Digital businesses can operate with more flexibility, less overhead, and often better innovation than traditional bricks-and-mortar companies. Yet, the basic principles of running a business apply to the online world just as much. To succeed, owners of digital businesses need to be aware of concerns that apply to all companies, as well as issues specific to online enterprises.
Marketing analytics helps you use information to understand, analyze, and improve your business. Data collected from a number of sources, including websites, blogs, and social media, can create a profile of your market niche and identify where and how you have been successful in marketing. It can also locate gaps or areas of weakness and help maximize future marketing strategies.
Numerous marketing analysis tools are available designed to gather, analyze, and monitor digital information. Other software can integrate multiple purposes, tools, or data streams. Some investment and training are necessary to fully use and understand the analytics. You can also contract with a marketing analysis firm for this service.
Your unique brand identity includes not only your name, but your logo, any associated images or colors or font styles, plus any slogans, sounds, or catchy phrases you might regularly use. These details should be recognizable by your target market and evoke positive feelings from them.
To ensure consistency, create a style guide for all employees to refer to as they create any communications for the business, whether internal or external. For example, requiring a certain format for email signatures or color backgrounds for blog posts promotes a consistent brand identity that allows customers to identify your company. Over time, they will associate your brand with your company’s values, mission, and reputation.
Keeping Your Growth Rate Steady
Maintaining a steady growth rate is essential for long-term success, especially if your digital business is young. Too often, start-ups will break out of the gate with tremendous growth only to stall or decline after the beginning stages. Once you’ve established a foothold in your market, you’ll need to work to keep your growth rate steady.
With eyes on the future, your growth plan should be more like the proverbial tortoise than the hare—slow and steady. Risks should not be taken impulsively but only after thorough research and evaluation of outcomes. That said, it’s important to also stay open to unexpected growth opportunities and be ready to act should they arise. In a digital business, it is usually not difficult to quickly change direction or respond to a market need.
Operating a digital business means your business is more vulnerable to system failure, security breaches, or attacks. You’re not only storing large amounts of data about your company and customers, but you’re also using online or digital platforms as the main method of sales and services. To keep everything safe and operational, you’ll need a solid cybersecurity plan and continuous data monitoring.
Large companies may be able to handle cybersecurity through a well-trained professional IT department, while smaller businesses may not have the time or knowledge to do it effectively. Hiring cybersecurity experts may be the answer. Outsourcing IT services can help you focus on what you know how to do and increase productivity.
Any business owner, whether digital or traditional, will tell you it’s important to build positive relationships. Relationship-building must take place on a number of fronts, including with current and potential customers, employees and contractors, and other business owners and managers. The benefits of building relationships can include promoting your brand, attracting new customers, and finding mutually beneficial partnerships with other businesses.
Building relationships can include joining professional associations and attending conferences or seminars. Offline meetings can solidify business friendships and open new channels for relationships. It’s also important to use online communication, such as sending messages and email to individuals or reaching the public through blog posts or social media.
Finding the Right Talent
Attracting and keeping the best digital employees can be challenging, given the level of competition in today’s job market. Simply putting a job posting on your website won’t be enough; you need to advertise with an established job board that can target the kind of employees you’re seeking. Be specific about the qualifications or certifications you require.
Clarify whether the position is remote, hybrid, or in-office. Many job seekers may assume that a position with a digital business is completely remote. If the position is fully remote, a video interview personalizes the hiring experience and can help you assess the applicant’s skills more closely. Once you have good employees in place, make sure they stay and grow with the company by staying competitive in salary, benefits, and perks.
Keeping an Eye on Competition
Even as your company grows, you should be aware of your competitors and their marketing strategies. Monitor their websites and social media posts; marketing analytics tools can help you do that. Also identify which keywords your potential customers are using for web searches and what results they are getting. You can get an advantage over the competition if web searches lead to your rather than someone else. Reading your competitors’ online reviews can help you understand their strengths and potential weaknesses that you can take advantage of.
Good Customer Service
Good customer service is fundamental to your company’s success. Your business plan should include policies and strategies in meeting customers’ needs and responding to complaints. Dealing promptly with customer complaints can prevent them from developing into bigger problems.
All employees who deal with customers should be trained in effectively communicating with customers with patience, empathy, and honesty. While you may not be able to resolve every conflict, you will develop a reputation as a company that treats its customers fairly.
Running a digital business involves being aware of the numerous factors that can affect your operations, security, finances, and market strategies. Keeping on top of these influences can lead to beating out your competition and succeeding in your business goals.