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5 steps for going digital

In a recent article, we mentioned digitisation as a pillar to build resilience against volatile market conditions. On the short-term, a digital presence can ensure your business will be ready to harness the valuable holiday spending, regardless of the sanitary situation. Going digital, however, is also an essential long-term investment to ensure your business will be ready to meet its customers where they increasingly are: online. We’ve put together some of our tips to help you get digital fast and easy.

1. Think about your aims

As with any aspect of your business, you should first spend some time thinking about your goals and craft a digital strategy that achieves them. Do you wish to sell your products online? Do you perhaps want to generate leads or collect sign-ups to a newsletter? Or do you want to make your physical presence more visible by providing detailed contact and location information? All of these different aims will have a different optimal mix of tools and media: there is no one size fits all solution for a digital presence.

2. Consider the services you will need

Once you know what you wish to achieve by going digital, you can start thinking about concrete ways to put your plan in action. Think through the services you will need and weigh each option’s advantages. For example, consider the different possibilities for building a website: a website builder like Wix is easier to use but can be limiting if you need a specific custom design. On the other hand, building a site from scratch requires considerable expertise, so you’ll likely need to hire external help.

Equally, different platforms will have different levels of importance for your company. While an Instagram account may be an essential tool for an online clothing retailer, it is much less so for a B2B shipping company. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes: what would they want to see from your company? Make sure to create your online presence accordingly.

3. What can you do yourself, and what do you need help with?

There is no shame in admitting that something is beyond your reach. Going digital can be tricky, especially if you have no experience in the area. You might find that getting external help, whether through outsourcing or by hiring someone, can spare you valuable time and lead to a more polished result.

Typically, web design and the related optimisation can get pretty technical, though website-building platforms like Wix, Weebly, WordPress or Squarespace can handle most of the heavy lifting for you. E-commerce sites are another challenge: a ready-made platform like Shopify make implementation easy while also managing your inventory, but on the long-run, the ongoing costs may not be worth it. It might be cheaper to look for building your own online store.

4. Plan

Once you have an idea of what needs to be done, you can start thinking about the timeline for implementing the various digital aspects of your business. Keep in mind what’s realistic given the time and budget constraint your business might be facing: while having a website up and running before the holidays is an attractive thought, it can backfire if the quality is lacking.

As with any plan, be flexible. This is especially true for digital platforms, which can be updated as you grow. You might not need a full-fledged social media presence on day one, as long as your website is ready to serve customers. Prioritise the tools that will have the biggest impact and focus on developing those first.

Also, plan how you will utilise your various platforms. A social media account or blog needs constant updating to keep followers engaged, so it’s a good idea to have a content plan ready. Planning your content will also help even out any spikes in your workload and prevent quiet periods on your channels.

5. Monitor

The online world is changing fast. Regardless of your industry, you will want to monitor your digital presence to make sure it’s keeping up with the trends and still serving its purpose. As with any technology, websites and other tools are prone to bugs and errors: test them periodically (once a month is usually enough) to make sure that everything is still up and running.

Finally, think of where you want to go long-term. Are you looking to expand overseas? Perhaps you wish to extend your online product range? Or do you want to optimise the conversion rate of your existing base? Whatever your objective, you will need to be able to track it. Analytics tools such as Google Analytics for a website or the built-in tools for social media are a relatively easy way to collect data about prospects and draw actionable insights to support your strategy.

Leveraging digital tools is a powerful way to grow your business and add to its resilience. Looking ahead, a digital presence will be a necessity, as customers increasingly spend their time online. With the right strategy, you can get your business digital quickly and easily. Reach out to SEPEC Consults today for advice on your digital strategy or assistance in its implementation!

This article was written by SEPEC Consults SAS.

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