Say what you will about the coronavirus impact on the economy, e-commerce is booming. Online brands old and new, all over the world, are exploding with a new stay-at-home audience. With millions working from home, ordering supplies from home, and staying connected via online means, you could say the foot traffic and available audience for any online brand has increased more than a few times over.
Now is the perfect time to expand your business into the online sphere. Whether your business has been gearing up for online expansion or the lockdown has made a web store suddenly necessary, now is the perfect time to go digital and do it right. At this moment, millions of potential customers are looking for new online, no-contact businesses for their products, supply chains, and entertainment. No matter what your niche, if your business is ready to go online, there's a worldwide at-home audience waiting to receive it. And we're here to help.
Today, the Diamond Group team has put together a helpful checklist for expanding your online business. Let us help you with the -online- portion so you can rock whatever your brand does best.
Online Business Checklist
Basic Brand Website
Online Store Web Portal
Starter Blog Articles
Social Media Campaigns
Branded Video Series
Host Online Events
1. Business Model
The first step is to lock down your online business model. You'll need to have a solid idea of how your business translates to online customers and service. Do you provide drop-shipped products or local deliveries? Do you provide a service with online consultations or software?
Decide how to translate your standard business model into the online realm. Discuss with your web developer how the website can reflect and even enhance your methods of providing quality service and customer satisfaction.
2. Brand Design
Now you want to define your brand's visual assets to build all future online graphics or website designs. A brand is a combination of values, practices, personality, color, and graphic design that represents your company. It's how people remember you and how your products inspire future purchases or engagements. How you build your online brand appearance will determine how the audience views you as a creator or provider.
What Your Brand Stands For
Decide your brand values. Are you a family brand? A skater brand? An outdoor adventure brand? Choose the values that guide your brand's deliverables and customer relationships.
Brand Personality and Imagery
Is your brand silly or serious? Is it elegant or exciting? A brand's personality sets the tone, often determined by imagery like a mascot or logo that helps give the right impression.
Brand Color Scheme
Using your brand's personality and your audience profile, choose a color scheme that will look great on your website and throughout your online assets. If your company already has a color scheme, use this as your starting palette.
Brand Graphics Design
Speaking of logos, the final stage of brand design is to build an asset package of images including your stylized brand name, logo, watermark, and packaging designs. Convey the personality of your brand in a single glance.
3. Basic Business Website
Every business needs a website. Your audience needs a place they can look you up and confirm that you are real in a post-search-engine society. Even if your web portal and widgets aren't ready yet, you can get started with the WordPress style basics. This can serve as a launch website and become the core of your future audience web portal and online branded experience. If you already have a website, you can upgrade it or build a new, better website to replace it.
Your Brand Homepage
Your homepage is what your audience will navigate to first. This is where you share your brand identity, a little something about your products, and post any important announcements. Right now, for example, many homepages sport a COVID-19 safety and no-contact-service alert to let clients know that brands are responsive and safe.
Detailed About Page
Next is your About page. This page talks about the brand identity and how you got started. As a sparkling new brand, share a little about yourself as a founder and your passion, story, or values behind forming the brand.
Useful Service or Product Pages
You'll want a few specific pages based on your deliverables. If you offer a service, make service pages. If you offer products, make product pages and product category pages. Make sure these pages are useful and informative even when your e-commerce and/or portal website is not ready yet.
Contact Form or Portal
Lastly, your audience must have a way to reach out. The most reliable solution is the Contact page. This page can hold contact information, an automated email contact form, and provide a live chat portal location.
4. Online Store Web Portal
The next stage is to craft your online experience. Create that virtual venue that your audience will keep coming back to. If you make videos, turn your website into a smooth video hub with easy sorting and queuing. If you sell goods, make a seamless e-commerce store experience. If you provide online classes, make a great portal for error-free live streaming. You get the picture.
Customer Accounts and ProfilesMake sure each visitor can make their own account and become a website member.
If you sell goods or services, be sure to use a top-notch e-commerce store design in addition to your basic website pages.
