Digital tips to help small businesses and charities
Being online is something many of us take for granted. But it’s particularly important for local businesses and charities to think about how digital can help their organisation grow. Use it effectively and it can have a hugely positive impact on the returns you get from your time, effort and investment – which can mean a lot to a small organisation.
However, a recent survey found that many businesses and charities are still lacking or lagging when it comes to their online presence. The Lloyds Bank Business Digital Index (2015) showed that only 53% of small and medium sized businesses have a website, and 58% of charities do not have basic digital skills.
With this in mind Miguel-Ángel Rodríguez-Sola, Group Director for Digital in Lloyds Banking Group, and his team have provided masterclasses and workshops for charities in Croydon and Lewisham to help them learn digital skills.
“We know from our research that small businesses and charities have a lot to gain from increasing their digital skills,” says Rodríguez-Sola.
“We want to share our skills and experience to help them understand the benefits of a strategy underpinned by digital, whilst gaining invaluable insight into the difference that digital can make to their organisations.”
Digital success in six simple steps
1. Get the basics right. Make it easy for people to understand who you are and what you do on your website. If people have to spend time trying to search for the information they need, they’ll switch off.
2. Increase your reach. You can’t afford to wait for people to stumble across your website online. An easy way to increase your reach is to connect with the contacts you already have and network through their connections and the people you can see with similar interests. Think about what people may search for and design your website around those keywords to increase how often and high up you appear in search results.
3. Consider social media. As interactive, real-time platforms, social media sites allow you to build relationships with others in a way that’s natural and personable. Promote your services in a social setting and remember to avoid the hard sell. Your customers will be having conversations online, so it’s important for you to be there if you want to hear what they’re saying.
4. Create engaging content. You don’t always have to use written words to tell your story or provide information. Think about using videos, images or infographics to deliver the same messages. Engaging content is more likely to be shared, which again helps increase your reach
5. Make paying and donating easy. People looking at your site will often want to buy something or make a donation. With products and services available 24/7 and only a click away, eCommerce is often more appealing. It needs to be clear how people can transact on your site – create a ‘Donate Here’ or ‘Buy Now’ button on your homepage and provide any links to related eCommerce or donation pages you use such as JustGiving.
6. Stay up to date with regulations. If you hold data on your customers and supporters and use that data to contact them with marketing, you need to ensure you’re doing so compliantly. There are lots of free resources to find out more about this. Try starting with gov.uk
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