Digital-first business

Episode 223: Building a Digital-First Business with Avery Swartz

No matter how digitized your business is (or isn’t), 2020 has made one thing clear: the future of our businesses relies on our ability to use the internet for everything from our processes to our client prospecting. In this episode, I sit down with author and digital marketer Avery Swartz to chat about building a digital-first business.

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that the world can change, literally overnight. As service business owners, our ability to thrive in the current world relies on us doing business differently.

Over the last few months, I’ve thought extensively about what it will take for service business owners to make it through the pandemic. There’s one thing that I keep coming back to, and it’s being a digital-first business.

For my service business, aside from losing a couple clients right out of the gate, it’s been pretty much business as usual. And that’s thanks to the fact that our business is built for the digital world. How we acquire clients, how we do business every single day, how we do everything start to finish is built on the internet.

Other business owners haven’t been as fortunate as they’ve been somewhat digital, or haven’t quite made that switch over. And that’s exactly why I invited Avery Swartz, founder of Camp Tech and author of See You on the Internet on the show today. As a small business marketing expert, she brings a practical perspective to the challenge that’s currently facing many service business owners.

During our discussion I covered many questions with Avery, including:

  • What do you do? How do you make money?
  • Can you tell us a bit about your agency before we go behind-the-scenes? What does your team look like today, what services do you offer and who are your clients? 
  • Can you share the backstory of becoming an agency owner? 
  • You have a relatively large team – how do you recruit and find your team members?
  • You’ve grown relatively quickly as an agency. How do you find your clients?
  • What’s one thing your team does that makes your agency stand out from other agencies offering similar services?

Lessons from Avery

  1. Go Where Your People Are: The reality is that not all marketing channels and platforms are created equal, so you need to take the time to figure out what’s working for you. Plus, you need to go where your people are so your marketing is effective and supporting your business goals. 
  2. Your Website is Critical: Regardless of whether you have a local, digital-first or a business somewhere in between, your website is critical. Don’t rely on channels you don’t own. Take a hard look at your website and be willing to invest in updating it so you’re able to keep pace here in 2020. 
  3. Look for Help: Don’t just default to buying a course. There are so many free programs for businesses. Check your Chamber of Commerce, economic development department, your small business ministry or other bodies to see what programs they have. These are hidden gems. 

About Avery

Avery Swartz is the founder and CEO of Camp Tech, the tech workshop company for non-technical people. She was ranked number 5 on Search Engine Journal‘s Top 50 Women in Marketing list. Avery is the resident tech expert on CTV’s Your Morning, highlighting the latest tech gadgets, apps, and tech news for a national audience. She writes for Chatelaine, Today’s Parent and The Globe and Mail on tech topics for modern women, families, and small businesses. Avery is the author of the best-selling book See You on the Internet: Building Your Small Business with Digital Marketing. Avery has been a Professor at both Ryerson University and Humber College. She lives in Toronto.

Links for this episode:

See You on the Internet

Camp Tech 

Digital Main Street Program

 

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