Everything is online. Communities, shopping, music, and entertainment – it’s all online. Your business should be too. As of February 2019, 81% of Americans own and use a smartphone every day. 87% of America is on the internet daily. What does this mean for you as a business owner?
It means not only should you have a mobile-friendly website, but you need the RIGHT kind of website.
Your website should fit your online business model – think “what is the true purpose of your business”. The wrong kind of website can severely impact your new client base and potential profits as well.
Not sure if the website you have fits what your business is about?
Check out some 5 questions that point to whether your website matches your online business model.
Is your online business model more about providing a visual aid to the types of services you offer? Instead of focusing on actually selling items, the website functions like a business card or brochure, providing useful information about what your company does and how it does it. Most small business websites are modeled after this one – The Portfolio site. They require minimal content updates and provide a useful visual aid for sales staff. However, unless your business has a powerful sales staff referencing and using the site– don’t expect too much natural or organic lead conversion via search engines.
Does your business sell products and/or services? Can potential customers purchase what you provide without visiting a physical location? If you provide products directly to your customer than your website should be set up as a Commerce site. What is a Commerce site? Well, similar to a portfolio site, the website not only provides information but also a shop that allows users to purchase products or services online. The Commerce site is a great way to gain additional profit from users who might not necessarily shop at a physical location. With ecommerce becoming more and more of a trend as technology advances, you don’t want to miss out on this potential profit market!
Is the sole purpose of your website to provide specific educational or entertaining content to your desired audience? Are you providing this content for free while advertisers pay you to get their message or product in front of your audience/subscribers? If so, then your site follows the Content model. Imagine the front-page of any Google search – There are various types of free content surrounded by ad space. Consider the classic newspaper and magazine business: whose main source of revenue came from ads mixed in with the daily news or various articles. This “business model” isn’t really new but many business owners and content creators use it to turn profit while sharing their message with the public. The ads fund the "free" article content.
Are you a government body, a support forum, or a collaboration of freelancers/consultants? Then you know the way that your business survives is based on the level of community users feel when accessing your website. Success of the site is determined by the amount of users who interact and collaborate together – bringing them together as a community. Sites dependent on interaction and collaboration are called a Community site. The purpose of the site is to not only provide information but to provide a space for people to work and collaborate – providing a hub to voice concerns and ideas.
Why is this important for an online business model? Because having a place for constituents to interact directly with higher ups provides a sense of inclusion that this opportunity to work together and even interact with “industry experts” creates brand and user loyalty. This is a very unique business model but when leveraged properly online, you can see great success through your digital presence. NOTE: These sites are highly dependent as well on social media integration and management. After all, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are just another example of the community online business model.
Are you providing ongoing service to existing and potential clients? If so, then you might fall into the final online business model type: Subscription. The Subscription site is just that – providing users an ongoing experience for a reoccurring rate (either monthly or annually). Think Netflix, Spotify, HBO – all of these adhere to the Subscription style website – providing content via ongoing registration to their content at a set price. Other business have taken this model and applied them for their services or tools.
An example of this would be MOZ – a well-known SEO campaign tool and report compiling service. Access to their software and reporting toolkits are only allowed via a subscription – something set at either a monthly or yearly rate or which will allow for the user to access their tool or content. This is extremely profitable if you have a particular service you are wanting to sell to potential customers – something that is wholly online.
What is the difference between Subscription and Commerce? Commerce is a one-time payment of a good or service that is bought and sold online but can result in physical products being delivered and inventoried. Subscription is ongoing and service-focused, usually providing the user access to a particular tool or content. Both are quite successful, as long as you are applying it the correct way for your business.
Overall, the 5 types of online business models are fairly easy to implement, the hardest part is figuring out which one works best for you and your business. Most successful business websites usually end up being hybrid of 2 or 3 of these items. Research and strategic planning allow for designers and owners to accomplish multiple business models/approaches with a single website.
The key is to figure out what your true online business model is and apply it in a way that achieves maximum potential.
Not sure how to achieve that yourself?
Andromeda’s team is here to help you analyze and maximize your online business model and provide your end users a satisfying experience. Call one of our reps today!