It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically re-shaped industries across the entire world. One of the primary changes that companies are implementing is a shift toward a digital landscape.
Even after COVID restrictions are lifted, though, we can expect to see the digital experience play a huge role in maintaining productivity and customer satisfaction. Many people who order groceries, for instance, will continue to do so out of convenience.
But, not every entrepreneur understands the best way to navigate their digital transformation.
Not quite sure how to begin?
We’ve got all the info you need.
Here’s 10 digital transformation tips for small business.
1. Establish a Digital Infrastructure
As you may expect, you’ll need to establish an appropriate digital infrastructure before you can move forward. This means that you’ll need to create an architecture that clearly defines your goals, how you plan to achieve them, and the rules and responsibilities that your employees will have to adapt to.
For example, a business that communicates with clients primarily through digital means will need to train their sales representatives to handle this responsibility appropriately. Depending on the industry that you work in, this may or may not require a significant level of adjustment.
You might also need to communicate with vendors and production facilities to come up with alternative agreements in order to preserve your professional relationship.
Managing your remote employees is another obligation that you need to prioritize. This typically includes implementing ways to hold employees accountable, refining internal processes so that they are optimized for remote employees, etc.
Put simply, laying the groundwork for your company to succeed in a digital landscape is imperative for your future performance.
2. Seek Support When Needed
Unfortunately, many business owners attempt to handle their company’s digital transformation on their own. While it’s not impossible to do so, it’s highly recommended that you outsource this obligation to a professional when necessary.
Depending on your needs, you may even have to go as far as hiring a consultant. But, the money you invest in this type of guidance will ensure that you carve the right path for your business within your industry.
The first step in managing this responsibility is to accurately identify your company’s weaknesses.
For instance, if you anticipate that you will have trouble using digital marketing as your primary marketing method, it’s best to seek assistance as early as possible. Otherwise, you’ll be left wasting time (and potentially money) trying to figure it out by yourself.
Additionally, the results that you achieve will more than likely be subpar compared to what hiring a professional could provide.
3. Prioritize SEO
Once you’ve laid the digital framework for your business, you’ll then need to work on getting it in front of the eyes of your audience members. After all, there’s no point in having a stellar product or service if nobody on the Internet knows who you are or what you’re able to provide.
Establishing a strong Internet presence for your business is a key factor in digital success, and prioritizing search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral aspect of it. As previously mentioned, it’s strongly advised that you hire a professional to help you handle SEO unless you have significant experience in it.
In general, you will want to focus on the following:
- Researching the relevant keywords your audience is using in their search queries
- Ensuring that load times stay minimal
- Frequently referring to your site analytics
- Properly formatting your site for mobile devices
These last two are particularly important since failure to do so can increase your website’s bounce rate. This metric refers to the number of users who exit a website immediately after arriving at it. This tells Google that the content on the site is low quality or irrelevant, and your ranking could suffer as a result.
There’s a large number of other nuances that you’ll need to handle when it comes to SEO, as well. Fortunately, this process is ideal for long-term success, and laying the foundation will allow you to continuously reap the rewards in the future.
For example, if your website has pages that rank at the top of Google’s search results and you’re able to maintain that position, you’ll experience an exponential increase in overall traffic to your site.
4. Optimize Your Level of Digital Service
It’s not enough to simply adapt to digital trends— you’ll need to excel at them, as well.
This means that your customer or client experience with your business should be something intuitive and memorable.
A small medical practice may no longer have the necessary staff to efficiently schedule appointments and may use online scheduling as an alternative. This experience can easily go awry, though, if the client has difficulty finding available dates, doesn’t receive a confirmation that their appointment has been scheduled, etc.
The same concepts apply to businesses in any industry, though — convenience and usability play large roles in whether or not your digital strategy is a success.
Put simply, you’ll need to strive to make your audience’s lives as easy as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing your target audience to industry competitors who go out of their way to cater to these needs.
5. Proper Security Is Crucial
For those who are unaware, the value of the cybersecurity industry is projected to reach unprecedented heights in 2020. More specifically, the entire industry will be worth approximately $6 trillion.
This means that employing proper security measures is more essential than ever before, especially given hackers’ tendencies to prey upon small businesses. One of the most effective ways to ensure that you have the appropriate level of security for your firm is to work with a managed service provider.
