Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Flipboard 0 It’s tough for businesses to keep up with the speed of today’s ever changing digital world. However, those businesses that are more technologically-savvy and use the latest digital methods to operate, promote themselves, engage with customers and grow their businesses have an upper hand. We live in a world where you can buy shoes online at three in the morning from bed, where you can get an insurance quote while lounging by the beach with your family and where you can instantly find opinions, reviews and complaints about virtually every business, product and service within seconds. All of this online information matters to consumers. Research shows that about 57% of a purchase decision is made before the customer even talks to a supplier. The pace of business has changed. So has the concept of regular “business hours”. Today’s technology makes it possible for businesses to be accessible to their customers all day, every day by email, phones and automated systems. Technology will continue to grow, accelerate and change business for the foreseeable future. Those companies that take advantage of the new tools and technologies now will have an advantage over those competitors who are either late adopters of these tools or who enter the market at a later date. Adapting to the Digital World Companies risk facing many challenges to adapt to new technology. A recent survey conducted by IDC and Salesforce.com found that more than 50% Canadian businesses with less than 500 employees are adopting technology faster than larger businesses. This doesn’t mean that the challenges are isolated to larger, more established comapnies. Both new and established businesses of all sizes, bricks & mortar and online, find it harder to generate revenues and compete in this modern marketplace. The good news? You don’t need to be a tech genius to increase your company’s relevance and effectiveness online. With the right tools, some knowledge, effort and practicel, you can find new ways to promote yourself, interact with current customers and attract new potential customers to your organization. The most successful companies continuously learn, grow and adapt to changing technology. Here’s how your business can do the same. The Importance of an Effective Content Marketing Strategy An effective content marketing strategy is important to be able to successfuly build authority for yourself and your company. What does this mean? It means creating and promoting content that showcases your organization’s knowledge, skills, experience and achievements. This allows you to establish yourself as a trusted authority in your industry. By producing intelligent and informative content, you show the world that you know what you’re doing. You can do this by writing strong, interesting content about your product or service and creating a distribution strategy that is designed to reach your target demographic. This attracts potential customers to your company and your products and services. By creating high quality content and promoting it effectively, you can reach customers who are actively looking for your product or service. This is an example of using technology and current trends to position yourself in front of your target audience. But how do you promote your content effectively? Tools such as UNOapp, a robust and easy to use marketing automation platform, enables businesses to align their digital, social, and in-store advertising while empowering them with the ability to send out the right message/content/promotion to the right audience at the right time on the right platforms. With so many rights, how can you go wrong? The Importance of an Effective Overall Digital Marketing Strategy Focusing time and effort on an effective digital marketing strategy is one of the main keys to digital success. Rather than throwing ideas at a wall and seeing if any of them stick, it’s crucial that you develop a strategy that is designed to help you meet your specific business goals. You need to have a plan for how you will get your content, your brand and your message out to the world. And you need to be able to adapt this plan to changes in the marketplace. Making changes to your website and your digital strategy can have a huge impact on your success. For example, in 2012, Coca-Cola launched “Coca-Cola Unbottled,” a company blog. The website underwent several changes in design, content and focus over the next several months. After making changes and looking at the data, Coke used this data to determine what other changes are necessary to the design of the site. These changes resulted in a 106% increase in page views and a 1,247% increase in “Unbottled” home page visits. This shows how having a sound digital strategy and regularly monitoring how this strategy is performing can positively impact your business. As evidenced by the Coca-Cola example, a web presence that keeps user experience in mind and one that is user-friendly and focuses on what the user wants is very important. User experience (UX) encompasses all interactions that a visitor has with a website. It’s important that users have a pleasurable experience with a company website. How important is it? Think about website load times. A study by Akamai found that 47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less and that 40 percent of consumers will wait no more than three seconds for a web page to load before abandoning the site. This shows that ensuring your website loads quickly is critical to effectively engage your visitors. Website load times aren’t the only factor that matters. The same study found that 79 percent of online shoppers who experience a dissatisfying website visit are less likely to buy from that site in the future. Providing visitors with a smooth and satisfying digital experience is vital for business success. It’s also crucial that your website is designed in a way that helps funnel your users towards a purchasing decision. By directing visitors to a purchasing decision, you make it easier for them to buy from you. Not only does this increase sales, it also improves a user’s experience with your website adn therefor will increase the likelyhood of them shopping with you again and referring their friends and family to your site and product – word of mouth advertising at its finest! The less hoops that someone has to go through to buy from you will directly translate into more revenue for your business. If you sell a product, it’s important that you have an e-commerce website. Today, a tremendous amount of shopping is done online. During the 2013 holiday season, online shopping became the number one choice for US shoppers for the first time. A Deloitte survey of over 5,000 U.S.-based consumers found that 47 percent of consumers said the Internet would be their favorite shopping destination. Not having an ecommerce website is shutting out almost half of your potential customers and seriously hurting your business due to the increase of online shopping options that are being made available to your customers by your competitors. As a recent example, consider that Marina Strauss of the Globe and Mail suggested that one of the reasons for Target’s botched Canadian expansion is that “the retailer never ran an e-commerce site” in Canada. It’s also important that you set aside the right resources for properly marketing and maintaining your ecommerce site. Failing to do so will cause confusion, delays, downtime and will alienate potential customers. Tools that Will Help You There are a number of tools that are available online or by download that will help you with marketing automation, customer relationship management and many other tasks. These tools and resources include: UNOapp Salesforce CRM Digital MenuBox Microsoft Dynamics CRM Marketo Marketing Automation OneCore Ecommerce Solutions By utilizing these and other digital tools effectively, you put your organization in a better position to compete and stay relevant in today’s ever changing, fast-paced digital world. What tools and technologies have you found most helpful to your business? Twitter Tweet Facebook Share Email This article was written for Business 2 Community by Steven Tulman.Learn how to publish your content on B2C Author: Steven Tulman Follow @StevenTulman Steven Tulman Mortgage Agent | Mortgage Investor | Mortgage Lender | Entrepreneur | Marketing | Finance | Speaker | Author Steven Tulman is an entrepreneur specializing in the financial services and online marketing sectors. He is the President and Founder of Clover Mortgage Inc., a full service residential and commercial… View full profile ›More by this author:Can You Qualify for Credit After a Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal?8 Simple Steps to Improving Your Credit ScoreHow is Your Credit Score Calculated?