In my second blog inspired by my attendance at the Greater Birmingham Digital Summit I will explore a topic discussed during the day that really resonated with me – that it’s simply not enough to invest in a great website and feel like you’re winning the internet game.
With so many businesses still coming online for the first time and realising the potential returns for themselves you just can’t be complacent. So-called “digital maturity” is not insurance against the future. Rather, continual investment negates the risk of moving backwards in an ever-advancing climate as the industry and your peers mature around you (and possibly beyond).
The reasons for getting online and staying ahead of your competitors are many. Too many to list here. But what you have to remember is that trading online allows you to reach a wider market and if you don’t take advantage of this there’s always someone else who will, and they may creep into your local market.
By trading online I don’t necessarily mean e-commerce. Whatever you measure conversions by – an online purchase, an enquiry submission or even a comment on a blog – you are essentially doing business with (hopefully) thousands of customers at once.
Digital Is About People, Not Technology
The most recent Lloyds Business Digital Index, an annual report, states that 29% of businesses say being online is not relevant to them. If this is something you also believe, ask yourself, is it relevant to your customers? More people are buying online than ever before and it is reported that people are now spending up to 4 hours a day on a PC or tablet. Of those people 64% have bought something online in the last month. So you may not be internet-savvy or believe there’s a market for your business online, but your customers may say otherwise.
Understanding your customers is key to staying on top of things and according to Nick Williams (Consumer Digital Director of Lloyds Banking Group), “digital is all about people, not technology”.
In a world where potential customers can access the internet 24/7 the key is to understand what your customers want and how to engage with them online. Master this and you’ll stay ahead of the pack. How do you do this? Investment. The industry is moving too fast for you to sit back, you need to talk with customers and experts (like us) to devise an evolving strategy that takes advantage of current trends and attitudes. Act quickly and smartly and invest not only your money but your time too.
The rapid uptake of smartphones is just one example of how the market is changing and just because your business may be traditional and “offline” it doesn’t mean potential customers aren’t searching for your services online and looking for someone just like you. In a world where “to google” has become a verb, it is essential that your services can be found and that your business is represented professionally on the Internet.
And if you need any more convincing ask yourself this, when was the last time you picked up the Yellow Pages?