Companies have been using digital technology for many decades as supplementary tools. But things have changed completely; digital technology today is a primary tool.
More people will see your website in a week than will speak to you or service reps in a year, customer expectations are online.
We know that around 80% of purchases are researched online before a customer goes into a store and indeed, most of them prefer to complete the purchase online. Even in groceries.
Digital is shifting the competitive landscape in many sectors. It allows new entrants to come from unexpected places. Banks getting into the travel business in some countries. Travel agents getting into the insurance business. Retailers into the media business. So your competitor set is not what it used to be.
That’s why everyone should step out of the comfort zone and be online to communicate with their clients and listen to them on daily basis.
Here are 7 tips for SMBs to nail their online tools
1- Be Simple
People have a tendency to want to over-design their website in an effort to make it stand out or look cool. They may add flash animation, sound in the background, and load the site up with large graphics. This is a mistake, especially for business-oriented websites. The priority is to make sure your design is organized in a way that visitors can easily find what they are looking for at a glance.
You also want to make sure that the text is easy to read. Dark text on a simple light background is the safest way to go.
Apple is the perfect example of a well-designed website. Apple.com has some of the best web designers in the world who develop their websites, check them out.
2- Be Responsive
When Google speaks, search marketers listen.
Google states that responsive web design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even goes so far as to refer to responsive web design as the industry best practice since 61% were likely to leave if a site wasn’t mobile-friendly.
Take for example a mobile user who shares content from a mobile site with a friend on Facebook who then accesses that content using a desktop, which results in that user viewing a stripped-down mobile site on their desktop. This creates a less than optimal user experience, and because of the large emphasis, Google is now placing on user experience as a ranking factor too.
3- Be Visual
Numbers are the best evidence for marketers. Users are more engaged with listening and watching videos more than reading long descriptive paragraphs.
That’s why we more visualise information and make it easier to interact with the more our followers and customers will be satisfied.
90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.
Publishers who use infographics increase traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t. Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts.
4- Be a Clicker
The competition for visibility in the search results is fierce, which is all the more reason that big brands should stake their claim as a presence to be reckoned with online. Alongside search engine optimization, pay-per-click (PPC) can be more effective and efficient to reach a potential customer while he is searching about a product or service on search engines.
So, if you’re on the fence about PPC, or if just haven’t given it much consideration until now, allow me to discuss why PPC is a no-brainer for your brand — even if you’re already a successful business.
In fact, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report, search ads accounted for 39% of the total advertising revenue on the Internet for the first half of 2014.
That’s why you need to up to date with AdWords tools or call an agency to help you with your search engine campaign.
5- Be Social
Set yourself upon a number of Social Media platforms such as Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook and chat/share/inform your customers with high-quality answers and content. Also make sure to integrate it with your website so that people can follow you through their favorite social media platform and stay in tune with your progress and updates.
6- Be a Teacher
Companies all over the world regularly struggle with a seemingly simple problem: How do we explain the benefits of our product?
This comes easily to some companies, whose offerings occupy a unique niche, solve a specific problem. Meanwhile, other companies have to support their customers with explanatory videos, educational articles and informative visuals.
There is a difference between marketing materials and educational materials.
Customers enjoy being educated and informed more than sold.
A webpage dedicated solely to the features of a product will not be successful on its own. Customers want context; they want to know about the product as it exists in the real world. They want to know which problems that product will solve, and what experts in the field think of its merits.
What we’re talking about is insight. And in a world gone mad with ever-more-elaborate marketing ploys, it’s more important than ever before.
7- Be Proactive
When a visitor, a potential customer, emails you or fills out your contact form, it is imperative that you get back to them as soon as possible. People always take mental note of how long it takes an online business to get back to them. Even if you are on vacation, you should either have an employee answering the emails in your absence or take your laptop along and answer the emails while you’re out-of-town.
There is way too much competition out there now for you to let potential clients slip through the cracks because you weren’t diligent enough to follow through.
Also it’s applicable for social media channels. You need to engage, talk and personalize your communication tools with your customers.
How business and marketing are linked is completely changing nowadays. Internet and search engines shifted the power from the provider side to the client-side. If you can’t accept this reality and adapt our strategies and tools based on it you will face lots of barriers and challenges to be updated with the market.