In order to compete today, small business must have a digital presence.
While going digital may seem like a daunting task for some small businesses, those that don't take steps to expand their online footprint will lose out on opportunities to grow and compete more effectively, said Lance Brown, vice president of product development for digital solutions provider Huzzah Media.
"The truth is, businesses that understand how to approach their online program will be better poised to compete and thrive," Brown said. "As overwhelming as it may seem, there are simple things small business owners can do to get started today."
Brown offers several tips to small business owners on what they should and shouldn't do online:
- Do start with your website: It sounds simple, but don't neglect your website. Keep it fresh by updating it on a biweekly basis. Have someone on your team take ownership of the site, and make this task part of their regular to-do list. Base content on the information that will help your audience: What problems do they have that your content can help solve? Build a content calendar to keep you on task with updates.
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- Don't neglect the power of search: While a good website is critical, it's not enough by itself. Studies show that only 28 percent of small businesses are happy with their company's Google rankings. For many companies, greater control over the power of search can do more than help you reach your customers. It can also help you track insights about how consumers are finding you and what other stores and terms they're looking for that lead them to your business. Get started by signing up for a free Google Analytics account to understand traffic patterns to your Website.
- Do reward loyalty: In order to drive repeat business and reward your most-loyal customers, try integrating a rewards program, which can help you better compete with larger businesses and create increased enthusiasm among customers.
- Don't forget an app: Many small businesses neglect to expand their digital presence to the app store. Several new tools provide out-of-the-box solutions that can help you get started in this space. With an app, you can more easily tell your customers about discounts, deals and exclusive offers. You can also use it to track and send invoices, and do business on the go.
- Do take it social: Establish and maintain your key social network platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Customers want to engage with brands in ways that go beyond being sold to, so social media is a great way to stay engaged and show your store's personality. Remember to keep up with these outlets, or you risk losing the momentum you had when you set them up.
Originally published on Business News Daily