Digital media is a great leveler for small businesses

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Digital media has revolutionized the landscape in which small businesses can connect with customers. For businesses just starting out, it’s common to regard digital realms as the domain of the heavy hitters, big brands, and the multinational corporations but in reality, the situation is quite the reverse. In the past businesses needed to spend lots of money on expensive advertising. Digital media is a great leveler, an open forum in which all businesses have an opportunity to reach their niche.

The vast and unparalleled connectivity afforded by digital media is both a blessing and a curse, because not only do you have an arsenal of tools to draw potential leads to your business but so does everyone else. The trick then is how to make your business digitally unmissable, drawing potential customers to you and not your competitors. Here are some ways in which you can use the online tools available to you to do just that.

Website
Your website should be at the heart of your digital strategy. The key is to think about the function that your website is there to facilitate and how you can optimize it. Many entrepreneurs struggle to get the most out of their website. That’s why a web design company helps businesses across the country and they can help you too. Whether your website is there to give customers information about your business or to sell products through e-commerce, it’s important to ensure that it has the design and UX (user experience) attributes to make sure customers have a pleasant, easy experience navigating your website.  

Social Media
A social media presence is at least as important as a website, though you may want to think about which platforms are right for you and your business goals. If you’re a restaurant or bakery then you may wish to post images products on Instagram or Pinterest, whereas if your business revolves around sharing knowledge and expertise or other soft skills, uploading video tutorials on YouTube or hosting webinars on Google Plus might be a better fit. Do your research. 

Blog
Your blog should be the mouthpiece of your business. It’s a platform for you to share your own individual knowledge and experience with existing customers, brand advocates and potential customers alike. Your own perspective is the one thing that your competitors can’t replicate so don’t be afraid to share it and allow your customers to build a personal relationship with you and your business.

Apps
You may not think that your business needs an app, but you’d be astonished how well an app can contribute to your online visibility. With 30 percent of all e-commerce in the US done through a mobile app, it’s an e-commerce tool that should be given serious consideration. Your very presence on Apple or Android’s app store can draw attention and business to your brand (particularly if combined with an eye catching and colorful logo). Apps can be used to incentivize customer loyalty and alert customers to special offers and promotions via push notifications. They can also help to expand your reach organically by giving customers incentives (via promotional codes) to introduce their friends, family members and colleagues to your business.    

Go off page
While your online presence grows your business, there are plenty of “off page” activities that you can carry out to make your business even more unmissable. Cause advocacy is a great tool to draw attention to your online profile while doing good for a charitable cause. Many big brands have aligned themselves with charitable causes to raise brand awareness and build positive associations with their products. In turn, the big brands help to raise awareness to the profitable causes, resulting in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Could you apply this to your business? Or perhaps you could raise your business profile by being an expert speaker at a public engagement or align with another non-competing brand on a mutually beneficial project, raising awareness of your business among their client base.

However you choose to make your brand digitally unmissable the tools are out there at your disposal, and if you’re not using them then you could be seriously impeding your own progress.

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