Grow your business online

By Martin Leamon, Director, Business Development & Alliances - International,

There is a lot of noise in the news about the decline of the high street, but we strongly disagree. Clearly it’s changing, and we believe that the high street of the future will be connected by, not in conflict with, the internet.

The majority of UK retail sales still happen in bricks-and-mortar stores, but shoppers are increasingly using the internet to inform that purchase – and retailers know this.  Worldpay research tells us that small business owners remain conflicted on their attitudes towards technology. 

Just under two thirds (61%) of respondents to the nationwide survey said technology poses a significant threat to their survival, and half (50%) said it can get in the way of providing a personalised experience to customers. Nevertheless 88% of small businesses Worldpay heard from said understanding and embracing new technology represents their best chance of survival. 
We envisage a high street where shoppers have seamless experiences between online and offline. The High Street to iStreet campaign shows how the internet is acting as a force for positive change for retailers big and small.  

5 Ways to use the Internet to Grow Your Business

Due to the increasing advancement of technology, today you need to do much more to stand out from the competition, get shoppers to find you online and ultimately grow your business.

The internet and a broad selection of social media platforms are becoming vital marketing tools and tech-niques to compete in today’s market. 

There are many ways to build your business online. We have put together the most popular online marketing options:

1. Local Listings and Classifieds
As a small business owner, you probably haven’t realised how important online directories are for getting your business recognised online. Listing your company on an online business directory is one of the most efficient ways to promote your business to everyone on the web. This will ensure that consumers searching for nearby businesses find yours. You can also promote special offers or new products and services.

2. Search Advertising
Search advertising is a method of placing online ads on web pages near search engine results. With AdWords you can deliver your message at the moment someone is searching for the type of product or service you offer. Choose keywords that relate as closely as possible to your offerings so you can attract more potential shoppers to your website or store.  

3. Mobile Marketing
Many smartphones and mobile devices provide web browsing, GPS, cameras and video capabilities. This means you can develop creative promotions with text messages and location-based social networks. Mobile Marketing is one of the fastest growing forms of marketing because it is one of the easiest, most effective and inexpensive ways to reach customers. According to Ofcom, An estimated 93% of UK people own a mobile phone and more than 90 percent of them have them always with them. The majority read every message they receive right away, while a growing number of people also use their mobile phones to access the internet.

4. Social Networking Sites
Social networking sites are also increasingly effective for find customers who can help grow your business. By creating a professional social media presence on various networking sites, you can then connect to new and repeat customers. A good social networking presence can help you conduct inexpensive market research, create public relations campaigns and gain a better understanding of your marketplace. You can share news about your company and also get people excited about your latest product and services or even promote special offers.

5. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a way of making money by referring people to purchase items online. More and more companies are starting to use this form of marketing to reward affiliates for generating website visitors to their business. Affiliates are only paid when sales are completed so it’s an extremely cost-effective tool.

Fundamentally, the internet is not the enemy of the high street and retailers that embrace change and deploy new technologies are going to be in a very good place. Those who don't will be in danger.

For inspiration on how to grow your business, hear what High Street to iStreet business ambassador Tim Campbell and Worldpay UK MD Dave Hobday have to say here

Martin has almost twenty years’ experience working with SMEs, delivering solutions to help them to market their businesses through both online and offline media. have been building websites since 1997 and currently help support 3.4m active customers compete and succeed online across desktop, mobile and tablet devices.