These professionals will always have the most updated equipment and software, allowing you to keep your sensitive data as secure as possible. But, working with a managed service provider won’t solve all of your security issues. The aforementioned shift toward remote working comes with its own set of security risks.
This is especially true for businesses that allow employees to complete work on personal devices as opposed to company computers. You’ll need to establish a digital infrastructure that keeps the connection between your employees and your business as secure as possible.
This means integrating end-to-end encryption, training your employees on how to recognize, security threats, and having a contingency plan in place. Since even a short period of downtime that results from a data breach could cost thousands of dollars, it’s imperative that you avoid this scenario at all costs.
6. Automate Menial Tasks
An attribute of digital transformation that many entrepreneurs have difficulty in accommodating is the menial tasks that come with it. Uploading documents, organizing files, and managing fine details can quickly become overwhelming.
This is particularly true for larger businesses are those that are in the process of scaling. Automation, however, is able to alleviate much of the stress associated with this situation.
In general, you should aim to automate as many repetitive tasks as possible. This will help you streamline your digital workflow and improve your company’s efficiency overall. Additionally, it comes with the added benefit of allowing employees to focus on their core responsibilities instead of obligations that software could handle.
7. Train Your Team Properly
Training your team to accommodate your company’s digital transformation involves more than allocating key responsibilities. In many scenarios, you’ll need to conduct thorough instruction to facilitate optimal efficiency.
For companies that operate within certain industries, this may be an extensive process that will take some getting used to. Other businesses may find that they need to downsize their overall number of employees or have current employees take on new responsibilities.
Regardless of how seamless the digital shift is, proper training will ensure that you maintain optimal levels of performance as time goes on. This will also provide a much more positive client experience, allowing you to strengthen the trust that consumers have in your brand.
8. Ensure All Relevant Info Can Be Accessed Digitally
As we enter a digital age that many people weren’t fully prepared for, there’s a large number of nuances that are often overlooked. One of the most important to keep in mind is ensuring that your employees, clients, and partners are able to access any relevant information online.
Most companies no longer have the luxury of employing a dedicated manager or representative to help resolve these issues, leaving the other party responsible for requesting this information or acquiring it on their own. This is especially true for things like agreements and terms/conditions.
But, establishing the proper access to information is also imperative when it comes to how your team works internally. Constantly requesting access to certain info can easily cause delays and hinder productivity.
Instead, it’s best to identify the information that certain employees need access to and then provide this access from the beginning. Additionally, you should stay on top of your company’s fluctuating needs and provide/revoke access when appropriate.
9. Focus on Email Marketing
As businesses and consumers alike begin using the Internet more than ever before, email marketing is projected to become an even more powerful tool for entrepreneurs to take advantage of. In order to develop a sufficient email marketing strategy, you need to keep a few metrics in mind:
- How thoroughly you’ve defined your audience
- How you’ve segmented your audience
- Your open rate
- Your deliverability rate (the number of emails that were actually delivered)
Having a comprehensive understanding of your audience plays a key role in how effective your email marketing plan is. As you may expect, sending someone a message with a headline they have no interest in will only hurt your campaign’s performance.
To take this a step further, you can segment your audience based upon certain attributes, such as times zone, gender, interests, etc. Segmenting your audience will also allow you to split-test certain headlines and email content to determine which is more effective overall.
10. Content Is Still King
We’re all familiar with the famous line that Bill Gates delivered in his 1996 essay.
In order to drive as much traffic to your company’s website as possible, providing high-quality content is something every business needs to prioritize.
In general, this could be something that provides utility to the user, such as a guide, an industry report, etc.
Over time, consistently uploading quality content will help establish you as an authoritative force in your industry.
You’ll also be able to leverage this content during your lead generation efforts.
When a user visits your page, you can provide them a link to a free download that helps solve an issue they have or allows them to learn more information.
In exchange for this info, they need to provide their email address.
From here, you’ll now have a definitive way to contact them in the future and can increase the efficacy of your marketing efforts.
It’s essential to prioritize content just as much as the other aspects of your company’s digital transformation.
Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to employ proper SEO practices in order to make the most of your content and generate the highest ROI possible.
Navigating Your Company’s Digital Transformation Can Seem Difficult
But the above information will make the process far smoother.
From here, you’ll be able to make the decisions that are best for your business’s digital transformation and its future.
Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to reach out to us today and see how we can help.