2017 Digital ToDos

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I spend a lot of time researching, discussing and attending events to keep up to date on ‘Digital Trends’. It blows my mind that, even though we are in the digital industry, there are always extraordinary people and technologies emerging that are going to rock the business world in the not so distant future.

The trick is making the ideas meaningful for SME’s. Most businesses are dealing with the daily grind rather than thinking about where the drone is going land to deliver your pizza, or how automation will make your job redundant or if “good news” is “fake news” in this “post-truth” world.

Here are 5 digital strategies to address in 2017 before you worry about ‘death by RPA’ (Robotic Process Automation: who knew?!).

1. Customer Flow

We commonly see large and small businesses starting online marketing strategies without ensuring their website is ready to efficiently handle the leads. It’s no use running Google ads, for instance, if the prospect can’t find what they are looking for on your site.

Make sure the flow from ad click to the landing page and purchase/enquiry makes sense on desktop and mobile devices.

  • Are your leads automatically being added to your database?
  • Are there automatic follow up tasks triggered?
  • Are your response times competitive for your industry?
  • Are you collecting the analytics data that will allow you to make clear ROI decisions in the future?

2. Little Data, Big Data

Client: “We want to email our recent customers”
KND: “Ok, that’s easy, how up-to-date is your database?”
Client: “What database?”

This conversation should not be happening in 2017. Every business needs a CRM that is easy to use, automates certain tasks and enables bulk mailing. Whether you send email directly from the CRM or sync it to an email system like Mailchimp.

Technology futurists are all talking about big data, but many SMEs are still struggling with their ‘little data’. If you get your “little data” sorted, you can take advantage of Google’s and Facebook’s “Big Data” and construct super targeted advertising campaigns.

Big data is happening in every corner of the web, and this will benefit SMEs more throughout 2017.

3. Understand your channels

There are many options available to attract new business. The key is monitoring your acquisition cost from each channel – i.e. social, search, advertising. Some people may get better results from Linkedin, others Facebook or Google search. It will be different for each industry and target market.

Email is not dead! Try investigating a combination of broader email campaigns and triggered automated emails based on the actions that the prospect takes. This has been trending over the past 2-3 years and we have had good results from combined SMS and email strategies.

Short response time is critical and automation can help you. The robots will probably be running this space in 2 to 5 years. However, if your interactions are authentic, there is an opportunity to connect with your audience.

4. Is your back door locked?

Web security is front and centre in the age of open-source applications and tools that make your digital journey affordable. Unfortunately, businesses that are lazy with site updates and monitoring are in real danger of falling victim to hackers this year.

You may not realise it, but your website and cloud systems will have been attacked several times while your are reading this sentence! What are you doing in your business to protect yourself? Downtime can be expensive and bad for your reputation. There are affordable tools available to help you sleep at night. Prevention is MUCH cheaper that recovery.

5. Web Usability

There are hundreds of features you can add to your website and digital strategy. But, don’t expect your customer to share your enthusiasm for collecting their details for your database. Popup forms, ads and “in-your-face” messages hinder their ability to get to know you.

Reassess these strategies and think about your user journey. Map the paths each target group takes on each device and clean them up. This will help your conversion optimisation and create happy customers. Ban the Pop-Up!

 

So with 2017 now firmly underway, we are excited about the opportunities that digital technologies provide SMEs. I haven’t touched on the cloud and operational tools that can optimise workflow and potentially save your organisation big dollars.

The key takeaway is just don’t sit and wait for the next big thing. Take time to investigate what strategies are going to make the biggest difference to your sales or bottom line and give it go.

Have a great year.

Jason

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