Female business owner researches way to grow her business online.

How to Grow Your Business Online


Looking for ways to grow your business online? Fifth Third Bank offers 5 ways you can enhance online business presence, customer engagement, and more.

Business owners regularly look for ways to grow their businesses. Now, the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting economic pressures have made a focus on growth more important than ever. And with social distancing measures in place, expanding your business online—rather than in-person—is ideal. That way, businesses can still capture opportunities from customers who aren't comfortable visiting in-person.

So how do you expand your business online? Building a website is essential, but that’s only the first step. There are a number of additional steps you can take to effectively build your business digitally. Start with these five ideas.

1. Build Your Social Media Presence

All the different social media platforms may seem overwhelming, but it's not necessary to be active or even present on every single platform. The platforms that matter to your business are the ones where your customers and potential customers are most likely to hang out.

Start with Facebook and make sure you have a presence there. If yours is a business-to-business company, it’s a good idea to have a LinkedIn profile. If you have a business-to-consumer company, consider Instagram and maybe Pinterest.

For most social media platforms, posting once a day is ideal. If you’re on Twitter, you may need to post two or three times per day. You can use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social to plan your posts ahead of time and make sure they post automatically.

Finding content to post doesn’t have to be difficult. A good rule of thumb is to make sure no more than one in every four posts is promotional; the rest should provide information your audience will find helpful, interesting, informative or funny. That could mean sharing industry news, informative articles, reposting posts from your partners or influencers, links to your own blogs or other content, or behind-the-scenes glances at your company.

2. Create a Blog About Your Products, Brand, and Industry

By building your own blog, you’ll get more opportunities for social media posts, too—because you can share a link to the blog each time you publish something new. And publishing fresh, original content on your own blog can help you build relationships with your customers and potential customers.

Don’t feel like you have to write a new article every week or multiple times per week. You can also post lists, photos that tell a story, infographics and videos. When you create videos for your blog, also post them on YouTube, TikTok and elsewhere to further grow your audience.

3. Use Online Ads

Many small businesses avoid paying for advertising because they believe it’s too expensive. But advertising online is not like buying a billboard or a magazine ad. Because online advertising is often priced at pennies per click, you only pay when your ad works (by getting people to click on it). And you can target specific locations, even neighborhoods, to make sure you’re reaching the exact audience you want to reach.

Consider starting with Facebook Ads or Google Ads. These companies use algorithms to make sure your ads are seen by your target audience, and you can set up an advertising campaign with them in minutes.

4. Have a Mobile-Friendly Website

More than half of online traffic now comes through mobile devices. Even people who don’t use a computer often use a smartphone or tablet, and they use it on-the-go.

When your website is easy to view and navigate on a mobile device, you’re likely to increase foot traffic from people who are out looking for a product or service that you provide. However, if consumers are looking for your business and can’t get the info they need from their smartphones, they may be more likely to turn to another provider.

Try accessing your website from a mobile phone and search through the site for contact information and product information. If it seems clunky or difficult to find what you want from a smartphone, talk to your internet provider or web designer about making it more mobile-friendly.

5. Offer Online Discounts and Promotions

As consumers continue to stay home throughout the pandemic, online shopping and delivery has become more important than ever. You can tempt customers to purchase from your business online by offering discounts and specials.

For instance, consider offering free or discount delivery or shipping, or coupons for customers to use online only. Many potential customers will give your business a try if they think they’re getting a good deal. And special offers will give you something else to post on social media at the same time.

Once you start thinking about online business growth, you’re likely to develop plenty of new and ongoing ideas to build your business—even without getting more customers into your physical location.

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