If you want your business to thrive and grow in this digital era, you need to have a strong online presence, especially if you work from home. Home-based businesses do not get foot traffic – unlike companies with stores or offices. But, the internet has leveled the playing field for entrepreneurs, working from home or elsewhere, so you have to take advantage of increasing your reach by improving your online presence. And the sooner you do it, the better. You don’t want to be left in the dust by your competitors, do you?
Here are six strategies to improve your online presence:
1. Create a Professional Website and SEO-Optimize It
Since you don’t have a shop or office accessible to the public, it may be difficult for people to find you. Therefore, investing in a website is crucial to you as a home-based business. Take note that it must look and function professionally. If it is designed poorly or has technical malfunctions, visitors might perceive your business as a scam. If you don’t have the budget to pay for an expert web developer, you can opt to build it yourself using drag-and-drop website builders – like Wix or Weebly -- which are easy to use even for those without experience creating websites.
Once your website’s up and running, you need to optimize it for SEO. Basically, that means getting your site to rank higher on search engine results. Having a website that doesn’t show up on the first few pages of search engines – like Google or Bing – is like having a store in a ghost town that nobody sees or knows. To optimize your website’s SEO data, you need to create content that use keywords for the type of services or products you offer. Also, you will also have a higher chance of improving your site ranking if you have other websites linking to yours. There are plenty of tools that you can use to help you optimize your site for search engines.
2. Post Blogs Regularly
Blogs can be posted directly on your website. Aside from the fact that having more content on your site means having more chances for you to insert relevant keywords for SEO purposes, it also helps visitors learn more about your offerings.
Remember that as a home-based business owner, the exposure your products or services get from the public is limited. So, you have to really capitalize on online strategies to spread more information about your business. A blog can be a platform for you to educate readers about the importance of your products or services. Through blogging, you also become relatable to your audience – so you can be more than just a brand to them, you are a person who can sincerely help them.
3. Create Short, Engaging, and Informational Videos
Big brands usually have budgets allotted for creating commercials and getting them aired on TV. These are usually effective and can convert to huge sales, but as a home-based entrepreneur, you probably don’t have the capacity to spend that much on marketing. But don’t worry -- the internet has made it easy for just about anyone to make video ads.
Home-made videos are huge these days because people feel that they are more authentic. Create your own Youtube channel where you can showcase your products or services, announce exciting promos you’re running, interview customers who loved your product/service, and more.
If you think it’s a lot of work to create video content, you can repurpose your blog posts by creating videos from them. This will help you save time since you won’t have to do more research. Learn how to create simple videos using even your smartphone, or hire a freelancer who can edit them for you from time to time.
Facebook Live is also a very effective way to reach your audience and interact with them – this makes them feel personally connected with you so buying from you becomes easier for them.
4. Be Active on the Social Media Platforms Your Target Audience is Using
Even though you don’t have a physical storefront or office where you can interact with your clients, customers, or potential buyers -- it doesn’t mean that you can’t do that while running a business at home. In fact, you can have a wider reach and a more enjoyable interaction with your audience with the help of social media platforms.
But first, identify where your audience hangs out in the virtual world. Posting content consistently on social media, replying to comments and messages, and creating ads on social media platforms can be challenging – especially if you are a one-person team. With the many platforms available today, social media can easily become overwhelming, so choose one or two platforms that your audience frequently use.
For example, if you are providing a service to business owners, LinkedIn is a good platform to use. If you are selling products, you can use Instagram and Facebook to reach targeted audiences who are more likely to purchase from you. You should also update your social media accounts with your blog posts and videos – this will help your content reach more people.
There are also social media management software you can use, such as Hootsuite, to help you handle your accounts in one place, schedule posts in advance, and track comments and messages.
5. Get Your Customers to Leave Online Reviews About Your Products/Services
Take advantage of your loyal customers who love what you’re offering. Since you can connect with them through social media, you can also encourage them to do you a favor by leaving an online review about your company, your products, or your services. The more comments you get and the higher your ratings are, the more chances you have in getting more clients and sales.
Reviews also provide an opportunity for you to address negative comments. If you recognize negative reviews and show willingness to turn around the experience for them, people are more likely to feel that you value each and every client you serve. It makes them feel that even if you are doing business at home, and even if there’s no physical shop they can visit to make returns or air their complaints, you are available -- albeit online -- to take care of their concerns.
6. Use Email Marketing
Sometimes your followers will miss your blog or social media posts – as they won’t always be looking at your website or social media accounts. You can put your content in front of them in their inbox.
Put a lead capture form on your website so that you can increase your number of subscribers. Send emails regularly – like weekly newsletters. Use a professional email address when sending and replying to emails – you should not use generic free emails (such as gmail.com or aol.com) because they can make people doubt your credibility. They may think that if you can’t afford pro email handles, then why are you in business?
Email marketing has helped tons of entrepreneurs, even home-based ones, generate more sales -- as they are nurturing people who are already interested in what they’re offering in the first place (since they opted into their email list).
Perhaps more than ever, starting a business at home these days can be very lucrative. Aside from the fact that it means less capital, less human resources, and less overhead costs -- modern technology has made your possible client base wider and your potential earnings bigger. But these can only happen if you build a strong online presence -- which is very achievable if you follow the strategies we’ve laid out for you in this article.