The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted businesses in a major way as more people are spending time online than ever before. For those not already online, this change in circumstances has been the spark needed to pivot their business to reach new audiences and, for those already online, a chance to optimize it. Regardless of whether your website represents an eCommerce storefront or you are using your website to advertise other services, growing your business online is becoming a crucial part of meeting your customers where they are, a reality that will only increase in the coming months.
To support these efforts, we have provided a series of guiding tips as a path forward for business owners, with special considerations for operating in Canada.
Businesses that thrive operate with a customer-focused mindset, positioning their offerings as a solution to frustration or problem typically faced by an end-user. After all, most people won’t care about your product, but they will care about is how your product can help them. Even if your business has been in operation for a while, it is important to evaluate your website from time to time and hone in on the messaging as it pertains to your end customer or, in marketing terms, “buyer persona.”
Among the biggest mistakes businesses make is choosing the wrong platform and hosting provider. Canada, like most countries, has its own set of requirements and legal concerns that business owners must understand. For simplicity’s sake, users can automatically abide by these policies by selecting a Canadian web hosting platform.
Additionally, business owners must consider the features available on each platform, comparing the structure of a CMS and website builder, to determine which offers the greatest scalability. Typically, this will be a CMS, requiring users to seek out a separate hosting provider. These tools offer greater flexibility and can often easily accommodate a growing audience. After all, there is little worse than having a customer’s first interaction with your brand being one that doesn’t load.
A second area where business owners often lose out in growth opportunities is their lack of visitor retention. The reality is that the majority of all first-time visitors will never return to your site, leaving many potential sales on the table. Although visitors may not be ready to buy just yet, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything to remain top of mind when they are ready to make a purchase. The most cost-effective way of doing so is through email collection. Doing so is free and one of the most reliable forms of communication for website visitors since they create a direct line to the prospect’s inbox. Here, businesses can share content relevant to their problems, information on new products, discounts, and other events that might encourage engagement with their brand.
In practice, business owners can easily enable contact forms on most website builders either through the provider or a third-party plugin. Forms can seamlessly integrate with several email service providers to help create prospect lists that your business can convert to customers at a future date. The only other consideration is providing value that will sway a visitor to share their details. Some examples may include a discount coupon, a piece of content or the promise of exclusive brand updates.
After setting up your customer conversion funnel, you will need to consider filling it by attracting a larger audience to your website. Search engines, including Google and Bing, can all attract major traffic sources when leveraged correctly. Therefore, businesses are encouraged to learn the basics of search engine optimization (or SEO) and follow standard guidelines for URLs, page meta descriptions, and on-page content.
Developing an online presence means more than having a compelling website. It also means leveraging the growing social media community. Simply being consistent, and taking advantage of new platforms where customers are spending their time, can grow a large follower base. When nurtured and given direction to a compelling website, followers can quickly become regular website visitors and paying customers.