When you think of putting a business online, building a website may be the first thing that comes to your mind. However, there are a few other ways you can build an online presence for your business in Jamaica. In this article I am going to discuss with you some other ways you can put your business online – from websites and social media to local business listings and review sites.
Now don’t get me wrong you will eventually need a website but it is good to know your options when it comes to online marketing in Jamaica especially if you are just starting out and have a tight budget.
1. A Business Website
The most obvious way to build an online presence is with a website. Today websites can do much more than just tell people where you are located and what you sell or your business phone number.
A website can help people do research, chat with experts, read customer reviews, watch videos, buy things, track
orders – and much, much more.
You will need to evaluate all the capabilities and decide which one or more will be suitable for your business.
The key is to think about what your site actually needs to do in order to support your business goals.
As I mentioned before, it’s also possible to do business online without a website.
As a matter of fact I have been a freelance web developer for many years and I just recently decided to build a website for my own business. Everything of course depends on the kind of business you operate and how best to reach your customers.
Even with a website you will still need to put your business on other places online in order to be found.
2. Online Directory Listings
If you own a restaurant for example, you want customers to be able to find you, whether you have a website or not.
Think about the last time you wanted to try something new for lunch. You probably
searched Google for something like ‘restaurants near me’ and reviewed your options.
You might see a website for a local restaurant…or you might discover a good option in local listings. Some businesses use local listings to create a digital presence, using products like Google My Business and Bing Places for Business(Not yet available in Jamaica).
These types of directories let businesses publish details like descriptions, reviews, maps and images.
These listings are usually free, and are a good way to help your business appear on results pages when people search.
3. Review Sites
Beyond local listings, there may be review sites for your specific type of business where people can leave feedback—and you can respond. Good reviews will give you the edge over the competition. It’s a good idea to ask people who visit your business to leave a review online on one of these review sites.
4. Social Media
Social media websites are the first thing most business owners think about when they are looking to put their business online.
You can also use social media as your digital presence. People all over the world use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to complement a website.
Keep in mind that if you choose to be on social media, you need to post regular and consistently for it to be truly worth your time.
Another way you can reach customers online is through their mobile. You’ve probably downloaded apps or games on your mobile phone. You can create and offer these apps to customers yourself.
Apps can take advantage of a mobile device’s unique capabilities, like GPS, mapping and phone, to connect with customers.
If a customer installs your app on her cell phone or tablet, the next time she’s near your shop, the app might send her a special offer, thanks to GPS.
In more digitally advanced countries customers use Apps to place orders, to skip the line to pick up their orders and pay by tapping their cellphones against the till.
I have reason to believe that Jamaica is heading in that direction soon.
Your business can utilize mobile apps as loyalty tools, to encourage existing, frequent customers to come back… and maybe get a
free reward or a discount on their next purchase.
In conclusion, whether you use a website, local business listings, social media, mobile apps, or all of the above, the key is to decide what you want customers to do, then create a home that accomplishes those goals.
These things work together as your digital storefront – a way for you to interact with customers online.
Do you need some help deciding what to do first?
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