During the current coronavirus pandemic, because of the rules and regulations put into place forcing merchants to close their doors, many restaurants, department stores, beauty salons and countless other brick-and-mortar businesses have struggled to find a solution worthy enough to fill the gap of lost income.
With an ever-increasing number of employers having to lay off workers, millions of Americans have filed for unemployment. The economy certainly seems to be headed for a recession if this doesn’t end soon. I believe the answer to these challenging times lies in the virtual world — through online businesses or some form of online implementation. Consumers are still purchasing goods and services — just online rather than in person. It is imperative that small business owners figure out how to pivot online during these challenging times.
The online business world is quite different than its brick-and-mortar counterpart. In the online business world, branding plays a significant role. It controls the first impression a consumer draws about you within seconds of them encountering your business or brand. We all know how important first impressions are.
First impressions can be directly linked with a company or person’s reputation. The difference between what sets two companies offering similar products or services apart for a potential customer is branding. Whichever business does the best job of delivering the first impression is most likely to win the consumer.
To help brands prepare for the online world for the first time or to level up their existing digital presence, here are three easy-to-implement best practices I believe to be the most impactful for attracting potential customers:
Give Massive Value Upfront
The more upfront value you can give to a potential customer, the easier it is to earn their trust and establish your company as an industry leader. People tend to make purchasing decisions based on trust, especially if your offer is high ticket. Giving upfront value can be as simple as offering a free gift in exchange for the potential customer’s email address. Some examples of free gifts include PDFs, e-books, five-day challenges, or even a free trial to your service offering. The possibilities are endless.
Once you have collected the potential customer’s email address, you can execute a proper email follow-up campaign to drive them even more value and convert them into a paid client.
Setting Up A Proper Email Signature
As clichéd as this one sounds, many people miss the boat with their email signatures. I personally have landed clients from simply replying to an email. How can this be so? Simply put, it is imperative that you display certain elements within your signature: Include website links and a brief description of who you are and what you do to implement credibility. Have a CTA for those ready to take the next step, and display a company tagline.
If this is done properly, you should only have about seven to 10 lines of a signature, but these lines can be extremely powerful. They can vet you, explain who you are and what your company does, and show the values of your company. Display yourself as an industry expert by including links to thought leadership articles you’ve written, especially if they’ve been published on credible media sites.
What’s important to understand is that the “As seen in” links should be hyperlinked to the articles or television appearances, displaying their accuracy. So should the call to action — for example, booking a free consultation with you. If done properly, this can help you take advantage of emails you are already sending to others and potentially close you more deals.
Position Yourself Effectively On Social Media
As we all know, social media is a powerful online tool to drive leads and traffic to your business funnels if the correct positioning is implemented. When it comes to social media, there are many moving pieces, but how you position yourself is extremely important.
For example, on Instagram, you want your bio to be short but descriptive. Make your business personable right off the bat by listing your brand’s values (or, if you’re marketing yourself, include your personal values). If you or your brand are associated with another credible person or brand (say, a partnership or influential significant other), tag their account username in your bio as well, which can help build trust if users are already familiar with them. And if you have multiple brands under your umbrella, make sure to tag them too for cross-promotion opportunities. This can help your pages grow simultaneously.
Maximum leverage is the end goal on social media for landing new customers or contracts. So, whether you’re running a corporate brand or a personal one, list your contact information and website clearly so that interested parties can email your team if they’re interested in working with you. Those wanting to work with you should not have to go track this information down; it should be easily accessible.
Now is a great time for businesses to move into the online space, especially if they do not have a digital presence currently. The virtual economy is a great solution during a pandemic like we are going through, and I think many business owners now realize the importance of being able to generate revenues remotely. Whether you are just now creating an online presence for your brand or you have had an online brand for the last five years, the best practices outlined here can be game-changers for your business if properly implemented and optimized.
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Author: Ryan White, CommunityVoice