The internet is the largest platform for people to connect on. In the space of the previous decade, the internet has grown to now permeate every level of our lives. From the computers we work on to the phones we browse on, it has ushered in a new wave of globalisation that offers great rewards, as well as great risks, for businesses.
Business owners in 2019 and beyond are able to leverage the reach of the internet to connect with a massive audience through. However, it is important to note that if the internet can help grow a business, then it can also directly contribute to its collapse. If you’re a business owner looking to take advantage of the internet’s reach and potential in 2019, here’s how your business can grow, and how it can fail.
How can the internet contribute to growing your business?
Create a business website
Having a website is the cornerstone of success online in 2019. Both large and small businesses require a presence online to promote and sell their products and services. With technology becoming so prevalent in our lives, business owners are able to connect with ‘ready to buy’ consumers 24/7.
Sydney pest control company, No More Birds, demonstrate the power of a new site, saying “we’d always assumed a lack of work was due to seasonal variations, not our site. It was only when we got a professional new site that we realised there was more at play. We’ve never had as much work, ever, in the life of our business as we did in December.”
As your digital salesman, your website is also an ambassador, an HR manager and a customer service rep. Unlike an office person who will have to leave after a standard shift, your website works at generating leads, providing answers and converting customers at all times.
Leverage social media
With 15 million monthly users on Facebook and a further 9 million monthly users on Instagram, Australians love social media. Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and others have a wide range of benefits that can help you scale up your business.
For example, through creating content (whether organic or choosing to promote your posts as a form of paid advertising) you can grow your brand and increase your audience. An Instagram strategy can help you increase this exposure. With a large and engaged audience you can then showcase your products and services to encourage conversions. If you’re a new business, it is very important to be on social media; as there is no comparable method of reaching out to a hungry audience of consumers.
Integrate e-mail marketing
The old method of calling customers is no longer as effective as it once was. In fact, traditional outbound marketing has a 1.6% conversion rate compared to the 14.7% conversion rate of inbound marketing. The internet allows business owners to connect with prospects who are genuinely interested, thereby reducing wasted advertising spend.
One of the simplest ways to connect with a ‘ready to buy’ audience is through email marketing. Remember, it is unlikely a person will make a purchase of your products or services without researching and reviewing your business. In fact, research has shown that 91% of people read online reviews prior to a purchase. Financial experts Max Funding have the following exclusive tip to help combat negative reviews, “we place our media partners on our homepage to help offset negative reviews. While you can’t avoid negative feedback, we’ve been praised in major publications like the Sydney Morning Herald and the Financial Review. These are great forms of social proof to help you show your audience that you’re credible.”
You can help drive prospects further down your sales funnel through emails that nurture their interests and provide value. Then, when they see you as a reliable and authentic business, driving a conversion becomes easier.
How can the internet contribute to closing your business?
Negative word of mouth
Has your business dealt with negative reviews? While no business wants to deal with bad feedback, this is an unavoidable fact of running a business in the digital age. And while poor reviews may only have existed through word of mouth previously, the internet has created a forum for disgruntled customers to connect over their feedback.
Just as a positive word of mouth has the potential to pull a business up, in the same way, negative word of mouth can damage a business online, ruining a reputation and driving away prospects. With instant reviews and customer feedback, a business that doesn’t meet the expectations and needs of customers will run the risk of being overlooked by customers, who turn to your competitors instead.
Too much technology
The internet has ushered in an age where businesses are able to automate much of their processes to streamline the process of attracting, securing and servicing clients. However, when businesses automate too much of their customer relationship, they may end up doing more harm than good. Sydney plumbers, Shepherd Plumbing explain why, saying “when people need plumbing help they want to speak to an human right away. So while automating some contact may save us money, it would hurt us in the long run. When you call for an emergency service, you want to know someone is listening and on the way to help.”
While it may seem like a promising method of reducing costs and saving time, the lack of person-to-person service can turn people off. For example, if people require time sensitive support or custom feedback, adding a chat bot to your website might end up alienating your audience and make them feel as though they don’t matter. And that’s the quickest way to drive them away.
Are you ready to leverage the power of the internet?
It is undoubtedly important to make use of the internet when building your business. The potential for growth is no longer limited to businesses with huge budgets or long histories. In contrast, the internet has levelled the playing field for businesses who want to scale up. However, it is important to realise that the opportunities for reward also present risks. Use tools like a website, social media and email marketing to grow and connect with your audience. Pay attention to negative reviews by responding quickly and openly, and beware of passing all responsibility to technology and you’ll be best placed to grow your business in 2019.