A waist-up shot of Grow With Google digital coach Angelina Darrisaw. She sits on a yellow couch against a wall made to look like TV static. The HBO logo is positioned near the bottom of the wall, underneath part of a larger word (the letters "TURE").
Angelina Darrisaw recommends consistency and constant learning when you approach digital tools. — CultureCon

In today’s digital-first business world, entrepreneurs know they need an online presence. But simply building a website and social media profiles isn’t enough; truly growing your business takes time and consistent improvements to your digital strategy.

That’s why Grow with Google digital coach Angelina Darrisaw reminds her clients they can’t expect overnight results when it comes to using digital tools.

“There's always that potential to go viral and folks can get lucky, but that's really not the norm of how to grow,” said Darrisaw, who is also the founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach. “The norm tends to be just being consistent, looking at your engagement [and using] the data [you] have available, so you can iterate on what to do differently and where to improve.”

Here are four ways businesses can take small but consistent steps toward business success in the digital world.

Break down your goals week by week

Achieving big, overarching business goals begins with setting smaller, more manageable goals that can be achieved over time. Darrisaw recommended setting SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

“That makes it more approachable to kind of break it down week by week and even just an hour a week,” she explained. “It’s a lot less daunting than saying, ‘I have to take on all these different tools all right now and run them indefinitely.’”

[Read more: How to Use the SMART Framework to Set Business Goals]

Adopt one or two new digital tools over a defined time period

With so many different digital tools on the market, determining which ones to adopt can be daunting. Often, business owners end up overinvesting in too many tools rather than choosing just a few that will actually help them reach their end goal.

“I would start small, bite-size,” said Darrisaw. “Don't start with five new tools at once. I'd pick one or two and give myself a time limit of a couple of months.”

Things move fast, so we have to get accustomed to seeing these platforms changing.

Angelina Darrisaw, founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach and Grow with Google digital coach

Darrisaw advised asking yourself the following questions as you being implementing your chosen digital tools:

  • What am I going to do each week?
  • Can I dedicate an hour each week to looking at these one or two tools and measuring success?
  • What should success look like for me at the end of two or three months?

After using these tools consistently over a defined time period, you can review your weekly engagement data to better understand their effectiveness and any changes you should make.

Maintain a strong and consistent online presence

Although you don’t need to be on every single digital platform as a small business owner, you do, at a minimum, need to “show up” consistently online.

“Your potential customer's first interaction with you will be from their laptop or smartphone … so you want to make sure that you’ve done some work to create an image for yourself that references the quality of the product or service you have,” said Darrisaw.

This can start with building a really powerful website and crafting a social media strategy to amplify it.

“[Make sure] you're active and you're engaging your audience, that you're blogging about your expertise and that you're showing up,” she added.

[Read more: 6 Essential Steps to Creating a Brilliant Social Media Marketing Strategy]

Devote time to continuous learning

In addition to spending an hour a week on learning and using new digital tools, Darrisaw recommended spending an additional hour each week on some sort of education for yourself as a business owner.

“All of the major technology companies do have some sort of free programming, including Google,” she said. “Sometimes it's guided with a live coach or trainer, sometimes it's self-paced, but most platforms do have free training available for businesses.”

Consistent education is especially important in today’s rapidly evolving digital world where tools and technologies are constantly changing.

“Maybe you learned it and it worked one way, but the interface looks really different five months later,” said Darrisaw. “Things move fast, so we have to get accustomed to seeing these platforms changing. And instead of being overwhelmed by that, look at free resources you can put in your toolkit to make you stronger and more adaptable and more flexible when these platforms change.”

You can learn more about the Grow with Google Digital Coaching program here.

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