Digitize Your Business With These 14 Smart Strategies


Though the digital space has opened up new opportunities for entrepreneurs, there are still some businesses that have yet to “get online.” Some stores, restaurants and service businesses have relied on their community’s foot traffic and word-of-mouth alone to keep them afloat, but as the business world continues to move toward a digital-first environment, those who don’t develop their online presence and sales channels are likely missing out.

If your business has never had a digital strategy before, it can be intimidating and daunting to figure out where to begin. For entrepreneurs interested in setting up an online presence for the first time, these 14 members of Forbes Business Council shared their best recommendations for digitizing a business.

1. Ensure Your E-Commerce Platform Can Convert Sales

My advice to any entrepreneurs taking their business online is to first ensure your e-commerce platform is set up to convert sales. Only once you’ve established that your UX works well and is helping customers find and buy the products and services you sell can you start to think about throwing money at ads and marketing to fuel your growth. – Adam Ross, Awin

2. Create A Website For Clients To Interact With Your Brand

The key to successfully digitizing a business is to first create a website that makes it easier for your clients to interact with your brand and do business with you. It’s common sense but not common practice. The next priority is to carve out a budget to market your new online presence. Creating a new web presence that no one knows about or discovers will set you up for failure. – George Alifragis, Ducen


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3. Invest In SEO

Having your own branded website is the first step. This offers the flexibility to expand, the ability to market your product as you like and control over your marketplace. The next step is to invest in SEO—without which your website will be lost in obscurity. And finally, don’t forget to have a concrete social media strategy. Your success depends on how you monitor, respond to and stay connected with customers. – Zaheer Dodhia, Logo Design

4. Create A Lead-Funneling Process

It is key to have a solid set of standard operating procedures for the sales funnel and potential client experience. You can have a beautiful website that draws hundreds of leads a day, but if you don’t have a process for funneling through those leads or responding quickly, you will lose many of them. – Lisa Wilson, Epitome Risk

5. Focus On Most Important Channels

First, digital is massive, so focus on the channels that are most important for your business. You don’t need a big digital presence to appear all at once; it takes time. A one-page website is a good start and you can build more later. Second, find the channels that give you the most return for your time and money. So, go where your audience is and the algorithm will reward your effort with views. – Robert Brill, Brill Media

6. Prioritize Repeat Customers

One thing you must do is focus on making the second sale. New digital businesses rightly invest a lot in pulling first-time prospects into their funnel—but prospecting is very expensive. Returning customers spend more per order, cost nothing to acquire and are far more likely to make third and fourth purchases. Your margin depends on these customers, so entice them and treat them right. – David Wagoner, P3 Media

7. Create Digital Content Marketing Campaigns

Digital content marketing campaigns can be combined with traditional marketing. Even if a business hasn’t yet set up for service online, there is hope. Find a communications consultant you trust and they will easily coordinate everything from web design to targeted content and tracking metrics. – Beth Jannery, Titan Strategic Communication

8. Create A Brand Experience

A key factor when digitizing a business is creating a brand experience. This is not only cultivated through how customers interact with tech to make purchases, but via branding that’s interwoven throughout visual messaging like color palettes, photos and graphics and textual messaging like written or spoken words. Consistent messaging impacts the know, like and trust factor and boosts the brand experience. – Valerie Hayman Sklar, Corporate Specialties LLC

9. Focus On Your Google Ranking

Use SEO or search engine optimization. To digitize a business, you need it to be found when people search. And with Google being the dominant player in search, understanding Google’s needs is critical. SEO can be seen as a dark art with many agencies claiming to get you on the first page, but most cannot. Start immediately and accept that the road to delivering great SEO is hard, frustrating and exhausting. – Darren A. Smith, Making Business Matter

10. Hire A Usability Expert

Hire a usability expert when you’re building an online presence for the first time. It’s so much better to do it right from the start than it is to go back and fix problems when they arise. A UX specialist will make sure the transition is made with your customers in mind. – Ty Allen, SocialClimb

11. Focus On Web Design

Web design is key to the overall user experience. If it’s complicated or unintuitive, customers will go elsewhere. Make sure that your site clearly shows what your business does, how it can help the site visitor and that the process to sign up, purchase and participate doesn’t have any points of friction. – Cindy Diffenderfer, Orion Haus Homes and Hotels Inc

12. Create A Great LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is key because that is what comes up when someone searches for you on Google. So focus on that and fill it all in. Then create content to share on a daily basis—not company content, but personal content as that’s what people are buying: you and your personal branding. Then focus on getting recommendations. The more you put in, the more you will get out of it. It’s free! – Chris J “Mohawk” Reed, Black Marketing

13. Utilize Social Media

Keep it simple, but know that all businesses need to have a digital presence. What does the customer see when they enter the business name in Google? What do the Google Reviews look like? How can the customer reach you, as the owner, online? Social media and customer reviews are one of the easiest ways to get started with your digital presence. – Heather Odendaal, WNORTH

14. Be Data-Driven

In order to see trends, position your company ahead of changes and to continuously adapt to market iterations, you need to be data-driven. But before you can leverage digital technology to transform your business, you need to change your culture. It requires a total overhaul, from the front office to the back office, touching every aspect of your people and processes. Leaders must embrace change. – Andrew Ellenberg, Rise Integrated Marketing

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