In today’s internet age, companies can use multiple online platforms as an effective and affordable means of marketing. There are many digital outlets that are free and several that cost only a nominal fee. Expanding into each one of these areas is akin to a brick-and-mortar business opening a new location, but the digital sites are much less expensive.

Here are four online platforms that businesses should be using, and how to use each effectively.

Website

Every company should have a website. The company’s website provides visibility for the company and an area where potential customers can learn about it. Most people will judge a company by its website, so the site should be prepared professionally. On the site, there should be an option for ordering the product or service offered.

Every website should have a blog. These provide a continual source of new information, which will keep customers returning to a site.

Most companies struggle to increase their visibility on the internet. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the science and art of making a website more popular. Once customers find a site, all the hard SEO work is fruitless, unless the customers come back to the site. A blog will keep customers returning.

Amazon

Any company that sells a product should be on Amazon. Amazon sells just about everything, and they have a significant market share in almost every category. Where else can a small business enjoy the same marketing to millions of customers that a large company does?

A crucial aspect of succeeding on Amazon’s site is customer service. Potential customers use two main criteria to select a merchant: the price and the customer ratings. Good customer ratings are required by most customers, or else they will purchase the product from a different seller. Bad customer ratings will devastate sales, and possible get the company eliminated from Amazon’s site.

In order to get the highest ratings possible, companies should send an email to every customer asking for positive feedback. This email should explain how to provide feedback, and it should give the customer and opportunity to voice any concerns they have with the business. If an email is sent, most customers will address and issues with the service directly with the business and not post their thoughts for others to read.

Ebay

Selling on Ebay is a fine science. Like Amazon, this is another major site that all merchants selling products should b e using. Nearly everything can be sold on Ebay, with a few humorous exceptions that new reporters occasionally report.

Setting up an auction that will be successful on Ebay has been well researched. Businesses should start with a low initial bid, which will cause early interest in the listing. A reserve will ensure that a fair price is paid. Finally, an option to immediately purchase the product for a specified price should be offered. This will attract impulse shoppers.

Craigslist

Craigslist is not the most profitable place to list a company, but it can be useful. Anything can be listed on craigslist, and these listings are geographically oriented. This set-up is ideal for businesses that offer a service, instead of a product. Craigslist is free to use, so the only thing a business has to lose is time.

In order to not spend inordinate amounts of time on craigslist, companies should only use this to direct people towards their website. If a phone number or email address is offered, then many people will contact the business, and someone must take the time to answer all the inquiries.

Companies should create a listing that directs customers to a website, where they can learn more before taking up someone’s time. This listing should be pre-made and posted periodically, as Craigslist’s computers allow.

The internet has made building a business much cheaper than it used to be. Thanks to technology, companies can expand quickly into additional venues. Understanding how these outlets operate and what is required to succeed on each one will help businesses excel in the marketplace. All of these outlets have something to offer, and they should all be utilized correctly.