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How to Move Your Local Business Online

Keeping your business up and running and your customers interested in the middle of a pandemic is, to put it mildly, a challenge. Especially if you’ve tried to do so with your original, brick-and-mortar model, where you depend on customers coming to your store to make a purchase. Despite your best efforts and your well-developed reputation, you cannot expect the same tactics to work during a crisis, since most people are trying their best to reduce close social interactions, which includes visiting your store.

With that in mind, this is a perfect opportunity for your local business to venture online and reach more people with the help of a web store, social media pages, and advertising online. This transition will take time, much like switching to remote work and other rapid changes occurring due to the pandemic, but it will help you maintain your business, your standing in your community, and it will allow you to expand to the online market and thus grow your business over time. In the meantime, here’s what you need to do to move your store to the digital realm.

Choose a domain name and hosting

Ideally, you would be able to get a domain name that’s the exact match to your brand, and one that you’ve been using for your brick-and-mortar store. However, if you’ve been around for a while, this might no longer be an option, so you need to find a domain name that is close enough to your original name, but still uses a trustworthy extension such as .com or .net, and that instantly evokes the image of your brand.

Then, make sure to find a hosting solution that will give you the right security for your ecommerce store, so that your customers will feel safe to buy from your site. Do some research and find reliable partners in the hosting world. If your shop is located in Sydney, for example, you should look for a local hosting partner so that your site will load quickly for your target audience, and so that you can always get timely support.

Create a brand-worthy website

Now that you’ve selected your domain name and your hosting partner, it’s time to build an ecommerce site that will live up to your brand’s existing reputation and appeal to your target demographic. Now, for brands that sell in extremely competitive regions such as Australia, you also need to take design and various functionalities into account, to make your website stand out.

For instance, some elements of professional ecommerce website design in Sydney include mobile responsiveness, security certificates, and fast-loading pages. That way, whether your customers come to your site on their phones or desktops, they’ll find all your products easily and enjoy the shopping process much like they’ve done so in your store.

Bring your social media to life

Sydney is merely an example of a fast-paced, highly developed environment where any business will find it challenging to thrive. Now that you’ve moved your store online and you can sell through your ecommerce platform, you also need to make sure that you keep your brand locally relevant and connect to your audience with the help of social media.

Did you know that around 60% of Australia’s population uses Facebook and that Instagram has more than 9 million active users every month in this country? This means that you’re entering a very competitive, densely populated digital field, and you need to create profiles and pages that inspire engagement and regular interaction. Most of all, make sure that your social pages are consistent with your site and your brand.

Work with local influencers

Associating your brand with influencers helps elevate your digital position, gives you more SEO value, and helps your business gain more traction and trust. With that in mind, you might not be able to work with Ella Victoria if you’re in the beauty industry, but you can aim for micro-influencers who will help you improve your reputation and boost brand recognition and visibility.

Collaborate with an influencer for the long term to create regular social media content. Create contests and polls with them to build up more hype around your brand. Use their access to a wide audience to generate more publicity for your brand over time.

Produce regular content

It’s not enough to merely publish your store and let your site “live” online as your customers come occasionally to make a purchase. You need to produce regular website content in the form of blog posts, how-to articles, videos, infographics, products reviews, and the like. The content you publish will give you more search engine relevance and help you start conversations with customers on social, as well.

Your local customers will likely be excited about your decision to move online and make your products available to them even during this unfortunate situation. You’ll make their lives better and provide a convenient way to stay loyal to your brand. Once you’re up and running online, do your best to keep meeting your customer expectations, as that will help you reach more people in your area and stay relevant in the eyes of your target demographic.

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