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Fiona McGuinness20-Sep-2021 13:22:1610 min read

15 Essential Tips for Growing Your Online Business

Have you recently launched an e-commerce platform? Perhaps you’ve had a company site for a long time but are keen to monetise it? There’s no question that an online presence can drive revenue and growth, but building a profitable website is no easy feat.

To help you grow the online side of your business, we’ve put together 15 actionable tips that can take your site to the next level. Use the links below to explore specific advice or read on for the full guide.

Quick Links

Site Management and Optimisation

  1. Consider How User-Friendly Your Site Is

How easily do customers find it to make a purchase or find the information they need on your site? An e-commerce platform is only as good as its design, so if yours is lacking from a usability point of view, this could be hampering sales.

Analysing the data behind your site can offer insights into its usability. Are there any areas where customers typically exit? Is your bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page) particularly high on certain pages of the site? How long are visitors staying on the site? Identify and resolve potential pain points to ensure that your e-commerce site is as user-friendly as possible.

  1. Set Up Google Analytics

If you haven’t done so already, Google Analytics is an indispensable tool for analysing your site’s data, assets, and activity. Free to use, the platform provides granular-level insights into a range of metrics, so you can find out where your site is and isn’t working.

For small businesses unfamiliar with e-commerce management, setting up and using Google Analytics can seem like a steep learning curve. The good news is, Google offers a comprehensive free course on how to use its flagship analytics tool, so you can get up to speed. Click here to visit the full Analytics Academy.

man working on his laptop

  1. Follow SEO Best Practice

We’re sure you’re familiar with the term SEO by now, but if not, it stands for search engine optimisation. Though strictly a form of digital marketing, we’ve included it in this section because SEO is about more than just driving sales – it’s about building a robust, healthy website that delivers for the needs of your business in the long term.

Without continued SEO efforts, it can be difficult for your website to be found by the right customers. More than a third of all product searches on the web start with Google, so ignoring the platform risks losing a huge chunk of potential custom. Basic SEO is a mix of ensuring your website is optimised for Google best practice and creating then amplifying content that will interest your core customer base.

Type ‘SEO’ into Google and you may be intimidated by the results, but it’s well worth gaining a grasp of the basic best-practice tips to ensure your site is well optimised. Moz and Semrush are considered the cornerstones of good SEO on the web, so we’d recommend checking them out for the latest SEO guidance.

Utilising basic SEO isn’t difficult, but it does take time and effort. In the long run, though, you’ll be rewarded with a healthy and optimised website that ranks for terms relevant to your business – meaning greater revenue and conversions for your online store.

  1. Consider Your Local Audience

While you may have launched a website to target a larger pool of customers, it’s important not to neglect your roots when heading online. Studies show that most Google searches are for local goods and services, so keeping an eye on your regional site performance is an important factor in the growth of your online business.

If you’re hoping to reach regional customers to attract sales or encourage them into your brick-and-mortar store, be sure to read our comprehensive guide on reaching local customers online.

  1. Use a CMS for Simple Site Control

Growing an online business means leveraging the right tools and applications to ensure your site is built on robust foundations. A CMS (Content Management System) is one such tool, giving you the power to control, develop and customise the key elements of your website in line with your brand, messaging, and requirements.

While some website hosting companies provide their own CMS functionality, it’s often a basic, limited experience. Elsewhere, platforms such as WordPress are considered the best but can be a steep learning curve

As an Intact customer, you can take advantage of the Cliqx e-commerce solution which includes an easy-to-use CMS interface. With simple theme, branding and formatting options, as well as in-built e-commerce and SEO tools, it’s a convenient option for organisations who want to control different parts of their site.

 

Inbound and Outbound Marketing

  1. Build a Display Ads Campaign

If you want instant, all-but-guaranteed results that bring additional revenue to your online venture, look to build a display ads campaign. Display ads are a means of paid advertising online which can target users who show an interest in your products and services – thus making it more likely that they’ll visit your site and make a transaction.

As with other forms of marketing, display ads can be complicated for the uninitiated. If you’re struggling, we’d recommend seeking external support from a freelancer or agency, who will be able to set up and manage the campaign on your behalf. Of course, this will cost more, but you’re likely to see a greater return on your investment.

Planning which products to promote via display ads is vital here. Utilise business intelligence and analytics tools to decide on the products most likely to drive interest, sales, and revenue, ensuring consistent ROI and an optimal cost per lead.

  1. Take a Proactive Approach to Social Media

Like it or not, social media is here to stay, and brands not utilising its foremost platforms risk missing out on the traffic, clicks and revenue it can bring. If you’ve only dipped a toe into the world of social media in the past, now’s the time to take the plunge and make the most of this gift-wrapped traffic stream.

When driving brand awareness on social media, it’s important to choose the right platforms. With so many social media sites, all your efforts could be wasted by utilising the wrong social channels that don’t align with your audience. Consider which social media sites your audience uses, and the type of content they’re most likely to engage with.

To get the most from social media, it’s important to take a proactive approach. Engage with your followers and other businesses, offering support and advice where applicable. Avoid self-promotion, instead sharing relevant content that engages readers and encourages them to visit your site for more. 

