How to Successfully Bring your Brick & Mortar Business Online
Starting a business has changed a LOT in the last 10 years. We are amidst a technological renaissance and it is evident in everything around us.
Every business – small and large – is actively adapting their business model and customer approach to the new expectations in the digital era.
Expectations such as:
- SPEED! Everything is instant these days. It’s amazing what we expect now! 4 seconds or less loading speed and every 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
- Intuitive, easily navigable website or digital resource (Facebook, etc.)
- A majority of your core info is searchable online WITHOUT a phone call (ew).
- Fast, easy checkout procedure. This is a biggie! 72.8% of abandoned carts occur in retail.
- You know exactly what your people need, even before they know! You anticipate their problems and have a solution ready at all hours of the day.
- If you have a physical product: fast delivery and low/free shipping have become huge in the Amazon Era.
- If you have an online course or webinar: Modern, attractive, and fast are requirements these days. Nothing needs to be perfect, in fact, flaws can be endearing, but it has to inspire trust and load faster than our shrinking attention span.
Here is the good news! If you already run a physical business or have been speaking and selling workshops offline: manage schedules, employees, payroll, logistics, generate leads, book appearances, or coordinate inventory – you are already doing the hard part.
Moving into the online space should ultimately provide relief and a second revenue stream for a brick and mortar store. The beginning will be heavy in time and money investment – creating digital courses, running tests/soft launches, photography for either yourself or your products, client surveys, strategy planning, etc. – but this early effort will go a long way toward doubling your income and free time.
Whether you are selling a physical product, inspiring people to physically come into your venue, or attempting to sell workshops and courses online, certain universal issues crop up again and again across the spectrum. Preplanning for these areas can be the difference between a smooth transition and a huge headache.
A strategy will save your sanity. Too often my clients report becoming overwhelmed with all the options and possibilities, so they just never begin. 🤷
Breakthrough analysis paralysis with this 3 step planning process:
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Quick 3-Step Proccess
The Brain Dump
The method here is irrelevant. Vision boards, handwritten scribble-scrabble, whiteboard brainstorming sessions, typing out a bullet-point list, whatever suits you, get it ALL out. Put it down and stare at it 👀 I promise patterns will begin to emerge.
The Loose Outline
Take your messy brain dump and cluster tasks, related efforts, and estimate the time required to do each item. This will help you identify the order of operations, which aspects will require skills you don’t possess and areas of confusion that require clarity. Use this loose clustering to create a formal, organized strategy.
Build a Website
- Decide the core message/purpose
- Choose branding/design/logo/colors
- Keyword Research
- Write copy for core pages
- Photography & Art
- THEN put the site together
A written plan of attack
There is something powerful about writing down your goals. This is no different. Take your loose outline and create a plan for yourself. Decide realistically how much time you can dedicate to working on it, which tasks are beyond your abilities and require hiring help, and set dedicated time in your calendar to tackle each section.
This is one of those tasks that can become daunting or overwhelming. A key service I offer each of my clients is a bespoke, digestible 3-month roadmap crafted from their goals.
Doesn’t that feel better already?
Anyone you hire to help you achieve your goal of moving into the online space will also breathe a sigh of relief if you have clarity from the beginning.
Now let’s talk about what to expect and how the online experience will differ from the traditional business model.
First – come into the process with an open heart. Know that some things will be different and require an adjustment to your processes. Just know that the beginning of this transition will be heavy in both time and resources, but the end result will be a relief.
Be prepared to dive deeper into technology than you ever have! Let me be clear, you don’t have to learn it all, in fact, I advocate for you to get comfortable asap with delegation – you should not turn into a Jr. digital marketer if you are trying to book yoga classes. But you will have to understand enough to be able to communicate effectively, understand the work of any contractors you hire, and not get ripped off. 😬
How-To Begin Moving Online
Ok! Let’s get down to the details. With any in-person or brick and mortar business, whether products or services, there are universal steps to migrating to the online sales space. Such as:
Claim all your online assets
If you don’t have a website already, Buy a business URL, Claim all your social media channels, and your Google My Business profile. Keep your NAP (name, address, phone) consistent throughout them all.
Determine your strongest sales platform
You should already have customer avatar profiles, but if not, this is the time to create them. Based on your primary target audience, you should be able to deduce where they are hanging out online. Resist the urge to do EVERYTHING and just focus on these one or two platforms to get you started.
Create Content for Top of Funnel Leads
A sales funnel, simply put, is the process of capturing the attention of a potential client, and then leading them through your sales process. A top of funnel lead can be a number of things. For a service-based business, a course, webinar, or series of explainer videos can be highly effective. Products can be more direct in their pain point targeting. Need new shoes? These shoes are your size!
Products or services, this will be common:
- Identifying their “pain point” or problem you can fix
- A compelling story explaining how you know their pain & how you can fix it
- Clear description/explanation of the product or service (confusion ≠ Sale)
- Direct & easy calls-to-action
One of the most common mistakes I see made is simply not adjusting your mindset to learning an entirely new skill set and landscape. (What got you into the door of your brick and mortar is not the same expertise that will grow your online revenue…)
Creating unnecessary “roadblocks” is another. Physical flyers may have worked wonders at your local coworking space, but asking clients to print and bring in a flyer is going to result in high bounces and low yield. Online you must remove all hurdles, and make the pathway to purchase as clear and easy as possible. Consider the client, likely on mobile and in an ever-hurried state.
Targeted message ➡️ clear call-to-action ➡️ quick checkout 💲
Finally, leaving a potential client “stranded” at any point of their journey through your funnel. This happens surprisingly often. If you create a blog, webinar, or video series, you’ve put in some WORK to grab their attention, but if you fail to give them a clear Call to Action (CTA) you leave them there to wander off. Don’t take your eyes off the ultimate desire: a purchase. At every phase of your funnel, there needs to be a clear opportunity to opt-in, sign-up, buy, add to cart or RSVP. This blog has at least 3.
➡️ Read about how my clients have successfully done this. From yoga teachers to massage therapists to acupuncturists to IT professionals, they have all utilized these strategies to take their “in person” offers into thriving online businesses.
There is so much more! If you’d like a free 30 min strategy session book it here