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from personal experience--been there, done that.
Many of your current--and future--clients and customers are living the digital life. The Internet is the new go-to. Along with all the mobile cousins.
People follow each other on Facebook, tweet their friends, text everything, join LinkedIn, and much more. They check you out on Angie's List and read the reviews on Yelp. Google has a new addition to their maps--you can now upload a virtual tour of your salon, restaurant or store.
All sorts of possibilities are open to you today that didn't exist 10 or 20 years ago. And going digital can mean re-thinking your business.
Example: A baker I know made a drastic transition. He closed his retail bakery storefront, opting for an Internet-based operation. His cookies and pastries are now sold all over the country, delivered overnight if the customer orders before 2 p.m. His customers now find him, and his goodies, on his Facebook page which drives traffic to his website where they place orders. Customers once drove several miles to get to his bake shop. Now they order online--and Facebook does the driving along with UPS and Fedex.
The baker has used the Internet to expand to a much bigger operation. This would not have been possible with just the storefront.
Example: Joyce owned a long-established frame shop. She decided to take the Internet plunge, hired a local website designer, and was pleased with the project when it was done. The site was attractive, easy to navigate, and she emailed an announcement to her corporate and business clients. After months of keeping up with the costs and maintenance of the site, Joyce took a second hard look. Only a couple dozen viewers had actually used the site, and she could not attribute a single sale to it. She decided it was time for a change. She reached out on Facebook with pictures she snapped herself and posted. The response, including referrals, was immediate. Within the first month on Facebook, Joyce had added three new clients. Facebook drives viewers to her website, and viewership there quickly tripled.
Businesses once put up their websites and that was that. Today, many of those stagnant websites are everywhere--costing time and money and delivering little.
To make them useful, businesses now must drive traffic to them. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others are much more likely to capture the attention of potential customers/clients. Mobile apps do the same thing. Then, and only then, do you get that bump in site viewership.
Your business is unique. You test the different ways to attract attention. Going digital is about much more than setting up a website. Get in there and do it. Find out what works best for your business. Through a lifetime of founding and running small businesses, I've learned that you must keep up with the changing times.