It’s no secret that online and digital tools can help you grow your business. But in the wake of COVID-19, businesses that have relied primarily on in-person interactions are finding these tools more essential than ever.
Thankfully, even if you don’t have much technical experience, there are many tools available that make it easy for you to take your business digital. Recently, Gravity Payments Account Executive Jared Spears chatted with Zach Richardson, founder of House Intelligence, to discuss some of these tools and offer advice on how to employ them in your business. You can view the full conversation below or read on for some of the highlights.
7 Tools to Grow Your Business Digitally
- Set up a website: It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many businesses still lack their own websites or have websites that don’t provide enough information. Although tools like Squarespace or Wix have gained popularity in the last few years due to their ease of use, Zach recommends building your own through Wordpress. Because Wordpress is an open-source platform, there are lots of plugins and tools available that can increase your website’s functionality and allow you to do more than a pre-packaged service can offer. At a bare minimum, Zach says, your site needs to have a clean, easy-to-read homepage with a clear call to action. The best way to include a call to action is to add a button that directs people to take the action you want them to take. For instance “Schedule an Appointment” with a link to an online calendar, “Shop Now” with a link to your online store, or “Find out More” with a link to your About or Services page.
- Pay attention to website design: The one downside with Wordpress is that, because it offers so many tools, it can be a little overwhelming to non-developers, especially when it comes to designing your site from scratch. Zach recommends using Elementor, a Wordpress plugin that allows you to create a full website without having to write any code. One of the most important design choices is your color scheme, since that will determine the overall look and feel of your page. There’s actually quite a bit of nuance that goes into choosing a good color scheme, so Zach recommends using Material Design, a platform built by Google that walks you through the process of choosing color and other design elements that give your site a high-quality, professional look.
- Prioritize SEO: Search engine optimization (aka SEO) is a process that allows you to increase traffic to your website by making it easy for would-be customers to find you via their searches online. There are two types of SEO: on-page and off-page. On-page describes the quality of the content that lives on your page. Basically, the more searchable keywords you use on your site, the more likely your site will be to show up on places like Google when people search for those terms. Zach recommends Yoast SEO, a tool that integrates directly into Wordpress and allows you to analyze and improve your on-page SEO. Off-page SEO describes how frequently your site appears on other sites. The most important type of off-page SEO happens when another site links back to your site from their own page. For example, if you run a pool-cleaning business, and your website is listed as one of the top 10 pool-cleaning businesses in your area by a site that caters to homeowners in your area, that will go a long way in improving your off-page SEO. Zach recommends using SEMrush to research good keywords and sites that dovetail with yours where you might be able to get backlinks.
- Add a scheduling feature: The easier you make it for people to get in touch with you, the more likely they will be to reach out. One of the best ways to do this is to integrate a scheduling app, such as Calendly, into Wordpress so potential customers can click on a button and schedule an appointment with you without ever having to talk to you directly. Calendly syncs directly with Google Calendar so everything is always up-to-date and customers can see exactly when you are available.
- Study customer behavior: When you know how people are finding your site and how they behave once they get there, you can figure out where you might need to improve something and what activities might benefit from you investing more resources. The best tool for this is Google Analytics, which offers comprehensive updates on everything from how many visitors come to your site each month to visitor demographics to the time each visitor stays on a particular page.
- Leverage social media: Not only is social media a good tool for promoting your business and reaching customers directly, it also allows you to connect with other influencers in your area or market who may be able to boost your visibility. Zach recommends Instagram as a platform that is often underutilized by small businesses. Reach out to so-called micro influencers–people who have between 10,000-30,000 followers–and who live in your area or overlap with your industry. Ask them if they’d be interested in collaborating and cross-promoting on a project as a way to broaden your reach.
- Set up online payments: Online payment tools make it easy for you to bill and collect payments from customers with very little hassle. Using the Gravity Link tool, you can input and save customer information, set up recurring billing, and even manage invoices and receipts for easy documentation. Gravity Account Executive Jared Spears points out that the service is safe and secure and doesn’t store customer information locally. Plus, you can integrate it directly with your website. To find out more about Gravity Link and Gravity’s other payment tools for small businesses, click here to schedule a demo with Jared.
For more tips and tricks on how to grow your business, visit the Gravity blog or talks page, and to find out more about how Gravity can help your business reduce headaches and accept payments seamlessly, check out our services page.
By Brooke Carey, Lead Storyteller
Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels