We are witnessing the world be hit with a major pandemic and things will never be the same because of it. A new normal is emerging and with it comes new concerns and challenges for small businesses. When traditional processes and strategies fail, how can you survive? When face-to-face is no longer a viable option, it’s time to think digitally.
Let’s discuss what digitizing your small business means and the benefits doing so can have on your productivity, customer management, and ROI.
What is Digitization of Business?
Digitizing your business has grown into a popular buzzword over the past few years, and has likely reached an all-time high given the current state of the world has been in these past two months. However, there is still a great deal of confusion over how to achieve digitization and many small businesses have not grasped the impact it can have on their business for the better.
For our purposes, digitization can simply be defined as bringing offline business practices and processes online.
It is using technology to take your information, content, communications, etc. and converting it all into a digital format. It’s not just an absence of paper, but a movement towards better productivity and automated processes that make growing your business easier.
A few examples that show how your small business can digitize:
- Email marketing vs direct mail and handouts
- Having customers e-sign contracts vs contracts that are printed out
- Finances and cash being tracked and accounted for online vs a ledger
- Online ads vs ads in the local newspaper
- Virtual appointments and estimates vs in-person meetings
Suggested Reading: 14 Ways to Become a Nimble Business
What is Digital Transformation?
Digitization is only one half of the picture. While digitization places the focus on you and your business, digital transformation places the focus on your customers.
Technology has had a monumental impact on how people live their everyday lives and interact with businesses. It’s given more control to customers to dictate the customer journey they take and how they choose to engage with your business through a variety of online channels like your website, social media, online ads, business listings, and online reviews.
An example showing how things have changed is how word-of-mouth referrals have become word-of-mouse referrals. When someone recommends your business to a friend, family member, coworker, etc., that someone is still going to go online and learn about your business. They’re not going to call you blindly and hope for the best. They want to make sure your business is credible, trustworthy, and has a high star rating for starters because people trust online reviews as much as they do personal referrals these days. Think about that monumental shift. People trusting strangers on the Internet to gauge how credible your business is.
Suggested Reading: 7 Ways to Create a Trusted Brand for Your Small Business
7 Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Digitize Their Processes and Strategies
- It makes focusing and investing in your online presence that much easier. When you adopt business practices to be online, it naturally allows everything to be connected and in sync so that you’re able to make changes quickly. You don’t have to go and track down a piece of paper that you can’t remember if you left it at home or at the office. If someone leaves the company, you aren’t responsible for collecting all their information because it’ll already be stored online where you can access it.
- It opens the door to new communication channels with prospects and customers that feel more natural and comfortable. Live chat, chatbots, and social media have emerged as preferred communication methods for people because they’re able to get information immediately, whenever they ask for it rather than having to wait for an email to be responded to. That means you could be getting new customers while you sleep or are out in the field where you can’t respond to an email immediately.
- It allows for better decision making because your actions are backed by data, not just instinct. While your gut may be reliable, knowing your instincts are correct by looking at insights pulled from data makes it all the sweeter when you find success. Having data can help you identify the channels that drive the greatest ROI so you can double down on what’s working while at the same time pause the activities that are only costing you money without any real return.
- It improves productivity and efficiency. You’re able to gain visibility into the activity being done across the entire organization and see areas where improvement is needed to continue growing your business for sustained success. By knowing how you and your team spend the day, it can help you determine which areas of your business need more improvement and focus while also helping you realize if there’s a need to add to your staff if they are overworked.
- It makes communication across your teams, customers, and prospects easier. Not only easier too, but more immediate. There’s a reason that people prefer to text instead of call these days. You’re also able to keep a “log” of all communications sent so that you can go back to later on and see how you handled a particular situation. That’s not necessarily the case with a phone call or direct mail.
- It improves core business processes. You never again have to worry about your ledger or a contract being lost from a dog eating it or it blowing out the window as you drive to visit a customer.
- It empowers you to create unmatched customer experiences. You’re able to streamline and automate touchpoints along the customer journey that provide customers with the best possible experience at each stage, without you having to manually perform activities each time.
Want to learn more?
In today’s age, undergoing a digital transformation and being a nimble business is necessary to increase productivity, create transparency of marketing spend and ROI, and manage content and customers. When you leverage technology and A.I., it helps you avoid lagging behind your competitors.
The Surefire Local Marketing Platform allows you to digitize your business in a way that few others can match. With an all-in-one local marketing platform, you have an operating system to manage your website, search engine marketing, business listings, online reviews, content, customer communications and so much more.
When you’re able to take action with regards to your online presence from anywhere and be in constant contact when any new leads inquire about your services, there’s nothing stopping your business from thriving.
The Surefire Local Marketing Platform was built to help your business adapt to the new normal emerging out of this pandemic. Request a demo to learn more about how Surefire Local can help your business always prepare for whatever may lie ahead.