In the wake of the global pandemic many small and medium sized business owners have been busy trying to establish themselves online after years of not really having to worry; however, with the massive drop in sales and strict
social rules many have needed to re-examine the value that technology could bring.
For most small business owners going digital typically means building a website or using an ecommerce site to promote your goods and services. Basic technologies like ecommerce systems, integrated with your website can bring great value for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Traditionally, websites were the digital equivalent of a brochure. Dump all your information on a page and then let the customer navigate their way round with most bookings, quotes or purchases done over the phone or via a store visit.
These days ecommerce platforms have become a lot more interactive and engaging. They are no longer viewed as simply a way of selling your goods or service. They promote an experience that highlights what your brand can offer and results in sales, brand ambassadorship and repeat business when done effectively.
While many business owners do this incredibly well, there have been some business owners that have reached out in search of help to understand what went so horribly wrong and how they can avoid the same mistakes again. When we talked about the challenges these business owners were facing, they were all suffering from one of the ‘fatal mindsets’ that many of us suffer from. The good news is that there is a solution to overcoming them all starting with the first step of recognizing which mindset you are.
Mindset 1) Build it and they will come
After spending thousands of dollars sourcing the right company to create a stunning website, a client reached out and said that she was struggling to generate any sales from her new website. People were looking at her site, but it didn’t convert into leads. When I asked her what she was using to drive people to look at her website she said nothing. “They just search for me in Google.”
I had to tell her that it doesn’t matter how good your website is, how interactive, how streamlined or how beautifully made, without a good system in place that drives people to your website, captures information from your leads and then matches them to the right product or service that you can offer to solve their problem then your website will not be successful.
Mindset 2) Do it right, do it once
Another business owner I have spoken with has struggled with sustaining stales after they launched their website. “For the first few month's sales were great, products few out the door and I struggled to keep up with demand” she said. Then around 6 months after launch she found that her once booming online trade starts to nosedive. I asked her what changed around that point when sales started to fall, and her answer was – nothing. No changes to the site, no new content, no promotions, no new products – she did nothing.
Websites are like physical stores. Just like you try and keep your physical shop clean, tidy, decluttered and fresh to keep people coming back for more many small business owners forget about their websites and the result is often decreased interest from customers.
Mindset 3) Websites are simple I can do it myself
It is difficult creating a business, especially as you start out and so Do It Yourself (DIY) seems to be a great idea to save costs. Many a business owner I have talked to has done that. Even I have done that in the past thinking it was straight forward and simple to use sites that offer free templates and cheap hosting fees to get set up online. Even after you have gone through the tutorials, selected a template and followed the instructions business owners come to me complaining that their website isn't attracting the right leads.
When I check out their site, I find that their brand message doesn’t match the content or the look of their website. For example, if you have a high-quality product targeted at business professionals, but your website is cluttered, poorly written in technical jargon using a font like Comic Sans MS with cartoonish pictures this doesn’t reflect your brand. Your website is a marketing tool and needs to reflect one cohesive message. This is where website audits can help. After you create your website it can be useful to get an objective third party digital auditor to look at your website and highlight areas that you need to refine. The good news is digital auditors can cheaper that getting someone to make the website for you.
Mindset 4) My website is bringing in the punters, but I can’t keep up
Business owners in this mindset often suffer from having too many customers through their website. A great problem to have right? Well one business owner who suffered this problem found that his website was thriving. He was getting inundated with interest and was selling thousands of products every day and spend hours on his website to ensure every customer got a high level of service, but eventually he go to the point where he wasn’t able to fulfill demand even with a small team of employees behind him.
Every company currently has a breaking point where if you added one more customer then you wouldn’t be able to fulfill demand. For some small businesses that could look like going from selling 100 books a day to reaching and wider audience and suddenly needing to package and ship 1000 books a day. There are many different options that can plug into your website to help relieve the pressure of measuring and monitoring sales, inventory and payments but not all are made equal. It depends on the unique needs of your business that will determine which is best for you. Having robust processes that enable your business to scale is not a simple thing to do and often outside expertise can help.
Now you have probably identified a mindset that you can relate to which is great. The good thing is none of these mindsets have are fatal. What is does mean though is that to engage your audience digitally it will take a mindset change. This won't happen overnight, but it will happen.
The ideal destination you are striving for is the ‘I’ve got this’ mindset. This is a mindset in which you find your website is generating quality leads, your revenues are increasing month on month and your business can scale up to match the increased demand.
Sounds like a dream, right? Well it takes, practice, patience and resilience because no one gets it right first time. To start your journey towards the ‘I’ve got this’ mindset you need to remember and practice the following tips for managing your website:
Create Buzz: you still need to drive customers to your site through tools like social media, search engine optimization and online advertising.
Keep it Fresh: Just like a store front you want to make sure that your site content doesn’t get stale and old. Frequent updates are necessary.
Digital Audit: get a professional review to help ensure that the message, imagery and site align with the brand you are trying to create.
Find Your Number: map your processes to identify the maximum number of orders you can handle. This becomes your number and the starting point that you will target for process improvements.
New Perspectives: There are lots of options to help scale your business and that can become overwhelming especially if the solution isn’t obvious so ask for help.
Remember websites and ecommerce platforms can provide huge value for your business, regardless of whether you sell a product or a service, but only if you are willing to take the leap.