How to Digitize Your Business
Your digital transformation doesn't stop with a website and social media. Learn the tools and and the benefits of fully digitizing your business.
There are many advantages to digitization. You will enjoy lower operational costs, increased productivity and improved customer experience, to name a few, by simply doing business online.
Digitization offered a lifeline for many startups and small businesses in the Philippines during the pandemic. Now, industries are racing to achieve digital maturity. If you haven’t jumped on the “digital” train, now’s the best time to make it happen.
We’re sharing practical tips to help you jumpstart your digitization journey.
What exactly do we mean by digitizing your business?
Digital transformation doesn’t stop with having a website and a few social media pages. It’s also about creating a great customer experience. That could mean different things for every business.
For example, if you’re a retail startup, digitization could be a transition to ecommerce, or if you have a mall kiosk, it could be as simple as offering mobile payment options.
At the core of it, business process digitization means reducing any friction in your customers’ journey and making it easy for them to find you and do business with you, even after the sale has been made.
Why do you need to digitize?
Digitization has become necessary to grow and scale a business in today’s economy. Not only does it give your customers more ways to access your business, but also provides a number of benefits.
You need to digitize to:
Streamline your processes
Businesses can use digital technology to make their operations smoother. Almost every niche or industry has dedicated tools and platforms to address sticking points unique to their operations and funnels.
A retail store or even a tiangge, for example, can use mobile, cloud-based POS software to track sales and inventory, process payments and manage staff in one place. Even a single tool can remove bottlenecks caused by manual, outdated processes.
Save time and cost
Time and cost savings are the biggest gains from embracing digital. Today, business owners can market and sell their products on their own, free of charge, using marketplace platforms and social media.
You can start selling immediately and promote your brand online without paying exorbitant fees to ad agencies. But even hiring a digital agency to bring leads to your stores wouldn’t hurt if you have the budget.
Moreover, there are simple tools you can use to increase your productivity. Using a chatbot to answer common customer questions, for example, can save you a lot of resources, allowing you to focus more on things that matter.
The wide availability of digital tools has helped businesses become more productive and efficient. Productivity platforms, for instance, have allowed for easier cross-departmental collaboration and project tracking.
Also learn about:
Provide a great customer experience
Since you’re using technology to accomplish specific tasks, you can channel your resources into more important aspects of your business, such as providing unbeatable customer service. In the digital economy, it’s become easier to personalize and humanize the customer experience.
This is because you can reach out to customers directly, gather insights on how to enhance their experience, and test out different approaches.
Digital technologies are a lot more secure compared to analog ones. Legacy systems are vulnerable to cyber threats and attacks, human error and other external factors like disasters and power outages.
By bringing everything online, you’ll get layers of protection to safeguard your data and assets, as well as your customers’ privacy.
Find out how you can Protect Your Ecommerce Website from Today’s Biggest Online Threats
How to digitize your business operations
Transitioning to a full-fledged ecommerce model will position your business for success in this highly competitive, always-on economy. It starts with creating new channels to reach the right people at the right time.
Here are the steps to bring your business online:
Start selling online
Whether you’re a startup or a brick-and-mortar business, there’s no reason for you not to sell online.
A digital storefront ensures your business can be found through internet searches, listings and directories. Social media is a great place to start to generate awareness and demand and gain insights into your niche and potential customers.
Build an ecommerce website
If you’ve got the inventory and the logistical requirements to sell goods at scale, you can start setting up your ecommerce website. You can start small with a POS system with an ecommerce feature or go all-in with hosting platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce and Wix.
Here’s a full list of the Top Ecommerce Website Builders to Use
SEO your website
Make sure your website is visible in the search engine results pages (SERPs) by doing search engine optimization. Matching your website content with relevant keywords ensures people will find your website when they’re looking for a product or service you’re offering.
Build your social media profiles
Social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and LinkedIn allow brands to connect with their customers on a more intimate level. Set up and manage your profiles on these networking sites to build brand awareness and direct targeted traffic to your ecommerce website.
Business process digitization means reducing any friction in your customers’ journey and making it easy for them to find you and do business with you.
Claiming your profile on Google MyBusiness ensures your business information is visible on the search engine. Optimize your profile with relevant keywords and keep your information (address, phone numbers, hours, etc.) up-to-date for a seamless customer experience.
Email marketing remains one of the most effective means to convert qualified traffic into leads and, eventually, sales.
Tools like Mailchimp, HubSpot and Constant Contact let you automate newsletters and drip campaigns to promote your products and services directly.
If you’re looking to scale your marketing and have the budget, you can achieve quick results with paid advertising. Paid social and paid search are the top two options to convert qualified leads.
Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and LinkedIn are the best platforms to engage your ideal audiences.
Hiring an agency vs building an in-house team
You might be wondering: can an effective digital transformation be achieved with an in-house team, or is it better to hire an agency? The simple answer is that either option has pros and cons, with many factors to consider.
Hiring an agency
Many companies outsource their digitization process as it requires technical know-how and marketing leadership, which not a lot of small businesses have. Consider these when deciding on hiring an agency:
- Agencies have a deep knowledge of digital marketing and have access to the best technology, which will translate to better agility for your brand. The right agency can execute the right digital marketing strategy to influence metrics that matter to your business.
- Entrusting your marketing to seasoned professionals could be more cost-effective down the line, even though the initial fees may be high.
- You get to focus on more important things like growing your brand, building a solid sales team and finetuning your customer experience.
- Agencies, depending on their size, serve multiple clients at varying scopes of work. This means that projects may not get done as efficiently as you want them to.
- An agency may lack knowledge of your industry, so it may take time before they get the messaging and branding right.
- The high cost of hiring an agency may affect your business efficiency or your other plans.
Building an in-house team
Some forms of business process digitization can definitely be done by an in-house team. A lot of startups and beginner entrepreneurs handle their marketing and advertising themselves. But it all comes down to the question, “is it the best use of your time?”
Below are some pros and cons to consider when going in-house:
- You and your team know your brand more than anyone else. Getting the message across and presenting your product or service in the best light possible will be easier.
- Projects could get done faster since you have a dedicated team to get things moving at your own pace.
- Overhead costs could be smaller as you’re tapping resources you already have.
- Having a dedicated team to do specific tasks leads to more focused work, which could lead to great results faster.
- If you’re a business owner and you have limited knowledge of digital marketing, it may be hard to navigate recruitment. How would you know you hired the right people for the job?
- The costs of keeping employees eventually stack up as you need to pay salaries, benefits and taxes.
NOW that you know how to digitize your business, you can start laying down the roadmap for your future success. Going digital is no longer just an option; it’s a necessity to thrive and succeed in today’s digital economy.