6 Most Important Digital Skills
for Online Entrepreneurship
Being able to perform a host of basic tasks online is an essential part of entrepreneurial success. Business is increasingly being done online, and interactions with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders take place almost exclusively online.
If you want your business to thrive in the digital era, you need to master the following six digital skills.
Social Media Branding
When it comes to increasing brand recognition, social media is one of the most effective mediums of communication. From Instagram marketing to creating and building out your business' Facebook page, you absolutely must have a social media presence if you want people to know and talk about you.
Some business owners either don't fully understand the importance of social media branding, or dismiss it as unnecessary for their niche. You almost always do either of these things at your own peril. Your social media profiles, and how well you cultivate your followership, have a large impact on your success.
While inbound marketing is certainly one of the most efficient methods of driving targeted traffic to your website, and it is usually the type of traffic that converts because it is extremely relevant, social media is an important complement. If you only do inbound marketing, you will be restricted to your close circle of consumers or those who are already acquainted with your market or brand. By investing more effort into social media promotion, you open up a whole new channel for attracting laser-targeted inbound visitors and obtaining more inbound links.
Automating things allows you to simplify and streamline processes like scheduling sales promotions, new product releases, sending customer emails, segmenting your customer profile data, applying discounts, tracking purchases, issuing awards, billing, and automating supplier engagement, among other things. Imagine what you could accomplish with the extra time if you didn't have to execute these tasks manually.
While customer service is simple in the early days of entrepreneurship when you only have a few customers, things become more complicated as your firm grows and you reach a larger audience. Hundreds or thousands of people suddenly desire your products, guidance, and attention — in different countries, time zones, and on different platforms. You can't possibly be everywhere all of the time. However, your eCommerce software and automation can.
With automation in place, you can monitor your customers' journeys and levels of engagement as they navigate your online business. This enables you to facilitate and personalize their online shopping experience.
Most people do a significant amount of their shopping online. From search engines to social media, people of all ages are using the internet to find and buy the things they need. The long and short of it is that you need to be where your customers are.
It is also important to keep in mind that the established players in your niche or industry are almost certainly using digital marketing to their advantage. They are likely spending a considerable amount of money on building websites, advertising them through SEO, and raising awareness through social media. For these reasons, digital marketing is an important skill to master as an online entrepreneur.
Your website is the face of your business as an online entrepreneur, and it factors heavily into your success. Your visitors and customers want an easy-to-navigate experience, informative content, simple checkout and pages that display well on a variety of screens. Knowing how to make all of this a reality will allow you to make rapid changes to your site when necessary and, most importantly, will save you money.
Web design skills take a long time to develop and add a lot of value, so, naturally, they come at a premium. You can rack up big bills paying professional developers even for relatively simple things you could be doing on your own. It pays major dividends to spend some time learning how to build and maintain a simple website. You don't need to become a master coder in order to design and upkeep an effective website. If you are willing to watch YouTube tutorials that walk you through page builders like Elementor, for example, you can add some very useful, money-saving skills to your arsenal.
There's a risk that if clients and their data aren't protected, the damage to your brand and goodwill could be so bad that it puts you out of business. This is because clients are reluctant to buy from a store that compromises their sensitive personal information, and they will inform others about the problems that have developed as a result of a company's security breaches. This will swiftly tarnish a company's reputation, and if customers or potential customers do not believe it is safe to buy from your company or provide you with intimate personal data, they will not do business with you.
This type of harm to a company's reputation may be difficult to repair; therefore it is far preferable for a firm to be proactive in enhancing their security rather than being slack and then trying to remedy any problems that develop. Learning the basics of cybersecurity, including knowing what the threats are and where they come from, is an important online entrepreneurship skill.
Online Communication Skills
Written communication skills predate the online world, of course, but there is a difference between traditional written communication skills and good internet/online communication skills. Being able to communicate well online as an entrepreneur means knowing not only how to write but how to make use of emojis and things like exclamation marks to convey emotion and the more subtle parts of human interaction. It is extremely useful when dealing with unhappy customers and keeping things diplomatic.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
If you are thinking about running your own business, or already do so, but feel that you need some guidance, then this eBook is for you. It takes you through self-employment in easy steps, helping you to ensure that your business has more chance of success.
The Skills You Need Guide to Self-Employment and Running Your Own Business is the guide no new or aspiring entrepreneur can afford to be without!
Based on our popular self-employment and entrepreneurship content.
Building and running a successful business online requires many of the same skills you would expect to be important in entrepreneurship, no matter where you are. These would include organizational skills, money management skills, networking and people skills, among many others. But commerce online also requires skills that are much more particular to our digital era. If you can hone the above skills and add them to your arsenal, you will have established a solid foundation for successful online entrepreneurship.
About the Author
Michael Phillips is a freelance writer covering the digital entrepreneurship and education spaces. He has an MBA in marketing from the University of Manchester and has been starting and running his own online businesses for the last 10 years.