When you invest in more efficient equipment, it’s not uncommon to find yourself with a little more time on your hands. You can use this time to relax, or you can reinvest it into your business.
With the marketplace continually moving online, the most effective way to grow your business is to improve your digital presence and your engagement with your customers. Here are a few different ways to make your company more relevant to today’s consumers.
1. Web Development
When was your website last updated? In today’s digital marketplace, your website is your shop window. Visitors will make their minds up about your business in a matter of seconds, so if it doesn’t meet their standards, they won’t hesitate to visit a more attractive option.
That doesn’t just mean high-res photos and expensive web design. With more web users browsing from their mobile devices, your site should be ‘responsive’ – meaning its format should adapt to whichever device it is viewed on. With older sites, mobile accessibility wasn’t such a priority, but today it’s absolutely essential.
Providing an online shopping portal has the potential to transform your business completely. It isn’t simply about adding an extra area to your website – it means adapting your entire business model and preparing to serve a much bigger customer base.
Because of this, the prospect can be quite daunting, but the potential benefits to your business make it an option worthy of serious consideration. Not only can it provide a more convenient buying experience for your existing customers, but it also opens your customer base to anyone with an internet connection – not just those in your local area.
It’s not enough to have a responsive website with online shopping capabilities – your customers must be able to find it. Web search remains the first port of call for today’s customers, so it’s crucial that your business appears in their searches.
This process is known as search engine optimisation or SEO. The goal is to ensure your website appears on at least the first page of Google, depending on what your customers are searching for. Several factors determine which sites are displayed most prominently, and these change all the time. The one thing that doesn’t change is usability – if your website provides the kind of experience its visitors expect, then it stands a much greater chance of appearing higher in the ranks.
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4. Social Media
While SEO has been a popular strategy for many years, more business owners recognise the potential impact of social media. The benefits of capitalising on this are difficult to overstate – not only can you increase your visibility, but you can also generate more interest from positive customer reviews.
Managing your social presence can be a full-time job, but if you are invested in your business, it needn’t even feel like work. If you don’t have them already, create business accounts on the main providers. You don’t have to commit to a full content schedule – simply encourage your customers to share their experiences, ensuring they tag your business. When you receive the notification, make sure you respond and share their post from your business account. This is a sure-fire way of generating positive user feedback, and it won’t cost you any money.
5. Paid Advertising
Running your business online gives you several options for placing advertisements on prominent sites. These adverts can appear on search engine pages, on social media platforms or even within mobile apps, letting you reach your potential customers where they are already looking.
Producing an effective digital ad campaign requires some trial and error and frequent testing to assess which images and which message have the greatest effect. Combined with analytics tools, you can uncover valuable insights about the kinds of people looking for your services, giving you a strong advantage over your competitors.
6. Diverse Solutions
With more control over your digital presence, you are free to quickly adjust your approach. Based on the insights you discover from your online analytics and your engagement with customers, you can more easily identify unique needs that your competitors might not have spotted.
For example, UK business, The Sign Shed, was built on providing functional signage for other businesses like construction companies. Led partly by customer requests, they noticed a market for personalised signs as gifts and quickly made the move to promote this product on their website.
Thanks to the versatility of their UV printing equipment, producing these signs required no real change to their workflow, it simply added a new revenue stream and gave a tangible boost to their profits.
It can be daunting to embark on learning new skills, but each of these business development activities can have dramatic effects on your profits. You can learn these skills via several online tutorials, look for courses at a local college or simply give it a try and learn by doing – it might not be as complicated as you had first imagined. Or you could employ a specialist who can focus on these digital activities while you continue doing what you do best.
Alternatively, you can continue outsourcing these activities to a third-party company. By learning the basics about these concepts, you can more easily communicate your needs to these specialists, and you can better judge the quality of their results.