Digital

Why Your Business Needs an Online Platform (Not Just a Website)

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Why Your Business Needs an Online Platform (Not Just a Website)

Although it’s hard to visibly see occur over time, the way in which customers (and teams) interact with businesses is constantly transforming. With so many services and social networks available, it’s easy for business owners to set aside organizing and streamlining their online presence.

However, when we take a step back, we can see that connectivity—and a centralized online platform—marks the difference between an average online experience and one that delivers results.

  1. Introduction
  2. What’s the difference between a website and an online platform?
  3. What an online platform can do for your business
    1. Create a centralized online hub
    2. Track customer habits
    3. Make online payments easy
    4. Share digital resources
    5. Automate operations
    6. Support sales efforts
    7. Expand your reach
    8. Build trust

Introduction

The online world, and the way we interact with it, is quickly changing. This past year, we’ve seen just how reliant contemporary society is on the internet, and the tools with which we use to access it.

What’s surprised us most though is just how quickly both businesses and consumers were able to adapt to new ways of using online technology to work, play, study, and get through everyday life.

Today, online experiences are dynamic. Technology is constantly improving and adjusting to meet the needs of the public, and becoming much more accessible for businesses of all sizes.

The best part?

It’s never been easier for businesses to take advantage of these technologies as they adapt, grow, and thrive online.

But what can growing and established businesses do to streamline their client’s online experience and deliver best-in-class service at every stage of their online sales funnel?

By making sure their online platform is connected, functional, informative and easy to use.

What’s the difference between a website and an online platform?

A website is a collection of pages on the internet that allows people to discover and learn about your business based on the information you share on specific pages.

Learn more about what really goes into building a website here.

But that definition doesn’t really describe everything the modern business needs to run a successful online home base.

We prefer the term online platform.

While a website is often a collection of static text and photos, an online platform takes advantage of specific features and functionalities, making it easy for users to interact with you and your business in a way that you control.

At its core, an online platform allows you to design entire online experiences, connecting to your social media channels, online payment methods, calendar scheduling, and much more. Professional services like monthly digital management can take away the headache of overseeing the day-to-day use of these features.

What an online platform can do for your business

When designed well, an online platform can do the heavy lifting of running your online business.

Here are just a few examples of how the right features and functionality can help your business perform better online.

1. Create a central online hub

During and beyond pandemic times, a business’s online platform is also their online storefront. Not only does a well-equipped online platform connect to your social media accounts, but it acts as the main hub for potential and current customers to purchase from you or make inquiries.

By centralizing your business and contact information, you can take advantage of streamlined search engine results while having a central foundation on which people can find you.

2. Track customer habits

Tracking pixels are seemingly invisible 1×1 pixels (which make up online graphics) used on a range of websites, social media platforms, and even emails to help businesses measure their marketing and traffic-building efforts.

Most social media platforms make it easy to generate tracking pixels, and with the help of a web developer, businesses can install tracking pixels within the code of each webpage to monitor traffic and see what information users are most frequently seeking on your online platform.

3. Make online payments easy

Whether you’re looking to pivot your business and brand online or simply want to begin selling a digital product or two, adding payment options to your online platform is made easy with the right plugin, such as WooCommerce (our WordPress e-commerce plugin of choice).

With the right page design—and connection to your social media platforms, sales pages, etc.—these plugins allow users to shop your website with ease.

The same goes for service providers who are looking to offer select services online, such as consultations, strategy calls, or signature packages.

4. Share digital resources

From downloads to your weekly blog post, your online platform is a centralized space to house your digital content. This way, your audience can easily access your content from one place without having to leave your platform. This can help streamline the communication process by providing instant access to valuable resources at any time, any day.

5. Automate operations

Along with the above, an online platform can also help automate tasks which you may normally do manually. Whether it be invoicing or notifying your customers of an upcoming promotion, an online platform can help make these activities more efficient and on-brand.

6. Support sales efforts

Because your resources, payments, and business information can all be found on the same platform, your core information is reliable and always available when your audience needs them at a moment’s notice.

7. Expand your reach

An online platform extends beyond your website, connecting to your mailing list and chosen social media networks. It’s what allows you to execute your online marketing strategy—driving your audience back to your website. By allowing your brand to exist on various social networks, you benefit from greater exposure, driving traffic back to your website. This, in turn, contributes to the domain authority and credibility of your website.

8. Build trust

Your online platform contributes greatly to building trust and credibility for your brand. Think of the last time you were evaluating making a purchase from a business. You may research various brands, products, services before finally settling on a decision. What made you choose one over the other?

A professional and polished presence communicates the quality of your work and helps differentiate you from your competition. Being present on social media is also another sign of credibility. All of this can help confirm interest in your brand whether before, during or even after the sales cycle. It’s all part of the conversation—and the relationship.

While a website is standard practice for first creating an online presence, the needs of audiences in all industries are much better met when a business is equipped with a well-designed, well-connected online platform.

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