Photo by Le buzz
Today, our online experience is so much more than just checking emails. From talking to friends and family to doing the weekly food shop, discovering new holiday destinations and researching things to do locally, the online world is very much a part of our daily lives.
As the time we spend online increases, so do the digital opportunities available. The online experience is constantly evolving thanks to content creators, businesses and app developers who are able to find new and innovative ways to help us shop, learn, and connect. So whether you own a business yourself or would like to work for one, now is a great time to jump in and see how you can get involved in the digital world.
But where do you start?
We want to start on a journey to digital prowess with you through a series of articles.
Let’s say you’re a make up artist whose business has grown strictly through referrals and word of mouth. So far, you’ve not had any digital presence, but now you want to take your business to the next level. How will being online help your business succeed? One of the biggest advantages to being online is reaping the benefits of search. Having a digital presence means you’ll be visible when people go online and search for a business like yours. So let’s assume someone searches for “make up artist Makerere” and your shop appears in the results. How can this benefit your business?
Well, the possibilities are virtually endless. When a customer clicks a link to your website there’s so much they can learn about you.
They might watch a video you posted about car maintenance that demonstrates your knowledge.
They could read testimonials from happy customers.
They might look through your pricing guide, find your shop on a map or find out you offer free lip gloss for the first time customers.
Maybe they’ll fill out a form to ask a question or request a quote.
They might even click over to your social media sites where they’ll find even more tips, photos and videos.
You might not start by having all these features on your website, but these examples should give you a sense of the many ways you can benefit from being online. And guess what? There’s more!
Your online presence can also give you valuable insight into prospective customers: what they want, and how to give it to them. How? Well, digital allows you to show targeted advertising to people right when they’re looking for what you offer. For example, using search advertising, you can show ads to potential customers. Such as people searching for “MUA Makerere.” You can also restrict the ads to show within a certain geographic radius of your shop. You can learn to use analytics tools to find out if people clicked on your ad, visited your site, and took certain actions. Like filling out a form or watching a video.
Exciting, right? But how do you get started? Well, first, don’t be intimidated: the tools and technology available today are easy to learn, easy to use and easy to acquire. Many are even free. In fact, for many businesses, the biggest challenge to being online isn’t getting used to the tools, but putting together a plan. We want to help you do just that, but let’s run down a quick list of the major things you want to consider.
The first is scope. Web, mobile, social … there are so many options. Where do you want to start, and where do you want to go?
Next is Technology and Content: Decide if you’ll handle the technical and creative aspects of the site yourself—which may take more time—or get help, which may take more money.
Finally you’ll want to consider Cost and Time: Set a realistic budget and an achievable schedule with clear milestones—and commit fully to both. Every day, thousands of small business owners are making the web work for them. The opportunity to reach customers from around the corner and around the globe is too big to ignore.
It’s time to take the plunge and go digital!