By Lance Brown
For small independent retailers with less than 10 employees, going digital often ranks low on the priority list, but in today’s always-on world, businesses that don’t take steps to improve their digital footprint are losing out on opportunities to grow and compete more effectively. Going digital can be a daunting task. In fact, our recent study found that seven in 10 say time and cost restraints prohibit them from improving their online presence. The truth is, businesses that understand how to approach their online program will be better poised to compete and thrive. As overwhelming as it may seem, there are simple things small business owners can do to get started today.
Following are the top do’s & don’ts of digital, to help small businesses to easily and cost effectively go digital.
Do start with your website
It sounds simple, but don’t neglect your website. Keep it fresh by updating it on a bi-weekly basis. Have someone on your team take ownership of the site, and make it part of their regular to-do list. Map content back to what will help your audience. What problems do they have that you can help solve with your content? Build a content calendar to keep you on task with updates.
Don’t neglect the power of search
While a good website is critical, it’s not enough. Studies show only 28 percent of small businesses are happy with their company’s Google rankings. For many, more control over the power of search can not only have a big impact on reaching your customers, it can help you track insights about how they are finding you, and what other stores/terms they’re looking for that lead them to your business. Get started by getting a free Google analytics account, to understand traffic patterns to your website.
Do reward the loyal
In order to drive repeat business and reward your most loyal customers, try integrating a rewards program which can help you better compete with larger businesses, and create increased enthusiasm among customers.
Do take it social
Establish and maintain your key social network platforms like Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. Customers want to engage with brands beyond where they are being sold to, so social media is a great way to stay engaged and show your store’s personality. Remember to keep up with them, or you risk losing the momentum you had when you set them up.
Don’t forget an app
Many small businesses neglect to take their digital presence to the app store. Several new tools provide out-of-the-box solutions that can help you get started. With an app, you can more easily let your customers know about discounts, deals and exclusive offers, as well as use it to track and send invoices and do business on the go.