While much of the world has gone online in the last year, most businesses are still based in the real world. After all, you can’t clean a house, fix a car, or bake cookies virtually!
Even if you provide in-person services like photography or sell physical products like artwork, it’s still important for your business to have an online presence. Many customers now look online first for reviews and recommendations when they have a need.
8 Ways You Can Use The Internet To Grow Your Business:
1. Create a Business Website
Think of your website as a virtual business card. Your website should have your business name, information about the services or products you offer, and a way to contact you. If you have a physical storefront or workshop, you can also include directions to your location on your website. You can build a website on platforms like Squarespace or WordPress.
2. Market Your Business on Social Media
Social media can be an easy, inexpensive way to reach potential customers. Many people use Facebook or Instagram to look for solutions to their problems, often by talking to other people who might have the same problem. Choose a social media platform that you personally enjoy using and create a page or profile for your business. Then you can post content about your business and connect with people who are interested in buying.
3. Post Helpful Content On A Blog, Podcast, Or Youtube Channel
One way to inform people about your business is to post helpful content related to your business. If you are a makeup artist, you can post makeup tutorial videos on YouTube. Include a link to book an appointment with you. If you create gift baskets, you can publish a blog post about creative gift ideas for different holidays, including your own gift baskets. When you post helpful content, potential customers can see examples of your work. This might convince them to book a service or buy your product.
4. Run Ads for Your Business
Digital advertising can reach many more people than handing out flyers or knocking on doors to tell people about your business. You can run ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and many other social media platforms and you can easily manage the costs by setting daily and maximum budgets so you’re never surprised by an unexpected invoice.
5. Keep In Touch With Your Customers
You can send email newsletters or text messages to your customers to let them know about upcoming sales, new products, or special offers. We use MailerLite to send Celebrate EDU’s newsletters. There are text message marketing apps like TextMagic that let you send texts to your customers. Make sure you get permission from customers and let them know what you’ll be sending before contacting them.
6. Join Online Professional Groups
There are Facebook groups, Slack channels, and other online communities for all types of businesses. In these groups, you can learn from other professionals. You can also give and receive referrals within local groups as you get to know people. For example, if another dog walker is going on vacation, they might need you to walk their clients’ dogs while they’re gone. These groups can be a great source of support for your business
7. Use Online Booking Or Scheduling Software
Customers want to be able to book an appointment or schedule a service quickly. Many do not want to have to call a business or email back and forth multiple times to schedule. Online schedulers like Calendly let customers pick an appointment time and, if you want, pay for the service all in one step. (We use Calendly to schedule our Spark 101 check-ins and it’s great!) When you make it convenient for customers to book and pay for a service, you’ll probably get more customers.
8. Learn New Skills Online
As a business owner, you can always learn new skills for your business. You can learn how to provide different services or create new products from videos, blogs, or online courses. You can also take our Start a Business or Spark 101 online courses to learn more about marketing, accounting, or operating a business.
Want to learn more about running an in-person business in an online world? Sign up for our online course Spark 101 to start exploring self-employment.