The internet is different today than it was yesterday. And it will change again tomorrow.
Just go check out your Facebook feed – or inbox! You’ve likely got a completely different look, and that’s just on your personalized feed. In that day on the web, there have been thousands of blog posts; hundreds of new websites; and millions of clicks, page views and comments from all around the world.
It’s hard to keep up.
And, for many, there is a strong temptation to not really want to try. I get it. You operate your neighborhood store (or stores), and you’ve developed a good reputation in your community. Do you really need to “stay connected?”
If you want to attract future generations to your laundry business, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” So, let’s talk for a bit about how you can find future audiences and keep up with this fast-paced, ever-changing world.
Wait, aren’t we talking about keeping up with the digital frontier?
Hear me out: the best online brands (laundry brands included) start offline. They start around kitchen tables, in company meetings and in day-to-day interactions with customers. In other words, they start with you.
Therefore, as a business owner, if you want to keep up with the quickly evolving digital world in which we live, you have to start by determining your brand independently of all the noise. Otherwise, you’ll begin your efforts drowning in a sea of what others think you should be. That’s a recipe for disaster.
This is also a good time to strategize and think about how you can position yourself in your field. If you have ideas before you go online, then you’ll be able to set yourself apart in the years to come.
Don’t ‘Just Wing It’
Once you’ve figured out your brand, it’s time to think about your online presence. My advice? Don’t go it alone.
You know your business like the back of your hand. The blood, sweat and money you’ve put into building a successful laundry business can’t be understated, and that’s an asset. But do you know websites like you know your washers and dryers? They’re not the same thing – and it’s a rare person who can build a website and repair a dryer.
So, when you decide to build a website, it’s tempting to go your own way. There are several free or “freemium” website builders out there that all sound like killer deals. And those platforms are fairly simple to use, which makes them even more attractive.
However, using those free services is like installing a low-cost, residential-grade washer into your laundromat and expecting it to perform like a brand new, state-of-the-art commercial machine. It just isn’t going to work out well for you.
If you want to keep up with the digital world in 2019, you need a website that can keep up and last well into the future. And, unless you’re that rare individual who understands websites as well as washing machines, you’ll likely need some help to do that.
Stay in Your Lane…
Next on the list of ways to keep up is a bit of tough love.
You can’t do it all – and you shouldn’t even try. You’re a small-business owner, and you’ve no doubt got the budget and staff to match that description. If you try too hard to do too much, you’ll find that you’re spread too thin – which means you’ll likely burn out and eventually give up on staying relevant.
The best way to combat this is to find your niche and your message, and to stick to it. If you started to identify your brand before jumping into the digital world, you’ve already done most of the hard work. The trick now is to not undo all of those efforts!
Keep it simple. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Stay in your lane, and do you as well as you can.
…But Keep Your Wits About You
With that said, you never know when you might have an idea that can launch you to internet stardom. Half of the most popular YouTube channels and brands can trace their success back to a single video – and they’re in the limelight because they went viral.
There’s no foolproof plan for going viral, and it’s not the best goal to chase after if you truly want to be successful in business. The process is too unreliable, and there’s no way to guarantee success. Plus, there’s a huge chance that your efforts can backfire and, ultimately, make your brand look like one huge gag reel.
However, I don’t mean to imply that it can’t happen. Small brands can easily capitalize on basking in even the tiniest sliver of the online “limelight,” and going viral in your community is just as good as a meme or video with worldwide reach. You simply need to keep your wits about you and take advantage of the moment.
The real takeaway is to just be yourself. The internet might change every day, but you shouldn’t. Rock who you are – and let that direct your online efforts, so you can stay relevant for many years to come.