When speaking to small businesses about their digital presence, there usually comes a point where I am asked: "So, what should I do?". Now, the thing about this question that I know frustrates so many of us, is that there really isn't a simple straightforward answer. While there are certain steps that you should include in setting up your digital presence (whether it be your website, social pages, email marketing, etc.), the answer to the question of what you should do depends heavily on you and your business.
Want to know what I usually tell small business owners? Let's begin!
What is your first step?
As mentioned above, there are certain steps that you can follow when it comes to setting up your digital presence. The order in which you complete these steps depends heavily on your business; more specifically, on what your business has done in the digital space already. But, regardless of your digital presence, your first step should always be to set your goals. Here's why.
We've all heard the word "strategy" before. For business functions to be successful, they need to have some sort of strategy. While the concept of strategy becomes more in-depth as the size of the business grows, for small business owners, it's worth breaking it down into two parts; your goals and your tactics. In effect, what do you want to achieve with your digital presence and how are you going to achieve it?
Other than giving us better direction when it comes to our digital marketing activities, goals further allow us to measure what we are doing in the digital space. You will see that different goals have different metrics that can be measured online and these metrics indicate if what you are doing is actually working, or not.
Examples of goals that you could have include increasing your brand awareness, increasing sales, generating more leads, connecting with your audience, increasing engagement, etc. What is important to remember, is that you should ideally have more than just one goal. If you're going to be active in the digital space, you might as well make use of all the features that the different platforms have to offer and get the most out of your time, right?
Now you can set up your Go-Tos.
After deciding on your goals, you need to have a look at your digital presence. And here is where the process starts to become quite individualised, but the main aim stays the same - you need to determine if your current digital presence will help you achieve the goals that you set for your business. If not, then there are changes that need to be made to get you to where you want to be. This is one of the reasons why I say that the answer to the question "what should I do" is quite personal and differs according to the business and the person in charge of managing its digital presence.
Ask any small business owner and they will tell you that time and skills are two of their biggest constraints in general. The catch-22 that small business owners face is the fact that it takes time and a certain set of skills to manage their digital presence and businesses are negatively affected when they don't have an adequate digital presence. Luckily, there is something you can do as a small business owner that will help - and it forms part of the steps mentioned above. I like to call this step, setting up your Go-Tos.
What are Go-Tos?
Your Go-Tos are those items that you will be using almost daily and should include your:
customer engagement standard operating procedure (SOP)
Basically, your Go-Tos form the backbone of your digital presence and, as your business grows, allows you to empower others within the team to do what is necessary to achieve the goals that you set for your business. They do require some time and patience to set up, but once you have everything in place, you will find that they make the management of your digital presence easier and much less time-consuming.
What is this series all about?
Throughout this series, we will be covering each of the Go-Tos listed above in detail. We will discuss why they are necessary, how to use them, what they should include, and look at some free tools that you can use in your endeavour to get the most out of your digital presence.