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Tim from Business October 16, 2020, 4:22 PM

Boosting Your Small Business’s Online Presence

Physical storefront traffic is down, and may not rise quickly – or completely – to pre-pandemic levels. Consumers have embraced ordering online during the COVID-19, and many likely won’t switch back to their old habits thanks to the convenience that e-commerce offers.

As a small business owner, it is time to think about offering online sales, or enhancing and expanding all of your digital channels. If customers can’t easily find you, how can they buy your products?

Here are our 4 favourite tips to boosting your online presence:

  • Increase your brand recognition. Recognition builds trust, and trust builds customers. Focus on curating images, keywords and topics for your niche market so that your target audiences find you when they are looking for that product or service. Google yourself to find out what people are already seeing.
  • Build your relationship with customers. Think of your customers as individuals, and use a tone that helps them to see your company as human, too. The more you can engage them in a two-way conversation, the more they will feel involved and want to return. Consider social media and newsletters your new way of speaking to them face to face. 
  • Actively build your reputation. Reach out to your customers for positive reviews, and get them up on search platforms like Google along with your website. Because customers aren’t going into stores, they need other cues to give them that “gut instinct” that tells them which company they’d prefer to buy from. Reviews are the new word of mouth checkpoint for isolated consumers.
  • Upgrade your online store. Just as your storefront benefits from a renovation, makeover, or even a thorough cleaning, your e-commerce platform will draw customers if it looks great and is easy to use. Consider what you love most about your favourite online stores and try to decipher what it is about their aesthetic, navigation, and checkout process that makes it good.

In order to set up your e-commerce site and increase your social media engagement, you may need to upgrade your skills in graphic design, web design, content management, and online marketing strategies.

Programs you may want to get better at using include Photoshop, InDesign, WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Facebook, and YouTube to give you the skills to do your own online designing.

Good news: the library has your back. You can learn all of these skills and many more on Lynda.com, one of our most popular online course databases. All you need is your library card to access thousands of tutorials, available 24 hours a day.

The library is also proud to host a free online speaker series for Small Business Week with a packed schedule of live industry experts, October 19-23. Check out Finding your customer base: the science behind social media and How to Run an Online Store Successfully.

Find the full roster of Small Business Week programs and many more business resources at www.reginalibrary.ca/business-and-careers.

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Tim from Business

Tim's natural habitat is anywhere he can help professionals succeed.

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