  1. Utilise Email Marketing 

Although most internet users have an inbox brimming with junk mail, email remains a powerful way to connect with customers – particularly those who have purchased from you in the past. So, if you want to grow your online brand and retain a strong customer base, utilising email marketing is a sound option.

Of course, there are a few rules you’ll need to follow to ensure email marketing best practice, chief among which is to avoid over-saturating customer inboxes. Instead, share only relevant news and items that will attract interest, like sales and promotions, at a frequency of around one email per week. Review the success of your ongoing email marketing strategy regularly to ensure optimum response and engagement rates. It’s also important to always ensure you get permission from customers or interested parties to email them so that you are in compliance with GDPR regulations and always give email subscribers an option to opt-out of email marketing.

colleagues having a discussion

  1. Share Value-Add Content to Become a Thought-leader

Every business has an area of specialty, something it’s proud of, passionate about or an expert in. So, whatever your niche or value proposition, showcasing your expertise through value-add content can be a powerful way to bring new customers to your website.

Publishing relevant news, tips and other content on your website or social pages can bring multiple benefits to your online enterprise. It’s great for site health and SEO performance and will establish your brand as a creditable thought-leader that prospective customers want to buy from.

  1. Work with Industry-Aligned Influencers

The term “influencer” may have some stigma attached, but if you’re serious about your online business, generating such partnerships can prove a lucrative and fruitful venture. Most sectors, even niche industries like manufacturing, have a handful of associated influencers these days, so you should have no trouble finding individuals to help spread the word about your brand.

When selecting influencers to work with, be sure they align with your brand, your audience, and your overall messaging. Also, consider the type of content that will best resonate with your customers; if an Instagram post doesn’t fit the bill, a how-to YouTube guide may be more relevant. It’s also important to remember that many of the larger influencers charge significant fees so ensure you know what they are in advance. If they are beyond budget scope look for smaller, local, or emerging influencers that could add value to your business. 

  1. Embrace a Multi-Channel Marketing Approach

To reap the most benefit from marketing investment, a multi-channel approach is needed to ensure long-term gains and continuous growth. It’s no good allocating all your resources to one arm of marketing (e.g., paid ads), as failing to cover all the bases will only bring short-term, unsustainable success.

Instead, it’s better to take a multi-channel approach that elevates your web presence in all key areas – ensuring a robust foundation for growth. SEO and site optimisation are critical here, particularly if you plan to spend big on paid marketing in the long term. Consider what your priorities are and set a marketing budget that mirrors your expectations.

man in his workshop looking at his tablet

General Tips and Advice and Advice for Online Business Growth

  1. Create an Online Growth Strategy

Online business growth doesn’t happen randomly. By drawing up a strategy of how you plan to grow your e-commerce platform, you’ll be better placed to measure success, win shareholder buy-in, and maintain a consistent and even increase in revenue.

  1. Invest in Digital Recruitment

Managing an e-commerce site is time-intensive at the best of times, but if you’re actively trying to grow your online business, extra hands may be needed to get the wheels turning. Seek out internal or external digital-savvy personnel who can transform your online presence, delivering marketing excellence across organic and paid media channels, and don’t’ forget that you need to accept that it often takes time to see results so build that into ROI projections.

  1. Change Up Your Customer Service Provision

Offering customer service in the online sales arena is markedly different from an in-store environment. Be sure you have the resources available to cope with inbound enquiries and customer demands, whether they’re coming via your online store or your multiple social media channels. Another way to excel here is by providing customers with FAQ content, spec sheets, product videos, multiple images etc. to make the experience as close to that received in a bricks and mortar store as possible. You could also consider online chat as a proactive way to manage customer queries live on site. 

  1. Ensure Continuous Investment in Your Supply Infrastructure

Managed and scaled correctly, and an e-commerce platform can accelerate sales at an unprecedented rate, so it’s vital that your supply infrastructure can cope with a sudden upsurge in demand. Continuous investment in your supply chain and ensuring your ecommerce solution is tightly integrated with your ERP/business software solution is advisable when actively growing an online store, ensuring minimal delays to order processing and fulfilment.

 

Keen to grow your online business? We can help. Our leading ERP and business management solutions are designed to take your business further, with future-fit features that support all day-to-day operations. For more information or to talk to our specialist team, visit the homepage or get in touch via our contact page.

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Fiona McGuinness

I've been part of the Intact family for 16 rewarding years. After completing my Business Studies degree, I knew Marketing was a field I wanted to pursue. Prior to joining Intact, I primarily worked in the financial sector, focusing on marketing for credit unions. When I started at Intact, I handled all the marketing tasks by myself. Over time, as our team expanded, so did my role. Now, I specialise in crafting compelling content across various platforms, from blogs to video scripts. No two days are the same, and I thrive on the dynamic nature of my role. Whether it's diving into customer case studies or lead campaigns, I'm driven by the positive impact our solutions bring to businesses. In an age where AI plays a significant role, I remain a firm believer in the power of authentic content. When I'm not working, you'll find me enjoying quality time with my family, sewing, or watercolor paintings.