20 Apr Digital Business: From In-Person to Online
Coronavirus leaves no one unaffected, which is why we’re sharing tips on digital business. While our agency has been digital since the beginning, we know that’s not the reality for many small business owners. Digital business comes with its own challenges, but the benefits can quickly outweigh the costs… especially when stay-at-home orders mean there isn’t an option for in-person.
How to Transform into a Digital Business
What people are really looking for with digital business is the same kind of connection that you can get through in-person experiences. Yes, it may look drastically different, but you can still meet your clients or customers where they are and create a great experience with your brand. Here are a couple of examples of bringing retail to e-commerce and in-person to online.
Restaurants & product-based business. In the real world, a customer orders food in-person at your restaurant or a client comes into your store to shop for gifts for friends. If you’re a product-based business, you’re probably no stranger to e-commerce. Restaurants may be surprised that they can turn their business into e-commerce as well. As a response to Coronavirus, many popular content management systems have expanded available features within their free and paid plans. If you don’t have an e-commerce website yet, we recommend Shopify because of the built-in inventory management and free 90-day trial. WordPress combined with the WooCommerce plugin can be equally as powerful, but requires more work behind the scenes. Squarespace is another option, but before you get started, check out our guide to CMS systems here.
Service-based business. Services can be tricky to commit to during a pandemic but equally as necessary to transition online for continued cash flow. Your ideal clients may not have the cash for a large investment, but they may be able to pay for smaller (digital) versions of your existing services. If you’re not ready to repackage your offerings, consider creating a new service to offer during Coronavirus to keep you connected with your community. You can also use this time to collect new leads (email addresses) to reach out to post-pandemic.
How to Bring in Sales
Whether you are transitioning online or starting a new digital business, this is one of the first questions you should ask. If you’re an existing business, you have a current customer base and can let people know about digital offerings through social media, blog posts, email, etc. For new businesses, you may also want to consider paid promotions to get more exposure. Budget $100 per month to drive traffic to your website and make updates to your ad campaigns based on performance data. If you’re on the fence about spending money, here’s more information on the difference between paid media and SEO (and the timelines to see results).
Keep in mind that for any digital marketing, it’s important to have a place to send people who engage with your marketing. Whether it’s a landing page or a full website, potential clients or customers will only be able to purchase your product or service if it’s available online and connected to a payment portal. This can be as simple as a MailChimp landing page and your PayPal email, or a robust website that you can use for your digital biz after Coronavirus.
When to Make the Investment
Now is as good a time as any to start a digital business! (If we could say yesterday, we would.) Compared to in-person storefronts, digital businesses have extremely low monthly costs and overhead. When your costs are less than $100 per month, there’s a high potential for profit. If you need our help with your new website, send us a message or schedule a consultation below.
Starting a New Digital Business
If you’re reading this article to find out how to start a new digital business, here are a few tips for getting started.
Find something you love. Even if you’re looking for a quick way to bring in revenue, it will take up your time. So we recommend focusing your new digital business on one of your hobbies or something you can do with consistency.
Research. Once you’ve narrowed down your favorite ideas, let your people pick. Give your Instagram or Facebook friends 2 options between your potential businesses and see which one they would prefer to support. Check out your potential competitors to see what similar businesses are doing, what their price-points are, and evaluate your profit potential.
Have patience. This is arguably the hardest part because when you launch something personal and exciting, you want immediate results. If you’ve found something you love and you’ve done the research, trust the process. Sales won’t always flow in overnight, but when you stay consistent with your marketing, you set yourself up for success.