The Internet, of course, has made it possible for entrepreneurs to get a fast return on their investments with higher profits. Successful e-commerce is accomplished thanks to access to millions of consumers worldwide.
However, countless entrepreneurs have mistakenly thought all they had to do was put up a Web site and the money would flow.
Many entrepreneurs have also learned that a lack of great reviews – or much worse, bad reviews – will disillusion prospects and customers.
Web site owners have also neglected the potential of mobile-friendly Web sites. Unfortunately for them, they’re being penalized by not being able to reach the masses of people who are increasingly using their smartphones to shop.
Entrepreneurs are also learning that their competitors with mobile sites are ranking higher on Google than they are, and sell more product because they create the best possible mobile apps.
To maximize your digital opportunities, here are the basics:
1. Understand the online selling process
To get loyal customers for repeat sales, there are five stages:
Introduction – your prospects are introduced to your business usually via social media or by visiting your site.
Persuasion – your prospects are exposed to your value propositions and reasons to buy.
Interaction – you engage the prospects with options and answering questions via a chat or with a FAQ section.
Selling – your shopping cart goes into action with online sales, or you sell over the telephone or in your bricks and mortar store.
Preservation – you track user preferences and follow-up to entice them into repeat buying.
2. Understand why your company is unique
Determine your best niche and why you’re the best. So know your strengths and weaknesses.
Identify your target audience and their likely perceptions and preferences. Start to create your brand’s personality. Develop value propositions or benefit statements so your prospects will perceive value.
Create a branding slogan in three to five words and develop a simple, but memorable logo.
A simple logo as a favicon is important for use in a search engine presentation (for a brief explanation about favicons, see the eight best practices in small business marketing).
… countless entrepreneurs have mistakenly thought all they had to do was put up a Web site and the money would flow.
3. Determine what skills are needed
You or someone on your staff needs to be analytical with the ability to think critically. The person needs to be capable of making strategic moves to anticipate necessary steps, and tracking your successes and failures.
This means it’s important to study analytic reports about your social media, your blog readers and visits to your site.
Someone has to stay on top of online reviews and respond accordingly.
4. Identify and implement marketing behavior to match your goals
Certainly, you want top-of-the-mind brand awareness. You also want to make sales. To achieve these goals you must identity the right tactics.
But most entrepreneurs fall into a trap – they’re constantly putting out fires – reacting instead of acting. That stems from confusion in not knowing how their efforts contribute to the objectives of the big picture.
So they engage in busywork – starting a Twitter or Facebook account – without a vision for growth for the big picture goal. What they need to be doing is understanding human nature – how the average online visitor decides to buy.
5. Determine your investment
An investment can be in the form of energy, money or time. You must decide on a budget for each.
That means how much effort you will expend in blogging, earned advertising including online press releases, using the right social media, search-engine optimization, developing centers of influence and paid advertising.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are related strategies:
14 Steps to Profit from Online Customer Reviews — For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce. Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you. They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant.
Marketing Tips via Mobile Devices, Reviews, Coupons — Digital marketing opportunities keep growing and growing. For instance, 70 percent of consumers research product reviews while they shop in stores. Ninety percent are relying on their mobile devices as they make in-store buying decisions.
4 Best Practices to Enhance Your Google Ranking with Digital Content – There are four best practices if you want strong ranking from Google’s search rank algorithms, higher click-through rates and more social sharing from your content and press releases. That’s according to the Ranking Factors Study from Searchmetrics. The study shows the four practices improve message visibility and campaign results on the Internet.
For Strong Local SEO Performance, Avoid 6 Errors — A key strategy to make your cash register ring is to have a strong Internet presence. That means strategizing for strong local search-engine optimization (SEO). With strong local SEO performance, your business will have online top-of-the-mind awareness in your community. You want to be easily discovered by potential customers.
Social Media – 5 Quick Tips to Boost Your Christmas Sales — Here are five social-media ways to increase sales by the end of the holiday season.
“The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.”