for my client’s product or services that don’t already know my client exists?”
The answer is nearly always yes!
The purpose of building an online presence for your business is not just to create a better image for your company, or to retain and convert more of your existing clients into higher dollar (and more frequent), sales. And it’s not just to build social proof and engage with your clients and prospects. Most importantly, it’s to generate more business – or put a little differently:
The most important reason to be online is to grow your audience, and to convert a higher percentage of your audience into customers.
There are a few different methodologies to determine who your ideal audience is online – but that’s outside the scope of this Handbook. There’s a lot of data to consider, and research that needs to be done, but the good news is – our company, NH Strategic Marketing, specializing in providing this data for all of our ‘Blueprint’ clients.
Ok, that’s a great start for today. Let this sink in for a short time, and I’ll touch base in a day or two with the next installment – which will be all about the Purpose of your online efforts. This is critical – and probably not exactly what you might expect…
NH Strategic Marketing, Founding Partner