One year into the pandemic, brick-and-mortar businesses are feeling the strain more than ever. The heavy repercussions of lay-offs, illnesses, revenue loss, and high rent costs are all crashing down on the shoulders of American small business owners. Some days, just keeping the lights on can feel like a struggle.
If you are one of the many shop owners experiencing less foot traffic and a drop in sales, you may want to consider going virtual. Digitizing your business doesn’t mean you have to give up your brick-and-mortar shop. In fact, it could be just what the doctor ordered to keep your business afloat in the pandemic until customers are comfortable shopping in-person again. Let’s explore some creative ideas to take your business into the 21st century by going virtual.
1. Create A Compelling Website
The first step to digitizing your small business is to design a compelling website. You want to create a user-friendly, simple, and interesting site to entice your customers to click, stay, browse, and ultimately buy something. If you have never designed a website before, it’s best to spend a little coin and let the professionals handle it.
A bad website is a turn-off to customers, and arguably worse than having no online presence at all. Consider paying it forward to another business in your community by hiring local! Search web designers in your city to find great local options like Minneapolis web design. You want to ultimately create a website that will inspire customers to buy something and visit your shop in person. Especially if you’re looking to go exclusively virtual, you will be glad you invested in a professional website design company.
2. Step Up Your Social Media Game
Gone are the days when you can have a truly successful business without a social media presence. If your business has no social media, a good place to start is with Instagram. Create a simple profile with your logo as the profile picture, and add photos that show off your store, like your favorite products or the most beautiful displays. Put up a cute sign in the shop with your Instagram handle, and encourage customers to follow and interact with you on social media.
Once your customers figure out you’re online, they’ll be excited to tag you in their photos of product delivery (from your amazing website!) or selfies enjoying your brick-and-mortar shop. These photos will give you even more material to share on your main page and story, and the beautiful cycle continues. Once you try your hand at Instagram, create a Facebook and Twitter account to further engage with future customers online.
3. Analyze The Data
Once you are savvy with your online marketing skills, it’s time to analyze your website traffic and use the data to further optimize sales. Look into free software like Googe Analytics that can give you a clear picture of how people are interacting with your website. For example, if users are repeatedly landing on a page and not interacting with it, they are probably not seeing what they are looking for. Use these insights to update, tweak, and optimize your website for better user interaction and more sales.
Additionally, you can easily conduct surveys online about the quality of your product, website, or customer service. Services like Survey Monkey can collect and analyze survey data for you, allowing you to spend your valuable time elsewhere. Get creative and give customers a future discount for completing a survey!
Whether the goal is to save your brick-and-mortar business or transition online entirely, the technology needed to digitize your small business is no longer unattainable! By applying these inexpensive ideas and some creative ingenuity, you can keep your business afloat, broaden your audience, and grow into a new decade of prosperity.