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How small businesses can digitally transform

The pandemic accelerated digital transformation. This was definitely our experience at Vista.

A few weeks into the pandemic, we commissioned research to understand exactly what our customers needed from us, and to no one’s surprise, the design and printing requirements of our SMB customers had changed.

The coffee shop on the corner no longer needed paper menus; it needed QR codes so patrons could view the menu on their phones, a slick website for online ordering, a strong social media presence – all underpinned by excellent branding. Instead of panicking, throwing up our hands and waiting it out, we saw this as an opportunity to move away from being “just a printer” to becoming a full-service digital marketing and design partner to small businesses. 

In this endeavor we learned something important: digital transformation is not just for large corporations, but also for small businesses – to adapt and stay competitive in a busy market. Here are some key areas where small businesses can focus on to achieve digital transformation:

Prioritise your website

Whether you are selling online or driving foot-traffic to a physical store, a well-designed website is the foundation of your online presence. Not only does a website lend your business credibility, but it’s a great way to share information about your offerings, build trust with clients and customers and show them why you’re the one they want to do business with. Like your logo, your website is a marketing material that’s going to get a lot of exposure — so it’s important to nail the design. Unless you have a background in web design, you should plan to use professional website design services to make sure your final site gets you the results you need. 

Level up your social media

An online presence is critical for any small business, especially when you’re just starting out…and beyond your website, you should be active on social media. First, consider which platforms are best for your business. Instagram is a shoppable platform that’s super visual — so if you have beautiful photography of your products, this could be a great platform for you.

Do you need a place to post updates about your business, and want to have casual interactions with your customers? Turn to Twitter or Facebook. Or maybe you already spend a lot of your free time on TikTok — why not create a separate account for your business to share tutorials or behind-the-scenes content? Regardless of what industry you’re in, social media is a marketing tool that can help you grow your audience, engage with your customers and showcase everything your business has to offer. Check out VistaCreate for free, customisable social media templates to make your content stand out.

Invest in email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to connect with your customers and deliver targeted messaging while driving engagement, sales and revenue — but only if you do it right. Start by cleaning out your email subscriber list. No matter how much time and effort you put into building your list, at some point, you’re going to have subscribers that are no longer engaged or interested in receiving your emails. Secondly, customise the ‘sender’ field. If you’re still sending your emails from a ‘do not reply’ address, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to create a more personalised connection with your customers. Instead of sending your marketing emails from a generic ‘do not reply’ address, create a personalised, branded address. And lastly, put thought into your subject line and pre-header text. Most people are bombarded with hundreds (or thousands!) of marketing emails each week. If you want your emails to get opened, you need a way to break through the clutter of an overcrowded inbox and grab your customers’ attention.  Think about how you can differentiate your brand and make your emails stand out in a sea of other marketing messages.

Create valuable content

It goes without saying but the online marketplace is incredibly crowded. Your customers are being bombarded by advertising at every turn – it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Know your audience, know what they want, and produce and share content that is valuable to them through your content and social media platforms. 

By following these steps, small businesses can successfully embark on their digital transformation journey and position themselves for long-term success in today’s digital world.

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Marcus Marchant

Marcus Marchant

As an expert in digital transformation with a focus on companies that service and optimize the experience of small business, Marcus Marchant’s career to date has spanned industries from banking, telco and insurance. Prior to his role at Vista, Marcus held roles including Head of Customer Strategy at Citibank, Director of Digital & Onboarding at Optus, and Group Chief Digital & Innovation Officer at QBE insurance. In addition to his role at Vista, Marcus has seen success with his own small business, founding men’s swimwear brand, Bondi Joe. In addition, Marcus sits on the board of RESULTS, a not-for-profit that influences government foreign aid towards health projects that reduce poverty. This passion to aid others sits at the core of his philosophy and remains a key component of his leadership at Vista.

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