Create Smart, Realistic Goals to Navigate Your Digital Opportunities
Step 1: Put Together a Digital Plan
It can take a bit of time to establish an effective digital presence, especially if you’re just starting out. As you identify all the digital channels and the opportunities they can bring your small business, start listing all your possible business goals. This is the time to prioritize on the ones that are linked directly to your decision to go digital.
It’s good practice to be specific on what you'd like to achieve, so that you can set your priorities straight. Your digital plan of action has to make sure that you’re meeting your objectives, and that means tracking your results along the way. To do things the right way, you need a carefully thought-out plan flexible enough to adapt to the ever-changing technology and to your industry.
Here are the major digital channels businesses are already using to increase awareness of their brands:
Step 2: Decide on Your Business Goals
Now what are some of the business goals that you can achieve by going online? Here are some general ones that you can adopt to fit your business objectives. This list is not exhaustive. You can just pick a few goals and start developing a strategy to achieve them within the next few months.
1. Go completely paperless
Imagine how much money your small business will be saving by having a paper-free work environment. Switching to an all-digital system means you are one step closer to being an environmentally friendly business--a trend that established brick-and-mortar businesses are now starting to adopt. If you design your business plan to be paperless from the start, you are well on your way to embrace the future of business documentation: a paperless world.
2. Focus on video marketing (get filming!)
The past few years, videos are surging in popularity in content marketing. Last year, video was on the top list of everyone's marketing tactics. This year, it's even becoming an entire business strategy. Video is transforming how companies do their business and how consumers do their shopping. Adapting to this trend, why not make it your business goal to begin filming? Determine what types of videos you are going to create--whether they be demo videos, an about us flick, or explainer shorts--and get going with the video creation process.
3. Get personal: establish a personal brand
A small business’s success is dependent upon the owners’ professional existence. Developing your own personal brand will only boost the success of your business. By making it your business goal to weave in your personal brand, you will see an improvement in your own credibility. The more relatable and likeable you are, the more trustworthy you appear. Focus on building your personal brand and letting your uniqueness shine through in your business. This will strengthen your brand and help differentiate your small business.
4. Start using social media
If you are brand new to the social media, the scene can appear overwhelming. You are busy running everything else and so social media networking might be the last thing on your to-do list. Start using the social media to your advantage and learn as much as you can about the network. Prioritize your visual assets when planning your social media marketing. You can focus on the most common ones: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. Use them for customer service, set up a Facebook business page, share ideas on Pinterest, and interact with your followers via Twitter.
5. Plan and launch your business website
Yes, you absolutely need a website for your small business. It takes some time to build an online home for your brand, but done right, your website has the potential to reach more customers and develop your online presence. It makes your business appear legitimate; it helps people find you. Consider all the website features that would help you achieve the goals for your website: ecommerce payment, email list, blog, photo gallery, directions and map, contact page, social media share buttons, portfolio, testimonials, etc.
6. Drive traffic to your website
So you already have a nice business website setup, then your next business goal should be to drive more traffic. Do your homework and make a list of the ways you can generate traffic to your websites, and then select ones you can implement. You can use social media to distribute your content online, and then measure the traffic. Using Google Analytics, track your current web traffic and break it down by social channels (acquisition). Devise social media experiments to grow your traffic over a certain period, or learn from businesses who have done it, to grow your traffic over, and then measure your progress.
Find out how writers are crafting their profile bios to get noticed on Twitter:
7. Get recruiting: hire your first employees
You don’t want to rush through things, but when the time is right, you should think about how you’re going to hire your first employees. Plan it, and make sure that the plan fits your future goals. With the current gig economy, you also have the option of just getting stuff outsourced online. Are you prepared to attract the right candidates? You can get a lot of great deals on online platforms and potentially even rely on part-timers for help with your projects. Whatever your hiring plan is, you have to learn to practice delegating and responsible hiring, especially in managing remote employees.
8. Create a content marketing strategy
Content marketing is a cost-effective way for growing your small business. With interesting content, you can increase sales, generate more traffic, build customer loyalty, and more. Your next business goal could be to create a content strategy. Make sure that each piece of content you produce serve a purpose, whether it be to educate potential customers, to drive traffic, to drive engagement, or more technical ones.
Plan an effective flow of content and measure the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts. Evaluate them, but don’t start from scratch! Find a systemized content plan that is already tried and tested and repeat the process every time you need to do an analysis.
9. Build relationships
Don't forget about your current customers. In fact, make it a business goal to build and nurture the relationships you have with them. To do this, you can incorporate useful content to educate them, which will earn their trust and possibly attract new customers. Listen to their questions, take notes and create content that can answer these common questions. Provide educational content to accompany your product offerings and respond to any of their concerns. Make it work.
Step 3: Build Your Community
A community allows you to nurture the current relationships you already have with your customers, people who interact with your online contents, and your potential customers. There's a lot that goes into building a community, but a community is one of the more sustainable and stable ways to increase your brand awareness. This goal can be a long-term business goal for your small business, so you need to keep this in mind. As you prepare your content strategy, gear them towards building a community of positive values and encourage audience participation.
Sources and Further Reading
- Gregory Alyssa. (2018) 19 Small Business Goals You Can Set This Year. The Balance Small Business.
- Alicia Collins and Megan Conley. (2018) The Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing. HubSpot Blog.
- (2019) Building a Personal Brand That Will Boost Your Career. Skills You Need.
- Alfred Lua. (2017) 9 Social Media Goals You Can Set for Your Business (and How to Track Them). Buffer: Social Blog.
- Kira Deutch. (2018) How to Hire Your First 5 Employees. Gusto.
(2018) Content Strategy. Moz.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Lovelli Fuad