5 Tips to Bring Your Physical Business into the Digital Age

When you run a local bakery or manage a small team of professional plumbers, your customers are your neighbors. It makes sense to advertise your business using the phone book, newspaper advertisements, billboards and yard signs, reaching potential customers as they go about their daily lives. But what does your business’s web presence look like? And are you really making the most of mobile technology, or are you beholden to your corner office? If you feel like it’s time to step up your game, here are 5 easy ways to bring your business into the digital age:

1. Build a responsive website.

When was the last time your business website got a makeover? If it was before smartphones surged in popularity, it is high time to reinvest in your website. You need a responsive website to reach most of your customers in the digital age. That means your site needs to respond or adjust to different screen sizes and devices. Users are no longer browsing solely on desktop or laptop computers. Now tablets and smartphones are used just as often for accessing the Internet. Viewing a non-responsive site on a mobile device involves, at best, having to incessantly scroll side-to-side in order to read the full text. At worst, a non-responsive site will be rendered utterly useless on a mobile device, causing your visitors to move on to a competitor’s site. You can use this tool to check if your site is responsive and mobile friendly.

2. Create profiles on major social networks.

Having a website is just one of many ways you can digitally connect with your customers. Customers will expect to be able to follow your business on sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Take full advantage of the opportunity to stay top-of-mind with your customers by regularly appearing in their so-called newsfeeds. Post company updates such as special deals or product launches, or conduct market research on all of these platforms. To gain a significant following, share fun content and host giveaways to increase the number of shares and followers on each of your social media channels. Paid advertising channels are built-in features on most social networks these days, making it easier than ever to reach your target demographic with pay per click ads.

Keep in mind that there are many social media platforms these days, and not all of them are useful for every industry. For example, a B2C company many not find LinkedIn, a site aimed toward professional networking, to be useful for generating sales. However, LinkedIn is the perfect platform for B2B companies to find new clients.

3. Create a YouTube channel.

There’s no better way to demonstrate your business’s digital prowess than by maintaining a popular YouTube channel. Use professional videos to share how-to tips related to your industry, to introduce new products or to share some behind-the-scenes footage to help your customers feel more emotionally invested in the company. Videos offer boundless creativity, allowing your company’s values and vision to come to life. Explain key product features, publish product reviews or simply tell a story that showcases your product in a positive way. Whether your budget is large or small, there is a way for your business to harness the power of YouTube.

4. Migrate to digital phone and fax.

Digital phone services make it easy to manage your phone lines. Reroute calls, create phone menus, receive voicemails as emails, and more with a digital company phone. There’s no need to have a separate landline at your desk in addition to your personal cell phone, or to even have multiple cell phones. Instead, you can make outbound calls with your business number via an app that has a separate keypad. Any calls made via the app will display your business number on the recipient’s caller ID. Digital phone apps also offer all the conveniences you expect from your personal smart phone, such as easy access to missed calls and voicemails. A tool like Google Voice can also help you with some of these goals.

Similarly, digital fax services give you an opportunity to throw out the clunky fax machine and even get rid of your landline. You can easily send and receive faxes in the same way that you send and receive emails. Simply attach a document to an email and use the fax number in the “To” field followed by a domain extension provided by the digital fax service. The document will be printed on the recipient’s fax machine as usual. Likewise, you can receive faxes in your inbox, completely eliminating the need for a machine and the associated overhead costs, such as paying for a landline or purchasing extra ink and paper. And with smartphone-friendly apps like the eFax mobile app, you can send and receive important documents, such as contracts or invoices, to your clients on the go.

5. Use the Google Suite to run your business.

Google Suite, or G Suite, is an affordable package of online apps that are central to running a business. Give your business a polished feel from the inside out by creating company email accounts, integrating calendars across departments, and hosting virtual meetings with Google Hangouts. Get unlimited file storage with Google Drive, and make use of a range of creative applications to rival the Microsoft Office Suite: Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms. G Suite also helps you build and manage a responsive website.

Once you have each of these 5 items checked off your to-do list, you will be well on your way to levelling up your business, reaching new customers and making record-breaking sales.

Original post: 5 Tips to Bring Your Physical Business into the Digital Age

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