Experienced Entrepreneur Jesse Willms Explains How Traditional Businesses Can Transition Online
If your business thrived on foot traffic, sandwich boards, and flyers prior to the pandemic, it might be time to transition your business online. With multiple government mandated closures, moving your store online will allow you to continue generating revenue and sales. Shifting to e-commerce is a major undertaking, but it can help your business build resilience and continue to thrive in these uncertain times. As the founder and owner of several vehicle history websites, Jesse Willms understands how difficult the transition online can be for traditional businesses. For Willms, what started out as a concept in 2015 turned into a successful site with about four million users each month. He is here to share his expertise to help you build a success e-commerce business.
Choose the Right Platform for Your Business
As the owner of multiple vehicle history websites, Jesse Willms cannot stress the importance of choosing the right platform enough. The platform you use, whether it is Etsy, Shopify, BigCommerce, or another e-commerce platform, will contribute to your user’s overall experience. Depending on what your product or service is, Jesse Willms suggests brainstorming what your company’s primary needs are, comparing and contrasting hosting sites accordingly. You might want to ask yourself: Is it easy to use? Is it scalable? Does it integrate with my e-mail marketing? How attractive, easy to navigate, and functional your store is will not only drive organic traffic to your store through search results but ensure return customers.
Discover Ways to Generate Traffic
Once you’ve set up a website that reflects your businesses brand identity, you will want to find ways to drive traffic towards your site. Jesse Willms explains that when you are building your website, be sure to pay special attention to search engine optimization (SEO). Using keywords and producing content that aligns with your target demographics interests and needs will help drive organic traffic. Jesse Willms explains that organic searches are often the primary source of website traffic, so use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find what terms make the most sense for you.
Utilize the Right Social Media
Social media is a great way to drive traffic to your website. However, Jesse Willms explains that this is a vast landscape, and that finding one or two key platforms that appeal to your target demographic is a great place to start. Selling hair accessories to young women? Consider TikTok and Instagram. Selling B2B printing services? Consider LinkedIn and Facebook. If you’re creating ‘long-form’ content for your website, like videos, blogs, or articles, consider sharing ‘bite-sized’ pieces of this content on your social media platforms to drive traffic towards your website. Jesse Willms explains that you don’t want your social media to solely focus on promoting your products, you want to become a resource for your audience by providing value.
Take Advantage of Email Marketing
E-mail marketing is still one of the best ways to generate sales. The return on investment for e-mail marketing can be as high as 4400% ($44 for every dollar spent on an e-mail marketing campaign). Once you’ve built your website, include an option for newsletter sign up. Unlike social media, e-mail marketing allows you to contact your customers directly, sharing relevant deals, releases, and content. Jesse Willms explains that it may be useful to offer incentives to sign up. For example, ‘receive 30% off your first purchase when you sign up for our newsletter’. As we have seen with Tiktok, the future of any social media platform is not guaranteed, so building a roster of e-mail addresses will help you remain agile in a quickly evolving landscape.