How a digital first mindset can save your business during COVID-19
Updated: Mar 28
With all the major business implications #coronavirus has had on small businesses, I wanted to give all my fellow #entrepreneurs some advice on the best way to grow their businesses with a digital-first mindset. These are unique times, and if you want your business to survive, you need to use the best tool at your disposal -- the internet.
Whether that is from a computer or your smartphone, you have the entire world at your fingertips, and it's important for you to understand all of the resources you have at your disposal to grow your business-- even during the current business climate.
If you want to survive, you need to understand that despite what the world may be telling you, this is the PERFECT TIME to invest in your business and online presence as long as you are creative and have a digital-first growth strategy.
But, before I dive into the nitty gritty, let explain what digital-first means to ensure that we all have a shared understanding of the term.
A digital-first mindset means optimizing your systems to think digitally. Whether that means investing in your digital presence, hosting online events or prioritizing digital channels as a way to speak to your customers, digital-first means leveraging all the tools at your disposal to transact, and GROW, online.
There are few different channels you can utilize RIGHT NOW to grow your business:
so let's explore each of them to give you inspiration as to how you can approach your own digital first strategy.
One of the first things to think about as you begin to form your digital first strategy is your #customerjourney so that you can think about the types of content you want to create for your audience.
At the top of the funnel, or a customer's first interaction with your brand, is AWARENESS. Here, your customer is getting to learn about who you are, what you can offer them and your mission as a company.
An important concept to understand is a warm lead -- someone who is ready to buy from you.
Most customers need 8 touch points from a brand across all digital channels before they make a purchase
So to turn a cold lead (new customer) into a warm lead, you need to create content across their entire purchase journey to get them to know, like and trust you, so that you can sell them your products.
So, let's talk about how to do that, and which channels to use to make a digital first strategy effective.
1. Social media is a direct line to your customers.
Whether you are a product or service- based company, the name of the game right now is brand awareness, so your main goal is VISIBILITY. You want to get in front of your customers and serve their needs, so think about how you can connect with your audience and demonstrate your thought leadership.
This is where daily posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn about your brand, story, mission, values, impact, etc. is crucial. Take this time to develop a narrative that can connect with your core audience and get them to think about you. Recent studies have shown that user engagement on social platforms is OFF THE ROOF because no one has anything else to do, so now is the PERFECT time to get posting!
If you are product-based, showcase your products in gorgeous photos, or record demos that demonstrate how they can add value to your customers' lives during quarantine. I love the cosmetics company Versed is leveraging social media as a way to customer service line to connect with their customers, offering phone numbers customers can call in their posts to get direct support.
If you are service-based, now is the time to create tutorials, show behind the scenes or reveal customer success stories that will get customers excited about working with you once we are all free from our house arrest. And if you are able to provide your services online, even better!
For both business models, now is the perfect time to get active on Facebook/Instagram Lives and Stories, to create authentic connections with your audience, answer questions, promote your products or even host contests/giveaways. We all need a little bit of excitement right now, so think up ways to serve your audience and get them to associate your brand with positivity and excitement.
2. Videoconferencing solutions are changing the game.
Stream to thousands of users
Host larger meetings
Record and save meetings
Leverage beautiful backdrops from companies like West Elm.
Whatever event you may have had planned, transition to digital! Webinars, live casts and online trainings are the best way to add value to your audience right now, and there have never been more tools at your disposal to do so.
Plus, the added benefit of online events is that you can grow your email list, which then gives you a free platform for nurturing leads and warming them up with offers, intros and various types of emails to turn them into clients and loyal brand advocates down the road.
3. Digital ads are a perfect investment to make right now to help grow your business.
Yes, I know it's scary to invest money when you're not sure what the future holds, but the best way to secure long-term growth is to have a surefire way to get in front of your audience at every stage of the purchasing cycle, so that they are familiar with your brand, and know, like and trust you.
Now is the time to think about ads that will:
Provide discounts or special offers to get clients to purchase
Encourage free downloads of ebooks, guides, checklists, etc that provide information that your customers need so that you can capture their emails and start your email marketing journey
Drive traffic to your website, where you can provide special COVID-19 offers, like free shipping or discounted online gift cards for later purchase from your brick and mortar store.
I recommend starting with Facebook and then moving on to Google, but do some research to see where your customers are, and meet them where they are most ready to see your add AND take action.
If you have questions, both Facebook and Google have free blueprint courses to facilitate your ads learning journey. I have taken both, and they are super easy to follow and will tell you EXACTLY how to create an impactful ad on a low budget.
So there are no excuses!
The bottom line is that, no matter what type of business you are, you can and MUST leverage a digital first strategy if you want to grow your business this year. You just have to keep a long-term growth game and operate from a serve, not sell, mentality.
Keep your customers at the heart of your efforts, think about how to best meet their needs, and you will be sure to see longterm results.
If you have any questions on how to grow your business this year, shoot me an email at email@example.com and I'll be more than happy to help!
Or check me out on Instagram for daily tips and inspiration.