Before the global pandemic, businesses around the world were already making small, gradual steps toward digital transformation.
They were updating their legacy systems, automating manual processes, and optimizing their corners of the internet to be user-friendly and responsive.
Now, however, digitization is more than a nice-to-have feature reserved for elite businesses.
Instead, it’s become the rule, rather than the exception. Are you wondering how to make sure your own company can keep up?
Today, we’re sharing a few of our top tips to help your business not only grow but thrive in the modern Digital Age, both today and far beyond tomorrow.
What Is The Digital Age?
Before we dive into how to set your business up for success in these tech-savvy times, let’s take a quick step back. What do we mean by the Digital Age?
Also known as the Information Age, this is a time period within the 21st century.
While the Industrial Revolution spearheaded a major movement toward traditional industry, this shift has taken the world in a new direction: toward information technology (IT).
While its exact start date isn’t clear, we can mark the onset of the Digital Age by one major event: The proliferation of the Internet into every corner of society.
Though the personal computer rose to prominence as early as the 1970s, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that people started using smaller, mobile devices to obtain information and share it with one another.
This collective sharing of data eventually gave rise to one of the most popular catchphrases of the era: the Internet of Things (IoT).
How can a business keep pace with the rapid changes that technology brings?
Any organization might ask this question, but it can be especially difficult for older companies that already had best practices and business processes in place before tech took hold.
The answer isn’t to overhaul everything you’ve worked for, especially if it’s still working for you.
Rather, it’s about making smart, strategic changes and updates to help your brand adapt and grow. Here are five ways to get started.
1. Hire The Right People
Yes, it is possible to grow your enterprise and help it take a new, digital-driven direction.
However, this can be extremely difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to do, especially if you’re at the helm of a small-to-midsized business.
Instead of trying to tackle it all on your own, take the time to think about your workforce.
Then, put together a team that not only understands and supports your growth strategy, but has the knowledge, experience, and expertise required to help you get there.
As you take this step, you might find that it makes better business sense to outsource some functions beyond your core, in-house team.
This is especially the case if your company deals with niche subject matter, such as intricate scientific data.
Instead of hiring a full-time, internal marketing team to help bring business in, you can hire a science content marketing firm to take the reins for you.
You can even consider outsourcing other tasks beyond your core, mission-critical work.
For instance, a virtual assistant can shoulder some of the administrative work so your employees can focus on more value-adding tasks.
2. Don’t Discount Local Outreach
In your attempt to stand out in the digital space, you may think that you need to spend all of your time and money online.
Of course, advertising has changed over the past few decades and the internet is now a major player.
You’ll need to make sure your website, social media accounts, and all other digital peripherals are polished and easy to navigate.
However, that doesn’t mean locking yourself in your office and pounding away at the keyboard for eight hours each day.
You’ll also need to stay present, active, and engaged in your local community if you want to build a real, long-lasting brand presence.
Not only is local marketing cost-effective, but it could also translate to online success.
The more that consumers associate your company with a specific location, the easier it is to search for you and find you online.
3. Optimize Your SEO Strategy
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content to make sure it shows up as high as possible on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
There are many ways to do this, including:
- Regularly publishing relevant, authoritative content (e.g. blogs, articles, webpages)
- Formatting your online content so it’s easy for search bots to skim
- Adding graphics, visuals, and illustrations to your content
- Optimize your page load speeds to improve the user experience
- Target accurate, industry-specific keywords in your content
- Engage in link-building campaigns
If you haven’t given much thought to your SEO strategy, you can rest assured that your competitors have.
If you don’t have the people or bandwidth to tackle this part of the job, consider outsourcing it to a third-party marketing company that does.
4. Build a Social Media Presence
Do you still think social media should be reserved for tweens and superstars?
If you’ve taken that approach so far, then it might not come as a surprise that your digital presence is dwindling.
You don’t have to join every single social media platform to make an impression. Instead, think about where your target buyers are spending their time and put your focus there.
For instance, if you’re a photographer, you may lean toward a visual-heavy platform, like Instagram.
Conversely, a digital marketing company might stick close to LinkedIn, while a skills-based business might prefer YouTube.
Once you’ve set up your profile, it’s time to get engaged! Post regular updates, using prompts and questions to encourage your community of followers to interact with your brand.
You can also use your profiles to share blog content, post giveaways, and promotions, and respond to user inquiries.
Social media isn’t gimmicky. It’s an ideal way to build brand trust, as well as transparency. Your
5. Adopt The Right Technologies
You don’t have to completely erode your bottom line to stay competitive in the Digital Age.
Many of the tools you need will be affordable, and many (including social media) will even be free.
However, there are also certain types of software that may be advantageous to your future growth.
For instance, if you’re having a difficult time keeping track of customer data and analyzing it to make projections, look into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms.
CRM software can help you organize and dive into your sales accounts on a level that conventional sales departments can’t achieve with manual processes alone.
If it’s back-office functions that are slowing your company down, use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to automate and simplify functions from accounting to contracts and everything in between.
Find New Growth Potential In The Digital Age
The Digital Age didn’t signal the death of the conventional business. You don’t have to completely move your storefront online or eschew your legacy systems altogether to find your place among the modern competition.
To make a name for your business, you simply need to stay flexible. Adopt new technologies if they’ll help you gain efficiencies.
Get on Facebook if your competitors are and that’s where your customers are spending their time.
Look into ways to stay engaged in your community, all while creating digital content that’s easily searchable and scannable.
Then, before long, you’ll notice that you aren’t merely existing in this age.
You’re leading the charge, and you’ve set the stage for the kind of long-term growth you deserve. Learn, adapt, and overcome: Those are the pillars of success.