Small Business Websites
Expanding Your Business Online
Written by Brenda Stokes for Gaebler Ventures
To expand your business online means opening yourself up to the entire world. But what are the steps that you can use to expand your business online?
The Internet presents business owners with a lot of opportunities. It is just a matter of identifying those opportunities and taking advantage of them.
If you are a business owner with an offline business, expanding to the Internet can be a profitable venture. You do, however, have to evaluate a number of factors before and during making your business an online business. Internet businesses appeal to a much wider audience than what you are used to appealing to.
Here are the steps you need to take to create your Internet business:
- Figure out what kind of budget you are working with. You are going to need a website to have an online presence. Evaluate other online businesses in your niche to see what it is they are doing. You can then ask yourself, "What can I do to be better than they are?" You can then apply your budget to this question and seek out web design companies to design a website for you that has all of the bells and whistles you need to create an easy shopping experience for your visitors. If you are experienced in web design, then you can build the website yourself.
- You will need to market the website. There are a number of ways to do this. Internet marketing techniques include advertising using pay per click ads, utilizing social networking, and blogging about your business.
- On your business cards, make sure you add your business website address. If a customer is unable to come into your establishment, they may choose your website instead.
- Make sure you offer "online only" deals to encourage individuals to use your website. There is a lot of competition on the Internet, so you need to make yourself stand out in some way.
- Create an email list. Place a form on your website that enables visitors to enter their name and email address. Write a weekly or monthly newsletter that gives them exclusive information and may even include contests in order to encourage them to read the newsletters. The significance of the opt-in list is to make sure the visitors don't forget about you.
- Try to offer something free on your website. Even if what you are offering is a free report of some sort or a free eBook, people love anything that is free. It makes them feel valued.
- If you are selling products, utilize eBay as well. You can create an online storefront and sell your products. The products you sell on eBay can then be linked up to your business's website so that individuals can shop there as well. Those who buy from you on eBay can later go to your website when they need more of something or want to buy something that you have to offer them.
You also want to use your imagination when it comes to your online storefront or website. You need to make yourself stand out. By having an attractive website that is easy for individuals to navigate and works in conjunction with your physical business, you will find that you are expanding your business horizons significantly.
Brenda is a graduate of California State University and a professional writer covering a variety of business topics. To learn more about Brenda, check out her website at The Digital Inkwell.
Share this article
Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs
We greatly appreciate any advice you can provide on this topic. Please contribute your insights on this topic so others can benefit.