There is no getting away from it: in the digital era, it would be a crime for any small business not to be online.
Be it a small, local business or a thriving one on the verge of expansion, investing in a website is worth it for there’s no way you can ignore the massive market size.
But having a website without a refined and developed online strategy is like locating an offline store in pitch dark on the highway. Since no one can see it, no one ever enters it, translating into zero sales and growth.
The reasons for working on and refining your online strategy are many:
- The internet will only grow further
- COVID-19 has transformed consumer behaviour
- A website lets your business function 24X7
- An online strategy lets you optimise your budget
- Analytics offers the ability to track performance and results in real-time
- An online strategy offers you ways to plan for the future – growth and contingencies
Amid shifting consumer habits, needs, and choices, businesses must improve their online strategy to make the most of demand.
How can they do this? There are numerous low-cost, accessible ways to do this, and most of them hold the potential for a great Return on Investment (RoI). Let’s get started.
1. Take a mixed approach
Online may be important, but that doesn’t mean you can discount the value of offline. Almost every business works well with a mixed approach, one that merges digital strategies, virtual connections, physical spaces, and people.
Focus on what will work well for your small business, and chart out a blended, long-term strategy that is a good mix of online meetings, Zoom events, virtual tours, popup events, curated shows, and more.
2. Put the focus on mobile
With the mobile inseparable from most people, it is important to utilise the many opportunities this device presents. Most searches happen online on mobiles, which makes it critical for your website to be optimised for mobile.
Mobile devices are also being used more than laptops and desktops for shopping and payments, so it makes sense that your website looks good, is fast, and works well on the small screen.
3. Be consistent with content
Good content is the foundation of any online marketing strategy. It’s also affordable, easy to create, and dependable for long-term results.
It is important to use content – text, graphic, video, or any other element – and make it a habit to post consistently.
Over time, this informs your audience, makes them more aware about you and your product, improves search engine rankings, gets links from other sites, is shareable on social media, increases your standing, and – most importantly – leads to conversions.
It is also important to use social media to the fullest to connect with, engage, and retain customers.
4. Put in place an analytics programme
It may seem an unnecessary cost, but employing analytics tools can help you gather key metrics that reveal how your marketing efforts are really working. The amount of data provided by your website, social media, and online campaigns can help you understand customers, improve customer experience, and work on online marketing.
The analytics system can be connected with the customer relationship management system, and can be the source of massive traffic and leads, which you can track and convert.
5. Follow the right metrics
An analytics programme will give you so much data that you won’t know what to make of it. It’s important to choose the right data for the right metrics to know how well your changes are doing. What kind of metrics do you need to look for?
It depends on the type of small business, but the important ones include traffic, leads, sales, customers, keyword effectiveness, cost of customer acquisition, new/repeat visitor count, channel effectiveness, and social media.
It may seem overwhelming but will give you a lot of vital, actionable information once in place.
6. Keep tracking your strategy
It’s not enough to implement a strategy. You need to monitor it regularly to know if it’s working well – or not!
What’s the whole point of a strategy if it’s not leading to the goal you have in mind? Check how it’s working, back it up with data, and don’t be afraid to make changes. There could be a bottleneck in any part of your process; constant tracking can help ease that.
7. Identify what comes next
As you track your digital strategy, analytics, and activities, you need to look for areas where you can improve and that provide your business with opportunities to grow further.
What do you want to do next? Increase your blog traffic? Host a local event? Want more leads? Improve your performance on social media? Target customers in nearby cities/states?
Whatever may be your goal, you need to make it realistic and set a solid timeline. Monitor your ongoing progress when it comes to goals, in the short and long term.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated change and – like it or not – made digital a part of every business’ strategy. In these times, it’s vital that small businesses use this opportunity to innovate, survive, and thrive.
Boost360 can help you strengthen your digital presence and develop a comprehensive online strategy.