Transform Your Business Online: 10 Ways to Adapt in a PandemicJanuary 1, 2021 2021-04-03 21:11
Transform Your Business Online: 10 Ways to Adapt in a Pandemic
Transform Your Business Online: 10 Ways to Adapt in a Pandemic
Amidst the current environment is change; a change in consumer behaviors, a change in how businesses function, a change in how we live. But what can businesses do to adapt?
As a small business owner, you may be experiencing a surge in demand; on the flip side, business may be slowing down—or worse, coming to a full stop.
Perhaps you’re hesitant about going online, or you’re unsure how to do so, or you haven’t had to consider the idea until this year.
As the pandemic accelerates the amount of time people are spending online, there has been an immense increase of internet consumption — Forbes reported an increase between 50% and 70% of internet hits in 2020 alone!
With the right approach and support, it’s easier than ever to leverage technology to begin building — or expanding — your digital experience.
Turn adversity into opportunity, realign your business with the current environment, and take back control of your trajectory with these helpful tips for strategic online transformation.
- Showcase Your Expertise
- Document Your Knowledge
- Create Digital Marketing Materials
- Adapt Your Product Offering
- Start Selling Online
- Setup Online Bookings
- Automate Your Communications
- Elevate Your Client Experience
- Build Digital Trust
1. Use Technology to Transform and Evolve Your Business
In the modern landscape of instant access to information, a website is so much more than a website: it’s your digital platform, your online storefront, and your action hub. It’s piece of the internet dedicated solely to you, the brand you’re creating, and the story you want to put out into the world.
Whether you’re a blogger sharing delicious recipes for a homemade pain au chocolat or a small business selling physical products, your website is a key piece of your universe.
By designing and developing a website that aligns with your business goals, automates your work, and fits a modern aesthetic, you can:
- Better engage your visitors;
- Sell more products and services, and;
- Build a sales experience you can be proud of.
We are living through unprecedented times. Determining how to transform your business online is not only essential today, but also for the future.
Thankfully, modern technology exists to help you adapt and take your business online. Here are a few ideas you can start using today.
2. Showcase Your Expertise Online
First things first: How easy is it for visitors to find out who you are and what you do?
As your website is your online storefront, it should portray your essence (AKA your brand positioning) across every page.
Most importantly, your website should demonstrate what makes you the go-to choice in your market.
What makes you different? Why are you best at what you do? These questions are answered in the words you write, the images you choose, and how you organize your information.
Ways you can showcase your business online:
- An About page: Tell your brand story, share your values, and communicate your mission statement; but ensure you include common pain points your target market experiences — and how your business helps to overcome them.
- A Services page: Use this page to showcase the services and/or products you sell to help solve your target market’s needs. Explaining this in sufficient detail can help explain how you can work together while streamlining your sales process.
- A Portfolio page: You’re an expert in your industry, and a portfolio page of past work — and happy clients — helps bring your brand story full-circle.
- A Photo Gallery: A photo gallery connects-the-dots between your IRL client experience and your online platform. Whether you’re showcasing pictures of your food styling services in action, or you’re highlighting your photography portfolio, pictures allow people to get a real feel for what you do.
Have an Instagram feed? Consider embedding your feed into your website with a widget (we help Teakie Care members with that).
- Testimonials. Your past clients are your greatest champions. From your homepage to your contact page, display quality testimonials throughout your website.
3. Document Your Knowledge
Back in the day, we had paper, books, and scrolls. Today, we have digital technology.
This technology can be leveraged — and scaled — to save time, increase efficiency, and implement systematic processes within your business operations.
One of our beliefs is that digital technology can be used to document your knowledge. This is a very basic-but-powerful way for professionals, experts, and masters of craft to track, share, and reflect on their expertise and experiences.
Documenting information and creating quality content is essential to building your business online.
Over time, you may find yourself with a wealth of documented knowledge. You’ll have it ready to share with existing and potential clients, suppliers and partners, as well as internally with your team or externally with the media.
Ways you can document your business online:
- Case studies: Case studies are a tangible way for clients to get a hands-on understanding of your work and how it can be applied to solve their problems. It can also help demonstrate your expertise.
