LET’S GO DIGITAL ! Climb up to the evolutionary Digital Ladder step by step, and choose your own pace. Start at Level 1 and see how high you can take your business. Dont’ be left behind and get ahead of the competition! The best part is the resources are free, it will just take time, but it will be worth your investment.
Level 1 – E-Presence – To BE KNOWN
First – Get Listed! Register or update your business information on all on-line directories. Make sure you provide pictures of products/services, updated information, hours of operation, etc., and especially your contact information. Below are a few platforms to register your business:
- Google My Business (Business Listing)
- Bing Places for Business (Business Listing)
- City of Peoria – (Business Listing)
- PACOC (Chamber Members)
- PACVB (Drive-Through & Delivery Dining Options)
- WMBD-TV (Take-Out & Delivery Guide for Central IL)
- YELP (Peoria Restaurants)
- Trip Advisor (Peoria Restaurants)
- Save The Table (Restaurants)
Second, Establish a Basic Webpage! Go beyond being listed. Build a simple webpage by adding your logo, color, flavor, and personality. This will also get you started on the path of social media through:
- Facebook for Business using these instructions.
- LinkedIn (Business Web Page)
- Google My Business (Business Web Page)
- Bing Places for Business (Business Web Page)
- Yahoo Small Business
Third, Create Your Own Website! You can use a free easy to use simple website builder to give your company a digital presence. You can explore a variety of platforms here. You can start with a free version and later pay to get more features. Below are the few free website builders:
Level 2 – E-Commerce – To BE ENGAGED
I like to follow the Duct Tape Marketing approach which gives insight on the customer’s buying process in the Digital Age, of which there are seven phases. By using this framework, you can probe into ways of improving each stage of the customer’s journey and streamline your process until you are able to sell on-line 24/7. Imagine customer’s buying from you even when you’re not at your store or office.
With today’s digital technology market research can be carried out with online surveys by the smallest of businesses. To help you conduct market research and get customers opinions check the list of 25 survey tools here.
Level 3 – E- Integration – To BE OPTIMAL
Small businesses can explore ways to optimize their business by integrating third party providers and/or software platforms in a variety of areas. There are many solutions available and it’s best to seek out best practices through your business network and associations. Below are a few and more are being developed:
- Finance/Bookkeeping: FreshBooks, QuickBooks, Sage, etc.
- Post-of-Sale/Inventory: Square, Shopify, Stripe, ShopKeep, etc.
- Marketing Automation: Hubspot, Zoho, Constant Contact, etc.
- Delivery of Parcels: FedEX, UPS, USPS, etc.
- Delivery of Food: Order2EatDelivery, GrubHub, DoorDash, etc.
To reach true business optimization choose a local company that can provide or install the features you need through the development of a custom website.
Level 4 – E-Business – To BE AN ONLINE-BUSINESS
This level is reserved for businesses whose entire sales are generated on-line such as Amazon, Uber, Airbnb to name a few. Someday you may even startup a business like Bumpboxes here in Peoria, which provides safe products on a subscription basis to expecting moms.