Using digital platforms to sell and deliver your services

Digital channels and platforms offer huge opportunities for small business. Here we introduce some easy-to-use free or low cost tools that will help your business reach, engage with, and sell to customers.


5 min read

Video For Business

1. Engaging with your customers

Social media

Social media has become an important way for many small businesses find, engage with, and sell-to, their customers. Social profiles for your business are quick to create and update, and have many features to help you engage with and reach potential customers. The main platforms to consider first are:

  • Facebook - If you sell to individuals (as opposed to businesses) and if your customers range across age groups, or are locally based, Facebook may be a good bet. It can also be useful if you need to share some context before a sale or need to answer customer questions. As a platform, Facebook is easy to use and has a great ad offering, is good for managing customer queries, and can even be used in place of a website for smaller or local businesses.
  • Instagram - If you sell to individuals (as opposed to businesses), have a lifestyle brand or product or are a video or image-led business, Instagram could be a good fit. Instagram offers a great opportunity to showcase your business projects or products and also has a good ad offering, offers click-to-shop functionality and a variety of content types.
  • LinkedIn - If you sell to businesses, then setting up a LinkedIn page and personal account can help you reach and connect with your clients. It can support brand engagement, sales and networking, and also has an ad offering.
  • Pinterest - If you sell to individuals - in particular women, and if you have creative content to share, consider Pinterest. It can be a particularly good fit if you are a craft business, sell lifestyle products or services, offer coaching, are in hospitality, offer creative services or create how-to content (and more). Pinterest gives you the opportunity to reach new audiences, has click-to-shop functionality and an ad platform.

As with any platform, check that the social platform is a fit for your business and your audience. Before you begin, use the platforms yourself first so you understand the functionality.


Having your own website can boost your business's credibility and gives you full control over what information you want to share with potential customers. It can introduce your brand and help convert your audience into paying customers.

There are many website builder platforms available, which allow you to quickly and relatively cheaply create a well-designed website. Some of the most popular website builders include

2. Selling or taking bookings online

If you are looking to start selling online for the first time, remember whatever approach you take, you’ll need to consider delivery logistics.

Here’s a few approaches to consider.

Quick route to online selling

If you currently don’t have a website, you may find the quickest route to begin selling is to use existing marketplaces, such as:

Find out more in this introduction to online marketplaces and make sure you check all fees and terms of use and balance the benefit of accessing their wider market, against the costs. And of course, consider how you will deliver your products once sold.

Your own online shop

If you want to sell to customers directly through your own ecommerce site, then you will need to create an online shop.

You may be able to include shop functionality to your existing website as an add-on through your website platform. Platforms such as Squarespace, Weebly or WordPress enable you to do this.

Or, if you are setting up your shop for the first time, then you can create an online shop by using a specialist ecommerce platform such as Shopify.

Payment processors

Once you have some form of shop online, you’ll still need to take payment from your customers. Payment processors include:

For more information on ecommerce, please see our Business Gateway eCommerce guide.

Taking bookings online

If your business takes appointments, reservations or booking slots, consider using an online scheduling tool to make this easier for both your customers and you. There are a number of tools, such as:

3. Providing a service online

Remote meetings

Video calling and video conferencing remain popular among businesses who consult clients and offer advisory services. These can be used for remote meetings or hybrid conferences and workshops. There are numerous tools for this, including:

Delivering classes

Delivering classes online allows you to reach a wider audience than you would be able to with physical classes. Many types of classes- including music, dance, exercise, martial arts to arts and crafts for adults and children - can work well online.

(This can be restricted to paying customers by creating closed groups, and granting permission to individuals to access them; giving details and links to paying customers only; or hosting content behind a password-protected page on your site.)

Some tools to consider include:

More help is available on selecting online platforms to run classes.

Online training courses

The number of online training courses have boomed in recent years, with more customers turning to online platforms to learn new skills or gain qualifications. If you offer training to your customers, produce 'how to' content, or have a skill you could teach others, consider whether an online course could be right for you.

There are a number of platforms that allow you to create and sell online courses, including:

4. Terms, conditions and costs

When using any platform or tool, make sure that you check the small print before using it, to ensure it meets the standards you need for data security and back-up, that you agree with the terms and conditions, and that you have chosen options licensed for business use.

Looking at costs, even with free trials, pricing packages of digital tools can be quite complicated. It’s worth checking:

  • Will payments be taken automatically when any free trial has ended? Diary a week before the payment is due so you have time to review and cancel or continue as you wish.
  • Is there a discount for an annual subscription? This could be worth taking if you plan to use it in the long term
  • Does the cost change if you have more staff users? Before committing to a tool, make sure you understand the costs if all your staff are using it.

You can access free online and virtual adviser support through our DigitalBoost programme.

Want to speak with your nearest Business Gateway team?

Your local Business Gateway can offer you free 1:1 advice and online support to help you with anything to do with your business or if you are just thinking about starting up then we can support you with that too.

Fill in the form below and we will get back to you to help.

1. Tell us a bit about your business or idea (such as, sector, stage…) 2. What are your main reasons for contacting us today? 3. Is there anything else we need to know before we contact you?

Enter your postcode

How we use your data

We will use the information you provide to respond to your request, and to provide business advice and support services to you. For more information please view our privacy notice.

You might also be interested in

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the basics

Discover how AI, particularly Generative AI like ChatGPT, can revolutionise small business operations, from marketing strategies to content creation. Explore its basics, applications, ethical considerations, and practical tips for leveraging its potential.

Pre-launching a new product or business

Many business owners work for months or even years to reach the point they’re finally ready to launch their new business or product, and then suddenly realise they have no clear plan on how to reach people who are ready to hear about it. This is where a pre-launch comes in!

An introduction to social commerce

Social commerce enables businesses to use social platforms to showcase and sell their products and services. Find out what options are available and how to get started.