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Digital strategy...don't leave yours to chance

So, what's the trick...?



by
Business development, social media & strategy
 

There isn't one. It just boils down to in-depth research, superb planning and placing your customers at the heart of everything. This entails:

1. Making your business 'findable'

Let’s start at the beginning: you need to be easily found online, that means you need a website, which is fairly obvious! But, you can’t just toss up any old site and hope for the best — people need to be able to find it. After all, how can a potential customer call you if they can’t even find you? The first place in which you need to be findable is where these potential customers typically look for businesses: Google. After all, 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine. If that’s not reason enough, people use search engines to find an answer — and your services just might be the answer if you pop up.

2. Your site being accessible and usable

When you go to a business’ website, you want to be able to easily navigate the site, load pages quickly, and find a clear call to action in case you want to call the company for services. In other words, the user experience (UX) is important—arguably one of the most important parts of your online presence. After all, if users aren’t able to easily use your site, they’ll move on to another company.

Here are just a few questions to ask when determining whether your site is user-friendly:

  • Is your site mobile friendly? Now that 80 percent of internet users own a smartphone, consumers are now using mobile phones for what used to be restricted to desktops and laptop PCs. Mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic in late 2016, and the gap continues to widen.
  • What's your site's speed? Did you know that with every second it takes for your website to load, you lose revenue? It’s true. After three seconds, 53 percent of mobile consumers will click the “back” button.
  • Is your website secure? In 2017, website security was front and centre. Google began labelling secured and unsecured websites with either green or red/grey labels in the search bar. Would you click on a website with a bright red “unsecured” label on it? Most consumers won’t.
  • Are the navigation and the font on your website easy to read and click through on a mobile device? If not, you’re in trouble — 48 percent of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business. Your font should be large enough to read on a mobile device, and your navigation should be large enough that's easy to tap on.

3. Be informative and answer questions

Once you know your site is easily findable and boasts great user experience, it’s time to ensure the information your potential customers find is helpful. Consumers are more empowered than ever before, and they like to do their research. In fact, B2B researchers perform 12 searches on average prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site, and 81 percent of shoppers conduct research online before buying.

  • Does your website answer every single question they might have about your product or service?
  • Do you have a page for each of your services?
  • Are you targeting the right service areas?
  • Do you blog at least monthly?

If you don’t do any of this, don’t worry — you’re not alone. We’ve worked with a lot of small business owners who didn’t know the importance of consistently uploading relevant, quality content. We recommend you add pages and blogs that target your top keywords and service areas to your site a few times a month. Whether you make it a task in your calendar to blog bi-weekly or you hire a digital marketing agency to handle it for you, adding content to your site will only help your digital strategy.

4. Establish trust

Did you know 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal reviews? Yyou need to establish authority by clearly communicating who your company is. Think about it—when you’re thinking about hiring a company, isn’t it comforting to see a list of their awards and certifications? Perhaps you take a moment to look at the “meet the team” page to put a face to the business. These small touches can help separate your company from the rest and ultimately create a trustworthy digital presence for your business.

Here’s a tip: Add testimonial videos on your home page, and video introductions to your employees on your meet the team page. Prominently display any sort of awards or certifications on your home page as well.

5. Stay in touch with your customers

I’ve been preaching consistency in this blog — and this last tip might be where consistency is the most important! After you’ve provided services to a customer, how can you make sure you stay in touch with them throughout the year?

Make communication with your customers a priority by sending an email newsletter. Whether you send it weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, your customers will simply have to check their inbox to be reminded of you — it’s that easy.

There have been four big digital marketing trends that have shaped 2018; trends that can't be ignored, namely:

Customer loyalty

Customers are getting more involved with brands that show them loyalty. We highly recommend you bank on this trend now and start remarketing to your existing customers as well as engaging with them on social media. Lots of business owners are so focused on getting new customers that they neglect their current ones. That’s madness — the cost of keeping a customer versus the cost of acquiring a new one just doesn’t compare! Use email marketing, social media and videos to stay connected with your customers, even when they don’t need your services.

Voice search

You’ve probably seen the commercials—the ones that make virtual personal assistants seem like they’re the answer to all your problems. While voice search isn’t technically advanced enough for consumers to ditch their screens altogether, that’s certainly the direction it’s heading. Experts even predict that at least 30 percent of searches will be done without a screen by 2020. What this means is you need to start thinking about optimising your website for natural questions and requests. Instead of “AC repair in [city]” think more along the lines of “Find an AC repair contractor near me.”

Video marketing

Technologies like VR, AR, and 360-degree videos are already the mainstay for Fortune 500 companies, and soon the trend will trickle down to the rest of us. While you may brush off platforms like YouTube because it’s “kid stuff,” think again—Gen-Xers account for more than 1.5 billion views on YouTube every day. By 2019, video content will be the driving factor behind 85 percent of search results. If you don’t have video content that ranks by then, you’re going to be left behind by competitors who thought ahead. We recommend getting started with testimonial videos, how-to videos, and videos that highlight your company’s history and culture.

Big-data personalisation and segmentation

Marketing used to be about mass messages. Now, we’re seeing a shift in the opposite direction—hyper-personalised campaigns. Thanks to big data and the age of assistance, you have more information about your target audience than ever before—so put it to good use. AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning are taking much of the legwork out of creating personalised campaign. By setting up advanced tracking and analytics, you can deliver an automated, personalised ad experience that matches where they are in the modern buyer’s journey.

And there you have it — everything you need in your digital strategy and how to make it happen. Of course, if this seems like a tall order, you could  contact Eonic. We LOVE helping business owners create, implement and execute a smart digital marketing strategy  (and it’s always fun to see the exciting growth and victories that come along with it).