Service Web Portals
If you offer online services, build a portal that allows those services to be delivered and supported directly.
Content Hosting Platforms
If your primary deliverable is hosted content like interesting blogs or videos, make a platform that hosts that content in an enjoyable and customer-focused way. Integrate helpful next-content suggestions and help audience-members link to media they want to share.
Hosted Online Communities
If you want to be the hub of an online community, build a forum, sharing, and comment platform to host that culture.
5. Starter Blog Articles
Having a solid blog is also essential to modern brand marketing. A blog is an SEO-rich resource that draws inbound marketing prospects and also builds expert trust in the brand when done right. Make sure each blog is worthy of your brand and offers real value to readers.
Seed the Pot
You'll want to write a handful of blogs to start with before beginning your regular posting schedule. This gives your first audience members a little reading to explore and get a feel for your brand's writing personality.
Cover an Interesting Variety
Make your blogs diverse in topic and style. Cover a wide range of interesting points that fall within your industry and brand purview. Keep in mind the interests and style of your audience when diversifying.
Make Use of Organic SEO
Organic SEO is when the best keywords arrive naturally in several different phrase styles throughout your work. This is easiest to do when writing genuine content about your brand, community, and industry.
6. Social Media Campaign
Social media campaigns are also essential. You'll want to build a visible presence on more than one social media platform. Fortunately, this can be done more easily than you might think by building a collection of campaign posts and scheduling them to release over time. Supplement with audience interaction.
Choose Your Platforms
Select the social media platforms that work best for your brand personality and marketing style.
Build campaigns focused on appealing to the desires and interests of the audience, as well as what catches their attention.
Fun Interactive Online Events
In addition to scheduled content, host a few interesting online events like trivia, raffles, and contests.
7. Branded Video Series
Shooting video can really help provide definition, personality, and direct audience engagement to your brand. You may be planning to make videos exclusively or you might rather add short, fun promotional videos to your overall marketing plan.
With a catchy series, you have the potential to become a YouTube celebrity or at least begin building a YouTube following.
Embedded Website Videos
Videos on your website can wow your audience and drive home points, when used correctly. Choose videos that enhance content or display a complex process.
Videos for Social Media
Very short videos are all the rage on social media. Boost your campaign and add a little personality with social media video assets.
Linkable Explainer Videos
If you're eager for external links. make some awesome explainer videos that are good enough for others to link to.
8. Host Online Events
Last but certainly not least, host some online events. Right now, everyone is stir-crazy and missing the ability to leave the house for a little fun. Many events, from weddings to seminars, were canceled due to coronavirus safety procedures, and there are millions of people cravings n event to attend. Give them one with online event hosting and give your brand a reason to build a big following during COVID lockdown.
Webinars and Streamed Lessons
Offer educational content, from programming tips to guided Yoga, through streamed video and webinars. People are already showing a great deal of stay-at-home enthusiasm so you can count on your audience to both sign up and tune in for your live-streamed events.
Virtual Venue Experiences
Even better, offer attendees a virtual experience. Virtual venues combine 3-D tour technology with AR digital decorating technology. You can give your online guests the opportunity to virtually enter a decorated venue and have a grand digital time together.
Sensational Live Interactive Video
Live interactive videos as are popular for Youtube e-celebs can also be a fun way to go. Host FAQs, participate in silly challenges, and hype the live interactive element of these events. Be sure to turn on and respond to the comments.
Your events also don't need to be one-way. You can even host a collection of other industry experts to broadcast a professional symposium. Invite some to listen, some to talk, and everyone to learn with various video conferencing options.
The coronavirus lockdown has changed the outlook for many businesses, but it is also opening doors to new online success. If you are thinking about expanding your brand's online presence and online selling this year to deal with your own lockdown situation, we support you! Let the Diamond Group craft the perfect website and web portal experience for your new brand and provide a few pointers for brand building and marketing along the way. Contact us for more information or to start consulting!