For years to come, through generations and generations, the Covid-19 pandemic will perhaps be remembered and read about as the greatest threat to humanity across the entire world in the 21st century.
It will be remembered for putting life as we know it on the verge of extinction, for bringing world economies—both big and small to their knees. Enough cannot be said about its devastating effects to the global community.
However, if you look closely, away from the doom and gloom, the conspiracies and negativities, with a devil’s advocate eye or more objective one, Covid-19 sparked innovation, collaboration and disruption. It forced collaboration among countries through collaborative research as the world raced against time to find a cure and/or a vaccine for this pandemic. Who knew that a vaccine, which customarily takes at least ten years to develop, would be approved for usage in under two years.
Who knew that the World Health Organisation (WHO) would for once be in the spotlight for not being proactive? Many of us wouldn’t have known about Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams if it had not been for Covid-19 forcing us into virtual meetings.
But most important of all, the pandemic fostered the adoption of E-commerce to even greater heights. Global marketplaces saw a sharp increase in online orders, forcing vendors, manufacturers and suppliers to join the digital economy and companies to invest more into it. Retail ecommerce sales amounted to about 5.2 trillion USD worldwide in 2021 with forecast growth by 2026 putting revenues at 8.1 trillion, according to Statista. The biggest retail group was Alibaba with sales valued at over 700 billion USD in 2022 while projections show that Amazon will reach 1.2 billion USD in sales by 2027.
As supply and distribution chains were disrupted, innovators were pushed to think out of the box. Ever since then (2022), businesses, small and large, startups and traditional companies have gone digital—everyone wanting to see their business grow and achieve its goals. So don’t let the world leave you behind. Here are some of the best ways to take your business online in 2023.
Being open and free, social media is a good place to start for an entrepreneur or self-employed person to take their business online. If you are already using social media, consider creating pages and handles for your business as well.
Because of its supreme global usage, Facebook is a good place to start. You can then add on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok and Pinterest etc. However, don’t be quick to create accounts for your business on all platforms as creating content for each of these can be time consuming and hard to manage. It’s always safe to start with at least two, in addition to a WhatsApp Business account especially if you are operating on a slim budget. And because organic reach is increasingly becoming harder and harder to achieve for both pages with small and big followings, you may have to budget for some ads such as reach and engagement ads as well as sales ads to grow your audience and customer base.
And on platforms like Instagram and Twitter, you may want to leverage the strength of influencers to help drive traffic and potential customers to your profiles. Because monetarily this may be costly, consider giving some free products for a shout out, a product review and recommendation etc. depending on what you are selling.
Google My Business
If you have a physical address, then create and verify a Google My Business account. With Google still enjoying a lion’s share of online search traffic, this will help to put your business right in front of the people looking for your product or service. Again, this is completely free as long as you have a gmail account. Be sure to complete/optimize your business profile for Google and don’t hesitate to request your customers to leave you a review as these can go a long way into convincing others to buy from you.
List your business with open marketplaces
For businesses with very little or no marketing budgets at all, listing your brand with an online marketplace like HobyClean, Amazon, Ebay, Alibaba, Jiji, Jumia and many others will help drive sales to your business. Marketing can be expensive, whether online or offline, it will cost you a reasonable amount of dollars if you are to drive customers to your business. But with online marketplaces, they will do most of the marketing for you, whether directly or indirectly as they try to drive traffic to their websites and mobile apps.
Join online communities
One of the best ways to get ahead on social media is by being active and offering a hand to help others and the easiest way to achieve this is by joining online communities and groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter Communities and Reddit that are relevant to your business.
Get a website
Whereas it may not be the first thing you start with, if you have the finances, invest in getting a website. Your website is the go-to place for current and prospective customers. Even if they can find you on social media or Google, they may want more information about your business or to check out a listing.
Not only does a website serve as a promotional tool, it also speaks to your brand identity and distinguishes it from the rest—telling a story about your business and also provides contact information. Be sure to have it technically optimized for search engines so they can crawl and index your pages to be able to appear on the search results page.
Add a blog to your website
As far as driving traffic to your website is concerned, having an active blog where you post rich content regularly will go a long way in bringing in that much valued traffic and will contribute greatly to your search engine optimization. Your readers could become your customers as you nurture and lead them down the sales funnel.
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