Online sales are a huge part of the post-pandemic economy, and many in-person shoppers start offline sales with online research. If you’re looking for an advantage over the competition and to convert browsers into buyers, it’s important to optimize your online listings and website experience. Here’s a look at some of the most important apps and tools to ensure your company is best represented online.
Claim accounts on all major platforms
When someone goes shopping online, they typically start with a major search engine or search feature in an app. Depending on what you do, your business could have profiles across a wide list of sites already, even without your input. It’s much better to claim those profiles and control what visitors see than leave your page for error-prone algorithms to figure out on their own.
Top platforms to claim your business brand page include Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Bing. Restaurants, contractors, and other service providers may find specialty search platforms and apps focused on their industry where they can also add a profile. If you need help, consider hiring an agency or specialist who can help you create optimized profiles.
In addition to adding a positive, accurate description to your business, adding links back to your business from major websites can boost your search engine optimization (SEO). Claiming your profiles on these platforms is typically free, though you can count on optional upsell offers to put your listing at the top and make other optimizations. Content on your website and interlinking your website and business profiles also helps customers learn more about your company.
Add business hours, location, and contact info
In addition to knowing what your business does, it’s important to give prospective and existing customers clear methods to contact your business. Even if you already list this on your business website, it’s smart to add your location and contact details to platforms like Google to put your customers closer to the information they need.
Billions of users count on these platforms to discover how to connect with and visit businesses. Ensure you update your hours, address, and other contact information periodically so no one falls through the cracks.
It would be a shame to lose out on leads because they can’t find your storefront or when you’re open, so make it very easy to find on your website in addition to online platforms and search engines.
Upload high-quality photos to show off your business
In real estate, good selling agents know that high-quality photos can make or break a listing. As more people buy online, high-quality photos showing the details of your products or services replace the old in-store experience of picking something up or talking to a sales associate.
Snapping a quick picture with your smartphone is fine for social media, but it’s not ideal for professional listings. Browse competitor listings to ensure you meet or beat the quality of their listings. Hiring a professional photographer for a session may be a worthwhile investment to guarantee you get the best possible results.
Consider strategic online advertising
Online advertising is a major way for businesses of all sizes to reach customers. Online ads put your listings and messages at the top of search results, in newsfeeds and sidebars, and other places people view digital advertising.
But don’t spend too much on online ads unless you’ve done testing. Online ads are well worth it when there’s a clear ROI. Start small with a small budget and test various ads and platforms to get the best results. Look for ads and landing pages with the highest conversion rates. Rely on the data to identify and repeat what works to further amplify your sales.
Online marketing isn’t just about display ads, however. Building strong relationships can also boost your online presence and sales.
Connect your online sales funnel
High-performing online sellers don’t simply create listings, set up advertising campaigns, and hope for the best. They use well-constructed systems to capture customer information, maintain positive relationships, and close sales.
You can use online customer relationship management (CRM), customer service, and email list software to combine your customer list from all sources and questions from all social networks and platforms with one dashboard. Then, you can create automated, segmented campaigns targeting new customers, repeat customers, upsells, cross-sales, and more.
Like your doctor’s office or favorite restaurant sending a postcard or email wishing you a happy birthday, you can create fun, customized, personalized, and thoughtful campaigns for every user, and most of that can be fully automated.
Online isn’t optional in the 2020s
You can’t ignore online sales and hope your brick-and-mortar store will be enough. Optimizing your listings for retail, restaurant, and any other customer-facing business turns browsers into buyers and searchers into visitors.
When you invest the time and resources into creating a manicured digital storefront, you’re making a smart move to build a stronger and more resilient business poised to grow for years to come.