- Blog posts: Blog posts aren’t just for recipes. They can be tools to share understanding about a specific topic or pain point that your client is looking to better understand.
- Client resources: How long do your email chains get from sending forms, templates, or other key documents to clients? Hosting a range of client resources on your website (think how-to articles, directions to your studio, or even appointment prep info) helps you easily direct clients to the exact information they’re seeking — before they even have to ask.
- Internal resources: Document processes and systems for your employees. By creating an entire password-protected section of your website, your employees can simply login to access vital internal information, all stored in one place.
- Partner resources: The same applies for your suppliers, wholesalers and business network. Create a password-protected section of your website to enhance the sales process.
- FAQs: We all have questions — why not log them onto one page to easily answer them? Not only does this save you from having to answer every question as it comes in, but it saves clients from having to ask in the first place.
4. Create Digital Marketing Materials
This brings us to our next point; taking your breadth of knowledge a step further to create a visual, tangible document that can be used online and in print as needed.
Marketing materials can be digital and downloadable marketing assets.
For some businesses, they may be a series of brochures; for others, a media kit might make more sense.
Whatever format you choose, digital marketing materials are a great way to enhance your sales or business development processes by making information readily available on your website.
There are a couple ways to distribute your marketing materials:
- Individually, on a one-by-one basis: Ideal if you want to reserve certain information for clients only.
- Website: Better yet, make them readily available on your website for easy access, quick reference, and saving time.
Worried about copycats? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery—and no one is you.
Some of our favorite digital marketing assets include:
- A welcome kit: Everything a client needs to know about working with you. E.g. Are you a wedding planner? Send a welcome kit to each couple beforehand.
- A media kit: Everything a sponsor or partner needs to know about you.
- A product catalogue: Whether you’re a baker, a retail shop, a manufacturer — or even a service professional — you can benefit from a well-designed product catalogue.
- A pricing guide: Simplify your sales process, include all of your pricing options, and give visual examples to readers. A pricing guide keeps pricing off or on your website, depending on your sales approach.
- Lookbooks: A mini-magazine, beautifully laid out to showcase your products or services (and have a little fun along the way!). Send your digital lookbook to clients old and new and inspire them to purchase your best products or services.
Any digital downloadable should be aesthetically pleasing, complemented by the information your clients are seeking.
Consider the type of content you need to include, how you want the catalogue to look and feel, and most importantly, determine the goal or call-to-action.
To help prospects make an informed decision and take the best next-steps forward, send them a link to your modern digital catalogue filled with the answers they’re seeking.
5. Adapt Your Product Offering
As we move through a global pandemic, businesses need to find ways to adapt to an increasingly online environment.
Ways you can transform your product offering:
- Offer virtual consultations: Looking for a way to get deep with prospects before they sign on the dotted line? An online consultation is a great way to get face-to-face (almost!) with potential clientele, and lets them get to the heart and soul behind your brand.
- Create innovative product bundles ready for sale and delivery: Whether you’re a service-based professional or have an established product line, consider developing creative bundles that are exciting to receive.
a. Do you manufacture packaging? Sell useful bundles tailored to a specific type of client that can be easily purchased online.
b. Are you a caterer, baker or food stylist? Package gift boxes filled with expertly curated goodies.
c. Are you a holistic healer with a unique blend of herbal teas and elixirs? Start selling bundles of products you recommend.
- Develop a subscription product: Now more than ever, people are seeking simplicity in their lives; and brands can help them do just that. For example, a dentist could start selling packages of monthly dental products, or a florist could offer a subscription for a dried flower wreath for each new season.
- Create digital downloads: Digital downloads go hand in hand with documenting knowledge. Whether they’re free or paid, digital downloads deliver instant access to your expertise. A therapist may offer questionnaires, forms, e-books, and more, while a copywriter may have free templates to make content creation as easy as possible.
6. Start Selling Online
From creating a passive income stream to allowing people to shop your goods when they can’t visit your storefront, selling products and services online is more accessible than ever.
