Creating an online engraving business… some thoughts from the UK
One of our registered businesses in the United Kingdom, Keep it Personal, has taken the time to write a blog and provide some great advice on setting up an online component of your business. If you only currently have a shop-front, an online store is a great way of attracting new customers from around the world. Have a read and thank you to Keep it Personal for supplying some advice. You can view their current product offerings here
Setting Up An Engraving Business Online
Many businesses have evolved from the high street and are now setting businesses up online. If you are currently looking at diversifying and finding more leads then it would make sense to create a web presence. There are many pros and cons of starting out online however with a lot of hard work this will pay off massively.
1) Registering a domain name and creating a website:
If you already have an established brand on the high street it may be worth checking if the domain name is free, this way existing customers will be able to find your services online easily and it is likely that your shop will appear #1 in Google search for your brand.
Sometimes it may be worth separating your physical and online dealings as the price you charge online may be different to that within your store.
2) Now you have a domain name you will need to either create the website yourself or find a developer. There are many free shopping carts available to download such as Oscommerce and zencart which will allow you to test the marketplace and establish an online shop with little expense, however an understanding of basic html/css, graphic and graphic design is essential.
An established engraving business with repeat customers will be able to increase profits overnight by advertising the website via the physical store, business cards and promotions, however the real advantage is being able to drive visitors from the global market which is the internet.
Internet Search Engines – Google!
As recent as 2 years ago it was fairly easy to rank your website highly in Google, just load your product pages with keywords and upload your product feed to Google shopping and within a few months sales would roll in provided the site was secure and trusted by visitors.
Today businesses are expected to earn trust by the search engines and business owners will need to reach out to the web and earn visitors by providing valuable information which customers are looking for and link to from other websites and share via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Unfortunately Google shopping is no longer a free service and you will have to pay a premium to advertise any items.
Every engraver has a story to tell, whether it’s about a recent job, a top tip or useful information which is likely to be shared which will hopefully result in free traffic from Google and social media sites. Blogging is a great way of creating keyword rich articles which will appear in Google search which is more likely to rank that a product with a short description – it’s a good idea to write a blog post for the best products in your range, for example if you engrave glass tankards you could write about why customers should buy from you. You could offer a range of engraving fonts, logo engraving and a variety of tankard sizes. Back this up with some great reviews and fast delivery and you could stick out from the competition. Of course, you can also use
Whether you are engraving a complex photograph or just simple text you will need to showcase your wares in the best possible light so you will need a good quality camera and a softbox. People expect to see an image with a white background and this is one of the only ways to achieve this professionally, besides Google will index these images which may result in free search traffic and other site owners and Pinterest followers may link to them.
One great way of attracting visitors is to upload video. Potential customers will research the product as much as possible before committing to purchase, so if you can provide a video of an item being engraved then do it.
There are many challenges when setting up a business online but with a lot of hard work and determination it is possible to create a popular website in your niche which can drive sales in a global marketplace.