It is easy to see that the world around us is becoming more globalized and more digitalized. Most of us have a smartphone in our pocket, enabling instant access to the internet at any time from wherever we are. This has changed a great many aspects of life for consumers, including how we get our news and information about the world, how we entertain ourselves, how we shop, and how we access a wide range of services, from banking to paying our taxes.
Digitalization has also brought about big changes for businesses. With the exception of a very small number of niche markets, being a part of the online world is essential in order for a company to survive and thrive in this day and age. What this means for you as a business owner is that there are certain key digital tools and services that you should give serious consideration to using if you want to stay competitive and successful in the long term.
Here are our top six suggestions to get you started.
1. A website
Let’s start with the most obvious one. These days, every business needs a website in order to truly be successful. After all, without one, you’re basically invisible in the digital sphere. It doesn’t just apply to those businesses that sell their products and services online, either. People tend to research stores, cafes, restaurants, and pretty much every other type of business online before choosing to use or visit it. Having a website also increases your accessibility, because customers can browse your products or services at any time of the day or night, unlike with a bricks-and-mortar store.
However, it can’t just be any old website. You need to have a professional-looking site in order to show your potential customers that you are a credible and authoritative business. It’s been estimated that people make a judgement on a website within 0.02-7 seconds of seeing it, so . If they leave your site because it looks outdated or is difficult to use, you might never see that person again. It’s perfectly possible to design your own website using widely available software and a limited amount of tech knowledge, but if you want to be sure to get it right then it’s best to call in the professionals.
2. Digital asset management
Your business’s digital assets might be anything from logos and videos to product images and datasheets. These days, they are absolutely critical to a company’s branding, marketing, and advertising, so it’s vital that businesses correctly. However, this can be tricky to manage on your own, especially as time goes on and the number and variety of digital assets you have grows exponentially.
By using a digital asset management platform you can easily store, manage, and track all of your digital assets in a streamlined way, enabling you to be more productive. This could be by saving you wasted time searching for items or recreating content that you already have, or allowing you to easily access and share files from wherever you are. These tools can also help you to determine how your different digital assets are performing, which may lead to enhanced understanding and better strategies for how to utilize what you have.
3. An email list
Building up an email list is widely considered to be an essential step for any business to take. It’s easy to see why, too. Subscribers to an email list have a much higher chance of becoming paying customers because being on your list pretty much guarantees they have at least some interest in what you have to offer. Plus, email is a great way to communicate with people. It goes directly to their inbox, which already means they’re much more likely to look at it in comparison with an advert, and it also feels much more personal. This is especially true if you communicate directly with people by giving potential customers the option to email back with any questions they might have.
There are a number of email marketing services you can sign up to, many of which not only enables you to send out mass emails but also run experiments to see which subject lines, content, special offers, and so on work best with your subscribers. They usually offer a free trial, so play around with the possibilities and see what works best for you. A great way to is to offer some sort of relevant incentive to people for doing so. This could be anything from a discount code for 10% off their next order, to a free digital resource of some kind—even a small offering can make a big difference!
4. Tools for team communication and collaboration
With more and more of our work shifting to the digital space, enabling communication and collaboration to function in that sphere too, is key. This is especially true with the increase in popularity of remote working—and indeed the current necessity for it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The good news is that there are a whole host of tools and systems out there to help with this. For example, you can use any one of a number of to enable team members to chat with each other instantaneously via messages. Then, of course, there are the more traditional video conferencing call services for meetings. When it comes to collaboration on work, there are plenty of options for colleagues to work on the same document together, easily seeing what other people have changed and leaving comments to explain edits they have made if necessary. The best bit is that this can even be more convenient than collaborating in person!
5. Social media
Social media can be intimidating for many businesses. It can be difficult to get the tone right, and consequently, many companies decide to forgo it entirely or set up their accounts only to have them dwindle into obsoletion. However, this is a mistake. Social media is continuing to grow all around the world, and is becoming an important tool for potential customers to find out about—and communicate with—a business. By getting on-board you can increase your brand awareness and drive traffic to your website, all for minimal cost.
It’s also a very effective way to , which is a factor that’s becoming more and more important as large faceless corporations fall out of favor with consumers. By showing that your company sticks to its brand values, you can increase your trust and credibility with your audience, which does wonders for brand loyalty. All in all, it’s a vital tool for boosting sales, generating leads, and engaging with your audience.
6. A blog
Blogging is another tactic companies are often reluctant to use, perhaps because they fear it will be a lot of work for little gain, or perhaps just because they are . However, blogging can be a powerful tool for a number of reasons.
Firstly it can provide your customers with a wide range of genuinely useful and/or interesting content. This is great for generating repeat visits to your website, and also for demonstrating your company’s knowledge and expertise in your industry. It’s also an effective way to boost the SEO of your website and to ensure that more people find you. Finally, it’s another way to show off a more personal side to your brand, through a more conversational and engaging tone that doesn’t make people feel like you’re just trying to sell your products or services.
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