- Start taking payments online: Adding payment options to your existing site using a plugin like WooCommerce or creating a new website on a platform like Shopify makes it easy for customers and clients to shop your website.
- Start selling a few products online: If you’re looking to pivot your business or brand online, start by selling just one or two of your products, and add more as you acquaint yourself with the product fulfillment process.
- Start selling your services online: Are you a service provider? Think about selling select services online, such as a consultation, a strategy call, your signature digital offering, and more.
7. Setup Online Bookings
Service providers can make it even easier for clients to shop services online by setting up online bookings for appointments and consultations. Scheduling services like Calendly and Acuity make it easy to automate administrative tasks, send automatic reminders, all while syncing with your calendar.
Online bookings can also be setup via your WordPress website with a plugin like WooCommerce Bookings.
8. Automate Your Communications
Communication is a vital part of your client experience, and making it easy for clients to stay up-to-date is essential for businesses today.
Automate client communications by setting up an email provider like Mailchimp to stay in touch with clients and customers directly in their inbox. Share updates, announcements, and promotions with meaningful, intentional messages that directly benefit readers.
Take this effort a step further by outlining key messages as a part of your communication strategy, such as:
- A welcome letter or automated welcome sequence for new subscribers
- A thank you note for purchases
- A birthday message to celebrate your clients and customers
- A request for a review or feedback at project completion
- Announcements for new products or restocks
9. Enhance Your Client Experience
One of the best ways you can be transforming your business is through your client experience.
Customers are the most important part of any business — as are your employees, your partners and your community.
That is, no matter the technology, the tactics, the strategy — people are at the heart of any good business.
There are a number of ways you can improve the experience a client has when interacting with your brand or business online, and in real life.
A digital transformation can give you the tools you need to execute an elevated client experience.
Elevate your customer experience through:
- Standardized processes and systems: Put in place standard ways of doing things — think Starbucks for your business. It helps save time, increase efficiency and improve the outcome while making life easier for everyone involved.
- Client Experience Roadmap: One of our favorite exercises is mapping out the customer journey. It is a tool specific to each business. It documents the exact experience a client should at every stage of the lifecycle.
- Beautiful packaging: Create a memorable experience for your clients by designing on-brand packaging.
- Handwritten notes: A thing of the past? We think not. These are a wonderful touchpoint for any client, prospect or partner.
- Out-of-the-box marketing: Step outside the typical realm of marketing and think of innovate ways you can inspire your clients.
10. Build Digital Trust
One of the key components of having a quality online presence is to build digital trust.
This is something we come back to time and time again. Building trust is one of the primary reasons for taking your business online.
As the global marketplace expands with digital technologies, more and more people are buying from businesses and brands that they may have never met in person before.
Transactions are taking place, bringing people and businesses closer together, creating new connections and building new relationships.
The foundation of any successful relationship is trust. Your digital platform can help to contribute to building trust in your business every single day.
Contribute to your brand’s online trust through efforts such as:
- A modern website: Visual aesthetic is so important. Here’s an example. A potential client is looking to hire or buy. They land on one website. It looks old, some broken links, old images. The other—clean, professional, polished, new. Speaks to who they are and what they believe in. Which one would you choose?
- A quality website: Beyond aesthetics, having a website that is easy to navigate and easy to read is an important part of your online presence. It should be professional and polished. It should put your best foot forward, and communicate that you are established, reputable and worth buying from. Read this post to help you create a website sitemap.
- Beautiful imagery: Visual aesthetic are undergoing rapid change and have taken a whole new direction from stock photos of the past.
- Communicated values: How do you like to do business? What principles do you stand for? Communicating your core principles from a real place helps attract the type of clients you’re looking to work with.
- A clear value proposition: What do you do and why do you do it best.
Start Transforming Your Business Online Today
When used intentionally, technology complements your sales strategies and supports your goals, bridging the gap between your online presence and your client experience.
By making it simple for people to understand what you do — and to access your products and services — you can transform your business both online and in the real world.
No matter where you are on your digital journey, we’re here to help you build, grow, and understand your online platform. Learn more about the strategic and support-driven benefits of being a Teakie Care member today, and bring your vision and goals to life.