Competing with the big boys online can seem like a daunting task for small brands, but fear not, here are 7 ways to make the most out of your online presence.

Use drop shipping to minimise your risks

Drop shipping is a great way for small businesses to set up effective e-commerce sites that offer a wide range of different products. The risk factor is limited, as there is no need for a large upfront initial investment in stock and it also saves on storage expenses. When someone places an order on your site, you simply need to relay it to the wholesaler, who will post the items directly to the customer. Easy!

Top class customer service doesn’t have to cost a fortune

By simply listening to what your customers say, you can quickly build a great reputation and develop your all-important brand trust. Don’t be afraid to say sorry! A great way to apologise is to gift your customer a money-off coupon – they benefit from a reduced price and you get the chance to make sure that, next time, their experience is spot on.

Build a slick website

It pays to invest in your website, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that expensive always equals good. An inexpensive site with great usability and a simple design will always win out over an expensive, flashy site that is difficult to navigate.

Test your usability

Usability testing and conversion rate optimisation will help you to increase conversions from your existing customers. You don’t even need to drive lots more traffic – by simply making your site secure, easy to use and a pleasure to browse, a greater proportion of your customers will contact you or complete the payment process, earning you more profits.

Invest in PPC and SEO

Internet marketing is an affordable and highly effective way to increase the amount of traffic to any site and allows small brands to rank alongside the market leaders. Once you have started to invest in SEO your traffic will begin to increase – and as you already have a slick website with an awesome design and great usability, you should have no problem converting all of these new visitors into paying customers.

Develop some awesome content

This can be a resource, infographic, video, blog, or whatever! As long as the content is unique, relevant and interesting you will find that more people visit your site, giving you the opportunity to develop relationships and build a community based around what you do.

Don’t try to run before you can walk

Your site is up and running, you have loads of traffic and a great conversion rate, your relationships and online community is growing – so what’s next? Firstly, just keep doing what you are doing. Make sure that you’re not only good at what you do, but great. Know your niche and once you are established; you can continue to grow the business from there.