When you think of exporting, you may not immediately connect it with digital marketing. The prominence of the Internet and online shopping has drastically changed how businesses export. For many exporters, e-commerce is now a big part of exporting and requires business owners to adapt digitally. From 2016 to 2019, the proportion of online sales went from 2.4% to 4%. Of course, 2020 has increased that percentage significantly, as a result of COVID-19. As that number continues to grow, this will impact the traditional retail landscape for small businesses. These days, being export ready means having a marketable product or service that is broadly appealing. A good website for your business is a valuable tool for attracting prospective customers from outside of British Columbia. If you plan to export to a new country, for instance, you want to ensure your website is available in its language and currency. 

Before Getting Started

If you don’t already have a website, now would be a good time to get one up. In today’s digital era, your business’s website (or lack thereof) is often a customer’s first impression of the brand. 

However, it isn’t enough to just have a website. Like with any tool, it can hinder your business if not utilized properly. Although a website requires a lot of maintenance, it’s well worth it. In this article, we’ll be outlining some basic principles to keep in mind when updating your website, as well as providing some resources to get you started.

Website Navigation

You probably already have an idea of what makes a good and bad website, just from surfing the Internet as a consumer. When you browse a website, you expect things to be in certain places. For instance, almost every website has a menu to help direct you to the area that you’re looking for. Those sections usually look like contact information, store hours, products, and an about page.

Whether you’re online shopping or shopping in a physical store, having an organized layout is very important to the customer.

Website creative plan development with drawn sketch in the design studio.

There’s also your website’s UI (user interface) to consider. Other than having the right information in the right places, design can affect navigation too. Having consistent and aesthetically pleasing colour schemes on your website for backgrounds and copy is important for a few reasons.

Choosing a colour scheme or design that matches your brand and is pleasant to look at can make customers want to stay longer on your site. Just remember the copy needs to be easy to read too – you wouldn’t want to read dark words on a dark background.

Clear copy

A high-quality website isn’t all about visuals, even though it’s the most eye-catching part. Make sure you don’t neglect your copy either! Long sentences and dense paragraphs can seem intimidating and drive customers away. On the other hand, you want to make sure your website has enough content and information to satisfy the customer’s needs.

Ask yourself the following questions when you’re writing web copy:

  •   What is the call-to-action (CTA)? Identify the next steps your customer can take after reading through your text. Make sure the customer gains something from your content, such as learning more about a certain topic, or making a purchase. The CTA could also be as simple as clicking on a link to read more.
  •   Could an eighth grader read and understand this? Having readable content ensures your website is accessible to a wider audience. Tools like the Hemingway Editor can help keep you on the right track.
  •   What keywords should I include? When customers are looking for information on Google, they are likely to be using the same keywords in their search. Repetition of certain keywords in your web copy can increase your website’s exposure on search engine result pages.
  •   Am I writing from the user’s perspective? Consider your customer’s reasons for visiting your page. For example, is it to make a decision on making a purchase? In that case, you would want to highlight the benefits of your products or service. Don’t go off-topic!

Now you’re all set for revamping your website and strengthening your brand. If these are new concepts to you, don’t worry! Your website is something that evolves along with your business. Keeping track of your website’s audience engagement will help you make tweaks to your content. You can also see where your readers are located, which allows you to gauge interest for your product in other parts of the world. 

By keeping these basic design and copywriting principles in the back of your mind, you will have a good foundation to becoming export ready. 

Need help?

Export readiness means your business is well-rounded enough to succeed in new markets, including online ones. Export Navigator can assess your business’s export readiness and offer tailored, step-by-step guidance.

Talk to an export advisor and learn more about how you can expand beyond B.C. today.