The digital age is awash in amazing new technologies that are ushering in a new future. For example, the Internet of Things is poised to connect more than 100 billion devices in less than a decade, thereby enabling us to live smarter, greener, more efficient lives.
Technological advancements like this are possible because of digitization, a process that is altering the way companies do business. By going digital, companies not only increase their efficiency and reduce operational costs, but they also gain the ability to adapt to the frequent changes brought on by an evolving future.
If you are contemplating digitizing your business, you should take the following steps:
1. Establish a strong presence for your company online.
Odds are, as a business owner in the digital age, you have at least a basic website. Unfortunately, it’s not enough anymore to simply create a webpage for your business and fill it with basic information. A website today isn’t just a fancy business card—it’s a tool you use to draw in visitors while linking them to your company’s other online media platforms.
Digitize your online presence by curating an aesthetically modern page that has a search function and is optimized for mobile browsing. The percentage of people who use mobile platforms as their primary link to the Internet has risen drastically in the last several years, and this number is projected to only increase as Generations Y and Z gain more purchasing power.
2. Take your sales to the Internet.
All businesses have something to gain from by digitizing their sales model, and the possibilities for online product presentation give companies the freedom to describe items or services in a way that makes them look their best. According to a 2014 study, at least 81 percent of consumers research products online prior to making a purchase. At least 61 percent of these shoppers look at reviews left by previous buyers to determine whether or not they will buy the product themselves.
Establishing an online marketplace for your business gives you some control over how potential customers see your products. It also extends your reach to draw in more customers than ever before. Set up your online marketplace with high-quality visuals and well-written product descriptions. Gather customer testimonials and make them visible when potential customers view products online. Develop an e-mail list and offer new product information, deals, and discounts for website visitors who join the list.
Additionally, you can use the customer data generated from site visits and purchases to get insight on target demographics and establish more effective marketing plans.
3. Modernize your marketing plan with social media.
The new buzzword in marketing is personalization. More than ever, consumers want to identify with the brands that they buy, and this requires a digital connection. Luckily, a digitized marketing plan presents businesses with a simple way to cut costs while significantly increasing the number of potential customers they can reach.
Identify social media platforms that work well with your company’s brand, and then focus on using them primarily as a tool for engagement with customers, rather than as an additional platform for distributing product information. Digitizing your marketing plan is, in part, about building your firm’s perceived personality so that customers understand the kind of business that they are linking themselves to when purchasing your product. Business-to-business (B2B) firms may want to consider a more professional social media platform, like LinkedIn, to build a brand, while Facebook and Instagram are better suited to business-to-consumer (B2C) companies.
The most important aspect of marketing on social media is to be present on any channels you create for your business. However, you should also be selective about the content that you are putting out. Consumers are most likely to appreciate content that is either educational or entertaining. You should worry less about ad placement in content and focus more on the connection you are making with customers before, during, and after a purchase.
4. Go paperless.
Going paperless can seem like a massive, work-intense project, but the benefits it brings to your business are immeasurable. Transitioning from filing cabinets to digital records makes information almost instantly accessible, and gives your business the competitive advantage of speed.
Transitioning from paper to digital records can also allow your company to automate some of the processes that it currently performs manually. This allows employees more time to focus on important areas of work and concentrate their talents where they are most needed. The resulting improved organizational flow and enhanced speed with which your firm can conduct business in a digital atmosphere also sends the message that your company knows exactly what it’s doing in the modern marketplace.
As an advanced step in digitization, you should continue to look for alternatives to common manual processes your company performs every day. Certain software products, like DocuSign, enable you to electronically sign binding legal documents, thereby facilitating faster business transactions and completely eliminating the need to scan important documents after they have been signed.