The world is becoming increasingly digital, and local businesses must adapt to remain competitive.
Digitizing your business can help you reach a wider audience, boost efficiency, and improve customer satisfaction.
What is business digitization?
Business digitization means transferring (part of) your business online. It involves using digital technology to attract customers who use online maps, generate customer feedback and re-engage customers using digital methods (emails and social media).
Why should you digitize your local business?
There are lots of reasons to go through digital transformation, but mainly:
- Reach a wider audience: By digitizing your business, you can reach customers beyond your local area. A website, for example, can attract customers from neighboring towns and counties, while social media can help you connect with customers in your local community.
- Improve customer satisfaction: Digitization can improve customer satisfaction by making it easier for customers to interact with your business. For example, they can make appointments online, order products for delivery, and receive updates on the status of their orders using an app.
- Increase efficiency: Digitization can make your business more efficient. For example, implementing a CRM system can help you manage customer information more effectively, while online payment methods can speed up the payment process.
- Stay competitive: Finally, digitizing your business is essential to remain competitive. Your competitors are likely already using digital technology to reach customers and improve efficiency. If you fail to innovate, you risk falling behind.
How to digitize your local business?
Digitizing your business is a challenging task. There will be a lot of research, outsourcing, and functions. Here are the basic steps you’ll likely have to go through:
Set up a website
The first step to digitizing your business is to create a website. A website will help you reach a wider audience and provide information about your business to potential customers.
You can hire a web designer or a website builder to create a professional-looking website. You will need to find a domain that would represent your business best.
Make sure your website provides lots of information about your business and products:
- Provide detailed product information. Only 68 percent of people are satisfied with the amount of product detail provided to help them make a decision.
- Link to online reviews and buyer feedback from your website. Most consumers regularly use their smartphones to view reviews and comments in-store before deciding to buy these days.
- Make it easy to get help. Most customers are not satisfied with the ability to find a customer service phone number or other company contact information during the search phase of their shopping journey.
- Provide help throughout the process. Often, companies provide many customer service options (such as live chat popups) while customers browse or research, only to abandon them during checkout.
Adopt online payment methods
This can speed up the payment process and improve customer satisfaction. Consider adding multiple payment options, including online credit card processing and mobile payments.
Down the road, this will allow your customers to pre-order your products, pay online, or even order online delivery. This may considerably improve your ROI.
Depending on your local business type, many solutions may come with seamless payment integration. For example, if your business is service-based, you can use Appointment Scheduling Software, allowing your clients to schedule appointments immediately and pay for them from home.
Start building your social media presence
Create social media accounts for your business and regularly post updates to grow your following. Social media content is about telling your business’s story instead of just being promotional.
So brainstorm some exciting posts which would let people know your team or how your businesses started. Explore local hashtags and build your social media editorial calendar around those topics.
You can also invest in social media ads that can be targeted to users from specific locations. Check what your local competitors are doing on social media, and develop your unique strategy.
Buzzsumo can help you compare several of your local competitors to identify their most engaging content:
Create a customer relationship management strategy
Set up a customer relationship management solution to build a more personalized and varied marketing strategy.
You can send promotional newsletters to your customers and personalized email deals using CRM. For example, you can use email marketing automation to reach your customers on their birthdays and offer gifts or personalized deals.
Digital communication strategy may include more technology to adopt. For example, virtual phone systems that allow you to make and receive calls over the internet make call management much more efficient and affordable than a landline.
These are just basic steps. You will likely discover many more when starting the process. But don’t worry, all of this should not be all done at once. Start with setting up your site and creating your social media accounts. From there, you can gradually figure out the next steps as you check basic stuff off your to-do list. Good luck!
What are some tips for improving customer satisfaction?
1. Provide detailed product information.
2. Link to online reviews and buyer feedback from your website.
3. Make it easy to get help by providing customer service options such as live chat popups throughout the process.
4. Adopt online payment methods to make the payment process more efficient and improve customer satisfaction.
5. Build a presence on social media by regularly posting updates and using local hashtags in your content strategy.
6. Implement a Customer Relationship Management system to build personalized marketing strategies, sending promotional newsletters or email deals with email marketing automation on special occasions like birthdays.
What tools can I use to manage my customers?
You can use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to manage your customers and their activities. Popular CRM tools include Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho, Pipedrive, Agile CRM, and Freshsales. You can also use virtual phone systems such as Vonage or RingCentral to make and receive calls over the internet. Additionally, you can use Appointment Scheduling Software if your business is service-based, allowing clients to schedule appointments immediately and pay for them from home.
What other steps should I take?
The next step may depend on what type of business you are running and which market segment you are targeting. For example, if you run an e-commerce store, then setting up a payment gateway is essential. Other steps you can take include setting up an email marketing system, optimizing your website for search engine results, improving customer retention, and building a presence on reviews like Yelp or TripAdvisor. Additionally, consider investing in local digital ads to promote your product/service. Finally, ensure you regularly track customer engagement and sales metrics so you can adjust your strategies accordingly.
How often should I post content on social media?
It depends on the platform and what type of content you are posting. Generally speaking, it’s best to post content at least once a day or every other day if possible. For example, Twitter can handle more frequent posts than Instagram since tweets have a shorter shelf life. If you have a lot of content to share, consider using a scheduling tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite to help manage your posts. Additionally, ensure you engage with other users who interact with your brand on social media by responding to comments and messages promptly. This will help build trust and loyalty among your followers. Finally, don’t forget to use relevant hashtags in your posts! This can help you reach more potential customers.